Monday, August 13, 2001

Hello from Cut Bank, Montana!

Start time:  0650

Start odometer: 7319

Weather: Beautiful sunny day

 

I was able to get a few miles down the road today, with only two extended stops.  Cut Bank is an agricultural community (as you may have guessed) with a heavy presence of General Mills.  This county also has large oil and gas resources, as well as beef ranches.  There are mountains in the distance, about 50 miles to the west according to the flyers, while rolling hills mix with level land to provide some very long range views.  Tonight after dinner, I was returning to my motel and saw an impressive lightning storm to the east.  It was probably far away, but the Big Sky state of Montana makes it difficult to determine distances.  I understand the nickname of the state!

I began early this morning with a gas stop, and noted that prices are slightly higher in this state.  There is no sales tax, which is nice to experience, so the increase in gas prices (taxes) is understandable.  There is a four percent lodging tax, but that is pretty cheap compared to some other states.  

It was a pretty day to drive, and I knew it was going to get warm (90s) so I drove the first part of the day with the windows and sunroof open.  I did not see or hear any grasshoppers like the day before, but I kept aware of them.  As I drove, I was still impressed with how far you can see, and the scenery was wonderful.  While somewhat similar, there are many things to pick out that make many of the views unique.  Also, Montana provides many historical markers that provide more information about the history of the region and towns.  As this is one of the major reasons for this trip, I stopped to read and learn from them, and will post pictures.

I stopped later in the morning at a rest area for a break, and walked through a picnic area to gain access to the building on site.  Unfortunately I did not remember something I learned recently, which is not to walk through the grass.  The reason...The mosquitoes will actually attack you!  Halfway through the the area of grass, I began wiping and swatting many mosquitoes off of my legs, as many were desiring to feed off of me!  It was not pretty, and I got onto the pavement very quickly.  I have got to remember that bit of advice, and I think I now will!  

I got back on the road, driving along in light traffic.  I saw many campers, trucks, and farm vehicles.  For a stretch, I saw a carnival caravan going the opposite direction.  It is easy to catch my eye when a three 12 foot tall strawberries (Tilt-a-Whirl) drive by!

I arrived in Havre, Montana just before 11:00 am, and saw a sign for a historical marker.  I had to drive through a shopping center parking lot, and as I was heading towards the sign, I noticed I was being followed by a silver van.  When I stopped, the van pulled up next to me and asked what a "Maine-iac" was doing so far from home!  He had noticed my license plate, and mentioned that he grew up in the Skowhegan, Maine area.  After school, he settled in the area, and had only been back to Maine once, as his son was a student at Bates College.  During our conversation, Roger mentioned some ideas for sights to see on my trip, and I have added them to my list.

As I prepared to get back on the road, I noticed a Toyota dealership down the road, and with my plans to head north into Canada, I decided to get an oil change.  The gentleman working the service desk mentioned that he had driven to Alaska three times, so I was able to get some great tips from him.  

Towards the end of the afternoon, I approached Cut Bank, and noticed a sign that this was the coldest spot in the nation.  There is also a twenty foot penguin on the side of the road, so of course, I stopped for a picture.  There was a hotel here, so I talked with the owner, and decided to stay for the night.  This also allowed me to clean my laundry.  After a nice dinner and a look at the lightning storm to the east, I retired to the room and began this report.

 

Click on picture for larger image, hit back button to return to this page.

Buffalo country description..

This panel discusses the use of water.

The story of sleeping buffalo rock.

The Cree Crossing

Montana cattle brands.

Early Day Outlaws

Fort Belknap Reservation

This panel discusses the sacred uses of high points, and Snake Butte.

This is the picnic area with many bugs in the grass.

The Battle of Bear Paw

This panel describes the origination of Havre, Montana.

Information about bison and buffalo killing and processing is mentioned here.

 

The Sweet Grass Hills

The three buttes, as described in the previous panel.

A quick history of what sustained the people in the area.

A twenty foot penguin!

 

 

 

Tomorrow, I head into Glacier National Park, and possible finish the day in Canada.  I will find out about my ability to post when I get there, so if there is a delay in the reports, please accept my apology.  Know that I am writing, and will post as soon as possible.

Thanks very much for visiting this page!

Routes traveled today: US 2 - 243 - 2

Hotel: Glacier Gateway Inn -

Gas: 1.669 (Super, Glasgow, Mt)

 

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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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