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On arriving in Choteau

August 30, 2015 pm31 12:09 pm

I’ve been on the road with my friend Alan. Utah, Idaho, Montana. We are still headed for Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado.

800 miles or so done. Yesterday was Glacier National Park, spectacular, even with the smoke. We had 2 hikes, one on each side of the continental divide. We had spectacular views. The Going-to-the-Sun Road was so breathtakingly majestic AND scary that we are doing laundry today….

Alan and I have been staying in little motels, no chains. Marble Motel, Trementon UT. DK Motel, Arco ID. Mountain Spirit Inn, Darby MT. Hungry Horse Motel, Columbia Falls MT. Some very nice, some adequate, no problems. All $60-$80. I didn’t do it to be cheap, but they have worked out in every respect, including $$.

But the timing across Montana is tricky – we are covering a lot of ground in just a couple of days. And I booked in advance. And the right distance from Glacier led me to look towards Great Falls, but not as far as Great Falls. And the perfect spot was $100. But it had laundry facilities (we packed knowing that we’d do laundry midway, not realizing how perfect that would be), and included breakfast.

As it turned out, US 89 out of Many Glacier was narrow, deserted, and in two significant chunks, unpaved. Half our ride passed through a Blackfoot Reservation, which seemed even emptier. And we enjoyed Glacier so late, that darkness fell as we drove. And the smoke from the forest fires got a bit thicker and more acrid. And we drove with long silent stretches. The smoke, dark, narrow, empty and unpredictable were weighing on us, and on Alan, who was driving (thank you) more than on me.

So when we got to Choteau Stage Stop Inn, and saw that it was a small hotel, not a motel, we were relieved. And when Alan​ saw it had a bar, and learned it was open until 2, he could have shed a tear.

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