Saturday, August 7th
After a night in the St. Regis Super 8 we headed east toward Miles City, MT where a KOA campsite awaited us. Our first stop was Missoula, a college town and the place we hoped would offer our first meal of the day. Guided by the map of the city obtained at our motel and our keen radar for palatable food we made a beeline for the University of Montana. Around here, we thought, there must be a satisfying and healthful breakfast. And we were right! We found the perfect place on the first try. Inside Justin’s Nob we found a vegetable-filled dish to which we added scrambled eggs and a slice of local bakery bread, toasted. AHHHH!!!!!! J*#&$*% C($%*$! Sorry for the interruption folks but Michelle nearly drove us off the road. Apparently cruise control makes her believe the car is on auto-pilot. I gently remind her that the Prius will not steer itself even if cruise control is enabled. There is still a certain amount of control that you must maintain.
As we were saying, this breakfast was the bee’s knees. Pardon my archaic expression but it was. Broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell peppers, and golden brown potatoes topped with eggs cooked to perfection and a fresh tomato salsa that nearly bowled us over. You think I’m exaggerating but I’m not. This was by far the best meal we’ve had on the road thus far and we made sure to tell the friendly and good-looking wait staff this fact.
Even the cinnamon rolls were freshly baked each morning and this was enough to persuade us to take one to go. Justin’s Nob we salute you. We’ll happily come back to try your grilled tempeh sandwich next time we’re in Big Sky Country.
The cinnamon roll was consumed about 2 hours later at one of the most attractive rest stops you’ll find anywhere. I mean this place had individual fully-equipped bathrooms. Your bathroom experience was your own. Mine, incidentally, was punctuated by the flushing of the automatic toilet. Apparently people in Montana spend no more than 10 seconds on the commode. Outside the lavatories on a picnic table overlooking the vast expanse of beautiful nothingness that is Montana we bit into our sweet treat. It was dry and didn’t offer much in the way of flavor. The raisins inside were non-functional offering no discernible benefit. But for a snack that cost $1.50 (no sales tax in MT) it was worth it.
For approximately the next 6 hours we snacked on a few nuts, some figs, whatever we had in the front seat. Michelle smartly packed the food bag waaay in the back of our vehicle out of the reach of bored not hungry fingers. But by the time we hit Billings Michelle was looking a little peaked and was definitely getting hangry. If you aren’t familiar with the state of hanger. It can be defined as generally irritability caused by a lack of sustenance. But with Michelle “general irritability” is an understatement. I knew we needed to get her fed and fast. Surely, Billings, a larger town as indicated in red in our atlas, would offer a wealth of choices.
The exit we took landed us in a bevy of large commercial strip malls. The only restaurant we found that was not a national chain was a Chinese establishment called the Jade Palace. I went in to use the bathroom while Michelle grabbed a menu. One look at her face when I walked back to the lobby and I knew we would not be eating here. But Michelle needed food so I soothed her savage appetite with a Raw Revolution bar, spirulina variety. A few quick bites and it was gone.
To prevent this blog entry from becoming a novel I’ll give just a quick synopsis of the rest of the night. After stealing some internet, we located a thai restaurant, eventually found it and ordered vegetarian egg rolls (which deceptively did not include the pumpkin advertised in the menu), a bowl of mushroom soup, and a plate of veggies and tofu in oyster sauce accompanied by brown rice. The soup was thin lacking the creamy coconut flavor we are used to, the egg rolls were generic, but the vegetable dish was simple and proved just what we needed at the time.
The night ended on a high note when we were greeted at our campsite by a delightful young fellow named Jacob who kindly lent us tent stakes (since we couldn’t find ours) and helped us set up the tent in a jiffy. Thanks, Jacob. Enjoy Yellowstone.
Wishing we were back in Justin’s Nob,
Sunday, August 8th