It’s not hard to tell if someone is out of place or not from a particular area. Often mispronunciations of a town’s name or “slang” references not used by locals, and/or abhorred by them, is a dead giveaway. For instance, we find it particularly telling, and annoying when someone refers to California as “Cali”. Oddly we are not offended when our state is referred to as the “Left Coast”, or the “Land of Fruit and Nuts”. But, here in Montana, not only does our attire (to include wandering about in rain gear, while food shopping) scream outsiders, but when we mispronounce Lima as Lee-ma. Since we began our research for the CDT, we have been calling Lima (pronounced LIE-MA, as in lima bean), Lee-ma. How we didn’t figure out the proper pronunciation, or have someone correct us, we’ll never know. Maybe the “locals” figured that it didn’t matter, as we were mostly just passing through. I think it does a disservice to an area/town/location to perpetuate a mispronunciation, and we apologize for being ignorant.
In the relatively short period of time we’ve been on the CDT, we have discovered that each town that the CDT intersects with is a gem of Americana. I believe it’s where the “heart” of this country lives. Many were once booming towns, vital to the expansion of the West, and filled with significant history. While Lima is a mere shadow of itself, it’s condition and existence is just as important today, as it was in its “heyday” as Montana’s first railway town, and an early 20th century Welcome Center for motorists entering Montana.
Hwy 91, in the early 1930’s ran parallel to the railroad tracks, and was once the major route through Montana, but has since been supplanted by the construction of the I-15 beginning in 1958. Much like how the I-15 in Southern California supplanted the infamous Route 66. In order to promote travel into Montana, a “welcome center” log cabin, that originally sat on the old Hwy 91, which is “main street”, was moved to the new “Welcome Center / Rest Stop” in Lima, just off the I-15. (We saw it as Deke was taking the off-ramp to drop us off at the Mountain View Motel, but neglected to walk over to during our stay in Lima.) Today Lima is a hub for hunters, and a vital stop and resupply for not only CDT hikers, but cyclists traversing the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
Originally Lima was established as Allerdice, with its first post office opening in 1881. I even found a postcard online, post marked with “Allerdice” as the territory it was from. The Utah & Northern Railroad, making Lima the first railroad town in Montana, then changed the name to “Spring Hill”, but it was December 6, 1889, that this town of 200 settled on Lima, after an early settler (Henry Thompson) hometown name of Lima, Wisconsin. For those “thirsty” for a more detailed history of Lima, a book, “Welcome to Lima” was released in 2018, by the Red Rock Valley History Keepers.
We spent 3 nights at the Mountain View Motel. We had initially planned for only two nights, but I needed another full day off my feet to mitigate the tendon problem I was having now with my left foot and I did not have enough KT Tape to stabilize my knee, right ankle and now left foot. So, another day of “RICE” (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) was required. I swear I am falling apart at the seams. All the years of “playing outside” are starting to catch up with me…piece by piece. The additional day, allowed us to “graze” another day and try out the “famous” steak at the historic Peat Hotel and Steakhouse. Unfortunately due to Covid-19, we did not get that chance to cook our own Montana steak, as previously advertised. While the service was slow as molasses, due to the owner having only two other people working. The steak, however, was cooked to perfection. When we went to pay for our meal (and drinks) the young and obviously frazzled and stressed owner, apologized for the less than stellar service. He went onto explain that he could not get people to return to work, as they were making practically the same amount of money being on “unemployment”, with the Covid-19 unemployment “enhancement”. We thanked him for fighting the fight to stay open and wished him our best.
Our “extra” day off proved to be timely as it rained, and I got somewhat caught up on my blog.