Sunday, February 28, 2010
Powder River County Courthouse - Broadus, MT
Population: 1,858 in 2000 Established 1919
The last county! The 56th to be checked off the list. We celebrated by having lunch, reading the Sunday Billings Gazette, fueling up and getting back on the road. Craig and I are heading back on Hiway 212 which will take us through Lame Deer, Crow Agency and Little Bighorn Battlefield. A pretty ride through the meadows and valleys. 2.5 hours later we pulled into Hardin, a mere 315 mile run since breakfast. I thought about pushing back to Great Falls that evening, but another 300 miles in the dark was not as tempting as home cooked meal and a visit with Craig's other half Carla and their sons, David and Jonathan. I got home about 3PM. Rode in heavy rain from Hardin to almost Eddy's Corner. Particularly challenging was getting through the muddy road construction near Judith Gap. It was good to be home, and done with this summer of riding.
Friends ask if I would do it again. Yes, I would, but next time I will take the time it should take to appreciate the scenic beauty Montana has to offer, and to visit with the people who make a living and grow where they are planted. I been thinking of combining a ride with the goal of shooting photos of the vanishing cabins, homesteads, ranches, and elevators. I will some day buy a camera that will help capture this wonderful state of Montana.
Pop: 2,837 in 2000
Established in 1913
Oil and cows put Baker on the map. Baker features a nice sized reservoir skirting town. Some newer homes are lake side, but the water had the odor of a prairie water hole. Looks like they have a lot of fun on the water here. We thought about camping here, but felt there might be something in Ekalaka or the Medicine Rocks State Park, so we pushed on..
Miles City, MT Pop. 11,696
Established in 1865
Wow, had Miles City ever changed. We came in the East entrance and I had no landmarks to go by. Everything had been built up! We headed for lunch at the Grenz's 600 Cafe, hoping it was still alive and well. Maybe is was the 25 years I'd been gone that distorted my memory, but Downtown looked different. While ordiering lunch I asked if Butch Grenz still owned the place, and was informed he had sold it to his daughter, and that he was downstairs baking. He stopped by our booth for a visit, and we caught up on a few old days stories back when I was the Chambers Executives Director. When I went to pay the tab, I was
told Butch had already paid for it. I've always said when it comes to living places on the prarrie, Miles City folks were the best. I need to go back someday, and poke around town again. If you ever want a true modern wild west experieince, go to the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale. Its always the 3rd weekend in May. I went to find my old house, and could not remember the address! We drove around a bit looking for it, but got frustrated, so we gases up and headed for Terry.
600 Cafe, Main Street Miles City Cousin Craig cruizen Eastern MT
I spotted a sign on the lawn of a Motel that said tent camping so I pulled in. What deal! For $35, I got a nice grassy spot, hot shower, and breakfast the next morning. Red Lodge was packed!
I am cruising I-90 to get to Stillwater Co. and then to Carbon Co, the small pocket of counties I as not able to get to due to the rain delay the last time I was in Big Timber. My now I am getting used to 12-16 hour rides. I keep thinking 8 more hours a day and I could mix it up with he Iron Butt Club. I also know it dangerous it is to push past rest stops and losing mental focus. Stupid kills.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Twin Bridges Campsite for cyclists. Meet two young men from Switzerland, one of which was on a two year ride from the top of Canada to the tip of South America, and the other came for a one month ride and to provide moral support for his friend. I set up my tent, walked downtown to call my wife. No Cell phone service for Verizon in Twin! Bought a six pack of Heineken (the international beer) and we shared stories and solved the problems of the world. What a wonderful repose for travelers. On one side was the bike camp and the other was a comfort station and overnight RV parking. I pitched at the bike camp because RVs use generators and the noise and smell make for a restless night.