West 2020

Day 06

July 18

  This will be another of those 'grind it out' days with 670 miles or so to cover, mostly on interstate. It's a little cool this morning so I put on my rain jacket for a little extra warmth.  
  As I pull out of Missoula proper, I once again get to enjoy another beautiful sunrise by the Master Painter.  
  I90 will be my magic carpet ride for most of the day with a little shortcut across highway 212. There I hope to snag the last state line sign, Wyoming, and a better Montana state line sign.  
  At least it is not crowed this morning and it does run for quite a while along the river which I always enjoy.  
  The sun slowly filters over the mountains and down into the valley where I90 snakes along.  
  I've always said if you want to know where the good restaurants are located, ask a fat man - he's had plenty of experience. I see the exit for Drummond which triggers a memory. It is the home of the the famous (to me) ...  
  Wagon Wheel Cafe. I've been here several times and have never been disappointed in their grub or their service.  
  This is a local place where the people are real and the food is good and the service is great.  
  There's real marshmallows in the hot chocolate and it is a bottomless cup.  
  And granny's in the kitchen cooking up the good stuff.  

And this is where the gravy is the real deal and the food is as good as it looks. I tell the lady that waits on me -

"Your gravy is great and made from scratch. Most places it tastes like warmed over wallpaper paste made out of a mix."

She just laughs and nods her head.

"I've been here several times and when I am in the area I always stop" I add.

She thanks me for returning and sets down more food that I can possibly eat.

  I attack it with great gusto, but I have to leave the table vanquished. The amount of food they serve is more than I can eat - all for about $10.00!  
  And I like their friendly reminder in the john.  
  With enough food to last me all day and by far the best breakfast I've had since I left Tennessee, I get back to the mile covering business.  
  I sure like the green of Montana over the brown of Arizona and New Mexico.  
  But I guess if you want it really green you're gonna water it out here too.  
  And it's still pretty amazing where there's the water versus no-water.  
  Another thing different in this part of the country is the length of the freight trains. I pass one train that is so long is has two engines in the middle besides the lead engines and the trailing engines.  

I rejoice to see Old Glory flying alongside the interstate. I realize the great and total sacrifices that have been made by many to preserve it and our many freedoms. I think this quote I saw on the back of a truck says it best -

"If you can't stand behind our troops and support them, then why don't you go and stand in front of them?"

  It does not take a long time in Montana to realize why they call it the "Big Sky Country".  
  Finally, I leave I90 for a while and get on highway 212 where I hopefully will snag the last of the 48 state line signs.  
  It's straight for a good part, but well paved and not a bad ride.  
  It cuts across the corner of Montana, the Wyoming and into South Dakota.  
  And Montana also has their abandoned homesteads and I have to wonder ...  
  just down the road are the ravages of a forest fire. Could that have driven them out or discouraged them enough to abandon their place?  
  Soon I arrive at the Wyoming state line and capture the last of my 48 state line signs for BlueBelle.  
  And while I am at it, I get a Montana sign that is lot more to my liking. With that I am done collecting the lower 48 state lines for BlueBelle. At this point, I have put 4 ST1100s in 48 states with the bikes underneath each state line sign. The other three have also been to Alaska but BlueBelle will have to wait until the Canada/US border is open again.  
  I have to chuckle when I see this deer statute wearing a face mask. I just hope he is also keeping his social distance as required.  
  Soon I'm back on I90 making a hasty approach to Rapid City, my destination for the evening.  
  I have been hoping I would get there in time to visit Mount Rushmore and take some calendar shots of BlueBelle. As I see this sign, I reckon I should be good as there is still plenty of daylight.  
  Highway 16a branches off Highway 16 and takes you to the park proper. It has this neat little tunnel along the way.  
  I get a shot of all four heads but there is another particular shot I really want.  
  If you go past the park entrance, there is a pull-off called the 'Profile View'.  
  From that pull-off, you can get a clear shot of Washington's profile which is what I was looking for.  
  With that bit of photography done, I'm back down the mountain, a tired and happy camper.  
  Nearby the Super 8 where I am staying is a Taco Bell that is open so I swing by and pick up some tacos and burritos for supper.  
  Once again, my motel bed becomes my supper table but that's just the way it's been for most of the trip.  
  With my Mexican feast disposed of, it does not take me long to find the blessed place of slumber. Little do I know what challenges I will be facing tomorrow.