Monday, September 3

Missoula, Montana

The skies around Missoula remain very smokey on Friday morning.  The crew enjoyed a very nice breakfast in the hotel and  the men left to clean the airplane and move it into position at the museum. The women had planned to join them later.  However, it was decided that five men could cover and the women went to downtown Missoula in the airport crew car for a shopping expedition. Missoula has a very alive and vibrant downtown area with a lot of nice shops and restaurants and a river that runs through it. Since it is home to the University of Montana, there are a lot of young people all over town. The shopkeepers are all very friendly and we told everyone  about the Flagship, including making a stop at the visitors bureau.
The men planned to have dinner with the staff of the museum and the crew of the B-25 bomber also being displayed here.  They were then getting a special tour of a military museum.  The women walked down the street to an Italian restaurant and had a delightful dinner with no mention of airplanes.
Saturday was clear and windy. We set up shop but had to batten the hatches to keep things from blowing away. The museum has some interesting things including a Chevy from the early 40's that is the most tricked out thing I have ever seen. It had a visor over the windshield and toolboxes in the trunk painted to match the car. Inside were a lot of accessories like an old radio and hats.
We are sharing the ramp at the Museum of Mountain Flying with the Mesa CAF Wing B-25 bomber, Maid-In-The-Shade. They do a lot of advance publicity and flew two rides during the day. We signed up several for a ride on Sunday. We received a shipment of a new style of tee shirt and sold several of both the new and old styles. Today was the opening game of football season for the University of Montana which is here in Missoula and consequently the afternoon was a little slow.  By mid afternoon, the wind had blown the smoke away and we finally could see the beauty of the mountains around the town. We went to dinner with the museum staff, and the B-25 crew. The men all enjoyed comparing notes and experiences.

The air on Sunday was calmer and that meant the smoke came creeping back in. There seemed to be more people stirring than the day before and we had an active day.  Tara Oster came out from the television station and did a wonderful piece on the plane and our mission. Too late for Missoula, but the station serves Kalispell as well, our next stop. That afternoon we did a Heritage flight with 9 new members and 8 people from Neptune Aviation who have been so very helpful with maintenance.
That evening we visited Missoula's famous carousel, which was created  with thousands of hours of community volunteer work. Nothing would do, but that we had to ride it. Dinner was at a microbrewery across the parking lot, where both the food and beer was enjoyed, as well as the fellowship among ourselves.

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