By Katherine Johnson

Verizon Store – Miles City, MT


Every few years I am pulled by ancestral gravity back to my place of birth, which is in Minnesota. The exact reason why Minnesota still holds such a sway over me is rather murky but I think this pull is a form of gravity and is related to how and when my light was light. I also instinctively sense that understanding this fully could also explain my deep and abiding love of tail fins, chrome, and clear plastic seat covers.

With this as background what follows should make more sense – they are the opening notes from my most recent personal odyssey to discover my origins and get a few free meals from my relatives.

Things I learned today:

1,950 miles is a lot of miles to drive in one stretch even if you stop for a nap at Pipestone Pass (aka The Continental Divide), elev 6850 ft, a second nap just outside of Bozeman where you get woke up when a train hauling about a 100 army tanks goes by, and go shopping in Billings just for fun.

2. That automotive technology and comfort has improved quite a bit from the first time I drove this same segment in one shot in a 1965 VW in the middle of December. The most notable difference is the VW didn’t have heat when it was needed and the Ford Focus had A/C when it wasn’t needed. Thank God I don’t need to travel with a can of de-icer and a scraper for the inside of the windshield while driving anymore.

3. That Montana’s 80 mph speed limit is perfect. I like driving this fast and would do it every day every where I go if I could. An Interesting side effect of this is nearly all Montanans I passed were content to drive the speed limit.

Another interesting observation is that Montanans really stick to driving in the right lane except to pass; they are very civil drivers. I found this to be most helpful because it kept the left lane wide open for me to use and abuse.

4. I am able to report that Verizon’s 4G LTE map along the I90 – I94 corridor is remarkably accurate. You really do get great coverage most of time. I can report with great confidence that it is the exception to get total drop outs and reductions in speed below 4G LTE.

Before I left I came up with a very challenging way to test the network: Could I watch movies and live TV, non stop, on my phone while driving the I90-I94 corridor? Remarkably you really can and more remarkably it works while maintaining an average speed of around 80 mph in Montana.

I am now able to report that you can watch full segments of Wolf Blitzer, Deadliest Catch, Swamp People, Porno (this was only done in the name of research), and Sponge Bob just like you would after 2 six packs at home on a Saturday night.

5. That I need a different car. My 2009 Ford Focus can handle the 80 mph Montana speed limit but it is clear that this car was designed for a Socialist Blue State like Washington where a top speed of 60 mph is typical.

My Ford Focus is a terrific car and a top notch example that Detroit does build world class cars; still it sucks at driving in the left lane in Montana. In fact it actually contributes to inattentive driving because the regular fussing with the cruise control distracted me from my 4G LTE research mentioned above.

I am actively soliciting suggestions in this area. Because I am a Ford Ho! I am totally leaning towards the current Taurus or top of the line Mustang (I deserve this car).

6. All the men in Montana look like a variation of Larry the Cable Guy. In one day in Montana I did a of couple surveys in the name of consumer science while having dinner, drinking, and gambling in Miles City.

My results showed that if a guy was not wearing a baseball cap with a camo pattern, car logo on it or a beer logo, a t shirt with similar graphics or a collared shirt with no sleeves, and didn’t have some level of facial hair was either from Washington or Minnesota or gay.

Surprisingly, I noticed that I find camo, car and beer logos kinda hot.

7. Verizon really needs to clamp down on its dealers in Montana.

Copyright 2016 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved