I’m seriously prevaricating around the bush today, stopping for a second cappuccino in Rockford, another sleek establishment and revisiting the bookstores.
Well I knew it was just a matter of time. Forgot where I parked. There are a lot of restrictions in Bozeman and they are not prepared for the population growth, traffic and parking wise. The good news, I saw a lot more of Bozeman downtown , after weaving and winding around the backstreets; the bad news it took me 45 minutes to find the Escalade. Google Map Marking from now on. Of course the car was always just 2 minutes from where I started my search. I’m a knob.
Couldn’t find a shop selling chapstick anywhere downtown Bozeman – me poor lips.
Missoula here I come.
I gotta say, this unplanned traveling is making me feel all Grasshopper, full David Carradine, the man with the happiest of endings.
The first two hours out of Bozeman is not the most interesting stretch of road , though I did go through Manhattan and crossed the Missouri River a couple of times.
Pulling into Helena for gas at the half way spot a large western styled sign said I was in Deep Country. It sure felt like it.
The most interesting thing to see across some of the plains was those mile long freight train . Those monstrous trains the good guys always get to the other side of in movie chases and escape. The type that creamed Dirty Mary & Crazy Larry.
Driving across the endless plains of Montana today, I remembered what was possibly my first car journey.
Father Willy, the neighbors older cousin, was nice enough to bring us neighborhood kids for a spin out the country in his red Renault. I was probably eight or nine. It didn’t go so well.
Not an hour out on the coastal road I leaned over the good Father, from the back seat, in a panic to have him stop. Not fast enough. I puked all over his nice black suit and the drivers seat.
Father Willy did his best to clean himself off in a Pub bathroom and not choke this poor little sick Christian.
It was a long journey home to Lower Canal Road in a car smelling of damp Catholic Priest and Pepsi and Cheese & Onion Tayto puke. Granny and my mother were mortified when he dropped me off at the door. My relationship with the church was downhill from there.
There were so many more car vomiting stories to come in the O’Toole annals. As we never had a family vehicle. all five junior O’Tooles were terrible travelers.
And here I am driving thousands of miles across the States.
Helena’s National Park got me back into the forest and mountain landscape, after a lot of Casinos and dingey looking outposts skirting the city of Helena.
It may not have been the most exciting day, But I did find another giant bull. It’s not nothing.
240 miles and five hours later and I’m in Missoula. A mad rush to find parking and a Coffee Shop – I needed to pee like ten men.
Liquid Planet was a great find, it’s a combined coffee shop, wine store and they seem to sell pastas, sauces and spices . I needed the coffee, I had panoramic view overload. The last thirty minutes driving into Missoula were striking and it’s a very attractive town on first look.
It may be a college town but I struggled to find a restaurant open after 9. Locals Only, a bar serving Tacos was still open . I think everyone in there was a local. I did see a Sushi spot open but raw fish in Northern Montana ?
Just found out the the river that runs through it, in A River Runs Through It, runs through Missoula.
Driving the five hours today, I did get a feel for how vast and unpopulated this state is.
For you viewers at home, Monrana has a population of just over one million across an area of 147k square miles. For comparison, New York has 20 million over 54k square miles ; there are 1.7 million in Manhattan. I’ve met a sizable percentage of the population of Montana in two days. That’s today’s geography lesson kiddies.
It was a quiet night at Locals Only, and bartender Lorna Buckingham, who radiated confidence and intelligence , was nice enough to keep me company.
Lorna figures that anyone who has lived in Missoula always comes back. She had studied Medieval History and Creative Writing here, left for 10 years and is now back to stay.
Lorna shares an apartment with her partner and their two young boys. They met when they were both working in Vegas, a town that was good for the wallet, not for the soul. Lorna works the bar two nights a week and writes for a farming almanac, there’s a agricultural background in her family. Her partner is the day manager in Locals Only.
As she said of their travels, the only place two heavily tattooed lesbians , with two kids ever got sideways glances was Utah. Mormons!
A huge proponent of Missoula, Lorna described how it’s not a big money town but is a hotspot for musicians, writers and artists. The town has two major music venues, built either end of town, by the competing breweries. Most major bands come through this college town of 60 thousand people. The Dropkick Murphys are here next week, a hopping, Celtic Punk band.
Lorna gave me a list of local music venues, bookstores and assorted destinations. Looking forward to taking it all in tomorrow.
The tacos were good, Lorna was great.
Hotel: $105 – booked at The Red Lion