Idaho Falls - Billings
Miles Driven: 426.0
Gas Price: 1.94
Here we go again ;)
Well, we achieved a bit more today in distance, if not achievement. A few more photos too. We managed to get going out of Idaho Falls by about 0930 and headed north. A rotten Idaho day - e.g., wind. When it's windy in the flat parts of Idaho, it's horrible!! So we drove north through blowing dust, with the car being pushed about by the bigger gusts. This was particularly scary when passing trucks, as they were oscillating back and forth quite a bit. I'm not sure why there was so much dust, except that the fields were obviously newly ploughed. Whether or not this means the potato crop was harvested, I know not. In Idaho you sort of presume potatoes are involved somehow ;) I suppose I could look up potato growing cycles, but I'm not that keen actually ;) Alright I did look, and apparently potatoes are grown almost all year 'round, so I suppose it could have been potatoes. For more on potatoes, look here: http://www.potatoexpo.com/main.htm (I can see you all racing to that one! We didn't go to the Potato place, even though they had a giant concrete baked potato. Possibly because Blackfoot wasn't on the way, but mainly because the stingy buggers won't give free potatoes to those who live in Idaho! Bah! I'm not going unless I get a free potato!!)
About 10min before crossing the Idaho-Montana border, we stopped at an official 'rest stop' for, well, a rest. Loosely translated as a drink. We took the opportunity to snap a picture of the flagpole.....the flags of which were snapping and cracking in the gale like they were about to take flight. From the top, US flag (d'uh), Idaho flag, and the Idaho Department of Transportation flag. Apparently no-one official had taken the 60 mile drive out into the middle of nowhere in order to drop the flag to half mast for Reagan ;) The picture of Colin using the 'facilities' was also taken at this thrilling rest stop.
On into Montana, which now has a speed limit. I believe it was only instituted in the last 5 years or so, as prior to that it was the favourite state for crazy drivers. Now it's a sedate 75mph (120km/h) top speed. There are signs all through the state informing you that speed is monitored via radar aircraft......not sure what, or how. I mean, OK, I know HOW speed is measured via radar, but how do they get the driver? Jason thinks they call ahead to patrol cars on the ground, but I was rather hoping to see some speeding miscreant get strafed. Now THAT would improve the road manners of quite a few people. I've added that to my list of "When I Rule the World...."
We stopped at another rest stop, this one near Deer Lodge Pass (elevation 5902ft) where the air was beautifully cool and crisp - no potato dust to be found! There are a few pictures here for you, including some scenery, prime Montanan beef on the hoof, and Colin frolicking in the dandelions. A nice spot :)
On to Butte, Montana, and a brief stop for lunch. Way up on the mountain overlooking the town was a white statue. I'm going to have to go and look that up, as Jason and I had an argument about who/what it is! He says it was Jesus, and I say it isn't bloody Rio de Janeiro, even if you ignore the lack of beaches. Not even close. My guess was a miner, as it is/was a mining town, and the figure appeared to have it's arms apart carrying something. Of course I suppose this COULD have been a vengeful Jesus - perhaps preparing to strafe the speeding drivers as per my hopes. More likely we were both wrong.
And we were, I've looked it up and apparently it is the Virgin Mary. No doubt Jason will claim his guess was closer, but I challenge him to prove that old Mary never took part in a bit of amateur prospecting on the side. I see the statue was flown in with a CH-54 Sikorsky "Sky Crane" so perhaps that is also the aircraft used for strafing speeders! Although we all know rotary aircraft have the airspeed of an old lady driving a giant Cadillac, so probably not. For more on the statue, visit here: http://www.ourladyoftherockies.org/
From there it was an Easterly drive across Montana, with a heavy rainstorm just outside of Bozeman to liven up the journey. Also of interest was a semi-trailer that had caught on fire just coming into Billings. The whole trailer section had burned to cinders, and the cab was all burned and melted in the back. Jason wanted to take a picture of it to put here, but I was refusing in case someone had been hurt, and so by the time I saw the ambulance guys were just standing there idle, it was too late. Sorry, all ;) The most entertaining part of all was our CD of mixed music just ripped into Johnny Cash singing "Ring of Fire" as we drove past the truck. True story!
We called it a day in Billings, as the Little Big Horn monument is about 40 miles the other side of the town, and we wanted to visit that in daylight and still have enough time to get to the next major town down the road (which is about another 100 miles past that). Again, we hit the Holiday Inn Express - and my Priority Club points-chasing is starting to pay dividends, as we got a free upgrade to a suite ;) So naturally, you know what to expect next. Yes. Pictures of Colin enjoying the hotel!
Seeya next time :)
Jason is very proud of the fact that Karl got 34 miles per gallon today, so I'm required to point that out to everyone who doubts the efficiency of a Mustang ;)
Jason adds: You'll note that I'm putting the miles and pertinent fuel data along the side each day. $1.94/gallon? "That's cheap!" you might say. Except for the fact it's 85.5 octane... 88 octane is still in the $2.05-2.12 range. Oh well, maybe its for the best, 34 is the best mileage I've ever gotten out of Karl in the 6 1/2 years I've had him and it's on 85. Of course it might be due to keeping a constant speed, only stopping 3 times, and only having 2 major hills to climb. I imagine it would be better if we going across Nebraska :P