We were still in Montana on the second day of our trip to South Dakota. We would be traveling across Montana from Butte to Bozeman to Billings. I grabbed some breakfast from the hotel and eavesdropped on the conversations going on around me. It is what I do when I solo travel as it beats talking to myself in public and looking like a crazy. It appeared to be homecoming for The University of Montana (Go Griz!) and there were several individuals at the hotel attending the football game that day. I was pleased to not be hanging around Missoula for the day due to the extra people running around.
We skated out of Missoula before Griz Nation descended upon the town, heading to our next stop, Butte Montana. For anyone who has not been to Butte, it is not pronounced butt just in case you were wondering, regardless of what my Mom use to call it while I was growing up. You can still make fun of Butte’s name, it is weird. I did not expect much out of Butte. I had read and heard from people who had been there, it was a run down old mining town. To throw a little fame their way it is the hometown of Evel Knievel!
The purpose of my visit to Butte Montana was that there were 3 main copper kings in Montana and William Clark, one of the kings, had lived in Butte. I planned on taking a tour of the Clark mansion but I showed up at an awkward time. I had just missed one tour and would have had to wait awhile for the next one to start. So I skipped the tour and just snapped some photos of the outside. If you are interested in the tour you can find the mansion at 219 W Granite 9 am-4 pm Daily. Tours are on the hour.
Although the town had seen better days it was filled with historic brick buildings that are worth admiring. I walked around a bit, taking in the buildings, which gives you a sense of what the town was once.
We departed Butte for our next B town of the day. Bozeman Montana. As I approached Bozeman I started noticing people driving by with “Cats” flags. The kind of flags that fans attach to the side windows of their cars. It is probably important to note at this time that Bozeman is home to Montana State, home of the Bobcats. Now one sighting of the cat flags would not have gotten my attention but there were several. Cats fans were everywhere. File this tidbit for later.
My friend, Meg, collects smashed pennies and I try to get her a few when I travel. I decided to get her a smashed penny from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman as I knew there was a smashing machine there.
Once I arrive to Bozeman Montana I drove over to the museum and soon found out why there were so many Cats flags flying. Bozeman also was having a college football game (Go Cats!). You might be asking yourself where the college located? Well it is right by the museum. So I scratched the penny idea and started to search for some lunch. I checked my brewery list for Bozeman and found the 406 Brewing Company. A clever name I thought as 406 is the area code for Montana. I walked into the bar and found a brewery and no food… sigh. Don’t these people know I love pub food with my beer? I ordered a beer and a growler to go to add to my collection of Montana growlers. The 406 Brewing Company is located at 101 E Oak Street STE D.
After grabbing some lunch elsewhere I made a quick stop in Livingston Montana. And just a side note Livingston did not make the post name cut because it did not start with a B! Maybe you remember Livingston from A River Runs Through It. But sadly Brad Pitt was not there. I did however find that the beer at Neptune’s Brewery, was the best beer out of all the beer I tried in Montana so far. I had the Amber Jack Amber Ale and it was excellent, even with the redundant Ambers. This beer has a 6.1% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and a 20 International Bittering Unit (IBU). You can find Neptune’s Brewery at 119 N L Street.
Our last stop of the day was Billings Montana and our final B town. I had been there once before with my dad as a child. It was not at all what I remembered, which is not surprising. I was a little kid and apparently as an adult I drink a lot of beer. OK there’s really no apparently about it, I do drink a lot of beer. Because of this consumption of beer I am sure my memory will be the first thing to go, well after my waistline… actually that’s already gone – let’s be honest.
I made no effort for dinner and found a Cracker Barrel near by my hotel. One thing I dislike while dining alone is no bar seating. You may be laughing that I thought Cracker Barrel would have a bar, but we have like 5 on the west coast, so it is not somewhere I frequent. Now I know.
I find it easy to eat alone when you have a TV to stare mindlessly at, pretending to enjoy a football game. Not that I enjoy football but it avoids eye contact with the people who give you the “you’re pathetic because you’re dining alone” look. And I am not being overly sensitive. I have gotten those looks, mostly from kids who do not know any better and parents who are not kind enough to teach acceptance.
I sat alone in the dining room, drank my lemonade and scarfed my fried food down as quickly as I could. After I returned back to the hotel I realized, and I am not sure why I did not look prior to dinner, but there were several breweries located in Billings. A missed opportunity and now a reason to go back. Perhaps it was the hours of driving that distracted me from looking at the brewery map or the food coma I was in from eating all that fried food.