June 16, 2009

Monday Morning in Montana

Basically we've made a great big circle since last Friday, traveling a little over 1600 miles. We should have done more than that, but freight is slow right now...isn't everything?
Monday morning was cool and damp. We left Dubois, ID around 9:00 am after dropping off those potatoes, emptying back to Great Falls, MT where we loaded another load of malt bound New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, CO. The drive from Dubois to Great Falls is along I-15, and a very pretty drive through a bit of Idaho and then some of those mountains Montana's famous for.

We ran in and out of rain showers, and the mountains were shrouded in heavy low clouds. It was one of those Monday mornings that you just want to snuggle into your covers. Not the nasty kind of day, but just the type where you don't want to do anything but relax and be cozy.

This trip I feel like we did the grand tour of Montana's biggest cities. The only one I can think of that we didn't hit was Missoula, but we were there last week.
Clark Resevoir (south of Butte)

Once you pass Butte, the mountains close in around you and become rockier.

Eventually, as you near Helena, the mountains start to open up. Helena is nestled into a large valley. Once your past the city it closes in again.

Helena, the state capitol

After loading in Great Falls and getting dinner, tomato soup and grilled cheese..yummy...we drove about 50 miles east to a little parking area surrounded by fields for miles and miles, hardly a building in site. We were the only ones there. It was silent except for the soft wind rattling the cottonwood leaves and what must have been a million meadow larks singing goodnight to the day.

Tuesday morning we headed out again. This is, once again, a good paying trip with too much time on it. We could have been there Tuesday morning, but we couldn't deliver till Wednesday morning. So we took our time. Breakfast again at Eddie's Corner, and then south through Harlowton to Billings.

Road construction in Montana....its not uncommon on the two lanes in rural areas for them to just rip out the road, and traffic maneuvers through the construction as its happening. There were two guys flagging traffic so the heavy equipment could cross, but otherwise, your pretty much driving on mushy dirt and gravel as they build the road around you. It had just rained that morning and so the dirt was pretty soft. Just for kicks, I'll add that the main road to and from the airport in Billings looked just like this...ripped out....only there was a lot more traffic and buildings. Not your normal urban road construction job.

This is my favorite view of Billings. The airport sits up on the rim rocks and so as you drive along the highway, you look down on the city.

Downtown Billings....this is the biggest city in Montana.

We've called it "home" for a few months now, though we really live east of here. Its just easier to tell people "Billings" because they kind of have an idea of where that is.

As we drove past the Metra, which is the arena/fairgrounds, I noticed campers set up everywhere, and when I saw dog kennels I remembered that Tuesday was the first day of the AKC Yellowstone Valley Kennel Club Dog Show. It was supposed to be Ella's debut into the show world. I felt a little sad. Ella didn't seem to notice she was missing out on anything.

The rest of the day we meandered down through Wyoming. We're now about 60 miles north of Cheyenne, and will be in Fort Collins by midnight. We stopped at a rest area at sunset to let the girls play for a while. I love sunsets out here. They are extra special in Montana and Wyoming.


Meagan said...

LOVE these last pictures! Beautiful!

twilightgecko said...

spectacular photos.. just gorgeous!

Jennifer said...

I love seeing all the beautiful pics. I've seen most of the country, except for where your trips are, so I love seeing what those states look like. That last pic is breathtaking.