How very cool is it to drive through snow-capped mountains, meadows, lake districts AND—get this—a real herd of cows being herded across the road by 2 cowboys and 1 cowgirl on horseback with their 2 herding dogs? We had to stop on the 70-mph 2-lane highway to let the dogs do their jobs. The cows were herded right past Nick’s window. He barked a kind of bark we had never heard before. Must be his shepherding nature. Lisa is bummed she didn’t capture the whole thing on video. Now the cute little Flip video camera is in the front seat, readily accessible, should we be part of another cattle drive or anything as interesting (and as noisy).
The other big news of the day: the heat wave broke. Hallelujah, and I know it’s due to Aelred’s prayers ;-) Every time Lisa drove the heavens opened up, lightning struck, and the air cooled. Nothing like driving over the Continental Divide in a downpour in a 22’ vehicle. But she did great.
Many of you have commented on liking the brain droppings, so we’ll drop some more as we sit happily in our camp chairs, next to our noble steed, in 70 degree weather, surrounded by amazing mountains in every direction (we’re south of Bozeman, MT tonight).
More thoughts about Montana:
--In some places, the road signs say “Game Crossing.” In others (notably national or state wildlife refuges), the signs say “Wildlife Crossing.” Context is indeed decisive.
--How many anti-meth billboards have we seen? Very scary. The main message appears to be “Not even once.” We’ve seen professionally designed billboards and handpainted ones. We’ve read that rural Missouri has the highest rate of meth addiction, but we’re betting that rural Montana is right up there, given all the signs.
--Oh, and does anyone know what a sign saying “Break Matches” means? We saw this multiple times driving down beautiful MT 83, along Swan Lake (gotta love that). Why would a person want to break their matches? Is it after lighting? (which would make some sense, we guess) or Before lighting? (which makes no sense) Please let us know if you know what “Break Matches” means in a forest context. It’s driving us crazy.
--And what is it about casinos (keno and poker) in every bloody gas station? It’s not as if gambling is only allowed on the rez (which it is), it’s as if gambling is as legal everywhere in Montana as it is in Nevada. Can’t find anything in our AAA literature or Montana tourism literature that explains this. Any light you can shed would be much appreciated.
--We generally spend time before we get to a destination reading aloud about it from our various sources: AAA books, state tourism books, clippings, the web. But today we stopped at a historical site to go to the bathroom and eat lunch, After we left, we read about the place where we stopped. Turned out it was a national historic site and we missed all kinds of neat tour opportunities. Got this cool photo, though. Couldn’t capture the lightning in the mountains, though.
--Contemplate this. We passed a drive-in movie theater. Its sign said: Open 9:45 PM, movie starts at dusk. Think about it. It's not even dark at 10PM. The campground we were staying in had quiet hours starting at 10PM, and it was still light. Just amazing how far north we were (farther north than Seattle, although tonight we're about even with Portland).