Visting Bozeman & Helena, MT - with an unexpected heater problem with Miss Hilda!

Day 18, 19 & 20 (Oct. 10-12)

In the middle of a Montana cold snap, where temperatures sunk to 4 degrees or lower, Miss Hilda continued to start each morning! Incredible.

We passed valleys of wheat fields that had just been harvested. Herds of pronghorn antelope. Snow capped mountains. And large trains with countless cars filled with coal.

We reached Bozeman and wondered "Where is the small, charming, western town that we remember so well?"

Bob has been visiting Bozeman, nearly every year, since 1987. And for twelve years, I've gone with him. We've seen Bozeman expand and we have always prayed that there would be more controls on the increasing development and sprawl.

It's been 14 months since we last saw Bozeman and we were shocked at the changes around this town during this short time.

There are miles and miles of new urban sprawl/chain stores surrounding the town. Yet, there were more than a 1/2 dozen empty storefronts downtown. Maybe the Great Recession is to blame, but it seems to us that the old "mom and pop" stores have been squeezed out.

And acres and acres of new condo's and McMansions have appeared. Never a good sign.

On this trip to Bozeman, we rarely met anyone who was originally from Montana. No cowboy hats to be seen. A real bummer, I'm sorry to say. We miss the old Bozeman.

Miss Hilda then took us to Helena, MT to visit our friends, John and Carla. They are exceptional hosts and we had a great visit. Really, is there anything better than spending time with old friends?

On the morning that we left John and Carla's house, the outdoor thermometer said 10 degrees, but it felt like zero. Fortunately, Miss Hilda's engine did start - but my heater cable broke! No heat! Yikes.

Bob had done a great job of packing extra clutch cables and brake cables. But who knew that the heater cable would be the one to break? Oh well. I just keep driving Miss Hilda, while reminding myself that I'll be in sunny California in a week or so!

We spent sometime in lovely downtown Helena, which is the capital of Montana. Downtown has a hometown feel, is easly accessible on foot and has some wonderful galleries and unique shops.

We loved visiting the Holter Museum of Art which specializes in contemporary western art/artists and themes. An excellent museum! They had an awesome "Poetry Dispenser" that worked like a paper towel dispenser - but gave out original poetry! Great!

Now onward to Missoula, Montana!

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We’re going to take a slow ride across the USA to explore, learn and just experience. Beautiful.


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"DON'T BE DENIED" - Neil Young

"Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose."

---- from Song of the Open Road, Walt Whitman