Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Road Trip: Surprise, Montana is Lovely!

Everything about Montana was a surprise. It was a surprise that we ended up driving through it as it was never on the original route plan, and it was a surprise that I kind of fell in love with it. I mean, let's be honest, it just isn't one of those states most people even think of very often. After all, the only thing I knew about Montana was that it is Big Sky Country, whatever that entailed, I had no idea.

We drove west through the state and passed a man selling handmade wooden stools at the side of the road. We stopped to check out his crafts and inquire prices and such. He also had antlers and various wilderness related art pieces. The actual animal antlers prompted my companion to ask the gentleman whether he hunts the animals himself. His answer was another Montana surprise: "I don't hunt 'cause I've been in trouble with the law and I can't have a gun. But my mamma has a gun." Hmm. Parked at the side of the road between two desolate highways, chatting with a man in trouble with the law and no other people around for miles? Time to go.

The landscape dazzled us as we continued on to Bozeman. There were mountains in the distance, huge expanses of land, and trees in every color that trees can come in. Frolicking in the creek beside the highway was an absolute must. The water was freezing, but we sat on the river rocks as the water trickled toward us, and enjoyed a few minutes of complete serenity. It was another one of those moments when I realized just how much beauty exits in my home country. The feelings of peace ended abruptly when we were forced to use a highly questionable restroom facility next to the creek, a surprise I could have done without.

Lunch at the Kountry Korner Café was definitely a hometown affair. I ordered chili and cornbread from a lady in an apron that could have been Betty Crocker herself, she was so cute. When she returned with our food, she was sure to mention that the honey was all locally made, in fact it was made by the people sitting at that table over there. Well, it doesn't get more local than that! I guess this would be kind of like running into the girl that does your coffee in L.A., but somehow not really the same thing.

As we headed out of Bozeman, there was a sign for a town named Manhattan. I had to giggle at the stark contrast between the sparse farmland before me, and the busy, bustling Manhattan in my mind. Bringing New York Manhattanites to this namesake town so unlike their own would make for hilarious reality television.

The more I travel, the more I realize how different things are outside of my backyard. Travel is an endless testament that we can never underestimate what another place has to offer. The more we see, the more we learn, and the more we can understand. I am sure there are lots of people that have always known Montana was lovely, and although I may be late in the game, I am glad to know it now. And come to think of it...the sky might have looked just a bit bigger.


Ashley said...

When driving cross country (Boston to LA), Montana was a state we randomly drove through. It is beautiful, a true country feel.

I couldn't agree more with your statement, " It was another one of those moments when I realized just how much beauty exits in my home country." Everyone needs to explore the States and will run into such beauty!

Donna Hull said...

You are right, Montana is a beautiful part of the world. Isn't it great when you travel to a place and it calls your name? That's what happened to me when I visited Montana last summer. Now, I'm living here part-time. I enjoyed your beautifully written article.

Tara Donaldson said...

Boston to LA must have been a great drive too Ashley! I agree, everyone does need to explore the States at some point! Thanks for your comment!

Tara Donaldson said...

Donna, how nice that you live there now! It must have really called your name! Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

Francesca said...

Beautiful piece! I fell in love with Montana in the late 90s. I haven't been back many times since but it is my dream to one day live there (at least part-time). Your comment about Montana being a place not many people think about made me chuckle; I like it that way because I want it all to myself :-)

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