A nine-hour drive (give or take – there was a time zone change and some napping involved) from Hood River took us through Washington and Idaho on through to Montana. Kalispell, to be exact, about 30 or 40 miles west of Glacier National Park. Glacier has long been on my list of places to see in North America so it seems I am finally getting that chance.
Montana’s license plates tout it as the “Big Sky State.” Indeed, the sky is very large here. It seems to me, however, that the sky here is just as large as it is anywhere else, you can just see farther until you hit horizon here and as such the sky is bigger but only because the land is bigger. In any case, the view until you reach the sky (if you’re looking East from here) is quite lovely. It goes something like flat-flat-flat-flat-big mountain-even bigger mountain. The mountains look violent in the sense that that is the death you would experience if you fell from the top of one.
Montana is also just big, sky or not. Apparently the state’s population is still below one million and most of those not quite million are white Christian god-fearing Americans. Not god-fearing in the Bible Belt sense, more in the functional go to church and have religion but can still function among the non-white-god-fearing-American set. You definitely feel out of place as an outsider here – the stares from the over-50 long-white-hair cowboy set were worse than anything I’ve endured since the Middle East. At least the Western vibe is authentic. The number of pick-up trucks and home-and-ranch stores alone proves that.