When you cross Montana from West to East on Hwy 90, you pass a town called Three Forks. And I literally mean “pass it”. Because the highway does not do through the town, you deliberately need to take the right exit if you even want to see the town. You would therefore be forgiven if you never noticed Three Forks or never even knew it existed!
So it was with us. Yet, somehow, we picked this town as a place to stay, simply because it was convenient, “mileage-wise” to stop for a couple of days to explore things in the neighborhood. Helena to the north and Virginia City an equal distance to the south. To further fit our plans, the town had an RV Park that sounded quite decent so Linda called ahead to book us a spot.
To our surprise, they were full!? We were like, “Why? Who stays in Three Forks?”
However, the guy Linda spoke to suggested we call the local grocery market as the owner there was building a small RV Park on the back of his property. Really???
And so it was that we spent some days behind the local grocery store in Three Forks!
Yes, the owner had put in 9 spots for RVs in the property behind his store. He had full hookups, including 50Amps and said a 42 foot motorhome would not be an issue. He did state that he had no toilet or shower facilities, so would only accept RVs that were fully self-contained.
The RV spots turned out to be HUGE. Each site would easily be about 80 feet in length. The service was outstanding though. The owner himself came out to greet us, help us get settled in and later brought us a slip of paper with the WiFi password written on. He told us he had only been open for 2 weeks and the site we were in had never been used before, so he was really keen to make sure everything worked for us.
After we got over the idea we were parked in the back of a small town’s local grocery store, we realized we were quite comfortable and had the opportunity to check out some areas in the vicinity.
Where to park your horse?
A surprising case of Klepto-Tide-mania
Did you know that Tide (yes, the stuff you put in a washing machine) is a high-theft item?
We didn’t either so imagine our surprise when we saw this:
EVERY bottle on the shelf was tagged! There were dozens and dozens of bottles and ONLY the Tide brand was tagged. Why? What could possibly require this, labor-intensive, treatment for Tide? So we asked and got the incredulous answer “Oh, Tide is a high-theft item”. Really? Since when did Tide become such a sought-after item that it needed tagging to prevent theft?
We looked it up and it turns out that in many areas Tide has become a form of “currency” to buy Weed or Crack Cocaine. Unbelievable! Now you should know that we had seen quite a number of billboards along the Montana highways, warning against the use of Meth and other drugs. Not having seen these billboards in other states, we assumed that drugs were enough of a problem in Rural Montana to put up these warnings. Never did we suspect there was an active black market for something as innocuous as Tide to generate money to buy these drugs.
Tide appears to be an untraceable item. A bottle has no serial number or anything that could be used to determine where it came from, but it is a quality item with enough of a demand and a reasonable price tag to make it appealing enough to steal and sell for a few bucks so one can get the next “hit”.
We were absolutely floored by this bit of information. We were obviously naive enough not to be aware of this happening and it left us shocked and saddened that this is even happening. We then started wondering what it is about life in rural Montana that drives people to this. Sure, we are aware of drug use everywhere, but had never seen the billboard warnings which included help line numbers. Not just one or two, but many. Every highway we drove on had them. FYI, here is a link to an article about the theft of Tide.