Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Road Trip, Day 1: Montana

Trapezista and I are drove back to Hamilton, Ontario from Banff, Alberta. Trapezista had previously done the drive to Banff but went through Canada. Supposedly going through the United States is quicker and it's a change of scenery for her. I was very much excited to come along this road trip after 1) recently seeing the Canadian movie One Week and 2) recently reading Jack Kerouac’s (whose parents are actually Québécois) On the Road. I expected the same caliber trip, minus the drugs, alcohol and sex, and plus lots of food! Ok, so Kerouac might not find our drive as entertaining…

Prior to our trip, Trapezista and I exchanged a few e-mails regarding our road trip and came up with a pretty good itinerary. I tried to research some food options, knowing we’d be likely restrained on time. How did one research anything before the existence of the internet? Amazing...! My favourite sites were Urbanspoon and 10best. I also trolled different discussion boards, including chowhound. However, on a road trip, you have to go with the flow. Trapezista suggested we hit at least one of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. We ended up eating at two of them!

Leaving Canada and entering the US through Sweetgrass, Montana.

It took us about 5 hours to reach the Montana border. Montana, the "Live and Let Live" state, offered us some nice scenery. Though we could see the beautiful Rockies at the beginning of our drive, they dropped off but we still got to admire hilly landscapes. It reminded me of Ireland, not that I've ever been to Ireland... We saw many black cows munching on grass. Life seemed good for them. That’s the kind of cow I want to eat!!

Diverse Montana landscapes.

Hilly landscapes.

Around 2 pm, we stopped for gas and lunch (at Loaf ‘n Jug!). We saw what looked like an authentic, old school drive-in and decided to give it a try. After using the dirty bathroom, Trapezista thought it should also be eligible as a dive…! A girl came out and took our order. We decided to share a chicken strips’ dinner. Nothing special, pretty good chicken, weirdly served on toast with fries. I also had a very enjoyable cherry milkshake but wish I had gone for a less common flavour, like Montana Huckleberry... Oh well!

Ford Drive-In.

Our chicken strips' dinner.

We continued our drive on a beautiful day. The skies were so blue that, with the white fluffy clours and against the grass, it reminded me of one of the Microsoft backgrounds.

We were also amazed to see wind turbines. Trapezista commented it was an eerie feeling, seeing these huge wind turbines turning slowly on their own, with no one in sight.

Wind turbines.

Blue's BBQ, Billings, Montana
523 Hilltop Road
Billings, Montana

When I think of the US, there are specific foods I think about and one of them is BBQ! While Montana doesn’t have a trademark food, I figured it should have good BBQ. I kind of imagined Montana with cowboys and all. So I researched the internet and found Blue;s BBQ in Billins Montana. It looked authentic enough; we even saw big BBQ's at the back.

After asking the girl at the counter for her recommendation, we both went for a shredded pork sandwich ($4.50). If you mention the coupon online, you get a free side. Trapezista ordered the homemade coleslaw while I got a side of yams. The pork sandwich was good but we both thought the sauce was overwhelmingly sweet. Adding the hot sauce we were given did not help much since it was not really hot. The coleslaw was too heavy on the sauce. I did enjoy my baked yams though I thought giving me 4 packages of butter seemed excessive!


Gastronomer said...

Oh, Nina. You made me LOL several times throughout the post. I especially liked when you compared the beautiful Montana scenery to Microsoft desktops.

Btw - four butters to half a yam is a totally acceptable ratio. Welcome to America!!

Miss.Adventure said...

Really? I even tried to resist commenting on the religious billboards we saw the minute you get into the US and that went on throughout the midwest! I didn't want to offend anyone, but let's just say I'm pro-mind-your-own-business!

Gastronomer said...

I'd like to request a whole post on religious billboards. Please!

Remember the Got God? billboard in Manila? Good times.