I’d never been to Montana before this summer. Since June, I’ve gone twice.
The first trip, I flew into Billings, then visited Livingston, Lewistown, Great Falls, and Helena.
Billings was a really cool town. The largest city in Montana, there are around 100,000 people. I used to think Raleigh was small! It’s maybe the easiest place I’ve ever been to get around – I didn’t even have to use the GPS. You can pretty much SEE every place you’re trying to go.
I got out of the airport and had a little time to kill, so I drove along the rim and pulled over to take a couple photos.
Drove around for a bit, found my hotel, and decided I need to go find dinner. It took three hours. No lie. Not because I couldn’t find anywhere to go, but because I got distracted by the sunset. And then an incredible lightning storm.
The number of times I pulled over probably should have gotten me some sort of traffic ticket, but I don’t think they’re real big on those up there.
I stumbled into a place called the Rock Pile and people watched. Everyone clearly knew each other, even though the restaurant was attached to an Inn and right by the airport. I’d later learn that apparently everyone in the entire state knows each other.
After my meetings the next day, I decided to drive around and check out more of the town. Somehow I ended up on a gravel road on top of a mountain, with nowhere to turn around and a pick up truck on my tail. Somehow that seems to happen a lot up there. I learned quickly that sometimes the road just… stops. I guess that happens when your state is freaking huge and you only have a million or so people to help support the infrastructure.
Anyway, I’m on top of a mountain on a gravel road with a pick up truck on my tail, and then it started pouring. I kind of thought I was going to die. Clearly, I couldn’t just turn around in someone’s driveway. They knew I didn’t belong there. It was beautiful, though.
Over the next few days, I drove around 1,000 miles, covering Billings, Livingston, Lewistown, Great Falls and Helena. Most of the drive looked like this:
I mean, it wasn’t like it was torture. Actually, I kind of loved it. If Hertz hadn’t put restrictions on how much I could drive my rental, I probably would have driven even more. I still have so much of the state left to see!