Monday, July 16, 2012

Billings, MT by default

Monday, July 16th

Started the day at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.  Very well done and with 2 movies and 1 talk and views of the Missouri River out the window.  The center focused on their experience in what is now Great Falls, MT due to the 5 falls they had to portage around.  

Showing the grade the men
had to get their heavy boats
up to portage around the falls
I never cease to be amazed at this Corp of Discovery and what they endured and what courage they had.  They were for the most part only in their early 30s - maybe that's why they had so much gumption. 

I had intended going to the C.M. Russell museum but the speaker at the Interpretive Center started out by asking how many were planning on going there today and I raised my hand and he said "sorry, they're closed on Monday:)"  He showed some slides of his work that he did of the Lewis & Clark expedition so that'll have to do for now I guess.

So left town by route:

Which follows the railroad tracks instead of a river.  As I drove along, following the tracks, I noticed several of the old kind of grain elevators that they use to use to load grain right into the railway cars - in the good ole days (way before my time!! but I've heard tell. . .).

And once again in the wide open, flat landscape with no trees, lots of telephone poles and they're very noticeable because everything else is so flat.  The only time you see trees is when there's a house and there aren't too many of those either.  Wonder if the house came first and the owners planted the trees for a wind-break or if the trees came first because there was water there and so that's where the house was built figuring they'd be more likely to get water when a well was dug (because, believe me, there's no city water in most of MT I'm guessing).

Someone had a sense of humor at a rest stop:
Wonder if they thought it was like running the water when you're trying to get a toddler to learn to use the potty.

Saw several signs for Access to National Forest - really - I can't see any trees all the way to the horizon.  Does the National Forest control land that isn't a forest?

Pictures will show the vastness of MT but it's not boring since the landscape changes from flat and barren to golden wheat fields to green wheat fields to rolling cattle-grazing acres and acres, to rocky out-croppings, to scattered ranches and miles and miles of blue skies, white clouds and the highway straight ahead of you for as far as you can see and the speed limit of 70 mph.  I love seeing the small round bales of hay just left where they fell in the field like sentinels guarding their crops.

It was quite warm all day but started pouring rain, thunder and lightening about 1/2 hr. after I pulled into my campground in Billings, MT.  

What does this look like to you?
An alligator to greet me at the

This is what my back view is - can't
see but the Yellowstone River
is just below those bluffs
As I mentioned yesterday, very few campgrounds in the catalog and I realized about 3 o'clock that if I didn't want to spend the night under the stars, I needed to alter my route and head straight south to Billings.  I fear I wouldn't have found a campground until tomorrow noon had I continued my country-side tour.  So, I don't know about MT?  And everyone says it takes a week to cross TX.  I think you could say almost the same about MT.

So, for the end of the story - I made my grilled veggie & couscous dinner tonight and here's the results (I know you were dying to see)
Grilled - even can see grill marks
(can you tell I'm impressed)

In the pan ready for grilling
in the microwave

On the plate with the couscous
Just look at all those yummy veggies

Dessert - raspberries and a slice of
Panettone from Jeff & Katie


mileage:  244                                gas: $64  @ $3.33                      Interpretive Center:  $0 (senior!)
campground:  $48

Two counties that I wonder about:  Petroleum County & I didn't see a single oil rig
                                                         Mussel Shell County and I haven't seen any water since I left the 
                                                                      Missouri River back in Great Falls.  

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