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Seasoned travel writers Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae share the best ways to experience all that Montana has to offer, from the wilderness of Yellowstone to the rolling prairies of the state's eastern region. Jewell and McRae lead travelers to the highlights of the Big Sky Country with trip ideas such as A Lewis and Clark Expedition and Fishing Southwest Montana. Complete with tips for cross-country skiing at Glacier National Park, observing elk at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, and finding the best watering holes in Missoula, Moon Montana gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.
Judy Jewell was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, where crossing a busy street was a typical outdoor adventure. She headed west right after she broke her right leg falling from a tree house at a camp where she worked. A small cash settlement prompted Judy to buy a cross-country Amtrak pass, pack up her stuff, and move to Portland, Oregon.
Not long after that, in 1978, Judy made her first visit to Montana. By accident. On a freight train. It now occurs to her that she must’ve been a little wild back then. And it occurs to her friends that she’s still somebody who goes out of her way to . . . well, go out of her way.
Back on track in Portland, Judy graduated from Reed College and worked as a Forest Service grunt, pizza maker, and women’s health-collective staff member. Then she found herself at Portland’s renowned Powell’s Books. Judy worked there, as a book buyer and manager, for 14 years. It was during this long stint that Judy and co-worker Bill McRae realized some of the books they were selling would look a lot better with their names on them.
In addition to Moon Montana, Judy is the author of several guidebooks, including Moon Utah, Moon Zion & Bryce, Moon Oregon, and Moon Coastal Oregon (all with Bill McRae). When she is not writing about the outdoors and travel, she works as a technical and scientific editor and a yoga teacher in Portland, Oregon.
Bill McRae was raised in the badlands of eastern Montana, in a ranching community noted for Old West nonconformity and lawlessness. It’s no wonder that he was on the run for most of his university years: from Montana to Scotland, on to France, back to Canada, and then to England. This wayward youth didn’t help him much in the job market; over the years he has worked in jobs as varied as bookstore manager, catering chef, tile setter, remodeler, bartender, and bovine artificial inseminator. Nearly all these jobs subsidized him at one time or another while he struggled to establish himself as a writer.
Bill’s first travel guide was Moon Montana, and of all his books it remains his favorite. He grew up in an immigrant family steeped in the history of Montanaone grandfather of Prussian Jewish extraction helped push the railroad across central Montana, while another emigrated from Scotland to start a sheep ranch in the Big Dry Country. The matriarchy had its own stories of emigration, homesteading, and the Great Depression. This confluence of traditions meant a youth spent listening to family tales. Bill grew up in a household rich with sagas: the early railroad, friendships with Charlie Russell, open-range cowboys, sheepherders, outlaws, and cattle drives. For this son of the West, capturing the essence of Montana’s rugged yet courtly spirit was both a challenge and a therapy.
Bill is the co-author of several travel guides, including Moon Utah, Moon Zion & Bryce, Moon Oregon, and Moon Coastal Oregon (all with Judy Jewell). He has written for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and Mobil Guides, and has provided content for 1000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die. He has also edited books for National Geographic and provided content for websites like GORP and Expedia.