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Old 06-16-2011, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,854 posts, read 15,492,091 times
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Well it's been about a year to the day that me and my family drove to Montana leaving our good state of West Virginia behind. We settled into our new house in Helena pretty quickly and enjoyed what seemed a brief summer then on to the new year. Kids in new schools, wife with a new job and me in a new office (I'm a transfer).

By and large this has been a great experience. The positives far outweigh the negatives. Here's what we like:

1. Helena is not a bad town at all. It's actually quite a bit 'busier' than what we are accustomed to. Since the valley is quite open it feels more heavily populated compared to where we came from in WV (but it's not). Traffic is only knarly during some times of the day, but bearable. Drivers are basically the same as West Virginians- crazy. There's a lot of casinos in town, but I reckon it's better than all the strip clubs we had all over the dang place back home.

2. Climate- No humidity is a God send. I love it. I love a mild spring and summer. I don't mind wearing a fleece or wool jacket in June. Memorial Day weekend back home they were in the midst of a heat wave with 90-95deg temps and high humidity. I'll take cool and rainy. Thanks.

3. Winter- winter in Helena this year was awesome. Snow was a pushover. You can clean it with a whisk broom. I never touched a shovel. Back in WV the winter before I left- 98" - 120" of thick, heavy, wet slop fell. You needed a backhoe to clean off your car. And gray.. MAN was it gray that year. The snow sucked up the exhaust and road grime and turned black, the skies were gray- yuck. Here it's clean. We went snowshoeing, caving, kids tried skiing- what a great, clean experience. I'm not saying the mountains in WV aren't fantastic in the snow- they are. Actually they are awesome, but the snow is totally different here. As far as the temps- bah, dress for it and we're fine. No one in the family had any issues with the colder temps.

4. Wife got a job here fast- My wife had been trying to get work in WV for years. She had been laid off from her good paying PT job after 7 years. She went back to school and aced her PRAXIS exams for a teaching certificate. She really wanted to change careers and help with special needs kids. No dice in WV. The North Central region of WV is losing so much population that there is no demand for teachers. When a slot gets open, you have to be someones 1st cousin to get a job. Nepotism ranks supreme. She get's to Montana and within 3 months she's employed, doing great and on her way to her Masters. She believes (in all honesty) the school system here is as good or better than where we came from. (But if you read the scores and tests- WV is near the bottom of every list.. But we fell thats pretty much BS for a host of reasons but I digress)

5. Kids- my kids love it. They are both active in school and outdoor activities. Both kids getting straight A's, fit in well, in Scouts (as am I) and really love it here. It's a great place for kids. No complaints from them. There is some curiosity from other folks about where they are from. They have very distinct manners. When they say they're from West Virginia everybody says "oh, how is it in Virginia?" They've stopped correcting people. They've grown tired of that. People- West Virginia and Virginia are two totally different places. Please don't mix us up. We're hillbilly's, they are snobs.

6. Wildlife diversity. Self explanatory. It's like living in the complete set of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Where's Dan the danger guy?

7. Straight roads- double edged sword. At first blush it's great, but don't you folks get bored with all the straight roads? The mountains aren't even as bad as WV, where you go down, through and around a holler. Of course WV roads are narrower. Makes for mirror kissing action. I've lost a few.


So... bad things...

1. Miss the friends back home- comes with moving. No fault of Montanans. I think we're a little more open and southern like than folks here. The sense is this area of the country is not as warm an inviting. People are great, don't get me wrong, and I'm extremely lucky to have met some grade 'A' folks out here (and you know who you are...) but even in scouts a lot of the folks are aloof. It's not a community potluck kind of town. No biggie, no plans on changing. Maybe it's because we're in a political town?

2. Distance between towns- Takes some getting used to. We bought a fuel efficient car to offset the consumption issue.

3. Hunting regs- man oh man... Just compare WV to MT.. The folks that wrote the MT rules have waaaaaay too much time on their hands. It's like reading a 1970's set of instructions on a Chinese erector set.

4. Fires and fire season- 100% more scary than floods in my opinion.

5. Flooding- yes it's historic here right now, but actually I've witnessed worse. MUCH WORSE. 4-5" of rain in southern WV and those hollers get cleaned out. Trailers, mudslides, towns washed under. Google Harpers Ferry and 'Floods'. You'll see what I mean. Moorefield WV flood in 1985 (I think). Town nearly wiped out. I'm not saying this isn't devastating, but hey- it's not hurricane central here either.


I don't know- thought I'd ramble a bit about how a family from West Virginia is taking to life in Montana. We love it here, really we do. It get's easier day by day, as it should. We plan on traveling back to WV every other year to see our friends, and we'll know when we get there if we made the right move.

But thanks for the folks on the forum, I appreciate the posts, the advice, the honesty and the diversity. God bless.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:42 PM
 
1,337 posts, read 1,231,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threerun View Post
3. Hunting regs- man oh man... Just compare WV to MT.. The folks that wrote the MT rules have waaaaaay too much time on their hands. It's like reading a 1970's set of instructions on a Chinese erector set.
Run afoul of these regs, and yes, you too can be sentenced to jail for 20 years. Montana bureaucrats are known for a multitude of similar heavy-handed absurdities. They blast the feds for bureaucracy but then dish plenty of it out themselves. The petty bureaucrats that are in charge of this have egos as big as any "drug warrior," and apparently spew the same zero tolerance crap.

I'm surprised they don't have their own SWAT team (I'm sure they do), and don't stage massive no-knock assault raids on hunters and fisherman on a more regular basis, considering how petty they are.

It's the odd irony of states like Montana and Alaska..... so very good in so many ways, but yet so completely misguided in others. Being known as "outdoorsy" states with many natural resources, they somehow feel that they are obligated to spend all their free time dreaming up ways to be fish and game NAZI's (very much an appropriate term, in my opinion), even managing to outdo states like California in bureaucracy and control (at least in this aspect).
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:01 AM
 
45 posts, read 68,383 times
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Glad to hear you are enjoying it...moving to Polson/missoula in July....
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,411,632 times
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A very nice read. Thanks for sharing that.

We moved from SC to Nebraska 3 years ago, and have never regretted it. People here grouse about taxes, but we pay the same taxes here on a 100-year-old, 2000-sq-ft farmhouse and 60 acres that we did on a 30-year-old, 1000-sq-ft home on 1/3 of an acre. We have great neighbors and good times. We joke about the Three Great Questions we are always asked - How did you find us? (The Internet) Do you have family here? (Not a soul - thank goodness!) and Why did you come here? (We love the wide open hills, the amazing weather and skies, the people, and the freedom to do as we please!) We love being around people whose most-used phrases are "Cowboy up!" and "We drag our own saddle!" instead of "You owe me!" and "What's in it for me?"

There's always downsides, especially in small towns/areas where everyone is related or knows someone who is, where no one posts maps or directions to things because everyone local already knows where it is, it takes a long time to get anywhere else, etc.... but it is a great place to be left alone. When we first came here, some folks started a rumor that we were under the Witness Protection Program, and we have had a lot of fun with that, as well as our "midget cows" and weird ways. But folks are friendly and enjoy life, and we even have a local girl raising one of our calves for her 4-H project this year...
Life is good. But let's stop telling people, or they'll all want to come out here and ruin it!
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
4,910 posts, read 5,794,767 times
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When I traveled back east I noticed that folks were a lot more connected than they are here as well. Not that either way is bad, just different.

The family I stayed with in southern Illinois were unbelievably welcoming and to me as a Montanan, almost smothering. I appreciated their hospitality and was happy to be involved in their lives, but it was very different from here. I guess it is a legacy of our pioneer days and having to be self sufficent and the nearest neighbor being a days ride away. Families are just as close, but my hunting partner that I have known since high school all those many years and hunting camps ago, and I will go for months without calling or speaking, no big thing. I guess we just don't have to have the interaction that other folks are used to.

He lives in Bozeman and I live just outside Helena, but with todays communications and transportation, we could be in constant contact, but we just aren't. Usually the only time we call each other is when one or the other needs some help with something or advice, or when the hunting drawings are due and we coordinate about where to put in for and what animals.

I would agree that our regulations are overly complex, but the commishioners that put them together are political appointees, so they reflect the will of the governor that put them on the board instead of being real scientists or hunters working for the betterment of the hunting community. Hunting regulations I believe are designed to be confusing to keep more folks from taking advantage of the opportunities we have.

Anyway, Great Post Threerun, Welcome Home and we are glad to have you. You and your family are a real asset to the Helena Community.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:25 PM
 
Location: SW Montana
233 posts, read 456,708 times
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Awesome post Threerun!!

We fell in love with Helena, but Bozeman will be home for a few years because of Montana State. I think we are going to enjoy Montana regardless of location. So much closer to our lifestyle needs and wants.

Almost there!

Thanks again for sharing...all your posts have been very informative.

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Old 06-17-2011, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Bozeman, Montana
1,191 posts, read 2,571,389 times
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Nice to hear that you have settled in, Threerun. And thanks for the description of your experience.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,854 posts, read 15,492,091 times
Reputation: 12142
A few honorable mentions- I have, unfornutately, run in to a few tree hugger types. There is a power line running along the backside of my property, a 10,000V 6 line variety. The entire line is on me and my property line with my neighbor behind me runs directly below the farthest line. The entire right of way is choked with sucker pines no more than 8-10ft tall. Thick as bamboo and just as spindly.

I took my tractor with a loader up to push these pines down when the ground was soft (clearing under the lines) and I pushed a few trees over on her property.

She came out and lit into me like she was rabid. I was cutting her sacred trees down. Even though the right of way for the power company (which says they want NO trees that can grow 25' or higher under or within 15 ft of the outside lines) dictates they be cleared. I tried to explain I was just maintaining the right of way- no biggie. Did it all the time back home. Heck your neighbor would bring you a beer for bush hogging his right of way.

She called the cops on me. He had to calm things down and I had to to replant some seedling under the power line to keep her from suing me.

No kidding. That's crazy. I won't say where she's originally from but it AIN'T where I'm from, lol.

So lesson learned.


Also- Don't run a weed whacker on high grass that hides prickly pear cactus underneath. In shorts at least. That kinda hurt the old legs a bit. It'll leave a mark for a while.
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:54 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,543 posts, read 12,598,383 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threerun View Post
West Virginia and Virginia are two totally different places. Please don't mix us up. We're hillbilly's, they are snobs.
I'd write something about how insightful this all is, but I got this far and now I can't stop laughing
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:05 AM
 
Location: Approximately 50 miles from Missoula MT/38 yrs full time after 4 yrs part time
2,294 posts, read 3,338,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threerun View Post
..................................hey threerun..................... Just a few comments from an old fogey who has some-what paid attention to your move from wv to mt. Compliment(s) on your post..........

...................if i may, i'll insert some comments in blue in a few places that reflect my thinking on what you have posted.

5. Kids- my kids love it. They are both active in school and outdoor activities. Both kids getting straight a's, fit in well, in scouts (as am i) and really love it here. It's a great place for kids. No complaints from them. There is some curiosity from other folks about where they are from. They have very distinct manners....>>i'm so glad you mentioned their "manners". I'm sure they "stand-out" when comparred to some of their classmates and friends....... I've been a firm believer all my life, that youngsters reflect and are the "product of the enviroment" they were (are) subjected to during their "formative years" i.e. Age four to about 17!!................i have no doubt that as your kids go from the teen-age years to being young adults, you will have very few problems with them. .

6. Wildlife diversity. Self explanatory. It's like living in the complete set of mutual of omaha's wild kingdom. Where's dan the danger guy?yes, the numbers and dfferent species of animals and birds that one can encounter just in a three hour hike through the woods where i live here in the bitterroot, is quite surprising.......but it takes patience and constantly being totally aware of your suroundings.

7. Straight roads- double edged sword. At first blush it's great, but don't you folks get bored with all the straight roads? The mountains aren't even as bad as wv, where you go down, through and around a holler. Of course wv roads are narrower. Makes for mirror kissing action. I've lost a few. yes, i also prefer the curvy and undulating roads with brush and trees up to 30 feet of so from the shoulter.


so... Bad things...

1. Miss the friends back home- comes with moving. No fault of montanans. I think we're a little more open and southern like than folks here. The sense is this area of the country is not as warm an inviting. People are great, don't get me wrong, and i'm extremely lucky to have met some grade 'a' folks out here (and you know who you are...) but even in scouts a lot of the folks are aloof. It's not a community potluck kind of town. No biggie, no plans on changing. Maybe it's because we're in a political town? Yes, I'm sure the great number of transplants into Helena with political and/or governmental backgrounds, do definitely have a telling effect on the impression9s0 they leave on folks in their every-day contacts with neighbors and friends........not like the warm and open type of persona that I associate with a store owner from central Iowa or a farmer from Nebraska.

2. Distance between towns- takes some getting used to. We bought a fuel efficient car to offset the consumption issue.


I don't know- thought i'd ramble a bit about how a family from west virginia is taking to life in montana. We love it here, really we do. It get's easier day by day, as it should. We plan on traveling back to wv every other year to see our friends, and we'll know when we get there if we made the right move.

But thanks for the folks on the forum, i appreciate the posts, the advice, the honesty and the diversity. God bless.
.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtsilvertip View Post
when i traveled back east i noticed that folks were a lot more connected than they are here as well. Not that either way is bad, just different.i have to agree with that in a broad/general sense. However, much of that depends upon the 1/ home enviroment one was raised in.....2/ the type and quality of the neighbors that were in your area during your formatitive years. ......in my case: We lived out in the county and grade school was 6 miles away, as was high school. So in the early years parents or neighbors took turns taking kids to school. After about 4th grade......they started a bus system that helped greatly. One aspect of my grade school and high school years, was that friendships were formed that (in my case) still last to this day. Even though we are a 1000 or more miles apart.........i rountiely speak on the phone --or E Mail (every month or so with about 3 or 4 guys/gals from our 1946 class of grad from grade school (29 in total), and we were just as "close" in high school (94 grads) and 4 to 5 of us are in touch either by phone or e mail every couple of months. And i've gone back to northern Ill from mt for the last 3 reunions (the 50th; the 55th and the 60th.) Had a ball each time .

The family i stayed with in southern illinois were unbelievably welcoming and to me as a montanan, almost smothering. I appreciated their hospitality and was happy to be involved in their lives, but it was very different from here. I guess it is a legacy of our pioneer days and having to be self sufficent and the nearest neighbor being a days ride away. Families are just as close, but my hunting partner that i have known since high school all those many years and hunting camps ago, and i will go for months without calling or speaking, no big thing. I guess we just don't have to have the interaction that other folks are used to. Along these lines......hunting and fishing were major past-times for us. To this day I occassional get a chance to do some "bird" hunting with guys that I started hunting with as far back as 1945 and 1946

He lives in bozeman and i live just outside helena, but with todays communications and transportation, we could be in constant contact, but we just aren't. Usually the only time we call each other is when one or the other needs some help with something or advice, or when the hunting drawings are due and we coordinate about where to put in for and what animals.


Anyway, great post threerun, welcome home and we are glad to have you. You and your family are a real asset to the helena community.
..................yes Three Run.................. We need more folks like you in his state...............

One thought ThreeRun regarding your neighbor and the pine tree situation:...................just make up a batch of Ponhaus and wrap in up in somepackaging from "TRADER JOE'S". Present it to her as a gift (WITHOUT any info as to it's contents).........just a simple statement that it is a Time-honored recipe from one of the Original Quaker families from PA.

Last edited by Montana Griz; 06-18-2011 at 12:40 AM..
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