Sunday, May 21, 2017

Quick Trip to Montana - Part 2

Before heading into the bar for a burger and (hopefully) some insight into the town, I snapped a couple of pictures of the outside of the building.
They came out sideways and I have no idea why.
There's a way to flip them on my computer and I have no idea how.
Such is the vaguely frustrating life of one who is barely computer literate.
I know how to do what I know how to do, and that's ALL I know how to do.
When I first opened the camera I searched the box for a user manual and found only a one page "getting started" page (printed in English, Spanish and five or six other languages), which was enough to.........get me started.
Included was the one sentence at the bottom of the page (in all languages) encouraging the new owner to download the manual from a www address.
When I got home from Montana I downloaded the 90 page English language manual, and even though I glanced through it, it may as well have been written in Spanish (or five or six other languages) for all the sense it makes to me.
So.........learning about my fancy new camera is going to be a process..............

Most of the pictures of the inside of the bar are blurry because of the low light, but I posted a few anyway, just to give a sense of the atmosphere of this small town establishment.
It was obvious that this bar had been around for a very long time and the decor was nothing short of interesting and eclectic.
Filled with pictures (including an old and very large picture of a beautiful and bare breasted woman immediately over the bar), animal heads, old license plates, pool tables, tin signs, a small dance floor in one corner, and so much more.
Behind the counter was a large, older lady in a short skirt, tight top and flip flops, and sitting at a table in the middle of the room were two men, one woman, and a toddler. 
It was a lot to take in.
New people and a large room filled with endless things to look at.
Both LC and I had to use the rest room and by the time I was done he was already sitting on a stool at the bar ordering burgers for both of us.
Once the waitress went to prepare food I leaned over and told him that if he wanted to have a good time he could call Jennifer (whose phone number was proudly displayed on the wall in the ladies stall).
He smiled at me and told me that Jennifers' name was also posted in the mens.
Well alright then.  Somebody gets around...............

As LC sipped on a Pepsi I wandered around the room taking in all the very interesting sights.
I snapped a few pictures knowing that they may not turn out well because of the low light, but I took them anyway hoping at least a few would be presentable enough to post in a blog.
This place was pretty awesome and it was obvious that it had been in business for decades and that the decor had sprung up organically over time.
Very likely with individual visitors adding random pieces and contributing to the effort.
It really was a hugely interesting place to see............
Quarters pounded into wood................
If anyone reading this blog ever finds their way to Reed Point, Montana there are three things you MUST see.
The Yellowstone River.
The old flour silos.
And this bar..................
After doing a quick walk-about I returned to my stool next to LC.
The waitress had not returned, and it was becoming very obvious that we were likely not going to get much information during our burger-eating bar-visit.
Looking around me I non-chalantly (I hoped) scanned the people sitting at the table in the middle of the room.
Little boy was fast moving and the woman repeatedly ran to retrieve him.
Somebody had been hung over that morning from the celebrations of the night before, and laughed that he would be hung over again tomorrow morning.
A shared picture of an ultra-sound.  Somebody's wife was pregnant.
About 15 minutes after we had ordered our burgers they finally arrived, and the food was good.
The waitress disappeared immediately after delivering our food but returned a few minutes later to see if we needed anything else.
LC and I both tried to engage her in conversation.  
How long had this bar been open?  She wasn't sure, but she had been working here for 46 years.  
Do you get a lot of people passing through town?  Yes, lots of tourists all year long.  
We could understand tourists in the summer because of the river, but what draws people here in the winter?  The river. 
Do you know anything about the building a few doors down that was empty?  No, not really.  It's been empty for a long time. 
How often do the trains go by?  About every hour. 
During our brief conversation the womans' adult son walked in and ordered a beer and the woman laughingly commented that he had been raised in this bar.
After a few more uninsightful non-answer answers her cell phone rang, and she was on the phone for the rest of our meal.
 LC and I just looked at each other, finished our burgers and left.
It had been a very long day, it was now almost dark, and we needed to find a place to stay.
After a few minutes of debate (should be go back to Big Timber or go on to Columbus), we quickly decided on Columbus.
It was closer.
And we were tired................
Immediately after pulling into Columbus we filled up the tank and then drove down into the small town proper in search of a motel.
Grateful to see a sign for a reasonably priced family-owned motel we pulled into the parking lot, and I walked in the lot with Kory while LC went to see if they accepted dogs.
A few minutes later he walked out looking disgusted.
Sixty five dollars.
No internet.  No refrigerator.  No coffee.  Just a room.
From the looks of the outside, I assumed that the room would be nothing to write home about.
Eager to look on my lap top and check out some of the other towns in the area between Bozeman and Columbus, I suggested we try the chain motel up the road.
A few minutes later LC walked out of the second motel looking even more disgusted.
$115 plus tax.
Holy Cow!  Maybe he and I are just cheap.  Or maybe that was the going rate for motels in 2017.  We had no idea.  It had been a few years since we had stayed in a motel but that seemed very expensive to us for one night.
OK - probably we were just cheap.
But in one instant we decided to go back to the family motel.
Hopefully they at least had a TV.
They did.
But an hour after we checked in LC and I were sound asleep.
Right before we fell asleep we heard a train go by across the street.
We just smiled at each other and shook our heads....................
All three of us woke up early the next morning and while LC went on the hunt for coffee I rounded up all the gear we had thrown carelessly all over the room in our exhaustion the night before.
As we drank coffee and woke up, we both looked at each other and quickly decided that there was no need to meet with the real estate agent later that morning.
I sent a text.
We had told ourselves we were tire kickers (after all - we had sold one house in Tennessee but still had a house in Idaho to sell).
But the place had had.........possibilities.
Aside from the river, our trip to Reed Point the day before had been uninspiring.
But it had answered a lot of questions for us and that was a good thing.
From this point on we would begin to worm our way back towards Idaho.
Maybe we would spend another night on the road.
Maybe we would travel home.
We didn't know this early in the morning but, in a good mood and eager to just wander, we quickly loaded the Tahoe and headed out.
We'd grab something to eat on the road...............
Traveling the interstate back towards Reed Point, we pulled off the highway when we arrived and slowly took one more spin down the few streets that made up this little community.
Looking wistfully at the Yellowstone River we decided to stay on a secondary road instead of picking up the interstate again.
It would wind our way back towards Big Timber and possibly beyond, and travel would be slower and more leisurely.
We would see what we would see, and be in no big hurry to see it.
20 minutes later we pulled over to the side of the road so that I could take these pictures.
With no agenda to speak of, no rush to be anywhere in particular, and no idea what we would run into in our travels, suddenly we were both having a very good time.
And the scenery was spectacular ................
Alright, I'll just fess up right now.  
We spent the day driving back roads as much as possible, took endless pictures of mountains, rivers, live stock eclectic buildings.
And we blew through every single town big and small we saw along the way.
Big Timber................
After blowing through Big Timber without seeing a restaurant to eat breakfast, we hungrily pulled into a gas station to pick up coffees and snacks before continuing on.
Consciously still staying on slower secondary roads, what we DID find time for was to snap random pictures of random signs, and to seek out the river.
During one of those side trips we realized that we had an audience and I joked with LC that the one lone young calf that was staring at me as I snapped picture after picture of his brethren, would be made famous on my blog..............

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