Ultimate Road Trip

Pastries, Summer Shandies, & A Very Contentious Issue

We’ve loved Bozeman. It is admittedly much hotter here than either of us expected, likely because our first night of camping was pretty brisk. However, the hot weather hasn’t deterred us from some excellent explorations.

We started on Monday at Treeline Coffee, which appears to be a local hot spot. The coffee, pastries, vibe, and branding of the place were strong, making it an ideal workspace. We went for a short lunch run, jumping back into Glen Lake to cool off and eating sandwiches by the water. It was idyllic.

With the heat reaching 90 degrees, we threw out our plan to climb in the afternoon and opted to check out a couple local joints, including the Pour House, a grungy but clear staple bar in the downtown. We went for the 75¢ wings, stayed for the conversations with the bartender and other folks drinking on a Monday night. We then returned to Hyalite Canyon to camp, though not as far back.

On Tuesday, we got up the same way but tried a new coffee shop, Daily Coffee. It had a unique energy of its own, and I got a life-changing pastry. I’m not even sure what it was called, but it was essentially a cream cheese-filled croissant with a honey glaze and almonds over the top. I could eat it daily.

Midday, I grabbed lunch with Cass, founder of Girl, Get After It, at a local deli. It was so lovely to catch up with her in person for the first time and get to know more about how she built her brand. And she’s given us the best recommendations for this town!

Following lunch, I hopped back into the car and Ryan drove us to climb in the canyon. The area was called “Overhangutang Boulders,” and the majority of the problems were on a wide rock adjacent to the road. We worked on the problems a while, but we were roasting in the 90-degree heat and the flies were a nuisance. We decided we’d have to come back for another shot, when it was cooler.

A perplexing problem

We soaked in Hyalite Creek briefly and then headed back into town to check out the farmer’s market. The number of tasty foods was overwhelming, but we honed in on some pierogis and lavender lemonade. At that point, we needed a proper meal, though. Since it was taco Tuesday, I looked up good deals in the area and chose Los Jarochos.

We unknowingly showed up at a food truck at the end of Main Street we had already seen. We each got three tacos that were absolutely loaded and so flavorful. We couldn’t believe no one else was there! Big compliments to the chef.

It was still so hot, so we wanted to get a beverage somewhere. As we walked back down Main, we passed Ted’s Montana and saw people with amazing looking onion rings for the second day in a row. We felt a little dumb going into a chain restaurant, but hey, Ted’s Montana must be better in Montana itself, right? At the very least, we drank Hefeweizens from Red Lodge, and those onion rings lived up to expectations.

Over at MAP Brewing, where we originally started our Bozeman adventures, we had seen a ton of camper vans lined up. Ryan wondered if people were actually camping there, so I asked Cass at lunch. “Oh, that’s actually a very contentious issue,” she said with a laugh. “Basically, since no one can afford to live here anymore, people are just posting up anywhere they want to camp. Since there’s no specific legislation prohibiting it, no one can police it.” Interesting. We decided to test it out ourselves, camping not quite by MAP but a few streets over. Worked like a charm.

Now it was Wednesday morning, so we set out for another cool coffee shop vibe. There was a nearby spa that had a shop, so we figured that place was as good as any. I managed, 5 minutes after getting it, to spill 15 ounces of my 16-ounce coffee on the floor. I became deeply, unreasonably distressed about it. Ryan just laughed it off and offered for us to relocate to a donut shop I had been eyeing. Except the donut shop was closed. I was in a caffeine-deprived, hungry, melodramatic haze. Thankfully, Ryan drove to Wild Crumb.

Wild Crumb is a bakery just down the block from Treeline Coffee, and Cass had said very positive things. Similar to Persephone in Jackson, it was almost impossible to choose from the offerings. There were items we’d never even heard of, like sables (similar to shortbread cookies, though they contain eggs and less butter). After heavily debating an orange pecan sticky bun, I opted for a glazed lemon poppyseed bun and Ryan selected a cinnamon bun. They even warmed them up for us. I finally got my coffee (lid secured) too. The pastries were so good, I got back in line and got us a breakfast sandwich on a homemade English muffin. Man.

For the afternoon, we decided to walk around Montana State University. It’s about the time of year that students are returning, and we were asked just the other day if we were back for classes — the perks of looking youthful. As we walked, we heard a funk band playing. We turned to look at each other simultaneously, as if to say, “Wanna follow that sound?”

The music was coming from a bandstand — at a “welcome back” luncheon on the quad, for faculty and staff. We debated pretending we were TAs or something and getting a plate of food, though we weren’t hungry enough to do so. (We did however take some lemonade and cookies. This stuff would get thrown away otherwise!)

Huge picnic buffet

We bopped around several academic buildings, appreciating their designs and lecture halls, wall art, and so on. There was a local market on campus that we naturally wanted to check out, and along with it, an on-campus brewery. We had to sample their shandy, just to be sure it wasn’t poisonous.

At MAP on Sunday, we were given a slip of paper that marked an X for one beer out of three. It indicated that due to state law, the brewery couldn’t serve us more than 48 ounces of beer in one visit, so they had to keep track. Curious why this campus brewery, Bridger, didn’t have the same rule, I inquired with the bartender. He explained that it’s the difference between having a brewing license versus a liquor license. The former is around $100K, whereas the latter is $1 million, and can be re-sold. Essentially, it’s just far cheaper to eschew the liquor license, but then it limits how much you can sell to individuals. You learn something new every day.

Math? Science?
College of Engineering
Shandy pairing featuring college males

As the day wound down, we found ourselves struggling to think of what to do. It was still too hot to climb, and we swore we’d take a day off running or hiking. A smoky haze had descended upon the town, making everything look and feel ominous. The public library had intrigued me since we arrived, so I suggested we head over there to get some air conditioning and journal. This passed at least 45 minutes of time, at least, and the library was lovely.

We spent the evening searching for Ryan’s lost AirPod in the park (it is just not the trip for Apple products, apparently), eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and debating again for a while what to do.

Ultimately, we knew we really wanted to climb, so we went back into the canyon at 8:00. The temperature was perfect, and we were able to work the same boulder problems as well as send a couple other V3s. We then drove further up the canyon to the original area, where it was blessedly so much cooler and far better sleeping weather.

Sky on the drive back into the canyon

Now we are in the 4th coffee shop of the week, working. We will probably do a bit more climbing later, then head to Greenough, where our buddy Landon has been living and working this summer!

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