Year 3 Days 274 and 275 Clawing Our Way Over The Rockies

Yesterday morning we were greeted with a blanket of thick fog. There was no way we were leaving our site and driving almost 300 miles through pea soup. Fortunately, the NOAA weather site had issued traveling warnings for our route and they indicated that the fog would burn off between 8 and 9 in the morning. By 9, the valley where our campground was located in was clear of fog and the fog that was piled up against and tumbling over the mountains between us and the town of Cody had disappeared also.

Thus encouraged, we bundled up LeuC and headed down the road. To our surprise, when we dropped down into Cody, we discovered that it was still blanketed by the fog and we had to slow down to just 25 MPH to be safe. We crawled through Cody and crept up the rise on its far side. As we did, we worked our way out of the fog that covered that town. Whew!

We worked our way north, getting back into Montana without any difficulty. We then turned north, heading toward Bozeman. Our strategy was to go around the mountains as much as we could, instead of taking the high pass roads through the mountains because they were covered with snow. As we weaved our way between Absaroka Range to the south and the Crazy Mountains to the north, we noted the thick blanket of snow covering the mountains above us. It looked like the snow line was about 5500 feet and we were traveling mostly between 4500 and 5000 feet. At times we did go up to 5500 and we could see snow on the banks of the slopes we were driving past. Fortunately, the sun was out and the road was clear and dry.

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We finally arrived at Bozeman, Montana and were surprised at how large of a city it was. We crawled along its main street at 20 MPH since there was a fair amount of traffic with lots of stop lights, slowing everyone down. We finally worked our way through this town and continued on. Our campground was about 30 miles west of Bozeman, along the Madison River.

When we arrived, we were greeted by an idyllic spot to camp. The Red Mountain Campground is a BLM site with 17 campsites. No utilities are provided so it is a dry-docking site. We also did not have any access to the Internet because its location is rather remote and tucked down in a narrow river valley between the mountains were rising above us.

There were a few trout fishermen in the river, casting for trout. I took a number of pictures of our wonderful site and will share them below.

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This morning, the weather was unstable with dark clouds above us, threatening to rain. The temperature was in the 40s so we decided to press on. We know that a massive snow storm is predicted to move this way coming this weekend so we are motivated to continue west in hopes of passing through the high altitudes of the Rocky Mountains before the snow comes.

We drove another 3.5 hours west arriving in the cow town of Drummond, Montana by noon. The town has a little park where people can camp next to their rodeo grounds. It has 3 sites that offer 50-amp power. We were the only one there so we snagged one of the sites with electricity. This meant that we would not have to run our diesel heater to keep warm and would not have to run our generator to keep our batteries happy.

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We decided to drive into town of dinner and stopped at Parker’s Family Restaurant. It was a cozy place and we were surprised at its menu. It offered over 100 types of hamburgers. It was the most comprehensive list of hamburgers you could imagine. I opted for the Mr. Holland’s Opus which was made up with two ¼ pound patties, a sausage patty, strips of smoked bacon, cheese, red onion, and lettuce. It was so big, I did not know how to eat it. Needless to say, I took more than half of it home to eat tomorrow.

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The same could be said for Mary Margaret’s burger. Hers was a more traditional bacon cheeseburger but was still huge.

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We so wanted to indulge in their deserts as the owner’s husband is a pastry chef and what we saw was absolutely amazing. However, we were so stuffed that we sadly have to say no. Sigh.

We would like to stay here tomorrow to go back just for the deserts but it looks like a snowstorm will be hitting this part of the Rockies come Thursday. Thus, by leaving tomorrow, we can reach the western part of the Rockies on Wednesday and drop out of the Rockies on Thursday morning before the snow starts. Our Fingers are crossed.

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