Day 34 – Bozeman to Helena

Again we didn’t have far to go but as the internet was rather slow and patchy we didn’t leave Bozeman too late. We decided to take a detour to the amusingly named Butte as I read that it was quite a nice town. Breakfast at the hotel was once again rubbish so we stopped at Hanging Five Restaurant, a diner in the outskirts of Butte that I read about. We got there about noon which is fortunate as the place filled up pretty soon afterwards – from the look of it mostly with locals and I think we stuck out like a sore thumb! Still, service was good and friendly and after figuring out the rather convoluted menu and some diner coffee we ordered some food. Brian got a grilled cheese sandwich with hash browns and I ordered a two egg Extravaganza that came with hash browns and a pancake. The food was great and we thoroughly enjoyed it, though I could only finish half of my food – handy as I had it for dinner later on!
We drove through Butte very quickly as it seemed very run down and there really wasn’t much to stop and get out for, though the fact that it was Sunday may have had something to do with how quiet the town was. Butte in its heyday was one of the largest cities in the Rocky Mountains in the early 1900’s and a copper boomtown, attracting workers from many countries around the world and was often called ‘The Richest Hill on Earth’; now it just seems like a town in decline.
We headed on to Helena where we tried to check in at about 14:30 in Jorgenson’s Inn after a quick stop at Walmart for the usual foodstuffs. I’d read on the internet that the motel had two parts – one rather shit and motel style, and the other the refurbished part that is much better. On check-in I asked for a room in the ‘nicer’ part of the motel and was told I would have to pay an upgrade fee for this – though after a bit of pouting from me the receptionist gave in and gave me a nice room for the $73 I already paid, even though the rooms generally go for $120 – result! It was Sunday after all and they weren’t busy enough to refuse me I suppose, but it still made me feel good! The room wasn’t ready yet though, so we went for a drive through town the check out the local sights. Helena is the state capital of Montana but even so it is a quiet, though big town. We stopped in the town centre and walked around for a bit but the place was pretty much dead so we headed back to the motel where we checked in to a lovely room and made use of the in-house bar/lounge’s happy hour, before settling down to watch some GOT. Some very friendly locals got talking to us at the bar and were astonished to hear that Brian considers London to be cold – in winter they are apparently quite used to dealing with temperatures as low as -30 so they must have thought we were complete wimps!
Things I learned today: Sundays are rubbish for travellers, everything is either closed or very slow – but unfortunately Sundays can’t be avoided; the only thing you can do is to try and plan around it!

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