March 27-31, 2015: The Traveling Mr. Taylor goes to Montana – Part 1

Hey everybody,

A little while ago, I had an opportunity to visit the Southern region of Montana to celebrate the ending of bachelorhood for my brother Kellen and our friend Andrew. While many people may think of the Hangover when they think of epic Bachelor Parties, I am going to say that I was a bigger fan of the weekend that we had, which had a good amount of skiing at Big Sky Resort, a visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, a great hike through Yellowstone Park and some dining at a restaurant with a questionable name…..I’ll explain that later on. So let’s take a look back at the journey to the town of West Yellowstone, Montana.

20150327_103015Now before I begin about the actual trip, I would to take a moment to make a somewhat political statement in which I am a strong supporter of public transportation. Having been Europe and using the transit system in Copenhagen, Denmark, there are a lot of areas in the United States that could truly benefit from an improvement to their transit offerings. Some places have great benefits from these systems, such as Minneapolis where you can connect from the airport to the Mall of America. What better way is there to spend a long or extended layover than to take a 12-minute train ride to one of the nation’s biggest shopping and entertainment venues!

20150327_103728So as I prepared to make my way to Bozeman, MT to get to our destination for the next few days, I took advantage of the light rail system that is in place in Seattle that connects you to the airport from Downtown. While it is a bit of a longer ride (around 45 minutes one way), it sure beats having to pay $10-20/day for airport parking, plus it provides for some nice views like that of Downtown Seattle from the south (lower left picture), and a nice view of Mt. Rainer (lower right)

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 So after a ride on the light rail, we arrive to the airport for our flight from SeaTac Airport to Bozeman. This flight was courtesy of the good folks of Alaska Airlines. I have flown with them several times and have always been satisfied with their service. I’ll certainly be using them again, especially as I hope to make a few visits to California in the not too distant future

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If there is one thing I will say about flying over mountains in the winter/early spring, they are absolutely beautiful to see. The tall mountains were probably one thing that I really missed about living in the Pacific Northwest before I had moved back. I am hoping to explore the ones near home more often then I did as a kid.

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But as we get closer to Bozeman, we find the end of these mountains, and descend into the valley for our landing. We have arrived in Montana!

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The first thing that I noticed about this airport was not the small size as I kind of expected that since Bozeman isn’t a huge city, but rather the charming log cabin inspired design that it had. I always felt like airports were more or less the same as others because of their purpose, but with occasional design elements and displays that feature the cultural heritage of the city and/or country you have arrived to. Bozeman was the first one that felt like it almost had a sort of theme to it. Maybe I just had not noticed it as much with other airports because of how busy they are, but I really liked the design of Bozeman.

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Now as you walk around the airport, you will see tributes to what makes Montana a great, natural place to visit, from the information center for Yellowstone National Park (which is mostly in Wyoming, and a sliver of it is in Montana), statues of the wildlife that can be found in the state’s forests, and models of the fossils that have been found in the state.

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They also have these “tourist” bears that you could take pictures with, wearing signs suggesting that you tag the airport on different social media sites.

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Of course I couldn’t pass up on a picture with them…… 🙂

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And like any good airport, you can find an assortment of souvenirs to take home with you from your journey.

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But of course, there was one question that I wasn’t sure if I was satisfied with the commonly accepted answer, so I went to the source itself to find out exactly…..what does the fox say?

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So after a rendezvous with Andrew at the airport pick-up, we had a little time to kill as we awaited the arrival of Phil, another of our Montana Weekend Crew, so we decided to grab a drink at one of the local establishments, the Desert Rose.

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This restaurant had “mom and pop” written all over it, and was a nice cozy place. While we each only had a beer, they had a full menu including their own baked pies. From the looks of it, they also offered live music on occasion.

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So once we had a beer and caught up with each other, Andrew and I made our way back to the airport and picked up Phil. Thus we began our drive down to West Yellowstone, MT where we would be staying for the next few days. To say that it was a nice drive does not give it enough credit. It is absolutely gorgeous there. Take a look for yourself!

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Along the way, we spotted one of the largest roadside animals I have ever seen in the wild, a bison! It was something else to see such a large animal just roaming around, and also for him to be so calm as vehicles zoomed right past him.

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And with that, we would arrive to the little town of West Yellowstone, Montana! While we would be there at an awkward time since they were still in “winter mode” (i.e., half of the places were closed), there were still things to see and do that we will get to later on in a future trip report.

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And we will wrap up this update with an introduction to our motley crew for the weekend! Starting on the left we have Jason, Phil, Kellen, Andrew, yours truly the Traveling Mr. Taylor and Paul!

Photo Courtesy of Kellen Russoniello

Photo Courtesy of Kellen Russoniello

I would like to thank you all for checking out this first part of the Travelling Mr. Taylor’s trip report from the weekend in Montana. I hope that you will come back for the next update and for future updates on this website.

Take Care and Safe Travels!

Gary Taylor

“The Traveling Mr. Taylor”

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