a series of observations and anecdotes, roughly chronological, written with a gin & tonic in a crystal wine goblet in hand, one week after arriving in Missoula
About halfway through the loading the truck process, both the husband and I decided, entirely separately, that next time we are hiring people to pack and move our stuff, regardless of the cost. And despite the fact that we had ten lovely people helping us.
When you come to visit us (you are coming to visit us, right?), and if you drive (why would you? Allegiant flies out of Mesa for ridiculously cheap), do NOT stop in Salt Lake City. There were plenty of lovely Mormon hamlets all through Utah that provide cute roadside inns. Salt Lake is quite possibly the ugliest, jankiest downtown I've ever seen. We were offered meth, and were quite surprised when both our car and moving truck were not broken into overnight, if that gives you any idea.
Except for some boring parts in Idaho, the drive was quite pretty.
The Budget truck we rented kept tripping the "stop" mechanism on the gas nozzles, unless they were long enough/had a complete enough seal. We had to drive around looking for a nozzle that would work at every single stop. We have several $0.72 gas charges as a result. The company refunded us $108 and chastised us for not calling roadside assistance.
Utah apparently doesn't know how to set up road cones/barrels for construction purposes. We encountered one north of Page just sitting in the middle of the lane, its brothers all in a proper line on the shoulder. Both of us barely avoided that one. Later that night, with no warning or signs whatsoever, they took about four barrels to narrow the two lane road down to one. Colin (driving the truck) made the choice to sideswipe two barrels instead of jerking the truck too quickly. One of the barrels' rubber feet came flying toward the front of my car like an enormous frisbee, solidly hitting the bumper (though thankfully causing no damage). The entire night we were in Salt Lake, I dreamt over and over of watching Colin swerve in front of me, and then realizing that whatever was in the road was coming toward me too quick to avoid. Swerve, panic, brace for impact. Swerve, panic, brace for impact.
Once we made it into town, we unloaded the truck with only one other adult for help in three hours. It was like a Christmas miracle.
Missoula is unbearably gorgeous, even under the haze of smoke from all the nearby fires. We've eaten out for every meal thus far, and had a ridiculous amount of fantastic food, some of which I've posted. Tonight's, which I didn't post, was Brazilian bowls of rice and meat and toppings like chimichurri.
The Mexican food situation is not as dire as I feared. I have had a decent huevos rancheros, and look forward to trying several more. Most places have something reasonably spicy on the menu, and we have tried the most highly recommended Mexican food place in town. The salsa was reasonably hot, the food delicious, and will definitely serve to satisfy cravings. However, due to the town's weird liquor restriction laws, they don't have any tequila at all . . . and thus make their margaritas with something called "agave wine." (Luckily this failing is easily remedied, because the best margaritas are made at home.)
I had, stupidly, thought that the loading and driving would be the hard part. I was not anticipating the complete pit that the previous tenants/the management company had left our house for. The quick rundown: mouse feces, rotting food, and fruit flies in the kitchen; dog shit, maggots, hobo spiders, more mouse feces, and general filth and trash in the basement & garage; hobo spiders all over the outside as well; filth in more corners than you can count. We have been so occupied cleaning that we have not yet unpacked anything except our clothes.
Nonetheless, we live in a section of town Colin keeps calling "the Shire." There is a fruit/veggie stand in the yard of a house just a block away. We saw a kid with an actual lemonade stand the other day. Most people don't even bother to fence their yards. Our neighbors all came out to say hi to us the second night we were here, and they're all great people.
That said, people here are weird. They drive weird, they move their carts weird in Costco, a large number of them have very large, bulbous noses. And they are weirdly almost entirely white.
I was not expecting things like just driving around town to be stressful. It's exhausting. And I have gone the wrong way down one way streets twice now.
There are very few chain stores, which is awesome, but the ones that exist are almost entirely concentrated into one part of town and seem to be forced into direct competition. The traffic in this area of town is the absolute worst.
There is no restriction on casinos, so there are tiny gas station/restaurant/casino hybrids everywhere. I always thought it was dumb that gambling was restricted so much, but the tiny casino things seem so trashy. And it's a stark contrast to the puritanical restriction on liquor sales. I'll take liquor over casinos any day.
The cats seem to have become closer as a result of the trauma of moving, and both they and the kid seem ecstatic to be here. I am waiting for the other shoe to fall.
The thrifting here is amazing.Think good thoughts for me about finding the perfect bike.
The first day we were here, it was in the high 90's. Since it has been 70s-80s. J keeps waking up, thinking it's cold, and putting on long sleeves and gloves.
Yelp and Zomato have been fantastic resources.
Our house will be amazing, once it's done.