Mountains, Snow, & Snakey Roads, Oh My!

Thursday, 21 July.  When I stuck my head out the door after getting up, I was very glad I had brought in my pullover sweater as the temperature was in the 40s.  This was a slight change of pace from previous mornings.  Shivering only a little bit I headed across the street for breakfast.  It was okay and enough to get me going.  They were short staff.

It was a lovely cool morning as I had it on down US 212, the Beartooth Highway.  I heard lots and lots about the Beartooth Highway.  In the end the road lived up to its hype and then some.  It really has to be one of the more spectacular roads I’ve ever driven on.

The road slowly gained altitude and wound gently through the mountains.  Then the road began to crawl back and forth across the face of the mountains across which it went.  Snow-covered peaks surrounded me and the other lucky drivers on the road.  The crest of the road was at 10,992 feet.  There were plenty of places to stop and take totally inadequate photos.  To add to the excitement it was not only chilly, the temperature went as low as 51°, but there was a, or what seemed to be, gale force wind blowing at most of the exposed places along a road.  I would say the chill factor was quite low.  However, us wombats/hobbits are quite hardy and I braved the weather in my usual shorts and T-shirt.  I must admit, it was nice getting back inside the car.

Eventually I exited the highway and was back on a regular road as I drove into Red Lodge.  From there I took a blue Highway up to the interstate.  It was a marvelous farm road that wound through the countryside with hills and dales and gentle turns until I reached the interstate.  Here, too, I took my time and enjoyed the big skies of Montana.  When I topped up the car, it turned out I got just under 34 miles per gallon for just over 275 miles.  Not too shabby!

As this had been a reasonably long day, I stopped at the Super 8 in Belgrade.  When I got here I realize that on one of my trips across Montana, I’d stayed here as well.  I checked in, sorted out things, got on the Internet, had a nice dinner at a close by restaurant, and made a few long-distance phone calls using a real phone as they are free.

Tomorrow, I head north.


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