Planned & executed

Deb and I both were up early this morning — to take care of the dogs, and to pack up and get on the road as quickly as possible. The temperature at our campground near Shelby, Montana, was 31°F (with a “feels like” of 26°F) and that, naturally, slowed us down a bit.

The rear LP furnace has stopped working, by the way. But that’s another story.

When we visited Devil’s Tower last month, I bought a souvenir stocking cap (toboggan, tuque, whatever) at the trading post. That was a hot day, and the purchase seemed frivolous then, but it sure came in handy this morning.

Even though we moved in slow-motion as we struck camp today, our wheels turned shortly after 8am. We followed I-15 (the first Interstate we’ve seen since Missoula over two weeks ago) south to Great Falls, about 80 miles.

The Montana landscape we passed through is the biggest of The Big Sky. Endless wheat fields. Rolling range land. Horizons impossibly distant.

The wind had started to pick up as we neared our destination.

We stopped for diesel on the far side of Great Falls, preferring to plant with a full tank rather than scramble for a convenient stop as we leave. What then should’ve been a quick hop to our campground was complicated by GPS — Garmin insisted that we drive in circles (seriously) and Google took us off the wrong exit and instructed us to “make a U-turn.”

The Ernie-Mercy rig doesn’t really do that.

Finally I’d had enough and found a place to pull off. I fixed our position, located the campground and charted my own course. Minutes later — after sneaking under a 14-foot railroad overpass, the only way to get there — we were in the park’s office talking with the owner.

And we were off the road today by 10:30am, just as we’d planned.

It was a good day, a blessedly uneventful day. It got us to a place where, until Sunday morning, we’ll be situated in a comfortable-if-not-idyllic spot, with time to recharge a little before pressing on.

I call that a win.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

(This was my view as I sipped my coffee today, on a cold morning in Shelby, Montana.)
(I wanted to share this image that Deb shot yesterday morning as we left East Glacier and crossed the Two Medicine River, looking roughly south toward Heart Butte.)