|Up close it's even cheesier|
Well, she did a magnificent job (aided by good weather) and so, slightly to our disappointment (but not my mum's) no hair-raising tales of nights spent on the road surviving only with the warmth of tea lights. Instead, I thought I'd tell you the tale of two "cities" (anything in Canada or the States with at least one store, one diner and one bar seems to qualify as a city, see population figures below...) we passed through on our journey which neatly demonstrate the Old and New West...
Butte, Montana Population: 34,000 and shrinking (but still Montana's 5th largest 'city')
|Yes Mark, it really is closed now|
With none of the high-tech industries of further East, and not quite close enough to the mountains to be an outdoors centre, the future for Butte on a sleety December night certainly didn't seem pretty. That said, they are trying to clean it up and as the whole of downtown could be instantly transformed into a Western shoot-em-up stage set, complete with original designed-for-purpose brothel (the longest in continuous operation in the States), saloons and intact mining machinery, couldn't someone just buy it and turn it into a giant theme park? And the old vault turned restaurant did do great burgers.
Moses Lake, Washington Population 20,000 and growing
|The roads are veeerrryyy straight|
And, actually, it was quite nice; flocks of over wintering geese and resident herons on the lake and a brilliant 'pizza parlour' (okay, the book was right about the 'dense and unusual toppings' part but Mark didn't seem to mind the 4 types of meat on his). The town doesn't have much of a history, but with investment from tech companies for data storage and a new factory producing solar panels, the future seemed pretty bright (tee hee) and the local paper was full of the new job opportunities and improving health and education facilities.
|The real Roslyn from Northern Exposure|