We left our heroine in Wallace, Idaho, where she was contemplating buying three milkshakes at once just to see the old Hamilton Beach tri-head mixer do its thing. Instead, she duded up and rode off into the sunrise to Montana for a long July 4th weekend.
We partook in a bison sirloin steak with a merlot glaze and blue cheese butter (sadly, the photos look disgusting) at a fancy steakhouse in Helena, but the chow was otherwise humble. We canned some dilly beans, grilled burgers, and made excellent margaritas at my sister’s place. Then we headed over to Livingston, until recently the home of my brother, whose digital archiving skills were used on a collection of historic photos that now hang in The Mint bar, above, among other places.
Bars and drinking are a theme in Montana, as you might imagine. It’s usually hot and dry in the summer, and pains are taken to properly hydrate. One can drink in many ways:
1) Teabagging at the Livingston Parade under a big Coca-Cola ad.
2) Fresh well water pumped by my nephew at a day camp site as we boated through the Gates of the Mountains, so named by Lewis and Clark in 1805 as they journeyed through the limestone cliffs that channelled the Missouri River.
3) Using plastic water bottles as targets for skeet-shooting practice. Take that, California! (Retrogrouch managed to get one pellet from a shotgun in this rara avis as it flew through the air.)
3) I made mincemeat of this soda can on behalf of all sustainable food practitioners everywhere (also hit the bullseye, please note, bottom right: yeehaw!)
4) Miller Lite in the back woods after our gun battle in the mountains outside of Helena (re-creation). Montana finally joined the rest of the Union by instituting a no open alcoholic beverage containers law in vehicles a couple of years ago. Local custom, however, dictates a cold one after a shoot.
5) Or, if you prefer wine: Merlot on the rocks at the Livingston Rodeo. N.b., they also serve a mean G-n-T.
6) Yep, there are plenty of ways to get your beverages. If you want whiskey, check out one of the many saloons in the two-block town of Livingston depicted immediately above and in the first shot of this post, that is, if you can get past the guy protesting our socialist government by handing out free fake money to children on the Tea Party float.
Don’t worry, I got the situation covered.
7) Even American film director Sam Peckinpah drank up in Livingston, when he lived in the town for a decade in the 1970s and 80s. You can still see the bullet holes he shot into the ceiling of his suite in the 1904 grand Murray hotel while on a bender.
8) Luckily, all is not Tea Party and drunken shooting in Montana, however. This lady looks like a transplant from Eugene, reminding us all to recycle our beverage cans. Even if they’re shot full of holes! This means you, furface:
Don’t drink and drive! With that rig, he obviously hasn’t been following changes in the law. Nevertheless, as you can see, a great time was had by all. Thanks, Montana, and thanks, family!