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Western Montana

Montana is a huge state, and it's my second day crossing from east to west.

Montana, or more accurately Montaña is the word for mountains, and as soon as I left Billings this morning, I could see them looming ahead in the distance, some still snow-capped, even though it's late August. 

Attempting to capture the majesty and sweeping grandeur of the landscape out here is an exercise in frustration. 

The unexpected finds are the true gifts on rides like this. Passed through a little town west of Bozeman called Three Forks and stumbled upon the historic Sacajawea hotel. The hotel was built at the turn of the last century to serve those taking the train through here. It is like something out of a Zane Grey book...

Much of my route has coincided with the Lewis and Clark trail. Sacajawea, a Shoshone Indian, was the wife of Toussaint Carbonneau, a French-Canadian explorer, fur trapper, and trader who accompanied Lewis and Clark to serve as interpreter and guide. Legend has it that her husband won her in a card game (similar to how I came to be married). She was quite the heroic soul, figuring very prominently in the expedition that changed America. In one instance, when confronted at one point along their route by members of another tribe, the expedition was saved because the leader of the war party recognized Sacagawea as the sister that had been taken from their village as a child. Instead of attacking the expedition, Sacajawea's long lost brother aided them in their journey. 

They remember her favorably here. 

A park is in the main street honoring her. 

Amazingly she did the expedition while carrying an infant son, Pompey, who later was adopted by Clark and educated in both America and in Europe.

Legends conflict about the fate of Sacagawea...but perhaps I have found her. 

Another feeble attempt at capturing the wondrous scope of the landscape here.

A late lunch in Butte. Everything is a casino here... restaurants, bars, cafes, gas stations, convenience stores (in Montana one can buy all the normal stuff in their convenience stores...but the ones out in the boonies sell more than just beer and Fritos...they sell GUNS!).

Spankys garage. A neat place. 

One last try today at a good picture. Then to Missoula. Jimmy Buffet sang about it (I will not). 

Here for the night. God bless!

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Post Script

The ride home from Murrell's Inlet was an easy run right down US 17. For the first time, I didn't need a GPS. It was also the first time since Vermont that I wasn't cold. Finally, I was able to ditch