I could live in Missoula again.
The city is now sufficiently cosmopolitan to meet my needs: there’s a Wal-Mart and a Target. But I do prefer the north side to the south side. The storefronts and intimate settings suit me better than the big strip centers.
I think it would take me a long time to get used to the influx of casinos. some 36 in the extended area. Some of them are even attached to gas stations. So how does that work? Stop to fill the tank, get some milk and play $10 of slots?
The scenery is beautiful.
The population is diverse–from international students, to Native Americans, to many other cultures represented. The hippie movement is alive and well there. There is a strong interest in the environmental issues I also find important.
Just one hitch in the plan to pack it all up and move: the weather.
As one Montanan explained to me, they have four seasons: a brief before-winter, winter, a brief after-winter, and road construction season.
There are serious winters there. It snows many years from Labor Day till Memorial Day– and sometimes after!
I mean there are exits all along Interstate 90 where the state can order you off the road depending on the weather. And it’s apparently not a suggestion; they have railroad-type barricades to make sure forward progress can’t be made.
What happens to the more determined? If they pass the gate, does an enormous wintry Balrog come out from under the next underpass, bellowing “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” One can only imagine.
So we might visit again someday, but as for permanent residents? N ever again. Beauty of the surroundings can only keep you so warm.