‘Helena’ Category


When The Bus Breaks

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – “Our bus broke down in Cheyenne,” she explained. “It was something about the compressor, and my husband drove to Denver to get the part. They didn’t have it either.” So Rory Block got to Helena by renting a car and driving 700 miles to sing for us tonight. “I kind of got into the groove for that Montana speed limit,” she confessed. Rory Block is sitting mid-stage in the Myrna Loy Center and I’m sitting 40 feet away in Seat #2, with a straight-line unobstructed view. She’d walked onstage precisely at 8 PM, a long, tall drink of water, in long legged slender slacks, long blond hair brushing the center of her back, some sparkly bracelets her only flash. This 5-time Blues Award Winner, heralded as “a living landmark,” “a national treasure” and “one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists” was here with us now, chatting to the house of 250 as though we were sharing our living room. The New York Times once declared of Rory “her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.” The evening took it one step more; she manages finicky sound systems and broken down buses with equal aplomb. » read more


Signing In

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – “Please No Guns or Cell Phones Inside” states the sign at the door of the No Sweat Café on Last Chance Gulch, where another sign advertises the Two Dot Burger. I pushed through the screen door, glad to know I could expect a peaceful lunch. The nine tables and five booths inside were highly varnished knotty pine, served by pretty women in cute shorts and cowgirl boots. The Two Dot burger, by the way, is one patty bigger than the One Dot; most items on the menu leaned towards breakfast fare – omelets and pancakes and sausage, all done from scratch; I chose a sandwich, turkey and cream cheese, lettuce and tomato; with chips. The chips were blue corn and the tomato tasted as if it had just been picked from the tomato patch out back, it was that juicy fresh. I asked about their name; was told the original restaurant was near hot springs, therefore, people who came in were not (or were) sweating. Whatever, the cheeky humor and simply good food were a fun stop on a warm afternoon of exploring Helena. And being enticed by signs. » read more


She’s Here!

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – “I ate at my first Applebee’s on that trip,” Matthew reminisced during Tuesday’s final goodbyes before I headed for Helena. Grandson Matt was referring to our trip of 2001, when he was almost 10 and we went to three capital cities and three national parks in a three-week period. Helena, Bismarck, and Pierre were the capitals; Glacier, Yellowstone, and the Badlands were the parks. I chuckled that he remembered the Helena Applebee’s stop; he didn’t want to go to an unfamiliar place but I promised an oreo shake. He tried something new, and he loved it; the next day we visited the capitol. He loved that too. Little did we know that day just how it would affect our lives. Matt is 20 now; he’s studying Japanese with plans to head for Japan next year for more study; he plans to live there, and teach. Matt’s vision expanded under the wide-open skies of Montana; my vision expanded by watching a kid in a capitol. That’s why I’m here today. » read more


Helen Air

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – The Sleeping Giant was still snoozing when I woke up this morning. He’s straight across the valley from my hotel, a camera-zoom from my second-floor window revealed the details of his nose. The mountain goats that live in the Sleeping Giant Wilderness Area have been awake for a while, I figure,and the bighorn sheep and black bear; I imagine them roaming around looking for breakfast. I head downstairs in search of food myself. The coffee is ready in the sunny breakfast room; make your own waffles or choose sausage and eggs and biscuits and gravy; there are cheerios for the faint of heart. I slip an English muffin into the toaster and pick up the morning newspaper. “Welcome to Helena” is the header on Helena’s daily, the Independent Record; that’s www.helenair.com . The cover sheet is a Daily Visitor Guide, how nice! “Downtown Helena is a place of riches,” I read. » read more


Rocky Mountain Roads

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – Just an ordinary day in the life of a cross-country traveler. I crossed Clark Fork sixteen times, was slowed by orange road-work cones seven times, stopped for gas two times, and observed a smashed-to-pieces motorhome one time. Actually I saw the smash-up twice – once on the freeway at the scene of the “incident” (as the Montana temporary highway markers defined it); later when stopped at the St Regis Travel Plaza (where they serve huckleberry shakes). A truck hauled a piece of it in; I shivered at the sight, a shambles of dangling wiring, a sink poised in the upper corner as it lay pitifully on its side. What happened to the people? What happened to their dishes? What happened to their plans? Were they headed cross-country like me, or did they just want to spend a week parked by the creek, fishing peacefully? I gave a pat to my sturdy Scion, thankful we were safe.  » read more