And then I hit two National Forests which made for a pleasant drive. Clearwater National Forest which was first had a forest fire so I had to wind up the windows and turn on the AC or deal with smoke and the smell of it. By the time I arrived into Lolo National Forest the scenery was beautiful and smoke and its smell was gone. I pulled aside and took this picture.
After a long ride, I arrived in Missoula and first went to a Starbucks to use their wifi and get some Couchsurfing correspondence done.
I also contacted my couchsurfing host Bob and went to his house. He is retired and has a family of 5: his wife Lori and three kids Ben, Max and Nick. In addition he was hosting two other couchsurfers. They are an amazing and very giving family. They host multiple couchsurfers all the time and once hosted 21 people when they weren't home. Such is the couchsurfing community - trusting and giving. I admire them greatly.
Bob shows me around his home and the outside yard. He has free range hens.
Definitely a bird/animal lover.
One of the kids sit down with me and show me their couchsurfing book filled with past guests.
Lori comes home and makes some vegetarian dinner for us. I'm excited to eat healthy.
Dinner is ready to be served.
The family with me and two other couchsurfers (far right: Misty from Oregon and Lila from New York City)
Oh yes and yummy fruit salad.
After talking with all of them for a while and getting to know them I head out downtown to the Kettlehouse. My friend Katherine has a cousin who works (maybe owns) the place and she told me to meet him and try out their Cold Smoke beer.
Unfortunately as I walk in I find out that they stopped serving beer at 8 PM (some Montana law ... and you thought Utah was bad). I try to get in touch with Katherine cousin but he is not there and apparently difficult to reach. So I ask, get and send him an email.
As I walk outside I go to my car. I sit and wonder how can I kill the time, but looking at my phone. My apparent state of 'looking lost' leads one of the people hanging outside to start a conversation with me. The license plate with Virginia tags also helps. :-) And now I have three new Missoula friends who are going to show me around town: Graham, Rose and Myles.
So they take me to the Iron Horse Brew Pub and we grab a few drinks.
I'm grateful to meet them. And have to thank Graham for opening the conversation and for being generous by buying my first Missoula beer: Big Sky's Summer Honey. Just for you Bill (Boobie) and all those overwhelming recommendations via facebook. :-)
I don't want to be rude to my couchsurfing host family and stay out too late so I drive back early and call it a night. My time in Missoula started off well. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.