Et Tu, Brute?

Saturday, November 10, 2012 Road Junkies 0 Comments

WESTWARD HO, Days 18-20
Bozeman, MT
Even though we had our doubts since the Atlanta-based Weather Channel was involved, winter storm Brutus did arrive in Montana as predicted, dumping plenty of snow on Bozeman and much of the remainder of the state.  How much snow fell?  As it turns out, that is apparently not a simple question.

For a couple of Southerners trying to ascertain just how much snow fell, there's no easy place to turn for an answer.  Weather Channel?  Nope.  National Weather Service?  Uh-uh.  Local TV news?  Nah.

It seems that snowfall is not a statistic that's easy to track down.  What the weather folks will tell you is that .71 inches of precipitation were recorded.  Uh, no.  That is not less than an inch of snow.  So what do they do?  Gather up a square inch of snow and melt it in a test tube to determine the amount?

Hailing from Atlanta, where four inches of snow paralyzed the city for a week in 1982, we were sort of amazed to observe that life here in Montana went right on after, according to the local newspaper,  8" of snow fell Thursday night (Friday morning view above).

No, of course school was not cancelled.
Of course, Walmart was open and selling snow shovels and brushes.
Since we're in Rome Bozeman, we decided to do like the Bozemanites.  So we visited the local Walmart (across the highway from our hotel) to invest in a snow scraper and some food supplies.  Then we engaged in some fun indoor activities—catching up on laundry, blogging, working out in the exercise room, etc.
Local landscaper at work
It was interesting to note that companies that provide landscaping services don't sit idle in winter here in Montana.  They just attach a snow plow blade to the front of their trucks and provide parking lot scraping services to local businesses.  Brilliant!

On Saturday morning, we woke up to an additional who knows how many inches of snow.  Five or six maybe based on what accumulated in the parking lot of our hotel after it had been cleared some on Friday.  There wasn't much appreciable difference in the view from our window this morning except that the vehicles and driving areas that had been cleared on Friday were snow-covered again.

Saturday morning view
Along with this new accumulation came very cold temperatures. We never saw a reading higher than 10°, and as I write this at 9:45 p.m., the temp is at -5° and falling. And yet, people went about their normal lives.  High school students played in football and volleyball tournaments, car dealers opened their doors to potential buyers, and every store and restaurant appeared to be open.

When we ventured out for lunch and a little letterboxing, the snow that was falling was crystal fine.  It looked as if you were inside a snow globe.  The fine snow blowing in your face had a very chilling effect. 

After lunch we visited a couple of Bozeman cemeteries to search for letterboxes.  The snow cover turned Sunset Hills Cemetery into a stunning winter setting.  Many of the roads within the cemetery are lined with evergreens, which today evoked a feeling of visiting a magical storybook wonderland for someone with Southern roots.
Sunset Hills Cemetery
Experiencing a significant snowfall in a city that is equipped to deal with such weather and populated by people who just keep calm and carry on was a great learning opportunity for us.  Traffic on the interstate has been pretty steady and the Montana DOT provides excellent online information about road conditions, so tomorrow, we plan to continue our trek westward and make our way to Missoula for the night.



  • Nights we spent in Bozeman:  4
  • Snowfall:  12-ish inches?
  • Temperature range:  -5° to 39°
  • Weather-related school closings:  0
  • Government offices closed:  0
  • Businesses closed:  0
  • Sledders in the local park:  38
  • Cross country skiers on city streets:  6   
Green light to life as usual
Found the letterbox!