Return to Montana
The Road Back West
Returning to a beloved place can be an effort to recreate the old feeling. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve come to Montana nearly every year for two decades. For years I drove out from Wisconsin in a Saab (hey now!). When it could no longer be trusted to make the trip then it had to be retired. I mean, if a car can’t make it to Montana, why even have it?
You never love a road trip the way you do when you’re young. Now you’re a little wiser but still surprised what you come to count on. The Lewis and Clark Motel, for example, on Main Street in Bozeman. It’s like most old motels but more idiosyncratic. In the lobby they serve banana bread the owner makes. They don’t do that any more. Maybe it was the pandemic, maybe the owner went to the motel in the sky, but I’m a little sad about it. I liked knowing it was there.
I still stay in the motel but wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. What it means is different to me than to you. This is where I stayed before heading out to the water when I was getting into the world of fishing. I made time to go down the street to the Crystal Bar back when they had bras on the wall (yes, brassieres from patrons) and discarded peanut shells on the floor (also from patrons).