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Why We Moved to Montana

Story ID:7273
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Dillon Montana USA
Year:2011
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Roz and I have been asked many times why we gave up living in Fresno, California and here is our answer...

Why we moved to Dillon, Montana
Roz and I were married on March 2, 1970 and in the summer of 1972 we started tracing my roots in Montana. My Dad was born in the Big Hole Valley near Dillon 1n 1884. He was a cattle rancher but left his ranch to marry my Mother and move to Oregon where I was born in 1934.

On our first trip to the Big Hole Valley and the Dillon area, we instantly fell in love with the beautiful country and relaxed style of living. We continued coming back to this area about every year or two and spend as much as a month at various campgrounds.

In July, 1988, we were staying at the KOA campground in our 5th wheel trailer. We used that place as a base to explore the country side and engage in our favorite sport, fishing for those delicious Montana Brook Trout.

One morning we got up early to head out to the Big Hole for a fishing trip. On the way out there the sun was coming up behind us and as we came over a hill, the Big Hole Valley with the beautiful Bitterroot Mountains in the distance was being illuminated in glorious sunlight. What a sight. I looked over at Roz and saw the most peaceful look on her face that I had ever seen. I said, “What are you thinking, Roz.” She said, “I was just thinking that this is the place I could live the rest of my life.” I pulled my truck over and we thought about it a bit then both agreed that we should turn around and head back to Dillon. Maybe we could find a business to buy or something to keep us here.

On returning to Dillon, we went to a friend’s bookstore and she told us of a Women’s Shoe store across the street that was for sale. I knew nothing about women’s shoes but thought it was worth a try to at least talk to the lady. After a few minutes she told us to talk to her real estate lady in the next block as that was where she had her profit and loss statements filed. After looking at them and realizing I would have to work harder than ever in a business I knew nothing about to make less than I was at my own printing business in Fresno we took that notion our of our heads. I then said that we might just buy a nice house and move here when we could. Roz was still working and I had my print shop. The real estate lady said she had just what we might be looking for. It was a nice house near downtown and hadn’t even been listed yet. She gave us the keys and we went over to see it and were immediately hooked. It was just what we had in mind.

Roz and I then went back to the real estate office and told them that we were definitely interested and to give us a price. After negotiating the price with the owners we told them to hold the house until we could arrange payment.

A few days later all was settled and we headed home to Fresno. Our goal now was to retire and move to Dillon. Roz had put in 30 years at Sierra Hospital and I had a printing business to sell or take to Montana. We finally decided to move my shop to Dillon as most of my customers wanted me to continue to do their printing. This worked great as I didn’t have to drum up local printing.

In September of 1988 we drove back to Dillon to close the deal on the house.

Now we were really anxious to move to our new home. Roz retired in May of 1989 and we packed up everything including my Mom and left Fresno for good. I came back a week later to pack up my print shop and ship it to Dillon.

For those of you who think that I forced Roz to move to Montana you are sadly mistaken. It is not true at all. We moved because it is what we both wanted and Roz will attest to that. We both believe that Dillon is the most beautiful and un-stressful place in the world. Here is just an example:

Dillon Montana…
Clean crisp air – altitude 5000 ft

No fog…I have never seen fog in the 22 years we have been here.

No smog…Never, Never, Never!

Two traffic lights…Up until 3 years ago we only had one…I guess that’s progress!

Virtually no crime…Rarely lock the car doors when going shopping or the house for that matter!

5 minutes from Hospital – fully staffed & a new hospital will be built next year

5 minutes from a fully staffed E.R. 24 hours a day.

5 minutes from doctors…Including a general surgeon, orthopedic surgeon.

5 minutes from downtown…Variety of stores and restaurants including 2 discount stores.

5 minutes from University of Montana – Western…Full Athletic programs.

5 minutes from a full service Y.M.C.A with exercise programs and swimming pool.

3 minutes from police – they respond immodestly and will take you to the hospital or call for an ambulance if necessary

5 minutes from ambulance and EMT.

5 minutes from IGA grocery store

10 minutes from large Safeway store

Community concert association

Good restaurants:
1 McDonalds

1 Chinese

1Subway

1 KFC

3 Mexican

3 Pizza places

5 or 6 good old home cooking places

Great hunting and fishing...Yes, we do eat those things!

Friendly people – even the garbage truck driver waves at us.

Kiwanis Club

Lions Club

Shrine Club

Elks Club

No Sales Tax!

Nearest big city (one with a Wal-Mart, K-Mart & Costco type store) 60 miles

Lowest gas prices in Montana but don’t worry too much about that as I only fill up about 6 times a year

Two National Parks within 100 miles

Beautiful country and people

And contrary to popular belief we do not live on the side of a hill where we have to walk with one leg shorter than the other. We also have indoor plumbing.

If this sounds too good to be true, just come visit us and see for yourself.



Somebody said that it wouldn’t be done,
But Chuck and Roz, with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it wouldn’t,” but they would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till they tried.
So they buckled right in with a the trace of a grin
On their faces, if they worried they hid it.
And they started to sing as they tackled the thing
That wouldn’t be done and they did it!
Montana!