Days 20 & 21 – Montana
With a heavy heart I leave Fernie and Canada, vowing to return soon. The border crossing into Montana is through a small, almost quaint building/drive through. The customs officer asks the usual questions and when I tell home I make games, he asks which ones. Turns out he played the Tony Hawk we made! Small [...]
With a heavy heart I leave Fernie and Canada, vowing to return soon. The border crossing into Montana is through a small, almost quaint building/drive through. The customs officer asks the usual questions and when I tell home I make games, he asks which ones. Turns out he played the Tony Hawk we made! Small world.
The landscape changes noticeably, craggy mountains giving way to lower, more rolling hills.
Northern Montana is quite beautiful. I pass many lovely lakes and ranches. The old west aesthetic is dominant here. Montanans obviously identify strongly with the cowboy mythos. I stop in Whitefish for some amazing fried chicken at The Shack and walk around the town a bit.
On the way out of town I spot a sign for Kehoe’s Agate shop. I’m intrigued and follow the signs to a small house at the end of a country road. The owner Leslie has a huge variety of fossils, minerals, gems and other earthly treasures. Her father opened the place 70 years ago and she has carried on the family business. I buy some trilobites and a few other mineraly bits.
The land changes dramatically before Butte, which is so far the ugliest town I’ve ever seen. From the town in every direction you can see at least one strip mine, sometimes two, giving the impression that Butte itself was unearthed recently. (Sorry, no pics, none could do it justice).
The lush greenery of northern Montana becomes arid, looking more and more like the nevada desert. Coming over the hills into Bozeman I can see it rising up like an oasis, little bits green encircling the small city, keeping the tan rocks at bay.
The next day I take care of some errands (laundry, mailing stuff home and nursing the cold thats dogged me for days now). I take time to see the Museum of the Rockies and ogle their awesome dinosaur bone and diorama collection. When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up and make museum dioramas. In a way do make dioramas for a living, but the virtual kind. Maybe someday I’ll do some real life ones too.
Montana has no sales tax and no helmet laws. I take advantage of both, picking up an iPad with cellular capabilities ( tired of the almost useless wifi in most hotels) and ride around a bit in tshirt, shorts and sunglasses. Sure, it’s stupid, but I had to try it just to see what it was like. Giant rain clouds move in from the west, bringing drizzle and some lightning, the first I’ve seen so far on the trip.
As I move east, I feel a growing sense of significance to a certain vague image forming in my head. I absentmindedly play with my food at dinner. This noticeably upset Squirrely who didn’t touch his nuts for the rest of the meal.