Our Montana Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 686 miles, and drove for 13 hours and 19 minutes during our week in Montana while avoiding highways.

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Road Side Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Factory tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in Montana over the past week.

Famous Person: Evel Knievel

Famous Food: Wheat Montana Cinnamon Rolls

Roadside Attraction: Dumas Brothel (closed for unknown reason)

State Capitol/Museum: Helena, MT

National Park: Glacier National park (closed due to wildfires, snow, and construction)

Historic Location: Custer’s Last Stand at Little Big Horn Battlefield

Can't miss attraction: Montana Grizzly Encounter

Made in the USA Factory tour: Gem mountain

Please view our previous blog posts for the past week for further explanations of our experiences in Montana.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $ 134.00

$ 2.37 gal. in Billings, MT was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.57 gal. in Butte, MT was highest price paid.

Comments:

Prices were low due to a lot of cancelled stops.

Groceries: $99.00

Walmart $34.00

Costco $65.00

Comments:

We did great in this category

Dining out $ $15.00

Montana Wheat $ 3.00 (budgeted, 2 cinnamon rolls)

Costco $6.00 (unbudgeted, 3 slices of pizza on the go)

Costco $6.00 (unbudgeted, 3 slices of pizza on the go)

Comments:

We did excellent in this category!

Entertainment: $57.00

Redbox $ 4.00 (Movies x2)

Grizzly Encounter $14.00 (Admission x2)

Gem Mountain $30.00 (For a bucket of dirt)

State Museum $ 9.00 (Admission x2)

Comments:

We did great in this category again!

Lodging: $0.00

Walmart $ 0.00 (slept in parking lot x6 nights)

Stealth parked $ 0.00 (stealth parked x1 night in Anaconda)

Comments:

We continue to do great in this category

Miscellaneous: $41.00

Oil Change $41.00 (The only garage which could fit Rosie)

Comments:

Rosie's service and repair is not part of our budgeted expenses and comes out of our emergency fund

Montana Expenses Grand Total: $305.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is Montana Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.

Economy:

Nate: 3

“Montana is $227 million in the red, and can’t even afford a tour guide for their capitol”

Lori: 2

“With a per capita personal income of $42,947, the state ranks 35th in the US. Not good!”

Economy score: 2.5

Cost of Living:

Nate: 6

“With a sales tax 0%, and an 6.9% income tax, this state is not too shabby in the tax department!

Lori: 6

“Food prices were 25% higher in Montana compared to surrounding states, and the cost of produce was 50% higher."

Cost of living score: 6

Quality of life:

Nate: 4

“Wildfires are a big risk in the state, and it was below freezing during our entire early October visit. I can only image how cold Montana is in the January BRRRRR!"

Lori: 5

“Since Montana is the 6th least populated state, it was very clean and relatively”. safe.

Quality of life score: 4.5

Culture:

Nate: 2

“It appeared the citizens of Montana were not very welcoming to outside visitors, and many of my “hello’s were not reciprocated.

Lori: 3

“Montana had a very traditional way of life, with tons of cattle ranches, and no evident sustainable sources of renewable energy such as wind or solar”

Culture Score: 2.5

Environment:

Nate: 7

“We learned firsthand why Montana is called “Big Sky Country”, the state was one of the most beautiful we have visited.

Lori: 3

“Outside of the 2 major cities of Billings and Missoula, everything was very very very far apart, with few cute small towns.

Environment Score: 5

The verdict is in:

The final score for Montana was 4.1, and it will NOT be our new home state. Neither Lori nor I opted to use our Wild Card Option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Michigan 8.3

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

South Dakota 7.1

North Dakota 6.9

Virginia 6.6

Wyoming 6.5

Pennsylvania 6.5

West Virginia 6.0

Nebraska 5.7

Kentucky 4.9

Wisconsin 4.5

Minnesota 4.2

Montana 4.1

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Illinois 1.9