This will be a short post, not for any bad reason – just because we quickly move on, and basically off the grid.
We spent a few days in Great Falls – kind of as a gathering point, partly as a laundry/chores stop, but also partly to gain a little western art and Lewis & Clark mana.
We visited the C. M. Russell Museum which is a well-done western art museum that particularly highlights the work of Charles M. Russell, an artist during the very early part of the 20th century.
And we visited the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, which highlights the travels and experiences of the great expedition of Lewis and Clark over 200 years ago.
Our next stop was Red Lodge, and the drive was beautiful.
One of the reasons we targeted Red Lodge is because it is the gateway and provides accommodations to one of our favorite drives – the Beartooth Highway!
Keep in mind that Red Lodge, the town we are staying in, had parts of it wiped out just three months ago (mid-June) by the same flooding that impacted Yellowstone. The same melting snow and heavy rains that caused the Yellowstone River to overflow, also caused the Stillwater and Clarks Fork rivers, as well as Rock Creek, which runs through Red Lodge, to overflow.
Red Lodge is strategic in that it serves as an important logistics point for travelers heading to the eastern side of Yellowstone. The local economy depends on these tourist revenues, as well as revenues coming in the winter from skiers.
Photo credits to Amy Lynn Nelson, Billings Gazette.
Streets are, as we speak, still being repaired. The evidence is unbelievable – roads, houses and buildings tossed around or removed like they were nothing. The evidence is seen in our campground (Perry’s RV Park), which is located right on Rock Creek, as some sites have been so damaged that they are unusable.
We traveled the Beartooth Highway years ago on our way to Yellowstone. This time, we are exploring the highway sans trailer. Since the highway tops out at about 11,000 feet, this is not a sacrifice. We got to make stops we couldn’t towing the trailer.
On the westward side of the pass, we took Crandall Road (aka Chief Joseph Scenic Highway), which in its own rights is an amazing drive.
We tried to do our part for the local economy, most effectively at a great restaurant in town called Bogarts.
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.