Chico Hot Springs in Montana.

A Road Trip. Day 7. Driving through Montana.

There’s nothing to do in Montana.

OK, maybe I’m exaggerating here, but when I was researching stops for the Montana stretch of our ten-day road trip, there was nothing I found that really stood out.

View from our AirBNB in Whitehall, Montana.

I mean, I know there’s Glacier National Park, which was nowhere near our route anyways, and there’s approximately three percent of Yellowstone. But, quite frankly, national parks just confuse me because I don’t think I’ve ever been to one and they are really big and I’m not entirely sure what you’re supposed to do in them and I just imagine you’re supposed to get out and hike for days upon days on unmarked trails and get lost and end up eaten by a bear in some sort of Naked and Afraid situation. Pretty sure that’s what you’re supposed to do in them. So I never know how to plan for that.

Anyways, day seven was the one day of our road trip where there was nothing along the route that I really wanted to see. Luckily, Tim had more of a plan than I did.

Whitehall Montana mural.

We had spent the night before in an AirBNB in Whitehall, a smaller town about a half hour drive from Butte. It was a lazy morning for both of us, as we only had about a three-hour drive to our next destination in Billings and only had a few stops planned in between. So we had some coffee and sipped it on the front porch, admiring the mountain view before packing up the car.

And then we stopped for a full breakfast at a local place called Karina’s and had more coffee and some runny eggs and some toast with jam and some hashbrowns and some crispy bacon before hitting the road.

Breakfast at Karina's in Whitehall, Montana.

The only thing I had on my itinerary for the day was the American Computer and Robotics Museum in Bozeman. I’m not really a huge museum person but I do love a kooky one now and then. And Tim likes museums and computer stuff so I figured that this would fit the bill for both of us. It was a pretty comprehensive museum that had displays that spanned 4,000 years of history on computers, space stuff, AI, video games, and walkmen.

After learning everything about computers, which I’ve obviously already forgotten, it was on to our next stop: Chico Hot Springs. Chico Hot Springs was decidedly one of the least weird things we stopped at on this road trip…can you tell that Tim picked it out? But despite not being a weird stop, it was one of the best stops.

Chico Hot Springs in Montana.

I’d actually never been to a hot spring in the US before. I’d been to ones in Peru and Honduras and Bali and Turkey, but never in the US. And I love me some blazing hot water. And strawberry daiquiris. And they had strawberry daiquiris.

I even bought a bathing suit for the first time in five years for this stop. So I was ready for hot water and alcohol.

Chico Hot Springs in Montana.

After spending the afternoon pruning our skin in hundred degree plus water and drinking a more than sufficient amount of strawberry daiquiris, we were starting to get hungry. So we pressed on to nearby Livingston. Tim wanted to find a local brewery and so we looked it up and found Neptune’s Brewery, which served their own beer…and sushi… Because when I’m in Montana I obviously want to eat sushi…

But, I mean, really though, I kind of always want to eat sushi, so I went with it.

Sushi at Neptune's Brewery in Livingston, Montana.

Crab rangoon at Neptune's Brewery in Livingston, Montana.

When we sat down to eat, the waitress asked us if we were there for the Hoot, to which I thought, “what the fuck is a Hoot?” and more kindly asked, “what is a Hoot?”

Apparently we landed in Livingston, Montana on the night of their annual Livingston Hoot, a street festival with food and entertainment and musical performances. So, after finishing up our dinner, we decided to take a wander over and spent the rest of the day watching The Western Flyers perform, but really watching all the locals dance under the backdrop of the mountains.

When the Western Flyers finished their set, we decided it was time to go. We got back in the car and started towards our night’s destination: Billings. We had an AirBNB…and a milkshake to get to before it got too late.

Is there something you always seek out when traveling somewhere new? For me, yes, it’s roadside attractions, but also: milkshakes. And when I was researching the trip I found that the must-have milkshake in Montana was the Huckleberry milkshake at Big Dipper Ice Cream. So I kind of wanted to get there before they closed.

It was creamy and fruity and tangy and thick and rich.

AnNd it was the perfect night cap for our day of driving through and doing all but nothing in Montana.

Huckleberry milkshake at Big Dipper Ice Cream in Billings, Montana.

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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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