Part 5: Things To Do In Bozeman When You’re Dead (Tired)
DAY SEVEN: The Wife got up for her conference recap breakfast while The Son and I packed up the tank. Normally this would be the end of our story, as we would then drive to the airport for the long flight home, but I have yet to see a dinosaur or a comic book shop and I’m not leaving Montana until I do.
It may not surprise you to learn there are no comic book shops in Whitefish, or the surrounding area. I hear comic shop owners are especially tasty to bears. There aren’t a lot of comic book shops in general in Montana, but there is one in Bozeman, which was also home to the Museum of the Rockies, which we were assured has a fine collection of dinosaur specimens.
The drive from Whitefish to Bozeman is — and I’m not kidding this time — 4.5 hours. I drove the first half to Missoula where we stopped for lunch. The Wife drove the second half which, for the first time all week, turned out to be an actual Interstate Highway — complete with multiple lanes of traffic and a 75 mph speed limit. I was so jealous, but there was still plenty of curves and steep hills and even some road construction, so it wasn’t like you could set the cruise and nap.
MONTANA FUN FACT: The sky really is bigger in Montana. I don’t know how they do it. I don’t understand the meteorological science behind it. But the sky there is bigger and bluer with giant clouds that go on forever and it’s so big you feel like you can reach out and touch it. I step outside my house in St. Charles and look up and it’s all pale blue and dull. I wish I knew how they did it.
Still, a 4.5 hour drive is a 4.5 hour drive despite the amazing rock formations so I was glad when we pulled in at the Hampton Inn. I was allowed roughly five minutes to sprawl on the bed before we had to go back out. But that was OK because I finally had a destination that I was looking forward to: Rook’s Comics and Games.
Going into a new comic book shop for the first time is always a moment of high anticipation: Will it be awesome or will it be a dump? There are generally only two types of comic book shops — good ones and dumps. Sadly, while it wasn’t a dump, Rook’s wasn’t that great of a comic shop either. It was mostly a game story with the comics off in one small corner. They had a really nice Thor poster.
I wound up buying an X-Men trade that was on my list of “things to buy if desperate” and an old issue of New Avengers that I needed to complete that collection. Disappointing but not a total loss. Mostly I felt bad for the nerds attending Montana State University. A college town should have a much better comic shop.
We then drove over to MSU and did a walkabout campus. It was nice but Mizzou’s is better. Their mascot is the bobcat, which seemed pretty lame given all the cool animals Montana is known for. I didn’t even know they had bobcats in Montana. I certainly never saw any on their promotional T-shirts in Whitefish.
From there we stopped by the museum and got some shots of Big Mike, the T-Rex guarding the front door. It was late so we just did a brief walk-through of the gift shop.
That night we checked out downtown Bozeman which is like every other main street we’ve seen — but a bit larger than Whitefish. We had dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill and then drove back to the hotel. Upon parking we noticed the trunk light was flashing. But the trunk was closed. I opened the truck and shut it but the light continued to flash. I opened the trunk and looked all around for blockages, didn’t see any, closed the trunk, the light continued to flash.
“Why is it doing that?”
“I don’t know.”
“Has it been doing that all week?”
“I hadn’t noticed.”
“Well, I don’t want to leave the car with that light flashing all night. That can’t be good. What if it runs the battery down?”
We go back to our room, figuring maybe the light just takes a while before it turns off. Cars do that sometimes. I go back later. It’s still freaking flashing. I get out the instruction manual. No help. The Wife calls the Hertz people.
“They say that’s normal. It’s supposed to flash like that.”
“That can’t be right. Why would you want to have a flashing light going on in your car all night? They must be wrong.”
“Don’t yell at me. I’m just telling you what they said.”
“I’m not yelling at you. I’m yelling at the stupidity of someone who would design a car so that it leaves a flashing trunk light going on all night as a standard safety feature. How is that making the car safe?”
I go back outside and it’s still flashing. I look around at the other cars in the lot and sure enough, one of them has a flashing light on the dashboard.
Stupid car companies.
Next: The thrilling and long overdue conclusion