So at least part of Day One in the Coolest City in the West will be spent tracking down some replacement parts. One thing about Missoula: It’s not a town where auto repair is the first thing that comes to mind. Everybody is biking and paddle-boarding and sipping high-end coffee and checking themselves out in the store windows on Higgins Avenue. Middle of the day in the middle of the week, and nobody’s working. Like Portlandia, Missoula does seem like a place where young people go to retire.I’m not young anymore, but I am sort of retired. So I will pose as an artsy type, a novelist of some sort, and should fit right in. The condo will help. It is very chic and minimalist, with floors of bamboo and cork and sliding screens instead of doors. The owner has asked that we remove our shoes upon entry. It’s that sort of place: Like Missoula, somewhat cooler than we are.
We have arrived in Missoula, Mont., after trekking 2,600 miles or so across this great nation of ours in a red Nissan Altima. The car is slightly worse for the wear; yesterday a chunk of wood detached itself from a logging truck on I-90 and knocked out the passenger-side mirror.