From Minot, ND to Glasgow, MT. Cool, overcast. It didn’t actually rain but it was very threatening.
Hwy 2 is often an interesting road in that it varies between two-lane and newly divided four-lane. This occasionally leads to confusing lane striping on the portion that used to be two-lane.
I stopped at the Wal-Mart in Williston. Couldn’t be more different from the W‑Ms near home if they tried to be. Huge, wide aisles, well lit, well signed, *clean*. Replenished some supplies and headed back out. Head turner on the way out of the parking lot. You’ll notice that the Wal-Mart Logo is nowhere near the sign that says Liquor.
Along the road there are lots of these little oil pumps slowly moving up and down. Hypnotic.
The main attraction for the day was the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. Unlike that other confluence I tried to see this one is open and inviting. The North Dakota Historical Society maintains an interpretive center that sits in the middle of a wetland wild-life refuge.
The Yellowstone River is the longest un-dammed river in the contiguous Untied States.
The coolest part of the visit was eating lunch in the company of 20 or so Goldfinches. The center puts out feeders and keeps them well stocked.
This little guy is not a goldfinch but he was very interested in what I was having for lunch…
One more goldfinch.
Next door (sort of) is a recreation of the Fort Union trading post. Built by the American Fur Company in 1828 it was not a military installation. Trade continued until 1866 when Fort Union was torn down and the timber etc. was used to build Fort Buford. (Which was a military installation.)
It looks way too much like a Disneyland recreation to me but the original was white washed at the insistence of the management who though it made the place more ‘impressive’.
There were these lovely blue flowers in the parking lot. I have no idea what they are — except pretty.
From Fort Union I tried to get back up to Hwy 2 using 58 North. Didn’t get far before the “pavement ends” sign sent me back the longer way around. It wasn’t the first time I’ve questioned my choice of vehicle. There have been a lot of local dams up 5 ‑10 miles of gravel road that I have passed on. On the other hand absolute comfort at 70(nominal) with the top down is just too good to pass up.
Got a whiff of nostaligia when I stopped for gas in Culbertson, MT. Do you remember this guy?
Two more quick images from the road between Culbertson and Glasgow.
This is railroad country — here’s another piece of maintenance equipment. I’m staying in the largest hotel for 100+ miles around. There are two full size buses and 5 of the large trucks that can also run on rails used for maintenance-of-way
trucks. (BTW the Wikipedia link is a stub — anyone have a good links for identifying the types of vehicles?)
All over the west you find houses that have been abandoned. Sometimes with new houses built right next them. This one doesn’t have anything near it except the range fence.
70 mph on a divided four-lane is not conducive to stopping for the odd photo-op. 70 on a two-lane is better. 60 on a two-lane is even better and not at all hard to get away with out here. Locals are usually driving that slowly anyway and the rest know how to pass politely.
Towns along Hwy 2 in Minnesota, N. Dakota, and much of Montana exist to house/service grain elevators and the railroads that transport the grain.
I need one of those little wifi detector things. There is no cell phone data service out here — but I know that most towns have a town hall, library, school, or community center with open wifi that my Crackberry could talk to. I just don’t have quick way of detecting them.
Song and Lyric of the Day:
The moments of pleasures never do last
Are gone like a suitcase full of your past
Ashes by Now — Emmy Lou Harris
More signers should cover Springsteen songs.
The changes in the color of the worn asphalt make road pictures identifiable to the experienced traveler. (Ooo, rose beige — that would eastern Montana)
I have finished reading Gruber’s Forgery of Venus (good) and begun Giaman’s Neverwhere.
View It’s a Big Dam Country — Day 23 in a larger map