On our return, we stopped to see the Giant Talking Penguin statue in Cut Bank, Montana off Rt 2, which claims to be one of the coldest places in America. Trying to find places of interest on Roadside America’s website. Just to make the trip a little quirky.
Jene inadvertently snapped off my windshield wiper while cleaning the windshield when we stopped for gas. A temporary quick fix with rubber bands led us to an auto parts store where I struck up a conversion with a local customer, who asked what are we doing in these parts (White Surfur Springs). Somehow we got on the subject of old cars and I mentioned that originally we were going to take the ’70 Courgar XR7, Wes has more than a 1/2 dozen classics and he had us follow him to various garages where they are kept. Jene was just as thrilled as he was to talk. He recommended that we stop off in the quaint town of Big Timber, Montana for the night . Searching the internet Jene found The haunted Grand Hotel. The Grand is a 1800’s Victorian, old western hotel. I half expected to see Marshall Dillon and Miss Kitty at the saloon. (Great food too)
Custer’s Last Stand in Crow Agency off of Rt 90 in Big Horn, Montana was interesting. And then to Casper, WY for the night at a somewhat seedy National 9 Showboat Motel. (Slim pickin’s). Such a lose/lose situation. When word got back to the east that Custer and his men died, the Indians were displaced and gold diggers got the rights to the land (some things in this country never change).
Day 38 and it appears that the song of the day will once again be “Windshield Wipers Slappin Time… Bobbie McGee” Rain and grey skies. Jene is so over spending any length of time in the car even with breaks to gas up, have lunch and stretch our legs. Me, all I want to do is get home quickly. The middle of the country is nothing but flat farmland as far as the eye can see. Finally in Nebraska, the skies cleared and we spent the night in North Platt at the Knight’s Inn. Stopped at a local tourist trap called The Golden Spike. A visitors center and rail yard for Union Pacific. The actual golden spike happens to reside in Provo, Utah (the end of the line). The tower which was buit at the rail yard in the 1960s to commemorate the laying of the rails was supposed to be painted gold but due to budget concerns, it remains white. I sat in the lobby while Jene paid the admission fee to get a view of the rail yard from above.
On the road again… Des Moines, Iowa we laid on heads down at the Baymont Inn. We donned our swimsuits and headed down the hall to the indoor pool and jacuzzi. The hottub was cold and the pool water was warm. Humph!
How far will we get is the question of the day. I cheer as we cross another state line. Corn and wheat fields to the right and left as the miles are clocked on the car. We passed Gary, Indiana, couldn’t find anyplace to stay in South Bend (a Notre Dame game this weekend). Settled for a Travel Inn in Howe, Indiana (wherever that is?) Close to the Ohio border.
Do we push on and make for home by 10- 11 pm or play it safe and stop at the Roadside Motel in Clearfield, PA. We stopped after seeing several deer carcasses on the side of the road. Didn’t want to take any chances on the darkened highway. One more night and then home sweet home.
This road trip was going to be within a set budget but with only camping for 8 nights out of 56 we broke the bank. Rarely did we find lodgings for under $80. Most were upward of $100 to $180 (some of which were motel 6 type of accomodations). It’s only money and some experiences were priceless.
But oh Auntie Em – there’s no place like home.
The holidays were closing in on us quickly – Thanksgiving was just around the corner and the then the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. Jene’s boss wanted us to come out to his house in Hawaii in January.