We left off entering Montana on vacation day 3. One of the things I enjoyed about this trip was seeing the landscape change as we traveled. Near Mt. St. Helens everything was green and rolling with individual mountain peaks in the distance. Then Eastern Washington went golden with its shining summer grasses. Idaho was more green but very rocky and we could tell the altitude had increased a bit. Then going into Montana some of the rockiness softened a bit and the hills were a mix between Washington’s absolute yellow and Idaho’s evergreen.
We went to Missoula to see friends. These folks were friends of ours from the day we moved to the Pacific Northwest. They just happened to move into the place next door to us on the same day we were moving in. Our sons are the same age so of course they went to elementary school together. They moved out of that building and into a different school district a few years later, then they moved on to Montana and have been there for a year. Their son had come our to see us for a few days the week before, so now we were back seeing the whole family!
It was very hot in Montana. Idaho had been slightly cooler than Washington but Montana wasn’t following that lead. We sat around for the afternoon catching up, then took off to explore a weekly downtown event in shady places. There is a park near the river that hosts the event with a couple dozen food vendors and even beer that you can walk around with! But first we visited the park’s carousel for a quick spin.
Then we were off to check out the food carts and take photos in front of this large bulb of garlic.
We sat on a little hill and ate tacos and pizza while watching all the folks who came downtown for the evening. Near the event is the river that runs through town. It run pretty fast and over some rocks at just the right angles for surfing. It’s almost like that thing you see on commercials for cruises where people are surfing on the boat, except there’s no “surfing machine” to pump the water here, it’s just controlled by the river. We should have taken a picture! Kiddo1 probably has one on his camera…
We attempted to hang out more with our friends by taking them to our hotel to swim, but we hadn’t noticed the time had gotten late and the pool was already closed! The only other thing the kids wanted to do was jump on the hotel beds, so we decided to call it a night. It was so nice to see friends again; if only we had more days to spend in each town!
In the morning I enjoyed one of the attractions on our list all by myself! I got up a little early and wondered of to the Good Food Store which was conveniently located a couple minutes from our hotel.
The Good Food Store is one of those locally-based grocery stores that I prefer to do my shopping with. They source a good bit, if not all, of their produce locally and they carry a lot of organic foods that aren’t produce as well. I had planned on stopping by a cool store like this or farmer’s market every few days to stock up on supplies again. This store did not disappoint! I was able to score all the goods we needed to keep making most of our meals.
Back with the fam we enjoyed the free breakfast our hotel had to offer:
And we headed out to see more of Southwestern Montana! I’ll pick up on the rest of day 4 next time!