Day 33. Tuesday 20 September.
……miles driven exactly, per motorhome trip meter, at our stop at Great Falls last night. My goodness what a collusion of numbers! (It is after all, Day 33).
From Great Falls the plains country (ranches) continued under another magnificent but heavier, cloudy sky.
The landscape constantly changed: from the plains, we unexpectedly dropped down into a lush limestone canyon/valley with green grasses and autumn colours. That scene changed again as we drove up and out into mountains (admittedly tame ones) forested with Douglas pines; that in turn morphed into rolling, sparsely treed hills that mostly had a mixture of sagebrush and grazing. Then some grain farming appeared until on the horizon, and getting closer, was our old friend the Rockies mountain chain.
On the off chance we stopped in White Sulphur Springs for fuel and coffee (this vehicle drinks more ‘gas’ than D drinks red wine!). Dori’s Café, a blast from the 1960s in excellent condition that could have served as the set for Happy Days, looked like a good possibility. In keeping with its ambience, it hadn’t modernized enough to do espresso, but Dori (we assume) said that the cart just past the vacant block ‘did that sort of stuff’.
And indeed she did, serving a very nice espresso and latte while chatting happily about the sad little town, which only just “exists.” After ordering our coffee we were asked to buy a raffle ticket for the local SES (Meagre County Search and Rescue)….no, not a chook raffle but a rifle raffle. D declined the invitation, saying something about having seen enough of guns….
Back in the early 1980s the town supported a thriving timber industry, but when the mill closed there was an almost halving of the population: the coffee lady said that she was in third grade when it happened and her class halved immediately as families left looking for work. The town is placing its hope on a copper mine development, that promises only 10 years of production. Possibly the scenario will repeat, an all too familiar story in Australia as well.
On to Livingston, which put great store by its historic area. Much of the building seemed to be original, in good condition (but not very old), but the most interesting aspect was the number of galleries – it seemed that this town was focused on its culture, some of which we saw was very good. Writers, music, artists…and a great fabric shop!
Can you tell what’s wrong with this sign?
A stop for a bite to eat at a ‘Fishing Access’ point on the Yellowstone River. The river was very fast flowing but fly fishermen were using a specialised boat, rowed, to get into the fish. It appears that the fishermen stand in specially constructed supports in the boat to cast. Great idea. D spoke to one pair of fishermen who stated that they had caught a couple (do you believe anything fishermen tell you?)
And what happens when there are no wildlife warning signs?
Very relaxed Bambi lookalikes!
Tomorrow it’s into Yellowstone Park proper (and the river up here is now BROWN), with promises of bison, bears and elk!
Some truths for taking photographs as a traveller:
- You are always looking into the sun when trying to take those vey best scene shots;
- Tourists taking selfies will gladly let you in once the moment you were hoping to capture has passed;
- When you are taking shots of birds, they will fly away in the split second between focus and clicking the shutter;
- When you are taking shots of wildlife, they will turn their back on you, or run away, just as you click the shutter.