Medora, ND to Townsend, Montana

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July 17th 2015
Published: July 18th 2015
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Medora, ND to Townsend, MT

Preparations for the trip went really well. I had sewer on my campsite so the previous day I had hooked up the water and sewer hoses so I would be ready to just dump and go this morning. That was done and everything stowed and hooked up by 8:45, we were on the road again. There were some showers in the morning but the skies looked brighter as we headed out.

Again we headed west on 94 and before I knew it we were in Montana. The road was much better and there was less traffic, not that there is traffic here, but there were fewer vehicles. I just cruised down the road doing about 68 mph admiring the scenery. It seemed that we were on top of a huge plateau, as I looked out it was all level but there were ravines and valleys that broke up the flat. The crops were mainly hay, wheat, rye and some corn, and there was a potato patch here and there. Most of the exits were just ranch access roads with miles between so I had to make sure the gas tank was no lower than 1/4. There were occasional ranches with cattle roaming free and enjoying that freedom to wonder wherever.

We then started following the Yellowstone River which brought stark contrast to the dry sage brush high plains. Down in the valley along the river grew cottonwood trees in thick groves and fields of varied shades of green. The water in the river was turquoise and flowed with some energy from the far mountains. No, I couldn't see them yet. Where are they? There were occasional fisherman in boats on the river and I noticed that they were rowing the boats, no motors. I think it might be too shallow for motors, there were numerous riffles which indicated a stony bottom and all of the boats were a special flat bottom kind with the bow and stern swept up leaving the boat looking like a little smile. I called them dory boats from my Canada days, don't know what they call them here.

Quite suddenly it got very windy and that is one thing I hate driving in. I have had it blow me a whole lane sideways before I understood what happens in a high profile vehicle. You REALLY have to pay attention. This was a head wind most of the time so it was a greater strain on the motor but not too bad steering. There were a lot of hills that were steep especially for an interstate so between the hills and head wind poor Penelope was working hard.

The road from Livingston to Billings was just beautiful. It was much greener there for some reason and the trees were numerous, lush and green. I'll have to investigate that area further. Billings was a busy city and a bit of a culture shock from my last several days. Then the road lead toward Bozeman and the shining mountains appeared. First there were the Crazy Mountains, then the Bear Tooth and Absorka Range some still had a little snow. Hooray, they're still here.

I had stopped several times to stretch, made lunch and moved a little. The rest stops are nicely placed, and at beautiful spots.

Finally I made it to Bozeman and I knew where we were. 17 miles later at Wheat, MT I headed north toward Townsend where there was a herd of mule deer on the side of the road with a few bucks in velvet sporting huge headdresses. When I was here in the spring, things were just starting to green up, now the most of the wheat had been harvested and the hay bailed. They have had sufficient rain here to keep things green and in most of the fields they water so it's very lush.

At Townsend I headed east on 12 and was going to meet Don on a dirt road called Lippet Gultch because his road from the highway is closed because they are replacing a bridge necessitating a 6 mile detour. It wasn't bad, just dusty. We stopped at a house where I would unhook the car, leave it, and head down this steep section of road, which was too steep to be safe towing. Penelope made it down the steep section just fine then going up his driveway was another challenge. Only words of advice, don't stop. We are safely here, now the challenge was to have Oscar meet Tristan, Don's dog. He is a very sweet Springer Spaniel and after a few barks and growls on Oscar's part we're hoping they will do well together.

It was a 9 hour day and I'm beat but happy to be here.

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