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Old 08-14-2013, 10:40 PM
9 posts, read 143,192 times
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Thanks, Reziac!
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Old 08-15-2013, 12:50 AM
281 posts, read 782,731 times
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I gotta say it, I lived in the bay area for 5 years and for 7 in Montana. I'd rather drive the freeways in California than Hwy 93 in Montana. Also, too much drunk driving for me! Somehow, people wrack up multiple DUI's until the court does something about it. They don't crack down on it enough. I've never been in a wreck in my entire life until I went to Missoula. The traffic there is real bad. The roads are not yet equipped for all the people. After living in the Bitterroot and Flathead, I am certain that the worst drivers I have ever encountered are up here.

It might sound crazy but I felt more safe on the freeways out in CA then the highways up here.
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Old 08-15-2013, 01:01 AM
281 posts, read 782,731 times
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Also, please please please...... PLEASE for the love of all things, come UP here and stay awhile and experience Montana for YOURSELF because I am telling you.... everyone feels differently about a place and you cannot know what it is like for YOU until YOU get here. I cannot even stress it enough. While I loved moving to the Bitterroot valley (Hate Missoula, yep it's true) I made the ultimate mistake in moving to the Flathead without thoroughly checking it out, and did so based on the beauty of the land scape. We are miserable here and trying to move out.

Not all places and towns in Montana are the same, nor are the people. While I found the people in the Bitterroot to be way more friendlier, that is not the case at all for the Flathead, and we are very easy people to get a long with.

If you have not experienced winter, come in the dead of winter and STAY and find out if you can tolerate those long long cloudy freezing days. I lived in the mid west, through some hellish winters for many years, and I cannot even stand the long dreary days up here anymore. After years of it I'm done.

My husband and I lost a lot of money on our Montana experiment... if you are not of a profession, or position to make great money, you will struggle to make ends meet. The rents are not in line with the wages..... it is very very hard up here to make it work. My husband and I each have a college degree and we are struggling.

I'm saying all this not to try and sway your choice. I just wish someone had sat me down and told me about how rough it is here. I would have made better informed decisions. And please do not go based off of what someone else tells you....about how Montana is. I don't care what they say. My in laws told me it was basically WONDERFUL and stress free. NO LOL it is NOT. In fact we are more stressed up here now because we are broke and struggling on the job front.

Good luck to you in wherever you go.
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:12 AM
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,819 posts, read 13,425,721 times
Reputation: 3338
Originally Posted by Heart View Post
It might sound crazy but I felt more safe on the freeways out in CA then the highways up here.
Having lived both in MT and the Los Angeles area, and driven in SF as well... Los Angeles drivers have the whole rest of the world beat, hands down. Everyone learns to be an expert driver, and you almost never see incompetent driving, probably out of sheer self-defense. LA traffic is much denser than in SF (about 5x as many drivers) and speeds are much higher as well (longer stretches where you can really get going). People who've never driven there find it impossible to believe that LA traffic routinely goes bumper-to-bumper at 70mph with accidents being a rarity, considering there are up to 2 million cars on the roads at any given moment.

That said... having driven all over the west and western plains, Montana drivers are on average much better than most in the rural states. I don't see people regularly driving smack down the middle of two-lane roads (with oncoming traffic!), like I did in Nebraska!! MT probably has the most highly variable conditions across the seasons, and just as in CA, driving adversity teaches skills you can't otherwise develop.
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Old 08-15-2013, 01:17 PM
297 posts, read 715,132 times
Reputation: 277
Originally Posted by L.A.CityGirl View Post
Sorry I'm late in replying. I was disappointed to see there were no Trader Joe's in Missoula. They're all over the place here and I LOVE shopping there! I'm so glad to know I can still access one, even though it means I have to drive 3 hours to get my Trader Joe's fix, lol!

My hubby loves Moose Drool! They sell it in one of the supermarkets we shop at. Not only are your posts making me hungry but now they make me want to go to Trader's Joes, LOL!
Although I am most definitely not the last word in shopping or anything else, I truly expect TJ's to open a store here in Missoula within a couple of years. They would be packed every waking hour.
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Old 08-15-2013, 01:18 PM
297 posts, read 715,132 times
Reputation: 277
Heart makes a good point about the winters. And also to prove how everyone's viewpoint and experiences are different, we lived in the Bitterroot Valley for three years and hated every moment of it, thought the people were rude and unfriendly.
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:29 AM
281 posts, read 782,731 times
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MontanaGyrl, I'm sorry you had that experience. I'm dealing with that now and it's been awful for us. I wish I never moved to Polson. I've never seen so many unfriendly and nasty people in my life, converged in one area. The drinking and drunk driving is real bad up here as well. I've lived in many places in my life, and I'd have to say hands down, Polson is the worst. It's gorgeous to look at, but our experiences here with the people are disappointing.

Would it be different if I had grown up here? Or lived here another 20 years? Maybe. I had someone tell me on these forums it was because I'm not Native American, but I am.... I'm Oglala and I still feel like an outsider here. No one wants to get to know you.

Another thing my husband and I notice about Polson is how miserable a lot of people seem. Whenever we go to the grocery store, or any store here, most people are not smiling. Cashiers will openly talk about their lives, and it's usually some kind of sad drama. No one hardly smiles. It feels very down trodden here, yet there is all this incredible beauty surrounding you.

People come up here and vacation and love it, and want to live here.

A Salish woman told my husband a few weeks back "The only people who can make it up here are the natives and the rich people. If you fall somewhere else, you won't stay long". She said a lot of people come and turn around and leave.

Well, that will be the case for us. We are going to have to go. We've been in Montana for almost 7 years now, and we have lost a lot of money staying here. I will miss the scenery, but you cannot eat the scenery. The thing is, we were SO determined to make this work and have taken huge losses for very little. I wanted Montana to work so badly. I'm accustomed to rough living, but there are absolutely no jobs up here and the health care is abysmal. As I have said, I loved living in Lolo... we were doing ok there, but still struggling. The people were so good to us there, it made it worth staying. I guess if life is rough, on top of living with people that treat you like outsiders, then it's not worth staying at all.

My husband and I really friendly and outgoing, so I don't think we fit in here. Most people are very inclusive and keep to themselves or the bars here. The parents of the kids our daughter plays with, are just not that friendly either. It's been difficult meeting people, even when we put ourselves out there.

So yeah... anyone thinking of moving up here, they really need to gather the information for themselves and do not pack up and just come up blindly like we did.

Every town is different for each person. Like you said, Montanagyrl, you didn't like the Bitterroot, but I loved it and fit in there. It's just hard to know until you get there.

Peace <3

Last edited by Heart; 08-17-2013 at 05:37 AM..
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:45 AM
281 posts, read 782,731 times
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Another thing about the winters... and this might give you a little idea of how much money the heating bill will be

When we came up here years ago, we rented a duplex. Our winter bill in the coldest months was $102-$120 a month. In 2011, it jumped up drastically, especially after Northwest Energy installed the smart meters. Our winter bills in Dec, Jan, and Feb in 2011-2012 were around $180 - $220 a month. This is with our landlords winterizing the place too.

And now the energy costs are going up again nationally, so I cannot even imagine what the bill will be for this coming winter.

The highest paying service job in Missoula is Directv, as far as I know to date. My husband worked there for 3 years. The first year was great because of monetary incentives that they gave and he made good money, but then the company cut down on incentive pay and he started to make less money, and over time, it just became less and less.

He has a degree in web graphic and computer science that he cannot use up here. No jobs for it. The unemployment office sent him to a screen printing place where they wanted to pay him $8 an hour.

Finding work is very rough here. If you don't have a profession, be prepared to make very little money and pay very high rents. Subletting apartments with roomies, may be the only method of survival for the young and old.
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Old 08-17-2013, 11:52 AM
1 posts, read 3,164 times
Reputation: 10
Hi ~ I'm from California and moved to Kalispell 6 years ago to be closer to my aging parents who had retired here. This is the first time I've ever heard about extremist groups being here! There are not a lot of black people here but I have met a few. I've found that people here are judged by their character and not their color. This is a wonderful place to live.
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Old 08-17-2013, 12:34 PM
297 posts, read 715,132 times
Reputation: 277
Um, not sure if you've been reading the news in the last few years (no offense intended), but "Pioneer Little Europe" is indeed active in the Kalispell area.

High Country Extremism: Homeland on the Range | Blog | Media Matters for America

KALISPELL, MONTANA: Liberal Group Angry Over White People With Different Views Moving In | Newsnet 14

Fortunately, Flathead Valley residents are also pushing back.
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