What I From Learned Driving in the Snow

Caroline Armstrong

Being raised in Seattle, Washington I did not get many opportunities to drive in the snow growing up. When it did snow, usually only 1-2 inches, everything shut down and people just simply stayed home – no need to drive! With the current snow storm hitting the Seattle area, I though I would share the valuable lesson I learned in 2015.

After high school I decided to go to college in Montana, and as most people know it snows quite a bit in Montana. My first year of college, I decided to drive back to Seattle for Thanksgiving with a few of my friends. It had just begun snowing the day before and I had a 4-wheel drive car so I figured everything should be OK.

I began my drive down I-90 West with a car full of gals, the snow was light and everything was going fine… well, for about 50 miles at least.

Coming around a slight curve at about 60 MPH (the Montana speed limit is 80 MPH) I felt my back tires starting to slide and just like that I had lost all control. My car spun around 3 or 4 times before slamming into a ditch and screeching to a stop. Shock. That’s all I felt. Silence. No one had said a word the whole time we were spinning and crashing. Immediately we all got out of the car to make sure everyone was OK and to examine the damage.

The airbags had deployed, I had a broken front axle, completely messed up front and back bumpers, two popped tires and two bent rims. But most importantly, no one was hurt. Luckily, my friends are much better at handling bad situations than I am because that is when it all set it. I could have killed myself and all my friends. Why? Because I was inexperienced. I didn’t know to slow down. I didn’t know to be on the lookout for black ice – what ended by causing the accident. I just didn’t know.

Driving when there is snow and ice on the road is unlike any other driving condition. Yes, you might have 4-wheel drive but that does not mean you have 4-wheel stop. The ice has a mind of its own and once you begin to slide it can be very hard to stop.

This winter, I beg of you to go slow in the snow. If you are an experienced snow driver, slow down. If you have never driven in the snow before, slow down. Even if the roads seem fine, slow down. It could save your life.

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Your Complete Instagram Guide to Missoula, MT

In  today’s day in age, any experience (for the most part) is accompanied by sharing that experience on social media. Missoula, Montana is known for it’s beautiful rivers and mountain ranges, however, it is also considered the cultural center of Montana. With an eclectic downtown scene, distinctive dining and strong sense of community, Missoula has a lot to offer as far as experience, both on and offline.

As an Instagram enthusiast myself, and a believer in the #DoItForTheGram mentality, I am all about curating an aesthetic and a strong social media presence. So I present to you your complete Instagram Guide to Missoula, MT to help you navigate the most aesthetically pleasing AND high quality hot spots around town.

Coffee: Black Coffee Roasting Co. 

img_2902img_2903The winner as far as aesthetics and quality coffee in Missoula goes, is definitely Black Coffee Roasting Co. Not only do they provide organic, craft roasted coffee while operating with sustainability, but they’re ambience is seriously on point. With a hipster-chic vibe and insanely good lighting, this is definitely the spot to go if you want some good latte art on your feed.

Walk in the Park: Greenough Park

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Greenough is a true gem, nestled just up the Rattlesnake and covering 42 acres, it is a peaceful place to go on a bike ride, run or, of course, go take photos. In the fall, Greenough is a paradise of colorful trees and crisp autumn air and a complete winter wonderland once the first snow occurs. It’s also just generally beautiful all year round, so if you want to go on a nice walk while taking amazing photos along the way, Greenough is the park for you.

Eats: Caffe Dolce

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As you may be able to tell, I love a good #FoodPorn flatlay. Caffe Dolce is by far the best spot across the board for breakfast, brunch, lunch AND dinner. Not only taste-wise, but to get a gorgeous food pic with minimal effort. Since Caffe Dolce’s establishment is made up of mainly windows, the lighting will always be perfection. Not to mention their tables are the ideal background color and texture, which is essential for any successful flatlay. Oh yeah, and the food looks pretty good too.

On the Town: Plonk

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As a grandma at heart, I’m no expert on the Missoula going out scene. However, I have to say that Plonk scores major points as far as experience, quality and Instagram-ability goes. The classy, big city atmosphere and gorgeous drink presentation are sure to elevate your feed into #InstagramGoals status.

Shopping: The Hip Strip + NOBO 

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Missoula has an awesome local shopping scene. With an array of unique and high quality boutiques, it’s definitely worth exploring when you get the chance, specifically downtown on The Hip Strip and NOBO (aka North of Broadway.) These areas are abundant with quirky shops, gorgeous boutiques, great places to eat and lots of Insta-worthy alleys tucked away perfect for that #ootd!

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Something Sweet: Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

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I know, I’m a true Big Dipper fan at heart too, however, there is no denying that Sweet Peaks brings it in the aesthetics department as well as well as their super unique ice cream flavors that make you go “huh, that sounds weird but also kind of good so I’ll try it.” If you want to capture a cool cone, venture over to Sweet Peaks. Don’t worry, it’s totally okay to cheat on Big Dipper every once in a while, especially if you get a good gram out of it.

Outside: The “M” Trail

img_2993img_2992 Now, I’ll admit I’ve only ever hiked the “M” in high school gym class, and once on a first date when a boy made me, and I was still in the “pretend to not be high maintenance phase” of the relationship. Needless to say, I don’t hike very much. But Missoula is the place for hikes, hiking and hikers so I had to include some kind of hike in this guide, to prevent getting Birkenstocks chucked at my head. All jokes aside the “M” trail is a beautiful hike, which is accessible to all levels of hiking ability and it takes a pretty damn good picture too, I must say.

 

I hope you enjoyed this Instagram Guide. Now you’re all set to go snap some #goals worthy IGs! But don’t forget to put down your phone to really appreciate the wonderful place that is Missoula, Montana. #Blessed, indeed (hate me yet?)

 

Do you have any favorite spots around Montana that didn’t make this list? Leave me a comment to let me know!

 

Photography by Michelle Dufflocq Williams, Aline Dufflocq Williams, McKenna Munden, Cloth & Crown, Betty’s Divine, Our Life Experiments and the University of Montana.