#265, Missoula, Montana
Missoula's enduring memory may prove to be the ecstatic hootenanny Balthrop, Alabama stirred up at the Badlander, but I did enjoy a pre-gig sunset stroll through the streets of this eclectic Montana town, hunting for numbers and adeptly avoiding a fight that had broken out across the street between two shaggy, heavily intoxicated citizens. Undeterred by the fisticuffs and spurred on by the buzz from a free PBR tall boy combined with an empty stomach, I hit the town.
Cities set within beautiful natural settings always come attached with a strange longing. You understand what the town planners were thinking, setting up shop in a valley surrounded by golden foothills and the Wild West's famed big sky. Yet there's something that doesn't quite fit about it. Nature, with its fragrant pine trees and lurid pink horizons, always seems to win out over our pithy contributions of traffic lights, restaurants, banks, and slipshod convenience stores. I tend to be either all city mouse or all country mouse: give me skyscrapers or give me grain silos. So Missoula, with its purple-mountain-majesty-obscured-by-parking-garage vistas, took a little getting used to.
There was a lovely and incongruous Art Deco auto/body shop not far from the venue that alas, yielded no numbers, but it did lead me around the block to where this simple but classy 265 was waiting for me. It turns out that the 265 has an East Coast twin. Tune in tomorrow for a typographical double take.