Up at 6 am! No more tarrying. Breakfast in Missoula, at The Shack (boysenberry pancakes that sure sound good now). Drive around town looking for a decent bookstore, and find Birds Nest Books, where we pick up an old paperback copy of Moby Dick. Neither of us has read it. It’s perpetually on the list, but never makes it to the top. Theme one emerges – gotta check out the college campuses. We circle around the U of Montana. At Butte, we set another pattern for the rest of the drive. We exit the highway, find the main drag, spend 15 minutes getting a feel for the town and looking for a decent cup of coffee or lunch, and head out. Impression? A hard-scrabble mining town on a hillside. Next stop: Bozeman, home of Montana State (not much of a university area). Excellent coffee milkshake at the Leaf-and-Bean. And a drive-through of Livingston, MT – the old gateway to Yellowstone, a smaller version of Bozeman. At some point this afternoon, we start reading aloud Moby Dick. We discover it’s comedic! And it has something of a 20th century sensibility (published in 1851). Dinner in Billings, at a brew pub. Bigger town, but not much going on. End a long day at 8:45 pm in Miles City, MT, almost across the state, at the War Bonnet Inn.
A town named for Miles!