High plains drive and a gracious welcome

By Sarah Reynolds | Jun 25, 2016
Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds A piece of roadside artwork in Hobson, Mont., was among the more distinctive features of the plains landscape.

Bloomington, Minn. — It's been some time since I wrote, mostly because we have had a few very long days in the car -- driving across the plains of Montana and North Dakota.

We entered the United States from British Columbia Wednesday, and camped that night outside Glacier National Park. The famous Going to the Sun Highway was open -- it had been partially closed when we were in the area a few weeks ago -- and we planned to drive in on Thursday.

Then Maureen read the regulations for the road, which state that vehicles or combinations longer than 21 feet aren't allowed on the road. Our camper is 20 feet long, and we pull it with Maureen's truck. Oops, we were too long. If we'd been able to stay another day, we could have unhitched and gone in the truck; as it was, that drive would have to wait for another trip.

Instead, we headed east, skirting along the bottom of the park through beautiful pine forest, and out onto Montana's high plains. Some cows, some sheep, lots of empty and flat.

We camped Thursday night in Billings, in a park dense with other RVs, and pretty well supplied with children and dogs, too, which made taking Cushla out problematic. Our girl gets very excited when she sees anything that moves, and children and other dogs excite her especially.

We drove to Mandan, N.D., the next day, and decided to get out of the camper for a night, booking a room at the Comfort Inn, which had pet-friendly rooms. It also had a laundry room, so we washed some clothes.

A lot of North Dakota was as empty and flat as the parts of Montana we'd just driven through, though every now and then there was a mass of some yellow flower we couldn't identify to brighten up the landscape. And those prairie grasses, with the way they move like waves on the ocean when the wind blows over them.

After another long drive, we arrived in Bloomington, Minn., Saturday to visit another of Maureen's high school friends, Katie. She lives in a condo, so her sister and brother-in-law, Ellen and Chuck, had very kindly agreed to let us park in their driveway and to let Cushla sleep in their finished basement.

We took a long time getting the rig squared away -- power turned on for the refrigerator, the wine that spilled all over the inside of the fridge cleaned up, etc. Then we walked and fed the dog, visited a bit, and eventually went off with Katie to her condo.

She welcomed us so warmly, and was so genuinely pleased to meet me, as Maureen's spouse, that I was very touched.

After more visiting and a late dinner, we fell into bed. Fortunately, we have a couple of days here to rest before the final leg of our journey.

A view of Kootenay National Park of Canada on our way back to the U.S. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Kootenay National Park in British Columbia. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
U.S. Route 2 skirts the bottom of Glacier National Park in Montana. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Heading out of the mountains in Browning, Mont. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Much of Montana and North Dakota looks like this photo from Forsyth, Mont. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
In case the traveler passing through Beach, N.D., doesn't know where she is, the rocks make it plain. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
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Comments (1)
Posted by: Marian Robinson | Jun 26, 2016 14:27

Thanks for so graciously hauling us all along on your vacation.  It has been fun, educational, and beautiful.

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