Landscape hereabouts goes from mountains with snowy caps to flat riverlands, and I spent most of the day winding in and up and down and over foothills. The grade on some of these roads is 15%, which my car did its best to handle, but a lot of people were passing me today. Wildlife spotting also went down; for one, it’s no longer rattlesnake country:
But! Dinosaurs! I stopped for lunch in Bozeman, home of the top-notch Museum of the Rockies. Its dinosaur displays were designed largely by Jack Horner, best known as the technical advisor for the Jurassic Park movies, and many of them focus on showing the progression from baby to juvenile to adult. There’s a particularly mind-blowing display for Triceratops, which explains how the horns and the neck frill drastically change shape over time (which for a long time made people think there were multiple species).
Bozeman also is an artistic/cultural center for Montana, and its main street had a lot of interesting little shops and art galleries. I picked up some smooth, slightly fruity huckleberry vodka at Bozeman Spirits Distillery (free samples!). Huckleberry (and chokecherry to a lesser extent) seems to be the Montana fruit, since it’s all over. Back in Laurel the City Brew Coffee outpost was serving a huckleberry green tea granita thing, which was super-sweet and entropyenator would probably love it.
Next, I popped in for a half-hour at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, which is open to people who are not staying at the attached hotel, but which is very low-frills. The hot springs pool looks like a regular swimming pool, albeit with warm and slightly cloudy water. I didn’t really feel any “healing” properties, but a quick dip was nice for my calf muscles, still sore from the previous day’s hike. I’ve been told it’s a bit pricy for Montana hot springs at $8.75 a person, but time is unlimited.
Stopping point for the night was Missoula, a university town with a strong artistic community. Thursdays in the summer, they apparently have town parties down by the river with food trucks. I got a pork and a chorizo-date-green chili tamale from one truck, which looked a lot better than it tasted, sadly; the fillings were dry, and the tamales had been boiled too long so the cornmeal was a bit tough. Airbnb place was described as Victorian, but it’s had all sorts of customizations and art thrown onto it from all styles and folk/ethnic backgrounds, so now it’s this weirdly attractive, if eye-dizzying, bohemian retreat of indeterminate culture.