Thursday, August 16, 2012

TRIP DAY THREE ~ Montana in the Rain & Pompy's Pillar

August 3 (journal entry) Friday

Left Miles City in the rain. T-storm blew in. But before that, we got to a car wash: The truck was all red from dust and mud stood on the running boards. But this stupid car wash didn't get the mud completely off, so Dennis had to spray it off--again, using up $ for the stupid thing.

Next thing we needed was food. Motel 6 will only give you coffee. I need more than coffee to get me down the road and Dennis does too. Unfortunately we had to settle for a McDonald's. Now before you start in on how great you think this place is, Dennis worked for a McD's and he can tell you that everything is FROZEN! Even the pancakes. Which is what I ordered. And I REALLY DON'T LIKE SOMEONE PUTTING CREAMER AND SUGAR INTO MY COFFEE! Grrr! But if you don't tell them to do this, then you get it black. I do not take my coffee black.

When we got finished, we walked back to the motel and began to pack. Then the rain began to come down heavy.

While we waited for it to pass, Dennis put ice/heat/ice on his lower back again. He did that for about 30-40 min. We used a hand towel, wetting it and popping it into the microwave. He said that the wet heat worked much better than the dry heat. Something to keep in mind. We had a zip-lock baggie for the ice, and he would pop that into the freezer at every interval. He feels much better, but has to be careful how he moves and bends.

On the Road:
The mountains are small, and surround this valley. Rugged dry grassland, dotted with mostly sage and a few trees along here. Very different.

I woke up with a headache, and felt it wasn't important enough to mention, but took something for it. I had 2 wine coolers last night after our harrowing drive, so I guess I pay for that. (However I forgot that we are now in higher elevation, and that is also one of my heralding signs of adjusting to the altitude--which is very mild compared to some people.)

WE head for Butte today. Hope to see Poppy's Pillar, if no rain.

10:00 AM ~ Made a pit stop. Dennis dug out my sweatshirt and his, as it is 58 degrees here--at one point it was 54 while under a dark cloud. Rain is letting up as we continue on.

Buttes are tree-studded here. It's more grass-lined than not. The valley below is carpeted in green and gold with a river cutting through (we learn it is the Yellowstone River).

We stop at Pompy's Pillar National Monument. For those of you who are history buffs, you may know what this is. If not, I'll tell you. This is the only known physical site where William Clark left his name (of the Lewis & Clark Expedition). It was called "Where the Mountain Lion Lies" by the Crow people, and was a landmark for these proud people where they hunted small game and bison.

Anyway, the pillar is a massive sandstone outcrop that rises 150 feet from a two-acre base on the banks of the Yellowstone River. It is located between Custer and Worden. There are hundreds of markings and petroglyphs, and inscriptions left by visitors, including Clark's.

Unfortunately, it was raining, and we didn't feel like making the hike over to it in the rain. We did take pics, as there was a very good interpretive center there. I also bough a very nicely polished agate about the size of a goose egg.

Pompy was Clark's nick name for the young Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, whose mother, Sacagawea, was the party's interpreter. Pomp means "little chief" in the Shoshoni language.

And by the way, Sacagawea was never compensated for her work for the government, which doesn't surprise me where it comes to the government's treatment of the Native Americans.

12:20 MT time.

We have group of Mountains called the "Big Belt" rising in front of us. I took a picture as we were heading toward them.

We ate lunch at a Subway in a town before you get to Billings. We both went with tuna and same chips and drink. I sometimes think we were Siamese Twins, separated at birth--and gone through a couple of reincarnations, of course.

We were sort of watching this guy making coffee for the lunch hour. I think it took him ten minutes to do it. And while we were eating, this guy that he had made the coffee for, said, "Your coffee is running over." Very calmly too. I would say by the time of this writing, if he isn't fired by now, he should be.

Anyway, we did finally drive out of the rain. In fact, the sun came out while we were having lunch, and it got really warm. We're now in Big Timber Area. We did stay here once at the Super 8. It was a great stop, still would be, with KFC and a large gas station/store/restaurant within walking distance of it.

Butte is 142 miles from here. If everything goes smoothly, we should get there by 3:00pm.

Hope you're all enjoying the trip--we get to Glacier Park Lodge tomorrow!

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