Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beartooth Pass Tomorrow

For Lonesome Dove fans ...  
I had a pretty easy day today traveling the short path from Miles City, home of the Olive Hotel, to Laurel, just past Billings.  The thing that made it hard was starting out on an interstate highway.  With a 75mph speed limit and my desire to go 55-65mph the back roads are great because there are few cars and trucks passing you to remind you what the speed limit really is.  But on the interstate there is a lot more traffic and it goes by pretty fast.

Some good news:  I am typing this on my old laptop and it is hooked up to wireless in a 'bunkhouse' motel in Laurel.  My plan was to camp at Riverside Park in this medium size city, but was concerned when no-one answered the phone to ask about space.  The reason they didn't answer the phone is the park is under water! So with a storm building up to the west (sounds like the book), I took a cheap room in a pre-fab bunkhouse  for local workers.  It has anything you'd want but is small and no free breakfast.  No problem for me.

Flooded picnic area at Pompeys Pillar
Today I visited something I'd never heard of, Pompey's Pillar.  Located on the Yellowstone River, it is a significant place for both Native Americans and the transplants, this artifact ties the two populations together in an interesting way.  Lewis and Clark used native American guides as part of their exploration of the West, notably Sacajawea. She was a Shoshone Indian who guided and acted as interpreter and negotiator for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their exploratory expedition. She traveled with them from North Dakota to the Oregon coast and back. Anyway a great story, well displayed in the visitor center and the 'hands on' climb to the top of this large pillar of rock is impressive.  I will let you research how the pillar got its name.

Yellowstone River at Forsyth,  MT
bAll around me things are flooded.  One sees the impressive power of water in excess. At Pompeys Pillar they had sandbags around the visitor center and there were people from BLM surveying the devastation to the picnic area.  Of course the pillar itself is unscathed!

Short post again as I need to get some sleep.  It is my 62nd birthday tomorrow!

LESSON LEARNED:  I still can figure out how to fix computer stuff with motorcycle tools.  I did have to buy one part but it worked.

Stats for the day: about 166 miles including making a wrong turn on an limited access interstate and having to go 12 miles round trip with threatening storm clouds above.  But I made it to the destination before it rained.  Tomorrow should be a like number of miles, but way different terrain.  Beartooth Highway!

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