Through Foreign Eyes - Spring/Summer 2009 travel blog

Billings


Montana is one of those states that seems to go on and on forever. Unfortunately, there were no expressways going where we were going, so we spent most of the day driving on two lane roads. But since hardly anyone lives in Montana, there was little traffic and our fearless driver had plenty of room to pass slow moving trucks with our forty foot motor home and jeep towed behind it. Major intersections boasted a gas station which was also a restaurant which was also a casino. When I think of Montana I don't think about gambling, but there were casinos everywhere.

Although many RV dealers are struggling to make a go of it during the recession, the RV dealers here are still doing just fine. That's because you don't pay sales tax when you buy an RV here. The tax collectors would catch up with you when you try to license that RV in your home state, so people form corporations based in Montana so they can license their motor homes here. It's a very popular semi-legal thing to do. So, when you pass a motor home from Montana, you cannot assume that the people driving it really live in Montana or spend any time here at all.

Most campgrounds have an office where you check in and pay your fees. The office for our campground tonight was inside the owner's home. I peaked inside the front door and it looked like a bomb had gone off. Had a demented camper gone berserk and done in the owner? I scanned the floor for a bloody body. I could hardly see the carpet. There were papers everywhere. Dirty dishes were stacked on the floor. Periodicals were piled sky high. Suddenly I head a voice. There in the corner was the owner alive as could be chatting on her cell phone. She was complaining to her bank that she had not received her latest statement. Surely it was lying there on the floor somewhere. I put aside my overactive imagination and gratefully returned to my nice, neat motor home.

Although the distance we have to travel to get home is fixed, it always feels like we're making progress when we cross a state line. Wyoming tonight. South Dakota tomorrow.

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