Friday, July 24, 2009

The Great Montana Trip of 2009 - Friday

We woke bright and early the next morning, after sleeping quite well in the back of Strontium. Since our last road trip, where we fought with a leak-a-licious air mattress, we decided to go basic, cheap and old-school. We went to the thrift store, bought a twin mattress in decent shape for $25, shoved a few pillows into the gaps around the doors and wheel wells, tossed our full-size pillow top over all of that and called it good. Turns out, it's significantly easier and just as comfy. Huzzah!
We took a quick tour of the tiny Cooke City Cemetery that happened to be just off of our campsite, then hit the road, heading up the Cooke City Highway, a curving, amazing road that takes you to the top of the road and back down.
I mean, look at this place! I was in love instantly. Amazing stone formations peeking from lush green grass. Deep blue mountain lakes hidden around the corner... I could have spent hours up there wandering if not for one thing.

Much like the Greek Gods lived on Olympus, at the top of the world, it's Mosquito country, and I'd MUCH rather deal with a pissed off god, thank you very much. Didn't notice 'em at first. I got out, wandered a bit with my camera, took a few shots, slapped my arm a couple times. Then I looked around.... I was absolutely surrounded. I looked towards the car and Lindsay was frantically waving her arms at me, shouting something, but all I could hear was buzzing. I started swatting madly at them, moving fast, my hand diving into the car and coming out with the can of insect repellent. I sprayed continuously, coating my body, but still they came, almost like the first wave didn't want to land on me, but the 13,000 behind it pushed 'em! I sprayed more wildly, getting a hefty spray directly in my right eye. I screamed out, bellowing like a wounded hippo and lumbered blindly towards the car, bug spray and tears streaming from my face.

Lindsay frantically gestured for me to get in on her side, the mosquitos were bunching around my door, that was where their flabby feast had come from. I dashed to her side and quickly climbed over to my side. Finally, aside from the slight rocking of the car as legions of bloodsuckers pummelled the car with their bodies, we were safe! I felt like Robert Pattycake, star of Twilight at an eyeshadow convention for twelve year olds!

This is the photo I took -

This is the photo after painstakingly recreating the hordes of mosquitos -

After a while, we developed a method. It was too gorgeous for me to not stop and get some photos, so we would stop, I'd quickly leap out, snap off a couple of photos and crawl in Linz's side and drive on, before they could mass enough of a force to tip the car over. Apart from my right eye swelling and throwing off my depth perception it worked well.

On the way down the hill, we stopped and borrowed some water form a lady at a lookout so that I could rinse my eye out. Curvy roads, bug spray and eyeballs do not mix well. There were also ridiculously friendly chipmunks at the lookout and we hand fed them a few pumpkin seeds. Adorable, they were. (I think they may have been clever mosquitos in furry suits... clever buggers.)

At the bottom of the hill in Joliet, which seems to be pronounced Joe-Lee-Ett in the Montana vernacular, we found a little statuary place that was selling skunks, which have been on my father in law's wish list for years, but they weren't open yet, and Linz wouldn't let me steal them, so we ate at a little drive-in there till they were open. The drive in was great. Cheap burgers, copious fries and 24 flavors of soft serve ice cream, which were very subtle but quite good.

Turns out, the owner of the statue place was a talker... took us 20 minutes and 3 stories about disasters on the highway before we could leave with our skunks... Shoulda stole 'em. She was old, there's no way she could have chased us!

After that, we headed to Billings, MT where we planned to explore a bit, eat some dinner and head North for the evening.

Turns out, we hate Billings. Hard to navigate, their downtown has no character at all, every single restaurant we went into wanted between $13 and $24 per entree.... By the time we'd left the 6th restaurant, declining the $16 plate of General Tso's and 3 page sushi list, we'd had enough, walked 4 blocks back to the car, got some take-out at Hardees and left for Roundup, MT. Billings, MT, you get a D-.

In fact, here's another picture of the Top Of The World, mosquito headquarters, which I preferred infinitely!
We made it up into Roundup after dark, around 9pm and were told that there was a free campground over by the river. Free! Don't that beat all? So we snagged a couple of waters and slept peacefully in a quiet, dark, free campsite. What a day #2.


randymeiss said...

Hilarious! Pardon me for laughing at your mosquito, eyeball, bug-spray story. I'm sure it was very painful at the time. I recently got from a Canada fishing trip where the squeeters are not only numourous but mutant-sized. There is a reason you don't go fishing anymore when the sun is about to go down.

I commend you on your creative sleeping arrangements. I know we could do more traveling this way, but my wife wouldn't stand for it. I'm sure she'd think we'd be attacked by serial killers, aliens, or zombies if we slept in our vehicle. As if an expensive motel room is going to stop any self-respecting alien, zombie, or serial-killer anyway.

Steve at Random said...

I'm curious how you would pronounce Joliet. Being born and raised in Roundup, I would pronounce it Jaw-lee-Ett. However, I also pronounce "wash" as "warsch".

Steve at Random said...

Hey I know you are working graves and all...but I'm waiting for Saturday...that's when we meet up with you at the Busy Bee.

Kristopher and Crew said...

Saturday? Everything after Friday is a big dusty blank....

Actually, scratch that, it's a big, virus choked notebook.... My computer has discovered over 350 trojans since I returned, and now it wont boot... may be a goner.

Either way, I'll hopefully update more on Wed or so... kind of busy. Funny story, we got ANOTHER flat on the other side of the car the next day, had to get it repaired in Poky.

Randy, Lindsay is surprisingly willing to try crazy stuff like this, considering what a priss she can be... Hi lindsay! Our first night of camping like this was behind a Safeway... she was antsy, but now we love it. Havent had any zombie situations yet though... may have to re-think.