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Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Smarter Than the Average Roadrunner

Though the weather in Buffalo on our layover day wasn't as awful as we anticipated, the roads WERE quite covered and slick. So our decision was a wise one even though the road remained open. When we arrived at Piney Creek we saw why the gentlemen in the Cowboy warned us about it. We had no problem since the road was fairly dry with minimum drift but it is a long haul up and then curves and more up and then the same thing down. It is one of those deals that if you couldn't keep momentum going up there would be no way you'd make it and one false move on the descent and off you'd go. My cell phone had no bars--as a matter of fact Bets called and the connection dropped in seconds. In addition it is miles between exits--most of which are ranch access roads with the ranch house no where to be seen. All in all, better to just wait til things clear up as we did.

On the rez--well, they plow only one lane and that was still the case! On ramps? Off ramps? Not even touched anywhere along the Interstate. I could not resist taking pictures of the hills --they glistened so and every crevice and indentation was totally delineated by the snowy covering. It is amazingly beautiful country! While I didn't see the herds of antelope we saw in November there were many many of them on Bill's side of the road. I did have one small group to enjoy on my side. We traveled the Tongue River Valley toward Crow Agency and the Big Horns. The road sits right in the large valley clearing in which the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne were gathered when arrogant Custer decided to attack and sacrificed innumerable men against a force much greater than his own in country they could not possibly navigate. Garry Owen is along the road and the museum has a big sign on it--it is the repository of many of Elizabeth Custer's mementos of her husband and their life together as well as correspondence between them and, after his death, her various attempts to defend and glorify him. The owner of the town and these materials had them up for sale several years ago but there were no takers.

As we crested the hill into Billings the odor of petroleum wafted up to us--still several miles out. It is awful and only surpassed by the lovely fragrance of Laurel, its neighbor.To the left were the snow encased Bear Tooths, their heads invisible in the falling snow. Once we passed through them, however, the view I'd been longing for ever since entering Montana was before us. The snow covered Crazy Mountains--far in the distance but never seeming to get closer--until all at once they are larger than life right in the middle of the road and so incredibly beautiful and large that they seem unreal. I've learned that they are famous for the wolverines that inhabit them. The largest, most aggressive of the weasel family.

We eventually passed their flank, with trains in the foreground made small before them. Then we had a laugh at the fellow in the pickup luring his herd off the road and away from the tracks with a bale of hay. Those bovines were all over the place and all going in different directions! Soon we were surrounded by the Absakota range--not as high or snow covered at the Crazies but more of them and closer --fencing us in. And so we continued until the Bozeman Pass ( on this side--but the Livingston Pass on the other) I guess it is named not by where you are but where you are going. At its beginning it is very open with the town lying below. It is here that wind currents are the thing to worry about since tractor trailers have been blown over on their sides. The wind sock has no toe left--totally torn out raggedly by the winds. Today it was tolerably mild.

As one ascends there are two places to install chains on the tires. I've never been over the pass when anyone has been putting them on. When the road is bad enough these areas have troopers in them to pull over anyone without chains or studs and if the driver doesn't have them they are issued to them for a $50 deposit. Refundable on the other side when you return them. The pass is long and narrow and high but it had never been icy for us--thank goodness.

And then on the other side, The Bridgers and Bozeman lying in its high mountain valley. I called Bets as we pulled into the driveway of the motel and she said she'd be over in about ten minutes. We checked in and as I was walking into the motel from the parking lot she called to ask our room number. When we got off the elevator--there she was at our door knocking and wondering where we were. She had called from the lobby and walked to the room --getting there just ahead of us! Huge hugs and kisses--God, she looks so good!

In we went into our beautiful suite--an upgrade--costing only $70. plus tax! Soon Bets said she needed so much for her new apartment so off we went to WalMart and I got to do for her what my Mom had done for me and my sister when we moved to Albany--coffee pot, rug, cutting board and steak knives, can opener, etc, etc,etc--but such fun.

She went off to take her seltzer, goodies from Walmart , Guitar Hero we'd also carted West and her slow cooker I'd gotten her for Christmas and a picture poster from Snapfish. We settled in and then at 6 she returned and we met Neva and her Mom,Janet at Dave's Famous Ribs. Our conversations were so interesting and engrossing--to say nothing of eating ribs etc and sharing five ways a totally decadent fudge brownie with ice cream, whipped cream and hot chocolate sauce that I totally forgot to take any pictures!!! Neva wants to come east to sugar, go on a lobster boat, go to a goat farm and the racetrack! LOL Well, we can do that!

Returned to the room and I turned on Castle but fell asleep sitting up and never saw the ending! So at long last we are in Bozeman!

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