We have gotten seriously tired in the last week, so our distances have decreased. We really liked the hotel in Helena, so we stayed till noon enjoying the 100F/37C outdoor pool in 36F/2C cold.
We went back west a bit to Missoula, which was surprisingly close to the part of Idaho we’d left last week. Montana is a very hard state to do sequentially due to being huge but low in population. This means that though there are roads, they won’t always be where would be most useful for this kind of trip. We headed toward Missoula in the hope of getting up to the far north to see the glaciers.
We stopped at a truly stellar hotel with a kitchenette, which was appreciated as we have both grown increasingly sick of road food. It also had separate rooms with the kitchen and living room being in a different room than the bedroom. This resulted in much better sleep, possibly due to not having to sleep in the same room we spent the whole evening in.
On our way up to Kalispell, we went through several Indian Reservations, many of which had signs like this:
It was good we weren’t planning on going far, as no matter how much we attempt to get enough rest, it just isn’t really cutting it any more. I think we are ready to be done very soon. It’s been nearly 5 months of travel and this entire year, even before the travel, has been just non-stop novelty. It has ranged from Chris having to tell his parents we were moving country in January to redoing the entire flat ourselves in February and March to Chris having minor dental surgery in his first week living in a foreign country in June to coping with bureaucracy repeatedly to traveling across what is now up to 46 states. It has been so, so full. It is a cliche thing to say, but I think we are starting to need a holiday from our holiday.
Despite the general exhaustion, we managed to have a very lovely chat with the man at the desk in our hotel. He was well traveled but had grown up in and later return to Montana. He loved it and said he never wanted to live anywhere else because he loved the mountains. He also gave us the bad news that, no, we will not be seeing any glaciers. If anything, they are in larger part melted already, but more than that, the roads to them are only accessible for a very small part of the year and we missed the boat on that one. I can’t be too disappointed though as we did no research and we have gotten away with doing no or very little research so many times on this trip, that it’s to be expected that occasionally it will backfire.
Here’s the video:
We also learned that Montana has some unusual gambling laws. Many states have Native American gaming that often results in Native Americans running most of their casinos and that the casinos are outside of major cities in the Indian Reservations. Montanas laws are both more liberal and less liberal. It is more liberal in that you can have slot machines and digital gaming of other kinds in many places like bars and restaurants. They do not have any of the games that are run by an actual dealer though, like blackjack or poker, not even the Native American run ones, so Native American gaming isn’t any more common or profitable than any other kind of gaming. This is due to a poor relationship between the tribes and the government apparently. It still seemed like a drop in the bucket compared to Nevada, but still much more prevalent than in many states due to being allowed in town.