Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Monday, January 11, 2016

Sheridan to Missoula~

Leaving Sheridan~
The days are getting longer!  Last week when I was heading east - it was still dark when I left Sheridan at 7 a.m.  This morning, there was light!  I'd worried that the roads would be icy, but it was warmer than yesterday morning's six degrees!  Sunday morning the sun was shining & it was so pretty out.  I went out to the Bronco to get my camera & the minute I opened the door, the cold hit me!  My fingers went numb in an instant!  I rushed back to the house to the loud laughter of my family!  :-)  Even my tea was frozen IN my thermos!
Racing the train :-)
 After taking a day off - I was back on the road.  Over a week of mostly traveling, I'm actually getting used to it!  Watching the country roll by is almost like being in the middle of a travel video.  The higher the sun got in the sky - the more beautiful the day became.  Stunning blue, wide open sky, a high layer of clouds & the dazzling white of the snow.
East of Livingston~
Soon though - I had another challenge...  Wind!  It hit like the blast from a bomb!  Sweeping the snow across the road with a fury.  I had to keep the wheel tilted to the outside to even begin to stay in my lane.  It was brutal & the Bronco was bucking like his namesake!  My gas gauge was dropping fast!  I'd planned to stop in Bozeman, but hadn't seen a mileage sign for quite a while.  Instead - Livingston was coming up & I decided to get off there.  Oh My Gosh!  What a BEAUTIFUL place!  The mountains were all around & so amazing!  The guy at the mini mart was so friendly, I told him he must really enjoy living in such a beautiful place.  He had been born & raised there.  He said that they used to get lots of snow, that now & for the last few years, hardly Any snow.  Instead - he continued;  the temperatures have been colder for longer.  Weeks of sub-freezing temperatures.  Across the street was a jeweler.  In my hurry to leave home I'd forgotten a ring & my watch.  I walked in & asked the sales person if he had a ring with a local stone for a reasonable price?  He took me to a case with an amazing ring with three small Montana Sapphires.  The first I'd ever seen & the exact color of the river below!  The cost was a paltry $3,500.  :-)
Missouri River
 The river was Montana Sapphire blue - darker than the beautiful afternoon blue sky.  It's a long haul across to Butte, but my audio book helped & so did a dry road over the pass.
Almost to Butte
Finally - another town to check off.  Another quick stop for gas, another shorter pass & up ahead the day's goal, Missoula.  I was surprised at all the haze in the air.  Not sure what kind of plant is putting the up the plume of steam?
I was happy to see the exit for the motel come up.  Another fill up & check in.  The staff remembered me & after hearing the distance I'd traveled since they'd seen me last week - they upgraded my room.  Four flights of steps, I ask for a top room on an end of the building next to the stairs.  I actually enjoyed going up & down those steps - at this point - any exercise is Oh So welcome! 
The Bronco below
Tomorrow - Washington & HOME!

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