Three more negatives (more or less) on Montana. I should say that for every one like these I am getting five that rhapsodize about the beauty, vastness, stillness, friendliness, charm, etc. of the Treasure State. I am really looking forward to Montana. I have had so much helpful advice from readers about what to see & do I’ve had to open up a separate folder for them. Many, many thanks to all. Reader A:
Derb—The only thing to dislike is the presence of Ted Turner’s ranch. But, Montana is big enough you’ll never even notice it, so enjoy. I’ve driven through Montana several times, and it’s great. Even when it snows a couple of feet in early April!
JD—For this Southern boy, Montana is way too beautiful. You feel nekkid, you’re so out in the open, with no kudzu and pine trees to shield you from the Great Unknowns. It’s a great place to visit and live, yeah… if you like feeling like a Titan could step on you accidentally. This is the land of Paul Bunyan, after all.
The people are great and at least one-quarter or one-third the state is absolutely beautiful. The state nickname, Big Sky County, will make perfect sense when you simultaneously see the first and last car of a freight train going by and covering only a small segment of the horizon. But I had to drive the perimeter of the state twice for my work once. The majority of Montana is dirt flattened to a pancake with a steady 40mph wind.
On one project I drove with a business partner for over and hour on the eastern end of the state and didn’t see one other car, a building or even a person. The speedometer never fell below 105. Finally we saw some guy, miles off in the distance. I decided to drive 10 minutes out of my way just to see if I could figure out his story. He turned out to be a drunken Indian carrying a bottle of Jack Daniels. Grim. Featureless hours later we were well into the night when I saw lights and cars at some establishment in the distance. It turned out to be a strip bar in the middle of absolutely nowhere, and while I don’t like strip bars there was no way I wasn’t going in this place. It was much, much worse than the Indian. Theses sights certainly aren’t worth the drive, but they were something to see.
One other thing. I asked directions once or twice. People will say things like ‘oh sure, just go up the road to the stop sign and turn left.’ What they don’t tell you is that it’s a 20-minute drive to the stop sign. The directions were right; it just wasn’t what I was expecting.
Oh, one more tale. I stopped at a place called Chico Hot Springs once and stayed over night. I noticed aerial pictures in the restaurant showing a parking lot of small private planes parked at the place. I asked the front desk manager where the planes land and he told me ‘on the strip out front.’ I walked out front, but I didn’t see the strip. Later that night I asked someone else, and they told me the same thing. Figuring I was missing the obvious, I just let it go. The next morning I heard planes coming in and so I went outside to check it out. They did indeed land on ‘the strip’ out front, otherwise known as the road.