Saturday, June 2, 2012

Missoula: Small city of franchises

I met Marla at the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch last year, and she and I hit it off. We always went out to the bars together to dance. I decided to visit since she lived only four hours from my destination.

It turns out that where Marla is staying near Missoula is actually only a 2.5 hour drive from Glacier National Park. I guess I could have finished the Lake McDonald hike I'd started after all. Oh well. When Marla got home from work, she and I went out. She wanted to hike to the "M" on the hill next to the university in the city. We started up the wrong trail, and crossed maybe 1/4 mile of very wet grass to find the actual trail. By the time we found it we were exhausted, and Marla said we were a long way off, so we decided to head down instead. It started raining harder anyway. I liked hiking up better than hiking down--although the path was zig-zagged, it was still steep and hard on the knees.

We went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. The food made me feel icky, but it tasted well enough. There are no diners or small restaurants from what I saw of Missoula--everything is a chain or a franchise. If Marla started her own restaurant, I think she'd be well off, or she'd have a lot of customers at least.
 Here are three of Mike and Melissa's children and their giant dog, Napoleon. They said he's just over a year old. That's wild. He smelled like skunk and was shedding all over the place. Melissa homeschools the kids and she gave me a banana pudding recipe. She packed me a lunch of leftover baked mac & cheese, her Olive Garden Salad, and her delicious banana pudding. She and Mike have been living in Montana for only a couple of years. They let us sleep in their camper that night.
This is the house that Mike and Marla are working on. They just finished the roof. Mike has a contractor's license and was working on cabinets before they took on this roofing project. It's been raining in the area for a good week or so, and whenever they come home they're filthy. It was interesting to see Marla at work in an outdoor environment; I've always seen her as housekeeper, server, or kitchen assistant. It suits her, I think. She's going to have experience in every work skill in existence.

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