Sunday, October 6, 2013

Running in the Wind

Flathead Lake with 3 to 4 foot swells
A quick errand and visit in Denver . Monday 9/30 started out warm and windy in the Flathead. There were 3 to 4 foot waves on the lake with plenty of dramatic splashing along the rocky edge. Heading down Hwy 35 to Polson.
Homestake Pass( 6329 feet ) Continental Divide
Butte lies nestled on the West side of the continental divide. Homestake Pass is in the mid 6000 feet and  something to keep an eye on when the weather is questionable. No real bad weather to be noted on this Monday. I brought the emergency totes with me anyway and had my shovel stowed in the back . So far the weather is looking great and I am definitely over prepared .
Mountains south of Livingston MT
 Scooting down I 90 I experiment with cruise control which I have to say is just weird . I like to drive the car and having the CC on is not my thing. It is handy in work zones to avoid tickets but the rest of the time I like to be "one " with the car. Besides if the car is driving my mind tends to wander and I quit watching the road. I wonder if others have this problem?
Sunset near Livingston Montana
I am lucky to be passing Livingston Mt just about sunset . The mountains are gorgeous with the Alpine glow tonight. Great timing . The light changes everything . South of Livingston is Yellowstone National Park. Another trip for another day.
Flying into Wyoming
Next day Tuesday Oct 1 , on the road after spending the night in Billings. A few hours south and we are in Wyoming. Wyoming is an awesome place. Lots of wide open space . I enjoy this kind of thing but I can see how it could be disconcerting if you are used to the city and that rhythm.
Antelope are everywhere!
 I suppose Wyoming could grow on you . Now if you are in the East you probably don't see much difference in the emptiness of Wyoming versus the emptiness of Montana. The empty of Wyoming is definitely kicked up a notch . Eastern Montana runs a close second.But there are the antelope and the endless vistas. Pretty nice on the first day of October.
Bighorn Mountains

More Antelope
The one thing nice about antelope is they seem to avoid the highway a bit better than the deer.  The deer , ah the deer , really like the roads and subsequently cars and trucks . We were fairly lucky in that we didn't see many deer at all , Just some mule deer on the way back . I missed them as I was working hard keeping the car on the road in the prestorm that left 30 inches of snow just about where these antelope are hanging out.
Antelope enjoying the irrigated fields 

Enjoying some Starbuck's goodness and downtown Denver ambience
 So after Cheyenne there is civilization and lots of people. In fact you cross into Colorado and you have more people  than you can shake a stick at .We visited friends and took in some nice Downtown Denver and good coffee.  A walk by the Platte River had colorful sunflowers and mid 70s weather. Who knew the next day would turn into an October snow superstorm .
Sunniness next to the river

Crazy Mountains after the storm
 So good fortune was with us and we made Billings at 5 PM on Thursday ahead of the feet of snow that socked in Wyoming. We saw some snow north of Sheridan but then it turned to rain the rest of the way. I set out for NW Montana before 8 AM and headed down I 90 West. The temperature was 33 to 37 degrees so the roads were pretty good except an over pass near Big Timber where the air had cooled to 28 degrees. A bit of slip and slide there . The Crazy Mountains were a glorious site to see in the early morning light with their new snow frosting. This is an untouched picture of the Crazies just west of Billings.
Beautiful I 90 hurtling West past Billings
About 6 inches of snow in Montana , alot less than the 30 inches in Buffalo Wy. I am so glad we didn't get caught in that . Everytime you passed an interstate barricade it reminded you that indeed your trip could be cut short by blowing and drifting snow.
snowy wonderland in October
 The driving wasn't too bad all in all . Traveling west there is Livingston which was a bit slushy and Bozeman Hill. I took that one slow and stayed in a lower gear with the trucks. Somehow it seems silly to drive 70 when you really don't know if the road is frozen here and there .
 Finally several hours later I have zipped through Missoula and headed up the Mission Valley where the skies had returned to blue and no snow in sight except up in the higher elevations. What a welcome site .
Mission Mountains 

Fall still rules in North West Montana
Just before Saint Ignatius the valley is glorious. The Mission Falls are still running in the center of the picture. A small little crook that is about a couple thousand foot drop. Next to the 9000 foot peaks the water fall appears so small.
Pelicans feeding at Ninepipes
The sun is slowly making it's way West. I stopped for a minute at Ninepipes to see who was feeding today in the shallow waters. Six or seven large pelicans were fishing and enjoying the sun of the late afternoon. Almost home . Feels good to think I am two hours away. I am grateful that I missed the worst of the snow that paralyzed Wyoming and South Dakota. Truly hardy folks who live in these areas. My hat is off to them . Hoping they have some quick melting and not too much damage.

1 comment:

  1. i never know which is my favorite scene! all gorgeous and i, as always, am so incredibly thankful to you for sharing your world. cruise control? hate it. driving long distances is a challenge for me on a good day - that just makes it too easy to space out.
    yes, very very hardy folks your way. i admire them their tenacity. you are rewarded with that incredibly beautiful world of yours.


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