(more) Montana, so far…

Here I am, in my 3rd month of Montana living and I have some quick facts and things I’ve learned:

Montana = BIG AS FU*K! It’s the 4th largest state, yet there aren’t even a million people in the WHOLE state!

You know how in LA they say it takes at least 20-30 min. to go anywhere, no matter the mileage. Well in the south west corner of Montana, where I live, it takes anywhere from 60-90 min. to get to a proper town with reasonable gas/grocery/wifi.

There is no sales tax in Montana so if you break your computer like I did, it’s a good place to buy a new one.

Montana loves beer. There are sooooo many breweries (50+) and delicious craft beers here. But, know that if you go to a brewery, they close at 8PM, it’s the law.

If you pass a driver while driving down a dirt road, they will wave 99.9% of the time.

Montanans are so. damn. nice. Everywhere I go, no matter what, I will make friends or even see people I already am friends with at bars, festivals or even the park where I work. For being such a big ass state, you can still see a familiar face in the most random of places.

Even the cops here are nice! I got my first speeding ticket going 15 miles over. After the highway opened up into two lanes, I got a little carried away and suddenly saw the flashy lights behind me. I was able to sweet talk him down to 10 miles over and got a $20!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ticket. He said I’m lucky not to be in California! Damn straight! And that would have been double if I didn’t charm him.

This one is for my dad: fisherman are jerks here. Sorry to say it but several times now I have tried to bond with them. Once I made the mistake to wish a guy luck out there on the river and he said “well, it’s not about luck but thanks anyway…” If he wasn’t a visitor at my job I would have set that man straight. I grew up fishing with my dad and it definitely is about luck! Those fish don’t know their heads from their ass. And another time I made the mistake of asking a fisherman if he caught anything and obviously he didn’t because he said “well, it’s not about what you catch and don’t catch.” TOTAL B.S.! But again, he was a visitor so I remained calm. If these interactions happened at the tavern in town, you better believe I would have given them shit. One guy came in with his water pants on and I said ‘nice pants’ and he just barely chuckled. I mean, he looked ridiculous! These zen-yoda-wanna-bes! I’m going for 4.

During the summer, you can see the stars if you stay up past 1AM. The sun goes down at 10PM and it takes so long for the twilight to go away, but worth the wait if you got it in you. I can see the milky way and a billion galaxies beyond, just outside my door but I embarrassingly only saw it a handful of times so far.

Butte is scary. Period. A local told me it is the most diversity of white people you’ll see in one place. Another local said it’s a hard working town. So use your imagination. For instance, tube tops are still in style as well as chain smoking and drinking shitty ass beer. Do not approach/provoke a Butte. They do know how to do a Folk Festival there, I will say that. Free, byob, huge, shuttle buses, golf carts chauffeurs (it’s hilly in Butte), free parking, no frisking at the door, tons of music, 4 stages, $3 beers……

Lastly, Montanans do not want you all to know how amazing it is here so please keep it a secret. It’s like the final frontier and understandably, they do not want it ruined. One day, I will have property here somewhere, guaranteed. Just like the celebrities do.

I pass this trailer every time I go into civilization and want to live in it.
I pass this trailer every time I go into civilization and want to live in it.
The best moment of my life was holding this little pig. At the Logger Days festival, I was checking out the jewelery when all of a sudden I heard a squeal all the way across the field. It was like a beacon for my ears. I asked the jewelry lady and she pointed me in the direction of the little adorable cutlet. I almost bought it but it was $400. One day, when I get that farm I want, I will have a mini-potbelly-piglet!
The best moment of my life was holding this little pig. At the Logger Days festival, I was checking out the jewelery when all of a sudden I heard a squeal all the way across the field. It was like a beacon for my ears. I asked the jewelry lady and she pointed me in the direction of the little adorable cutlet. I almost bought it but it was $400. One day, when I get that farm I want, I will have a mini-potbelly-piglet!
Jesus fish on the back of a mechanical bull?!?! Why the F not! Note to self: never ever ever ride one of these things, no matter how much money someone gives me or how much liquor I consume that makes me think it's a good idea. Never.
Jesus fish on the back of a mechanical bull?!?! Why the F not! Note to self: never ever ever ride one of these things, no matter how much money someone gives me or how much liquor I consume that makes me think it’s a good idea. Never.
Missoula is my favorite town so far! I spent a long day there getting my new computer and bald tire fixed. The town is so bike friendly, they even have a tire pump outside the brewery! There are bike paths all over the place and wide bike lanes. It's a bikers paradise!
Missoula is my favorite town so far! I spent a long day there getting my new computer and bald tire fixed. The town is so bike friendly, they even have a tire pump outside the brewery! There are bike paths all over the place and wide bike lanes. It’s a bikers paradise!
Left over float from the Wisdom 4th of July parade.
Left over float from the Wisdom 4th of July parade.
Kelly's 4th of July firework extravaganza show. Sparklers in our driveway!
Kelly’s 4th of July firework extravaganza show. Sparklers in our driveway!
Kelly has been like a sister to me and my (adventure) partner in crime. I don't know what I would have done with myself if she wasn't a seasonal with me. Here she is in our favorite place, Gold Bug Hot Springs, ID.
Kelly has been like a sister to me and my (adventure) partner in crime. I don’t know what I would have done with myself if she wasn’t a seasonal with me. Here she is in our favorite place, Gold Bug Hot Springs, ID.
My first Rodeo! I could barely watch as cowboys/girls got thrown from horses/bulls and little cows got wrestled to the ground. The best part were the synchronized horse dancers. Picture synchronized swimming, but on horses that did not run into one another. AND they were sparklie.
My first Rodeo! I could barely watch as cowboys/girls got thrown from horses/bulls and little cows got wrestled to the ground. The best part were the synchronized horse dancers. Picture synchronized swimming, but on horses that did not run into one another. AND they were sparklie.
Just another beautiful rainbow over the town of Wisdom
Just another beautiful rainbow over the town of Wisdom

Destination: My Backyard at Big Hole National Battlefield

I live 10 miles outside of Wisdom, a town with a population of 100. My backyard keeps me very amused, did I mention I have no televisions or internets? From the ground squirrels to the double rainbows, something could be going on at any given moment. Here are some pictures to illustrate my point.

Montana, just stop it already.
Montana, just stop it already.
I just love these boots! This is the dirt driveway that runs through our back yard.
I just love these boots! This is the dirt driveway that runs through our back yard.
A white sherpa dog (or vegetarian spirit incarnate) guiding some runaway cows through our backyard.
A white sherpa dog (or vegetarian spirit incarnate) guiding some runaway cows through our backyard.
A wall of bird poo surrounds these little kestrel babies. I got to monitor their progress all summer. I remember when they were just little eggs. Now they are gone and flying around.
A wall of bird poo surrounds these little kestrel babies. I got to monitor their progress all summer. I remember when they were just little eggs. Now they are gone and flying around.
Just another gay-ass-double-rainbow over my backyard and Hwy 43. Pano style.
Just another gay-ass-double-rainbow over my backyard and Hwy 43. Pano style.
Cowboy chasing the runaway cows out of our backyard. No biggie.
Cowboy chasing the runaway cows out of our backyard. No biggie.

Destination: Red Sun Labyrinth

I read about this random Red Sun Labyrinth in Victor, MT so being the (not so)secret-hippie that I am, of course I checked it out. I drove down these twisty roads and passed a few peacocks before I saw the sign for the red sun. The place was a gorgeous sanctuary full of hippie magic. Since I am such an animal freak, the quail family (my second favorite bird) with tiny babies stole the show from the maze as I walked through the gate. I tried to get a shot of them but they were too scared and ran away and I continued to obsess over them as I walked this 11 circut circular wonder. I also forgot to take a picture of the actual labyrinth but here are some pics of everything else. Open your mind to the experience, man.

The offerings at the center
The offerings at the center
My fortune card has got me through a few rough weeks. Damn personal demons.
My fortune card has got me through a few rough weeks. Damn personal demons.

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Confetti along the labyrinth.
Confetti along the labyrinth.
Balls.
Balls.
Hippies know how to make you feel welcomed.
Hippies know how to make you feel welcomed.

Destination: Mussigbrod AKA the best campsite ever

I like to go on adventures on my days off. After I loaded up on ice-cream in town (my summer vice) I took my oreo pop and headed down this long dirt road to Mussigbrod campground, in the middle of Beverhead-Deerlodge wilderness, just one hour outside of Wisdom (if I didn’t miss the turn). I arrived at this gorgeous lake eventually and was the 3rd campsite in this tiny, 10 site spot. It was glorious and perfect and peaceful, except for the generator campers, my biggest camping peeve. I walked a trail along the lake as a storm blew in. Every few minutes I’d get sprinkled on, like I was in some exotic rainforest jungle. After my hike I floated in my little inner-tube on the lake, alone with only the fish jumping all around me until the sun disappeared behind a mountain. I then ate beans out a can like a god damn pioneer over a fire with wood that I split with my own bare hands.

I made up a song, it’s a travelin’ through the wilderness song and it goes like this:

I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
I got everything I need
But I sure wouldn’t mind
some Ice Cream.

Best campsite ever. No this is not a pano-trick, it really was this wide.
Best campsite ever. No this is not a pano-trick, it really was this wide.

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Paradise at Mussigbrod Lake, this is where I floated in my tube.
Paradise at Mussigbrod Lake, this is where I floated in my tube.
This is the right road but it looked just like the wrong road.
This is the right road but it looked just like the wrong road.

Destination: Craters of the Moon NP, Idaho

Sure they have potatoes, my favorite food, but Idaho is better than I ever thought. There are secret hot springs everywhere that do not smell like sulfur-farts and this random National Park that is made up of dried lava. It is a gorgeous state with the Salmon River guiding the way as you drive alongside rock formations that make you think you were in Utah and conveniently, it is all so close to where I live. It’s a geothermal wonderland so Kelly and I set out to see this lava park on our days off. We stayed at this random campground off a reservoir on our way. You’d have to be there with us to understand how funny the words Joe T. Fallini are when I say them in my awful Italian accent.

The next morning we got into the park just in time to get our interp on with a ranger led hike down the Tree Molds Trail. We dipped in and out of caves and over lava hills on our own personal tour; it was beautiful but in this desolate, lonely way. After that I looked in vain for the pica, my second favorite animal, in a spot where the ranger said they would be – on the North Crater. Since it was afternoon, they were hiding and I couldn’t find one so the squirrels and chipmunks would again have to do. Then we got our interp on once more for another ranger led hike into the lava-land and caves. It was then that I realized I want to interpret living things. Rocks are so hard to connect with. No pun intended.

Kelly running down the Inferno Cone
Kelly running down the Inferno Cone

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Inside the Boy Scout Cave
Inside the Boy Scout Cave

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No, not a pica. God forbid. I swear ground squirrels are my spirit guides.
No, not a pica. God forbid. I swear ground squirrels are my spirit guides.
Lava is crazy
Lava is crazy

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Me, going out!
Me, going out!
Kelly, going in.
Kelly, going in.
"We're going to Craters dude"
“We’re going to Craters dude”
HAY! It's Joe T Fallini and me!
HAY! It’s Joe T Fallini and me!
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