As the last few days have been to smaller towns with nothing of great interest in them, I’ve decided to save a bit of time and incorporate them into one post.
We left West Yellowstone and drove about 150 miles to Bozeman. The scenery when we left was still nice but gradually got a bit flatter and a bit more mundane. Bozeman is fairly small so we booked into our hotel and took a walk to the downtown area which was a very pleasant surprise. They appear to have spent a lot of effort on refurbishing the town and the main street is mostly bars, restaurants, higher end shops and art galleries. It was lovely weather, about 30 degrees, so we took a stroll around the town and went into a bar to watch the Champions League Final between Barcelona and Juventus. Due to the time difference, it was still only mid afternoon so we went back to the hotel as we wouldn’t have been in a fit state to stay out for the evening!! After a bit of a rest, we went back out and had a meal and wandered round and visited a few bars before heading back to the hotel.
The next morning, we just relaxed a bit as there was no rush to get to Helena so headed off about lunchtime. We stopped off at a diner in a town called Butte for lunch so Elsa could try some more authentic diner food, which she duly did though as ever in these places, there was loads of food so she ended up with a doggie bag for half of it! We had a drive round Butte which is pretty rundown and based on all the shop / bar names must have been a town where a lot of Irish settled – probably because it had been a mining town. We got to Helena mid afternoon, dropped our stuff off and went to the downtown area – which was basically shut!! Helena is the state capital of Montana but is small (as the other 2 state capitals we visited were) so I’m not sure on what criteria they make them state capitals. We wandered round the downtown area – which took about 10 minutes – and went back to the hotel. We found that the bar there was having happy hour, so we sat out on the patio and had a few drinks and enjoyed the 34 degree sunshine. We then went and watched a few episodes of Game of Thrones and relaxed a bit.
Again there was no rush to get to our next town, Missoula, so we didn’t leave until midday for the 160 mile trip. The journey takes you through some nice forest areas but nothing as spectacular as we had become used to so we’re probably becoming a bit spoilt with the scenery!! We checked into the hotel and put the air con on in the room and cooled down for a bit as it had been pretty hot in the car (was 35 degrees outside). Later on we took a walk round the downtown area which is nice enough and like Bozeman had lots of bars, restaurants, higher end shops and art galleries – though the bars were not quite as high end but more like proper drinking places which as we visited a few, got really busy as the evening went on. To be honest, we actually prefer the bars which are more “real life” with some character (and characters in them) rather than what some people consider a bar to be with carpets, leather furniture etc.
So in summary, although there aren’t the monuments, scenery, tall buildings etc that we have seen in some of our previous blogs, it is still enjoyable to see how the rest of the country lives and for us to take it easy rather than chasing round.