As Jen mentioned in her blog yesterday, we got a bit of a grilling from the Camp Host about attracting bears to the camp site with all manner of stimulants. However, after being a little apprehensive, we survived the night intact.
Re-joining Hwy 212, the Beartooth Highway, it wasn’t long before the scenery started changing again. A tighter winding road that for a while plunged several thousand feet before climbing inexorably. Up passed the snowline and onto an alpine plateau. There were many “pull-out” parking areas where photos were possible. The road zig-zags from 5,500ft (1675m) to 10940ft (3334m) and down the other side. It’s an engineering marvel with amazing views at each turn.
The town at the bottom of the zig-zag, Red Lodge in Montana is a lovely town with the old buildings bedecked with signs of commercial activity. No decay here. Perhaps they have the benefit of being on a major tourist route but they haven’t spoiled the village feel with great strip malls. Long may that continue. Jen shopped and while she was doing that I listened to a Chicago radio station that provided an un-emotive and very balanced line of political discussion. Impressive. Out of town and north east, we parked just off the main road in a shingle pit, for lunch. The sun is shining and it’s about 25oC. Most pleasant.
The drive to Billings, part secondary road and part I-9, was enjoyable. Passing a big oil refinery we found a nice city. Housing very close to the heart of it. Pop approx 109,600.
We had a couple of objectives and it didn’t take long to achieve the first. Find an Oil Change shop to change the oils in the engine, gearbox, front and rear diffs. Clean oil is the lifeline of mechanical things. The second didn’t go so well. Walmart were advertising (online) replacement probes for my Multimeter. It’s a Sealy and the probes had fallen off some time ago. I can’t check the functionality of the Mass Airflow Sensor (MAS) without them. That’s what you get when you buy on price! Anyway, Walmart didn’t have them so I’ll have to find another source. It’s not urgent as the Landy is going better down on the lower altitudes.
After looking at the two motor camps close to the city we opted for a cheap motel room. The Motel 6 chain proved the barest minimum in quality and facilities, but we figure a shower would be nice after a couple of nights without. We have reached another turning point as tomorrow we head from north to west.
So far we have covered 35,000 miles and all is going wonderfully.