In my opinion, the Bozeman rest area is an oddity, located on the edge of the fourth largest city in Montana (pop. 37,000) rather than on a lonely stretch of nowhere. But it's a welcome oddity if you need a place to rest and don't want to enter the city, tempting fate about getting lost.
I stopped there today, on my way to Seattle, out of sheer curiosity.
It's a pleasant place, accessed at I-90 exit 305 (N. 19th Ave.), where you can also head for Costco, Target, or Petsmart, my usual shopping destinations.
Inside the nice, clean building you can find toilets and a place to sit safe from the elements. (Although today was sunny, there are usually elements in Montana.)
You can also find doughnuts. Lots of doughnuts!
Volunteers from the Bozeman Senior Social Center pick up baked goods donated by the local Albertson's and then greet weary travelers with energy-providing sugar-laden treats and coffee.
"We get compliments all the time from people telling us this is the best food they get at a rest stop," one senior gal told me.
She also said donations fund the center's Meals on Wheels program.
Although the rest area is open year round, the doughnuts are available only on Friday and Saturday, beginning the first of May and ending at the end of September.
I didn't have any money with me, so I asked if I could take a doughnut without making a donation. Since "donations" are so often obligatory, I thought I should ask.
The woman stared at me. I took that as a yes and also took a doughnut. As I munched it on the way back to my car, guilt wracked my conscience. The woman's blue eyes haunted me. How could I take a free doughnut when a few pennies would help feed hungry people?
I dug some change out of the cup holder and returned to drop a couple of quarters into the donation jar. That's when I got the idea to do this blog and tell everyone about the doughnuts . . . a little something more for my money, so to speak.
No, you don't have to make a donation to get a doughnut. But if you can get past that little old lady with the bright blue eyes, more power to you.