Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day #5 - Leaving Montana

Breakfast this morning was another tasty feast - baked apple right out of the oven, toast & jam, six grain oatmeal with maple syrup, coffee, and orange juice. We lingered over breakfast talking to our host about paint colors for the local library, arts education, the plight of small town businesses, the Oregon Coast, and much more. We were having such a good time - it was almost 11:00 am before we left Lewistown on our way to Beach, North Dakota.

It didn't take long before the Judith Mountains started to disappear behind us and all we could see in every direction was wide open prairie. Just a few puffy clouds dotted a clear blue sky. The towns were 50 to 75 miles apart with only one or two ranches in between and we almost had the road to ourselves. With a speed limit of 75 mph the miles passed quickly.

The photographer slept through a lot of scenery today so I will have to rely on the power of words to give a partial picture of the landscape. Our two-lane route took us in an almost straight line East through the rolling countryside of Eastern Montana - sometimes covered with sagebrush and sometimes grass as far as the eye could see. A sign at a rest stop informed us we were traversing the inland sea where half the Tyrannosaurus bones on display around the world were found. It is easy to imagine the layered formations around us rising up from an ocean bottom. Approaching the Montana/North Dakota border, thick clouds we had seen on the horizon earlier in the day began to gather over us.

We planned to eat in Glendive, a Montana town close to the border, but because the main streets of the town were blocked for a parade we traveled on to Beach, North Dakota. Our choice of restaurants was limited to a truck stop, Dairy Queen, tiny pizza place, or Mexican Restaurant. We chose Mexican. The six hour drive built up an appetite and the food was delicious.

Tonight we are staying at one of two motels in Beach along with a large number of hunters. Tomorrow morning I will be looking for information about my mother's family at the local museum and in the afternoon we hope to find a church my grandfather helped build out on a country road North of here.

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