Been there, done that

Scenic Overlook, Fort Peck Dam, Fort Peck, Montana
The rest of our voyage through North Dakota passes in a long, smooth lane through the gathering hills of the prairie, the amazing, awesome, open prairie. What a dream this place must have been for homesteaders, at least during the warm weeks...

My cell phone freaks out and we stop in a Radio Shack in Williston, ND, and learn that the nearest Verizon corporate store, the only place that might repair it/replace it, is 500 miles away in Kismet, Montana. Just kidding. Kalispell, right near Glacier National Park, right on our way. We decide to make Kalispell our tires/liquor/groceries/WalMart stop on the way to Canada.

Far west, almost to the end of North Dakota, the land starts to look like the Great American West, a little bit, anyway, starts to look like Montana, warmer than when we were here last November. The hills become greener, ranch-ready instead of farm-handy, steeper, rockier, more beautiful. The closer we get to the border (and to Mountain time instead of Central) the more devestatingly beautiful everything becomes. The road becomes scenic, too, in actuality as well as according to our Atlas.

Montana welcomes us back to the West, and I get tears in my eyes (Skip gets tears in his voice). We feel like we're back home. Montana is more beautiful than the desert home we had in the West. Now, anyway. We try and guess how cold it gets, how much snow falls in the lands we pass through.

We travel about twenty miles south of the highway we're on, a little scenic loop that takes us to a dammed river on the Lewis and Clark Trail. We bypass the National Recreation Campground (only ten bucks, but we ARE out West, where the Law is less careful and judgemental about where you camp). These lands are your lands, these lands are my lands, and why should I put up with RV's and retirees and yippie dogs when there is, at the top of the dam and the top of the local world, a wind-swept Scenic View with no one else there. We put the top up and cook an amazing Indian meal (Basmati Rice and Punjab sauce with chickpeas). We read, relax, marvel at the lack of mosquitoes, walk the dogs, enjoy the view, read all the signs that tell us about Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea...much later that night an almost-full moon rises and drives away the wind. Godess, the moon is magnificent on the blue-blue water of the dammed river. Stupifying. Absolutely stupifying.


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