On Monday the 25th of November we start our three month journey to Canada. After one long flight and two short flights on a twin tail engine plane we finally touched down in a small town called Kallispell in Montana.
Flying over America really gives you a good perspective of the geography. From the plane, we flew over prairies, plains, lakes and mountains, most of which were snow capped. I squealed with delight at the sight of the white snow.
We met Sarah and Thomas at the airport and loaded our six bags into Thomas’ monster truck. We drove to Whitefish, our stay for the night, It was about -8C and we decided it would be lovely to walk to dinner…
Dinner was the best mexican food we have ever had. Very american feeling, Rowan ate a Bison burrito, made from a native North American plains dwelling bovine creature (picture a hairier, angrier looking cow), Thomas had the Elk and chorizo burrito. After four litres of sangria and no sleep for 28 hours it was time to brave the -8C weather and walk back to our hotel, where we crashed.
We woke on a crisp -10 degree morning where I (Rowan) was dared to go out on the balcony in only my pants – lets just say I didn’t last very long out there. Once we were packed up, we started our Journey towards Missoula, stopping to spend a small fortune at Costco on our way.
Missoula is a cute little “wild west” city of around 66,000 people – one of the most populous “metropolitan” areas in Montana. Over 15,000 are students from the University of Montana, located in town. The University, along with the two hospitals in town, are the largest employers. Walking through the street you can notice that most of the population is made up of young people or students, middle-aged workers, hippies, or the elderly.
While most city dwelling Americans are overweight and sedentary in their lifestyles, most rural dwellers tend to enjoy a more outdoor lifestyle through various outdoor activities. It is not hard to see why the outdoors is enjoyed by rural Americans. In the northern states, the weather is cool in summer and snowy in winter – perfect for playing outside.
Skiing, fishing, hiking, climbing, it is all possible, especially in Montana. We have visited half a dozen outdoor adventure stores that I could spend days wandering around in.
Katrina and I have also bought skis… Something we did not initially plan for but the deal was too good to turn down. We both purchased mid-range skis for around $300 each. In Australia, we would be paying more than $800. We also accidentally bought snow-shoes for $60 each – at Costco, of all places.
In our last day in Missoula, we ate ice cream and wandered around town.
The days go too fast this far north. I wander how strange it will be in the Arctic.
Two days we have been in Missoula, we have thoroughly enjoyed our stay and it seems like a place I could easily live. Somehow, I already made a friend, a waiter at a thai restaurant called Austin. A film-maker and photographer who started chatting to me about my 5D camera and offered to help me out if we were staying in town longer.
People are really nice in the Big Sky Country.
We are now heading back towards Whitefish and Kallispell, then onwards towards the Canadian border and Fernie. We hope to get across without being told to get VISA’s or to pay for all the stuff we bought.
Cannot wait to play in pow pow (snow).