Friday, July 5, 2019
I slept through the night and woke up at 5:30 am. The temperature was 15 C ( 57 F ) and it was foggy outside as I left the rest stop. I soon reached a small mountain range where the fog was thicker and the temperature was 13 C ( 55 F ).
Shortly after 8 am I reached Billings Montana, where I stopped for a small breakfast and completed my journal entry for the events of the previous day. It was 12 C ( 54 F ) and raining at 10:30 am, as I continued my journey.
The mountains soon were much higher than the ones I had seen in the morning and the countryside reminded me of a western movie so it seemed fitting that I was listening to the soundtrack to ‘ the Good, the Bad and the Ugly ‘ as I wound my way up, down and through the mountains. The scenery in the mountains is both diverse and spectacular. There were sections of grasslands with scattered trees on the mountain sides and the valleys, as well as rocky areas with trees that had their roots embedded in the cracks of the rocks, towering over wide rivers. I was hoping to see some wildlife and at one point I thought that I might have seen a grizzly, close to a river in the pasture land of a valley. He was a long way from the road and it was hard to see what it was at 80 mph, but I now believe it was just a brown cow from a nearby herd that had wandered off and was lying on the grass and eating its cud with its back turned to me.
As I crossed the continental divide and started to rapidly descend 300 m ( 1000 ft ) from an elevation of 1940 m ( 6363 ft ) the soundtrack started to play ” The Trio “, which is the music at the end of the movie during the final duel between the Good, the Bad and the Ugly and it reached its crescendo at the bottom as I viewed the city of Butte Montana below me.
Summer is construction season and it seemed that every time I was moving along nicely at 65, 75 or 80 mph, there would be a section of road construction and I would have to slow down to 55 or 45 mph for long stretches. This gave me a better chance to view the scenery in the mountains.
The temperature had changed significantly. When I had left the rest stop in Montana, it was quite cool and I had considered re-attaching the bottoms of my zip-off pants but by the middle of the afternoon the temperature got as high as 31 C ( 88 F ) and I was glad that I hadn’t.
As I entered northern Idaho, the time changed to the Pacific time zone and I gained another hour, which meant that I could drive an extra hour in daylight if I had wanted to, however, I decided to spend an extra hour resting at my destination for the night. I arrived in Spokane at 5: 30 Pacific time ( 8:30 pm EST ), where I stopped for a soup and a sandwich and then checked into a hotel for the night for some rest and a much needed shower.
From Spokane, it should only take 2.5 hours of driving to reach my destination, however, I was feeling tired, I wasn’t sure how much additional time it would take to cross the border and I wanted a chance to clean up. With stops, my travel time was 13 hours to Spokane, 11 of which was driving time.