We checked out Bozeman the next day. It looked like a very well run and attractive city. Everyone we met was very friendly and the weather was not bad for late October. It was dry, cool and partly sunny.
Here’s the video:
Montana is a Safeway state (a plus), so we popped in there to pick up lunch and dinner. We didn’t go very far as we hadn’t slept amazingly in the Super 8 (we should have known better – 4 out of 5 does not mean the same thing if it’s Motel 6 or a Super 8 – it still has that wonderful prison-y feeling even if they haven’t tried to bleach you to death).
As a note, Bozeman is the future site of first contact with an alien race in Star Trek, that alien race being the Vulcans. The film wasn’t shot there, so there wasn’t any particular thing to see, but this is where it was set.
On our way out of town, we saw some more roadsideamerica.com oddness:
Montana continued to live up to its name as we headed north west:
In some ways, it feels like a colder version of New Mexico, which makes sense given Montana is to the north of both New Mexico and Arizona (and it the width of both of them together, given it is enormous).
Before resting up in our La Quinta (which is a chain that is way more likely to be good than a Super 8), we checked out the Montana State Capitol in Helena:
We also popped into Taco Johns for lunch. I had missed Taco Johns. It is vastly superior to Taco Bell in that it a) tastes like food and b) doesn’t make you feel immediately ill. It is mainly in the big states in the Mountain West and Midwest rather than being in every single town of any size in the whole country like Taco Bell.
We also got a good review of Helena from the woman working at the hotel. She was from Washington State and had lived in Tampa, Florida for 20 years in addition to spending time in Virginia, Alaska and South Carolina. She said she absolutely loved living in Montana with its dry climate and that she had fallen in love with it after her children and grandchildren moved here.
We met someone else later at the lovely extremely heated outdoor pool (it was 100F/37C on a day that was about 50F/10C and fully equipped with jets – it was basically a giant hot tub). She had grown up in Helena, went to university in Bozeman and now lived in Idaho Falls, all of which we’d just visited. She still felt Montanan after years of living in Idaho, but quite liked both states. She said she has children living all over the country and her daughter in Idaho has a much more affordable house than her son in Pittsburgh, and her son in Nashville has a much more affordable house there than he used to have in Los Angeles (his company picked up and moved across the country, and he went with them), all of which confirmed the patterns we’ve seen over the last few months of the South and the West being much more affordable than the Upper East Coast or California.
It was such a nice hotel that we decided to stay another night in Helena. It was just a chilled out day since for the first time on the whole trip, we didn’t have to do any video editing. We finally managed to catch up. Highlights of the day include someone in a games shop calling British English European English, which neither of us had ever heard before, and finding a new Doctor Who comic. Everyone we met in shops was also extremely nice. Montana is turning out to easily be one of the friendliest states we’ve been to.