When, in the course of human events, one finds oneself marooned in a redneck backwater in the early 1980's, one's mind -- assuming it is used from time to time -- begins to wander, and to wonder, V'ger-like: Is this all that there is? Is there nothing more?
Now there were certainly worse places to grow up in during that, or any other, time. (The Democratic Republic of the Congo comes to mind.) But the grass is always greener, as they say; and whatever you think about they, they are actually sometimes on to something.
So it was that, nearly 30 years ago, I began to decide that Montana was the Place For Me. It had it all: mountains, forests, wildlife, great rivers, and very few people. It also had claim to a part of the northern Plains, which I would come to love years later, when I finally laid eyes on that vastness, what Ivan Doig calls "This House of Sky."
I even managed to go there twice, in 1995 and 1996: road trips, both. None of that mamby-pamby (read: expensive) flying for me. I have not been back since.