Public Service Digression: Flying in Montana On The Road
So, anyone who really knows me knows that I love flying. Yes, it can be dangerous, and yes, I will probably die in some fireball on a mountain side. But heck, it beats a nursing home. Anyway, its dawned on me that driving and flying in Montana are pretty similar.
Lets take tonight for example. I have the pleasure of driving through the Swan Valley between Kalispell and Helena. The road in the Swan Valley is a two lane road, speed limit 70, and affectionately referred to as Blood Alley and Deer Pinball secondary to the abundant wildlife crossings. And not just deer. Think elk and moose. With that reputation, the forecast of freezing rain, and wind gusts of 55mph, driving last night took a little planning.
Before venturing out, I check all my tires and make sure they are all good. Check the oil. Fuel of course. Add some weight to the truck bed. Throw in my emergency kit, which includes everything I need if I get stuck for a day.
Overkill you say? Well, when you consider that Montana has one of the highest highway fatality rates AND the highest drunk driving rates in the country, you cant be too careful. That includes single vehicle accidents. In addition, there are some remote roads in this state. If you go over an edge or embankment, it could very well be days before someone finds you. And you cant forget the wildlife. Tonight, in Deer Bloodbath Alley, I had to STOP for no less than 4 live deer and 1 dead dear. Last week, I had to stop for two adult Elk. And the road wildlife is only one side of the coin. If one were unfortunate enough to get stuck in a wrecked car for hours, it wont be long before a wolf, mountain lion, or bear finds you as his/her own personal happy meal.
Getting behind the wheel is an zoned in experience for me straight out of driving school. No ipod surfing for me. Just straight ahead, trying to determine if that black thing in the road is a tree, bear, heard of deer, or Jason Voorhees.
So, if your going to hit the road in Montana this winter, bring your A game. In our neck of the woods, any drive you can walk away from one is a good one.