Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Voyage of the Glaciers (2015)

At last, Montana!

CLOCKWISE from TOP LEFT: Leaving Las Vegas, first sight of Montana, first accommodation of the road trip, and picking up my Nevada-licensed rental car

By 1:30 in the afternoon I had finally reached Helena, the state capital of Montana, and had checked into the Hampton Inn. Earlier that morning – very much earlier, actually – I had risen in time to take the 0600 shuttle to McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. I had then flown Delta to Salt Lake City, having received an unexpected upgrade to First Class on account of my (expired!) Gold status with Virgin Flying Club. Next I had completed the final leg of my outbound journey with a short hop on a regional jet to Helena, where my pre-booked rental car had been waiting for me.

I quickly got myself organised and set out again to see something of this small city. After satisfying my hunger with a basic burger lunch, I drove to the Montana State Capitol, arriving at around 2:30 in the afternoon. I was immediately concerned to find that, this being a weekend, the building was due to close at 3pm. Nevertheless, I managed to have a good look around in the available 30 minutes. There were good views from the gallery of both the Supreme Court and the Senate, but the House was completely locked up. (Even so, I managed to grab one shot through the window of a locked door.) Once the time pressure had been removed, I also completed a walk around the exterior of the building.

Next, I drove to another of Helena’s impressive buildings, St Helena’s RC Cathedral, where a fairly modern external appearance was successfully coupled with a striking interior. I also saw the nearby Temple Emanu-El, a historic synagogue now used by the Diocese of Helena as its administrative office.

RIGHT: Temple Emmanu-El, now used by the Catholic Church as diocesan offices

I also saw the original Governor’s Mansion and some other notable houses and miscellaneous buildings in the vicinity.

Once my limited sightseeing programme had run its course, I returned to the Hampton Inn and in due course had my evening meal in a very basic-looking diner attached to the Conoco gas station next to the hotel. Despite appearances, the food was really good and cost remarkably little. I did feel a bit like a fish out of water from start to finish, however.

I was tucked up in bed by 9pm, desperate to make serious inroads into what was now a fairly substantial sleep deficit.

Saturday 22 Aug

Miles driven: 10

Road trip to date: 10

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