As much as we loved our sweet spot at Stuart Mill Bay it was time to move on. So yesterday after lunch we packed up and headed northwest to Missoula. The stop in Missoula was primarily to pick up our mail, but in researching places to stay we discovered a free Thursday night concert in the park so decided to check it out along with the rest of the town.
The drive was fairly short — only abut an hour and half. Here’s a few photos from the journey.
We passed through a VERY smoky area. You could see the smoke from an ongoing wildfire billowing over the mountains as we passed by. We also saw a fire plane circling the area. Thankfully we passed through the worst of it and Missoula itself was not too smoky.
We arrived in Missoula and discovered that the park where the concert was only had a small parking lot with a big sign saying “No RVs or Buses”. Oops. When we looked on Google street view it seemed big enough for us to park, but I guess street view is not always the best for scale. We drove down the street a few blocks and found a big parking lot with lots of empty space. The sign about leased parking worried me, but Tim decided the worst that could happen was we would get a ticket (I mean they really can’t tow away an Airstream connected to a truck, can they?), so we stayed. Turned out to be a good move. No one bothered us all afternoon, and we were only about a block from the park. The concert didn’t start until 5:30 so we took a stroll on the riverwalk and then through the downtown.
After our walk it still wasn’t time for the concert so we settled Phineas in the Airstream and headed down the street to a cool looking brewery that we had passed.
By the time we made it to the park the place was hoping. Seems like half the town came out for the free concert and huge selection of food. So many great choices. Tim went with wood fired pizza, and I had sichuan noodles.
Halfway through the concert the music stopped and the stage turned into a pep rally for the University of Montana football team. Apparently each week the concert has a different theme. This week was “A Griz Encounter”, aptly named for the U of M Grizzlies. We got to see cheerleaders doing their thing…
And then the football team ran (okay they strolled, but I thought it would have been more impressive if they ran) through a giant inflatable helmet to the cheers of the crowd.
At first we were swept up in the energy of the crowd, the majority of whom seemed to be there to support the team. Many wore the school colors and the air was thick with school spirit.
But then they started giving speeches and talking about the players and coaches and the whole thing got a bit much for us. So we got our ice cream and headed back to the airstream.
The night was spent at a Walmart down the road with about 15 other RVs. Not a bad place to spend the night considering the cheapest campground in town was $40 a night. After retrieving our mail in the morning we left Missoula and headed north to Flathead Lake. I’ll share photos from the drive, our site and tomorrow’s hike either tomorrow or Sunday. For now, I leave you with the view from our new fantastic waterfront site.