Wednesday, May 30, 2012

M is for madness

The trip continues in a bit better weather. It is mostly overcast, 40 degrees at night but in the 60's in the day time if you don't happen to be crossing the Bitterroot Mountains. As I left Idaho, the owner of the campground suggested that it was good that I waited another day since the rain we had was snow "up in the pass" and they were "chaining up" to get through. Now I am an easterner and went to school in northern Vermont so I understand all those terms it is just not what I expected to hear in May, nor were they things I was prepared to deal with now.. Just wrestling the water hose into loops in the 38 degree weather the following morning was enough winter for me.

There was lots of snow over the pass as I went on to Missoula. I was not quite prepared for Missoula. It was a one night stand to refill the refrigerator, steam clean myself and the van, and get the laundry done. These are always busy, somewhat annoying stops and the night, as this one, was spent in a motel.

So far as I can tell there is a "Casino" on every other corner in Missoula. Some of the small towns on the way up had three of them and one gas station with no other visible business. These are not, I an assured by the motel staff, the same as the "Indian Casinos" in that they only offer Keno and of course poker after 7 PM. I failed to understand any of that, but there it is. Casinos of this type are legal here. It is apparently the way Montana keeps its taxes down. What state does have a gimmick?

The madness of Missoula is that essentially  every possible business is on the same street. It isn't downtown (there is one and it is quite historic and lovely) but rather in a higgly piggly collection of open strip malls which seems strange given the weather here. Reserve Street, which runs north and south along the western side of town an it is where you go for anything possible  in Missoula.  Worse, it is the street everyone uses to get to and from work.Worse yet is that the paucity of traffic lights leaves one wondering how to cross over to go where one needs to go. One wag at the motel suggested that it may be the reason there are food stores and restaurants on each side. They really aren't in competition with one another,the one you will go to will depend on whether you are north or south bound.

Makes as much sense as the street.

NOTE: Reamus goes over the border (if they let him) on Friday. Posting could be light for the next ten days. Or not.

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