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Billings, MT
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, June 05, 2008

I like this place.

If you want small town America, come to Billings. I just completed my walking tour (and it didn't take long) and saw most of downtown north of the railroad tracks. The tracks, btw, aren't ancient reminders of a bygone era. They fire a train through the middle of downtown about every hour (hopefully, since the track is about a block away from the hotel, they'll cease and desist tonight).

But, as is obvious, this is a working town. And, if you're from the effete east it is an interesting change of scenery.

The landscape is beautiful - rimrock, bluffs and hills. As Loren said below in the comments for the "boondoggle" post, you land on a bluff and as you round the corner coming out of the airport you can see all of Billings.

For an easterner, there's plenty enough "big sky" here. And it has a more than latent western flavor as well. Lots of cowboy hats and boots, indian crafts and jewelery and, most importantly, the Montana Brewing company (whose wares I intend to sample before I leave this burg).

Commenter Blackwing1 suggested a driving tour to Red Lodge and then through Beartooth pass. Interestingly the guy I was sitting next too on the plane suggested the very same trip saying it was absolutely beautiful.

Thanks for the suggestion guys, but the pass, which traditionally opens on Memorial Day, is still closed. They've had two avalanches in the last 10 days. The problem is they had record snow fall and 90 inches of snow remains in the Beartooth Mountains and too much of it remains to safely open the pass up.

I'll have to do it next trip.

Weird mind working alert - while walking I saw a little place called Sara's Mexican food, and wondered how authentic the food is. About that time I saw a young lady come out wearing an "Alaska" sweatshirt and carrying a take-out bag. I figured she'd probably be quite an authority on authentic Mex. Heh ...

Oh, and Sarah's is right next to the Gunsmoke BBQ. Sounds yummy, no? Cordite flavored whatever. No telling what would be in the sauce.

I was disappointed about one thing though. Here we are staying in nice hotel in Billings, but pretty much like other nice hotels and we're missing out on the possibility of a stay at the Dude Ranch Lodge a few blocks away.

Shucks, as they say around here - alot.
 
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The problem is they had record snow fall and 90 inches of snow remains in the Beartooth Mountains
Stupid Global Warming...
 
Written By: SaveFarris
URL: http://
but the pass, which traditionally opens on Memorial Day, is still closed. They’ve had two avalanches in the last 10 days. The problem is they had record snow fall and 90 inches of snow remains in the Beartooth Mountains and too much of it remains to safely open the pass up.
Another paradoxical effect of C.C..

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Cordite flavored whatever. No telling what would be in the sauce.
Cuts down on the barfights when a punch to the gut sets off more than nasty gas...

If the scenery looks anything like Casper WY did, I absolutely believe you when you say it looks amazing...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
If you like Billings, you will *love* Helena.
 
Written By: JamesT
URL: http://
Ahh, the Dude Rancher. They used to serve a pretty good breakfast in there. Nothing fancy, just eggs, meat, hash browns and toast. Plus plain old coffee. Served quick and plain.

Re JamesT and Helena: I graduated High School in Helena (Helena Capital Bruins!). A lot drier than Billings, even though it is on the foot of a mountain. Being on the eastern slope, the moisture usually had already been wrung out before it got to Helena.

Helena is a lot smaller than Billings, but you still get a lot of cowboy and western there. The main street of Helena is Last Chance Gulch.
 
Written By: Loren
URL: http://
Sorry you missed Red Lodge. My wife and I have lived here 32 years. It’s the greatest little community in the mountain west, and the Beartooth Highway is spectacular. But sometimes it snows too much up there....
 
Written By: Jim
URL: http://
I think you made up the ’Shucks’ bit. I’ve never heard anybody say shucks in Montana. Maybe to an Easterner it seems like something a cowboy would say, but I believe it’s a Hillbilly word. Something Bill Clinton or Jethro Bodean would say. By the way, I haved lived near Billings all of my life.
 
Written By: Sam Boogliodemus
URL: http://
Well shucks, I’m sorry you’ve missed it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net

 
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