My cowboy boots are lonely.
Yesterday’s Photo-a-Day prompt was “where you stand.” Clearly, it should be a shot of my toes in some interesting locale, right? Then, I spoke with my close friend, Nancy. A plan for an adventure formed, and I got the shot of my feet.
Nancy, along with her fabulous hubby, Spencer and sweet girl, Sydney, live in Bozeman, Montana. They moved there from Utah a couple of years ago when Spencer got a new job. We were sad to see such good friends leave. John and I decided to drive up and visit them in their new surroundings in July of 2010, before we started dating. It would be my first trip to Montana and I had no idea what to expect. It was one of the best trips I can remember, just packed with friends, fun, and… fireworks.
How can I describe Montana? Well, before we even got to Bozeman, we drove past this:
My first grizzly bear sighting. Exhilarated and somewhat horrified, I thought, Um, ok. I know I live in the mountains, but this is for real.
Our friends welcomed us, poured us a drink, and we took a drive to a nearby lake. I had my dog, Zamboni, with us. We took in the beauty around us, got caught up a bit, and worked up an appetite.
Our friends had a surprise dinner plan for us. As we piled in the car, I wondered if I should have brought nicer clothes- heels, perhaps?- for the restaurant they kept alluding to. We drove quite awhile. There was a dirt road involved. We pulled into a tiny, remote town and I laughed at myself for thinking I needed fancy duds. This was Montana.
I’ve never had better ribs. On the way out of town, we made a stop. You can order drinks TO GO in Montana!
The next day, we caravanned on various bikes into town for brunch at the Cat Eye. They have a long list of different mimosas and awesome food.
Our bellies full, we headed back to the house. Nancy and I tried a new look and Syd got some sun before we headed to the Madison River for the afternoon.
Being the eve of the Fourth of July, we got sparkly that night.
We had a big day on July 4th. We started off by playing frisbee golf with friends at Bridger Bowl.
Our evening’s plan was about as America as you can get in Montana. We were headed to the Livingston Rodeo. But before that, we wanted a beverage. We were turned away from a bank-turned-bar because they wouldn’t let Sydney in, but directed us to another place.
Right before we pulled up, I said, “We need to hear some good American rock and roll. Like Lynyrd Skynyrd or something!” As we got out of the car, we heard the opening chords to “Gimme Three Steps” and knew we were in the right place.
Despite the fun being had, we had a rodeo to see. A quick wardrobe change included boots, cowboy hats, and big ol’ belt buckles.
We drank Coors. We ate corn on the cob. We saw The Toughest Man in the World (who also looked like the Nicest Man in the World). The rodeo was no joke- we were playing dress-up, but this was a livelihood for the people we sat next to. Also no joke? Fireworks at a rodeo in Montana. What a show!
We were nearing the 5th of July, another special day- Nancy’s birthday. Back at home, we put on the birthday wigs and kept our fun times going- Montana-style.
Not a bad way to end our introduction to Bozeman.
Our next trip to Bozeman was last year, our first stop on our 5-week road trip towing Betty. July 4th weekend of 2010 was going to be hard to beat, but we sure came close. We escaped for a night at Big Sky Resort, stopping off along the way to grill dinner under the pine trees. In the morning, the ladies chilled by the pool and rode the ski lift with Sydney while the boys golfed.
Once back in town, we cruised the bikes to the main drag during a town festival, acting like locals.
Our friends introduced us to a summertime Bozeman tradition, a day-long float down the Madison River. I wish I had photos of the day. We beat the heat with dozens of other floaters, even some dogs swimming faithfully with their owners. Nancy introduced me to Plonk, a restaurant that seems to be out of place in Bozeman. But with a large album collection and scrumptious cocktails, I became a big fan. One evening we enjoyed a BBQ at home (about as close to fireworks as we got on this trip), another included al fresco dining under a big tree decorated in lights.
Spencer has another amazing job opportunity, this time in California. They’ll be bidding their Montana lifestyle goodbye and diving into Big City style in the Bay area. After I spoke with Nancy last night, John and I knew we had to have one more Bozeman experience. We head out next week, and can’t wait to see what fun our ‘goodbye’ trip will bring. The bar has been set high!
Plus, it’s a good excuse to wear my cowboy boots. Stay tuned!