How We Roll
Anyway, it’s good to be back. If I’m not going to drive, the least I can do is write.
And another thing; Montana has an abundance of surface water in the form of ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams. It’s no wonder ranching is so prominent.
We also saw a lot of cattle and stacks and stacks of hay bales. There were small bands of antelope eating in the fields where the hay bales were, sometimes alongside the cattle. They seemed well fed and placid even, not the slightest bit worried about the humans driving by. Are antelope hunted, like deer?
South-eastern Montana seems even more remote than western Montana. There is a large Cheyenne Indian reservation there with lots of horse ranches. The towns are very small with miles and miles of road between them. We wondered where people shopped and bought gas. They would have to be extremely self-sufficient or really good planners.
They say people move to Montana in the summer because it’s beautiful. Then they move away in the winter because winters are so harsh. I can imagine this place covered with snow and the wind blowing drifts across the roads. To borrow a phrase from a gas station attendant we once talked to in Idaho, the roads are probably “blowed shut” often in the winter. You’d have to be pretty tough to live here…at least on a ranch or farm not near civilization.
I saw a sign advertising Big Horns (from Big Horn Sheep) that have been “beetle cleaned” and mounted. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t see that sign anywhere near Charleston, South Carolina. Or Phoenix, Arizona. Or Vacaville, California. Or Scranton, Pennsylvania. Or anywhere in western Washington.
There is a larger-than-life statue of Jesus on a hill overlooking Butte. (Is he protecting them or monitoring sinful activity?) Billboards proclaim a mining history museum, Lewis and Clark caverns, Yellowstone National Park, and the Sacajawea Hotel. But the attractions are miles apart. Wide open spaces are the order of the day.
Butte, Bozeman, and east looks like the Palouse (in eastern Washington) on steroids. The hills are bigger, the surrounding mountains taller. Mainly cattle ranching from the looks of it though, rather than farming, though there are some fields too; sagebrush and squatty trees that are probably the result of surviving in a really windy area. Strangely, we haven’t seen any wind turbines.
But since we were in hurry-up mode, and it took a long time to get through Montana, I recorded some of my impressions as we drove through it.
One thing we have learned from this year’s crazy schedule it that we definitely want to build in time for sight-seeing in our travels. The drive-till-you-drop mode of travel is not our favorite. We can’t really slow down much before we get to Pennsylvania, but when we leave there, the journey should be a bit more relaxed. If we aren’t driving just ahead of winter storms that is. We will make one more short stop in South Carolina on our way south, then winter in Arizona, near Phoenix.
At this point Boo is still doing all the driving because I am a scaredy-cat. If we do run across a stretch on flat land without much traffic, I should try driving the motor home again. I really do need to get over my phobia about driving large vehicles…before I am forced to drive because of some emergency. But enough of that for now.
We left Spokane and were through the Idaho panhandle and into the mountains of western Montana in short order. That has its ups and downs. A lot of both. It is beautiful though…peaks covered with evergreen trees, clear mountain streams paralleling the road, deciduous trees just starting to turn color. All we had to do was ignore the signs that show large trucks tipping over when going around curves. Well, slow down and then ignore them.
We’re still on kind of a hurry-up schedule because our next stop is near Scranton, Pennsylvania to visit the family we haven’t visited in our motor home yet. So we will be staying there a little longer to make up for that, providing that the weather cooperates. It started cooling off in Spokane the week before we left and that made us all think Fall was coming. Fall is a season we aren’t too excited about when traveling in our motor home since it precludes winter and all. But sometimes Fall is a great time to be up north. A good Indian summer is almost as good as an actual summer for us sun-worshipers. So we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
That had a consequence I didn’t anticipate. My friend said she was worried about me when she didn’t receive a blog for such a long time. She started imagining all sorts of dire situations we could have gotten ourselves into. Sorry about that. I’ll try not to let that much time pass between blogs in the future.
It’s been several months since I’ve written a blog…almost five actually. We spent six months in South Carolina helping Jessica through her chemo and radiation treatments and surgeries (well, being available to help her…she doesn’t need much help) and then we were on a “hurry up schedule” to see all the kids in California and Washington before heading east again. Also I had a freelance project that pretty much sucked up all my spare time. So my blog-writing has been on temporary hiatus.