Living in Mammoth, we are just a ten-minute drive from Gardiner, Montana. In this little tourist hub, you can find some overpriced groceries and a few other delights, and we make our way to Gardiner regularly. But when we need a big load of groceries, or when we just want to have fun, we usually head an hour and half up the road to the college-town/ski-town of Bozeman.
Bozeman, Montana is both a little more bougie and little more redneck than it might seem at first glance, earning it the nickname “Boz Angeles, Montucky.”
Picture this: as you’re enjoying an artisanal Brazilian bowl and local microbrew on the patio of an upscale local restaurant, you’re likely to see a mullet-man behind the wheel of a mud-covered monster truck, a swarm of college kids riding their bikes, or a dude riding a longboard with a bright yellow kayak attached to his back. Honestly, Bozeman is pretty cool.
This weekend, we decided to make our Bozeman trip into a two-day event. On Friday, we got off to a late start (getting some things done at home). But we got all our things packed while Lydia napped, and headed off. We traveled 30 minutes north of Bozeman, and then another 30 minutes down a bumpy dirt road. Here we found Fairy Lake Campground: our headquarters for the night.
Tate made camp while Mama made coffee. As I boiled water for pour-overs and reheated a lunch of cauliflower nachos, Lydia helped Rafal hammer in the tent stakes. Then she played around in the dirt, while Rafal and I relaxed in our camp chairs.
Once we were fed and set up, we got back into the car, traveled back down the bumpy road, and headed back into town. We did some shopping, some chilling, and some errands. We stopped for some take-out sandwiches. Eventually we made our way back to camp for the night.
We got into some cozy clothes, snuggled into our family sleeping bag, and passed out under the starry sky. In the pre-dawn hours, a family of mountain goats came to graze right next to our tent. (No image, sorry.)
The next morning, we slept late (past 8:00 am, which is practically noon to us), and woke groggy. We made some oatmeal and coffee, and casually broke down camp.
We drove for the third and final time down the longest, bumpiest dirt road and back into Bozeman again. This time, we headed to Lindley Park for the 40th Annual Sweet Pea Arts Festival.
We saw live music, theatre, and dance, including an awesome hip hop dance group called the Groovaloos. Lydia played at the playground. Rafal and I had chicken on a stick. Lydia ran with kiddos for hours on end. She even got her face painted (for the very first time) and got a balloon!
All of a sudden, while watching the Groovaloos (and watching Lydia dance with a circle of new friends) we simultaneously remembered that we had to go to Costco! It was 5:30 pm! Costco closes at 6! Rafal said, “Oh well, we’re not gonna make it.” And I said, “No way! We have to go!” and took off running. As we were flying through the festival (pushing Lydia in the stroller) a teenager girl turned to her friend and exclaimed, “That jumpsuit is sick.” When teenagers are complimenting your outfit (calling it “sick” no less), you know you look good!
We still had to purchase our perishable groceries, and I needed to get to Costco to get what I needed! We flew out the gate, and into the car, and down the road. Just as we were pulling into our parking space (with a few minutes to spare), I realized that I’d misplaced my phone. I picked up Rafal’s phone to try and call it, but just then my mom was calling him. The lost and found at the festival had called her to tell her they’d found my phone! It must have fallen out of my pocket right when I was luxuriating in the compliment of my clothes (yes, this sick jumpsuit has POCKETS).
We finished up our grocery shopping and then returned to the festival to get my phone. But since we were already there, we decided to stay a bit! I bought a bean burrito and Rafal had some Asian noodles that Lydia shared. Then the three of dug into the most incredible slice of apple pie, listening to the music play.
Finally, we loaded ourselves back into the car–which was now stuffed all the way full–for the last leg of our journey. We drove the hour and half toward home, through the spectacular mountain desert of western Montana, under the glow of the rising (almost) full moon.
Not a bad way to get the grocery shopping done. Not a bad weekend. Not a bad life.