The I-15 south of the Alberta-Montana border mostly traverses expansive, uninspiring terrain, other than the Sweetgrass Hills, which deceptively appear to be only a few miles away. Things change dramatically and suddenly south of Great Falls as the freeway passes through the jagged black rock spires of the Big Belt Mountains, rising above the serpentine bends of the Missouri River. On days when it’s not pouring rain or howling, you’re apt to see more than a dozen flat-bottom boats dangling in the current, while guided fly fishermen (and women) cast their lines into this world-class fishery in hopes of snaring large rainbow and brown trout. If you want to get closer to the action, and the world-class scenery, pull off the hectic I-15 and quietly follow the winding Recreation Road. If that doesn’t make you want to immediately hire a guide, it should at least inspire an urge to read the classic A River Runs Through It (much better than the Brad Pitt movie). Continue reading
Creative transformation of doors into tables at Wake Cup Coffee House, Fort Benton, Montana
Traditionally, I’ve only stopped in Great Falls long enough to gas up along the I-15 while gazing across the freeway at the prison and its razor-wire fence. But there is more to this surprisingly large city of 57,000 people. It boasts an interpretive centre dedicated to the Lewis and Clark expedition (which passed through here in 1805), a museum celebrating cowboy artist Charlie Russell and 40 miles of trails along the Missouri River. Like much of Montana, downtown Great Falls has seen better days and some eateries—while offering decent, bountiful grub—could easily be defined as dives. But there are at least a couple of places worthy of a short detour off the highway.
My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people – Orson Wells
When I watched Super Size Me, I was highly dubious of filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s claim that eating all his meals for a month at a fast-food restaurant had compromised his health. I mean, 30 days? Well, after 25 days and more than 100 road-food meals in diners, cafes and other affordable eateries in the western U.S., I’m not so sure.
In that time, I ate a lot of deep-fried potatoes, doughy pancakes, fatty burgers, processed meats and greasy cheese in dining establishments from Montana to Colorado and Wyoming to Idaho. Did I mention bacon, something I maybe eat once or twice a year at home but which graced my breakfast plate and seasoned my burgers more times than I’d like to remember? Continue reading