Dateline Carmen, ID
It's real obvious why they call Montana "Big Sky".
It redefines Big. It is Infinite. Stunning. Largely empty.
Except around towns like Bozeman (which Frosty calls "Boz Angeles"), the horizons just go on forever. Boz Angeles does, in fact, remind one of Los Angeles in many ways. The overdevelopment, miles of the standard US Stores, and people driving like they have to get to an audition. That's okay with us. We putt along in the slow lane at about 55 on average.
On a rare day when I had actually had a decent amount of sleep, we decided to plug on through Montana, cross the Continental Divide around Butte, then catch the I-15 south which goes all the way past Los Angeles to San Diego.
The topography started changing again as we headed south. We still had endless horizons but the hills were smoother and had more green on them.
Stopping at a rest area, we had something happen for the first time.
We were the only ones there.
Shelby took the chance to enjoy a nice roll in the grass as I plotted out our course that would take us down MT-93 into Idaho.
More photos are in the Montana Picasa Album.
The drive along 93 was exciting and stunning, taking us through the little town of Wisdom and crossing the Continental Divide again as it intersected with 43, which we took south into the Salmon River Valley, following the river the whole way.
That part of the trip is down hill. At that altitude, the outside air was fairly cool but better yet had a fresh pine scent.
I felt a huge load of anxiety leave after clearing the Divide. I had pretty much faced all the expected stress points and dealt with them one at a time.
The stress fairies started flitting about after a while of thinking too much on the realization that most of the road had no shoulders to pull out on, and for the most part there were no guard rails to keep you from taking a swim in your car.
I found myself continually scouting ahead for landing strips (a throwback to when I worked on my pilot's license all those years ago) and marking mileage of spots I might head back to if I found myself hiking.
But my trusty old Suburban laughed off the fairies and plugged on through like a horse returning to the barn. Except this was a barn we had never been to.
Our goal for the day was to make it to Frosty and Mambo's house near Salmon.
So you are not left hanging, we made it and will write about it in the next post.