Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Day three, which gets us into Montana

I made pancakes in our little motel room and we had plenty of coffee.  This room had one of those two-cup coffeepots; I hate the coffee they give you with these, so using a paper towel as a filter, I used our own Eight O'clock coffee, ground just before we left home, in their pot.  I could have used our percolator, but there are always some grounds in the coffee when I use it.   Any time the motel gives us a coffeepot in our room, that's what we use.  After we showered, we were on the road again.
We stopped at rest stops along the way.  Folks, there is some desolate country once you get into Montana.  Traffic on the Interstate is thin, and the dessert-like conditions and lack of trees make some areas look forbidding and forsaken.  Sagebrush is the dominant pasture plant.  The landscape was like that you see in the old cowboy movies... gulches, ravines, and dessert.  So I called it "Cowboy Country".  

Signs like this are common throughout Montana
Tooling along I-90 with the intention only of getting nearer Glacier National Park, I saw a sign informing us that the site of the battle of Little Bighorn was ahead.  Custer's Last Stand!
You know about my fascination with Indians, right?
Of course we stopped.  

The Indian memorial

This was worth the time spent, at least to me.  We went through Billings, a huge, sprawling town spread out for miles in the valley as we left it behind.  When we left Billings, we also left our last chance at any choice of a motel, for we headed up highway 3.  Just tiny towns, population 500 perhaps, with one gas station and two taverns in each town.
Road work was in progress, so we sat in line waiting for a pilot car for at least half-an-hour.  Why would the crazy GPS take us through an area like this?  Finally we arrived in Harlowton at 6:45.  There was no choice of a motel, and this time we didn't get such a nice one.  Our "nonsmoking" room had a ceiling brown with old cigarette smoke and there was that musty, old-smoke, faint urine smell you get in the worst cheap hotels.  Avoid, if you can, the Corral Motel in Harlowton.
Oh, but we did have Internet there!
From South Dakota on, our cell phone coverage was not reliable and our Sirius radio stopped receiving.  We later found out it was our car radio that wasn't receiving, so Cliff thinks he bumped a wire or something in the trunk and disconnected the antenna.  He hasn't had time to mess with it yet.  If the car radio doesn't work, neither will the Sirius radio.  
There are huge fields of wheat in Montana, and large herds of cattle, mostly Angus.  The pastures don't look as though they could support livestock, but the cows and calves appeared healthy enough, although not as fat as the ones around home.  The wheat straw had been rolled up into big bales, and Cliff kept wondering what anybody could possibly do with that much straw:  It isn't good for feeding to livestock (no nutrition in it); it makes good bedding, but nobody could put that much straw to use as bedding.  I Googled our question later on when we had Internet, and learned that paper can be made from straw.  Perhaps that's where it was all going.  


Margaret said...

Eastern Montana is very desolate--no one I know has ever been through there voluntarily. ;) However, it sounds like there were some interesting sites and "adventures." W. Montana is pretty though!

Adams Eden Farm said...

Adams folks live in Montana. They have 200 acres they keep 20 cows on... Yes! that's 10 acres per cow, so you are very correct to assume it takes a bit of pasture for them :)


I wanted to move to Montana a few years back. Property was so cheap, I couldn't believe it. But then someone told me you had to pay to have utilities brought out to and that was unbelievably expensive. SO I NIXED that idea. LOVE the Indian Memorial. GREAT place to read about the history of area.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Glad it was only your radio that quit working. Can't imagine what it'd be like having car trouble out in no man's land.

Sandisan said...

that was a cool tour I felt like I actually viewed the memorial site for Custer & his men. I like the Indian memorial too, I've always felt an affinity for the Indians..they were here first loved the land and our people pushed them are having a great trip!

RNSheets said...

I loved the Custer site. So beautiful up there and very windy :)

RNSheets said...

I loved the Custer site. So beautiful up there and very windy :)