It took us two days to cross Montana. Friday as we traveled east, I-90 and the Clark Fork of the Missoula River and a railroad all wound through a valley. Sometimes the valley was wide enough for a ranch or two, sometimes there was just enough room for the river and the railroad and the highway had to climb up the side of a mountain. Here and there the valley broaded a bit and we passed a small town. The mountains are very pretty, slightly rounded and cloaked with evergreens. After we passed Butte, we crossed the continental divide as we went over Homestake Pass. The eastern slope of the pass requires semis and other heavy vehicles (like motorhomes) descend at a leisurely 25mph. It is quite steep and twisty. I was glad to see the end of it — it is the last pass we had to cross.
We spent the night at Caldwell, Montana. For some reason, the circuit that feeds the tv and several other outlets quit working. We reset the circuit breaker several times, but it didn’t do any good. And the tv is bolted into its cabinet, so we can’t get at its power cord without doing some serious disassembling. So, for the time being, we are watching our little 13 inch ‘outside’ tv. When we get back to civilization, we will see about replacing the circuit breaker.
Today we rolled across the high plains. Lots of ranch land, but for the most part we can’t see the ranch buildings from the highway. It is all just empty open range, with the occasional small herd of horses, or cattle or pronghorns. The towns are little more than a handful of houses and a gas station. Ranchester, Wyoming, where we are tonight, boasts a population of about 400, I think the sign said.
Tomorrow we are thinking of making it a short drive day. Just down the road a hundred miles or so is Devils Tower. http://www.nps.gov/deto/ We may stop there and rest before pressing on across South Dakota.