Next morning we got up at 5:30am (I wanted one last adventure – so I got up first- surprise!) to drive the Going to the Sun Road (before a vehicle registration was required). This gave us the chance to stop at the overlooks that got skipped in the shuttle and take in a few more views beyond Logan Pass. We also opted for a short hike at the Loop to move our legs. More great wildlife and mountain vistas in the early morning light.
Back to camp for a quick breakfast and pack up – saving teeth brushing and a few other catch up items for charging time at the visitor’s center. They have a free level 2 charging station at the St. Mary’s Visitor’s Center which gave us the extra miles we needed to make it to Great Falls (the next high speed charger) since our add-on adventures of the night before and this morning had left us a little short.
We headed to the next high-speed charger in Great Falls enjoying the scenery along the way.
On my bike trip across the country in 2016 (see the blog for LowCarbonCrossings), I have many fond memories and great stories of the 2 weeks we spent traveling through Montana – mostly related to people we met and stayed with. I finally have the chance to meet Alex in person! She is someone who worked really hard to get our photo with a long caption in the Big Timber paper (see the bottom of this page) and I have only met her through email and on Zoom before this. And to our delight she and Jim invites us to stay with them in their passive solar house about 13 miles north of Big Timber- and fed us yummy vegan food too!
The next morning we drove into Big Timber to use the Tesla charger (just enough to get to Billings) and so I could see the main street again where we took our picture for the newspaper. We also stopped in at Sweetcast Fly Fishing to see if I would find the owner that I met there in 2016. Adam was out on the water, but instead we got to meet Amy who was working that day – she’s got her PhD in Environmental Engineering and was excited to hear about the work we are doing. Next, we got a chance to catch up with our CCL friend Lori in Billings while our car charged.
More memories as we drive along of places we stopped on the bike trip – I remember going from Billings to Hardin where Lori and her husband Rob lived at the time. I also remember Colstrip and Miles City and Glendive (the last two are now Tesla Supercharger stops which seems a little ironic). I can’t believe we were riding on this shoulder – in parts of Montana and North Dakota, there are no other paved roads, so bikes are allowed on the interstate. I recall that it seemed like a luxuriously wide shoulder then – now it just looked dangerous as we wiz by at 80 miles per hour. This is beautiful country as we now enter the Badlands and approach Theodore Rosevelt National Park in North Dakota (where we had an incident with a bison on the bike trip). We had to stop for some of the scenic views including the Painted Canyon Visitors Center and overlook that I remember and I wanted Paul to see. We were driving faster (and using more energy) to get to Dickinson before Dr. Shelley (another CCL friend) left for her camping trip so I could give her a hug as well.
We did make it to Dickinson with perfect timing to exchange hugs, meet Shelley’s partner Dr. Raul and chat for a little bit before they headed off for the weekend for some well deserved fun – though as veterinarians, they were still on call for emergencies through the weekend so they were not going too far away. Shelley also surprised us with a gift of honey from her regenerative farm in Nicaragua (the honey reference in the previous post). And then they left us in the care of John Elway the cat with a comfy bed to lay our heads. We watched a bit of Netflix for the first time in over a month and put off the updating of the blog until the morning. It was a good chance to begin our transition from vacation and traveling to almost home.
The next morning we updated the blog, enjoyed a hearty breakfast, using up leftovers and things in our cooler (plus some of the eggs we suspect were from the chickens right outside the door). And we are off for the last portion of our journey – one more night on the road.
Through this first part of North Dakota I remember more of the bike trip up to Bismarck where we turned south (after attending our friend Gretchen’s wedding) – to go to Standing Rock.
Lots of road construction through the rest of North Dakota with few stops (just to charge and for a bathroom break) – we are feeling the call to get home – and charging is easy with Tesla Superchargers well spaced. A charge in West Fargo and then we see the Minnesota Welcomes You sign! Back to our home state where we found a campsite at Oak Park Kampground where we were lulled to sleep by the semi trucks on the highway and the sweet smell of manure.