Seeing family – Dave and Phyl – really stirred up my homesickness. It’s so beautiful here. The view from my upstairs bedroom window:
The pond on another side of the house:
The rare Deer Lodge Horned Toad:
Great picture of Dave:
In addition to getting the mail at the post office, Phyl and I took a little tour of Deer Lodge: the quilt store, New to You where Phyl volunteers once/week, a new bike trail – the sign is there, but the riding surface looks quite rough.
Phyl made a couple of my favorite recipes like this ham/chicken tetrazzini:
She also made Bailey’s Irish Creme parfaits:
When Phyl gave me the beater to lick, I remembered how my mom used to do the same thing when I was growing up.
By the time the departure date arrived, I realized I really needed to go home. Billie left on Wednesday:
Dave, Phyl and I drove to Butte to Derailed Bike Shop to have my bike boxed and shipped:
Today, I flew home – I could hardly contain my joy.
This was an excellent Harvest Host stop in Billings MT. We arrived early and got to pick our spot in the empty parking lot next door.
We did a wine tasting in the afternoon. Raylina did a great job of presenting the wines
and took us a little tour of the cellar. All the grapes come from Washington and the white wine is also made and bottled there. The grapes for the red wines are shipped to Billings for fermentation and bottling.
We went back at 6:30 for dinner. First a pretzel with spicy mustard:
Then flatbread pizzas, chicken artichoke and sausage herb. Delcious!
The music by a father/daughter duo began at 7:00. Fun evening.
Montana – big sky country – our 14th state. And the sky is BIG. We arrived at Wayside RV Park as the rain began to slowly decrease. No one was available in the office. We stayed in the RV, Billie called the number listed on the door, and … we watched a skunk meander through the campground, under a few trailers. Tracy drove up a while later and let us stay in the RV while we registered and paid, Billie told her about the skunk and she became watchful. The skunk showed up and “raised” its tail as she quickly jumped into the passenger’s seat of the RV (I was already on the settee). We heard about a previous skunk eradication and she alerted the campground maintenance guy. Our site for just tonight (to the right, a horse trailer w living quarters: 2 adults, 1 child, 3 big dogs and 1 cat):
Meanwhile, across the street, big sky beauty:
No sight of the skunk, but we’re not taking any chances!
We decided not to ride today. The Mickelson Trail is challenging. We needed a second rest day, which gave us time to get ready to leave tomorrow. While I did the laundry, Billie went to the local grocery and bought some ground buffalo – for grilled burgers tonight. So Billie took this picture as I was grilling and immediately exclaimed,
“Oh my god, the smoke is getting into my clothes!” She quickly set down the camera (I picked it up) and went to rescue everything.
We’re having a great time … and the burgers were delicious!!
We drove to Pringle, intending to start riding by 6:30. But we got lost and only started at 7:30.
The goal was to ride to Custer and back.
The first 9 miles would be uphill but (fingers crossed) not at a 4% grade.
3.8 miles to the White Elephant trailhead, all of it along SR 385.
Three trees at different stages seemingly growing right out of the rock:
We stopped in the shadow of a gigantic boulder and that’s when you can spot rust-colored lichen and ferns growing in crevices:
Almost to the 9-mile point and time for a little downhill run into Custer – therefore no picture-taking.
Custer trailhead at
Today was the hottest day of the week – 93 degrees by noon. Not my kind of riding weather! We stopped here for a rest break, cold drink and something delicious from the bakery.
Time to ride back. It was now officially HOT! I put some ice in a rolled-up handkerchief and tied it around my neck – that helped. 3-mile uphill climb out of Custer then what should have been a nice downhill run back to Pringle. But the wind changed and we were fighting a 15 mph headwind. Darn. We were both rather spent by the time we got to Pringle. 25 miles total. Ugh.
Rest day. We booked a “Buffalo Jeep Tour” at Custer State Park for 10 am. There were 7 of us plus the guide.
We drove on roads open to the public but not suitable for the vehicle we drive.
The 71,000 acres of Custer State Park can support a herd of about 1400 bison. Every September, the third weekend, the herd is rounded up and evaluated – it’s a management tool to prepare for the annual buffalo sale in early October. The number of buffalo in the herd must be compatible with the available forage. There are man-made watering holes that look like they’re natural, but there’s a nearby pump and well.
A family of Pronghorns:
These pictures do not do the park justice. There are so many incredible vistas and sights to appreciate. After the tour, we ate lunch at
Excellent bison burger! The 1922 original fireplace was embedded with local rocks, minerals, rose quartz, milk quartz, petrified wood, cave boxwork and various crystals.
On to our next stop, the Crazy Horse Memorial, under construction since 1948. The 87-foot face and head were finally finished in 1998, they have a long way to go. This was as far as we got, we were underwhelmed.
Sunday August 8. Barbara, Jane, and Cheryl rode 45 miles! Congratulations.
Monday August 9. Jonathan took this picture of Dani, Kathy, and Cheryl:
Barbara went for a solo ride:
Tuesday August 10. Dani took this picture of Kathy, Jonathan, Leo, and Cheryl:
Wednesday August 11. Cheryl goes on more rides than everyone else which means that – in the past 9 months (almost to the day) – she has pedaled 4314 miles. This is the perfect picture to celebrate her achievement (thanks Leo).
Thursday August 12. Leo took this picture of Cheryl.