Saturday morning we drove on into Missoula to the first Walmart we’d seen in a couple weeks. We needed Mesquite chunks for our steaks and these pine forests don’t have any. There were several RVs boon docking in the parking lot and a Jeep with New Jersey plates that had all the windows blocked with luggage and stuff. Guess they were too tired to go any farther! After the Walmart stop, we worked our way down a couple blocks into a Safeway parking lot and filled up with diesel then slowly went through the downtown area to access Hwy 90 eastbound! Missoula is a neat college town with the University of Montana located here. The university calls itself a “city within a city,” and contains its own restaurants, medical facilities, banking, postal services, police department, and ZIP code. The University of Montana ranks 17th in the nation and fifth among public universities in producing Rhodes Scholars, with a total of 28 such scholars. The University of Montana has 11 Truman Scholars, 14 Goldwater Scholars and 31 Udall Scholars to its name. The University of Montana’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library houses the earliest authorized edition of the Lewis and Clark journals. Rolling Stone labeled the university the “most scenic campus in America and Outside magazine called it “among the top 10 colleges nationally for combining academic quality and outdoor recreation”.
Missoula is called The Garden City due to its milder winters (milder than???). It also has community colleges, public parks and rose gardens and as we drove into the downtown area over the Clearwater Bridge, we noticed they were having a huge arts and crafts festival down by the river with people everywhere. There were musicians on the streets and families enjoying the day. But no way to park our big self so we left town and will have to come back another day and spend some time here.