Those who have driven the lonely border region between Montana and Idaho on Interstate 90 know that the 10,000 Silver $ roadhouse has long been an oasis for bad food, crummy souvenirs and stingy video poker machines. In other words, it is a holy place.
Imagine my shock last week when I was driving towards Missoula and started seeing billboards for something called the 50,000 Silver $. Shock turned to horror as I approached the roadhouse and saw that it's familiar sign had indeed gone up 40,000 additional silver dollars.
I went inside to demand an explanation.
I stopped first in the bar, where I emptied some quarters I had coincidentally brought along into a poker machine and commenced to lose them. A young Asian woman was playing the machine next to me, and kept asking for help in deciphering the graphics to determine which cards to hold and which to discard. While she was having some trouble reading English, she was having no trouble with poker strategy and kept piling up points.
When I was out of money, I walked over to the bartender and learned that the name change reflected that many more people had donated silver dollars, which were mounted and displayed up the walls of the high-ceilinged bar. She told me the place originally started as the 2,000 Silver $, and the 10,000 name had remained for decades despite being inaccurate.
Now you know.