July 15, 2009

Dillon, Montana

Last month I traveled to Blackfoot, Idaho to meet my week old niece. She was, of course, beautiful and perfect. The trip from Spokane to Blackfoot takes a little over nine hours, unless you happen to stop in Dillon, Montana for ice cream and realize you have a nail in your tire; then it takes about ten hours.

There is no doubt we were being watched over that day, because had we gone on without knowing about the nail, we likely would have had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere Montana. The side trip for ice cream was a sudden decision and it was a miracle we saw the nail before getting back in the car to travel on. As it was, we were able to find a local Les Schwab and relaxed while the nail was removed and the tire was fixed.

Prior to this unexpected stop, my experience with Montana had been limited to traveling through the state at record speeds. I was at the end of a long journey from Texas with a confused cat in the back seat of my truck and the bed of my truck loaded with all my worldly possessions. All I wanted was to reach my destination of Spokane, Washington that day, and I thought Montana seemed endless. I wasn’t a big fan of the state.

But my impressions of Montana all those years ago were wrong. It’s a beautiful state, and although it does take quite a while to drive through, you really can’t beat the mountains, trees, rivers and more. However, what I liked most were the people. As we hung out at the tire shop, I watched locals deal with their own tire issues. I felt like I had arrived home. Cowboy boots, blue jeans, cowboy hats, and even some actual accents with a hint of a drawl. I had found my people! They were nice, friendly and for a brief moment, I felt as if I was home. Sadly, I this is the only picture I took in Dillon. Trust me; it looks much better than this.

I’m not ready to move to Montana, but I now know it’s a wonderful state to drive through and an even better place to stop and rest during a long trip. I should have known Montana would be high on the Texas cool meter; some of the best people I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know in the northwest are from Montana.

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