This is the story of our trip from Spokane back to our (mostly) smoke-free Minnesota home. Only a small portion of this travelogue involves the actual riding of a bicycle, but I’ll try my damnedest to make some kind of connection between each of my pictures and cycling — no matter how specious that connection may be.
We got a late start, which is something I’ve come to expect every time we leave Spokane because The Feeshko is slow to pack and it takes her a long time to say goodbye to her parents, her brother, her three sisters, her nieces and nephews, and all the family pets. For obvious reasons, it took even longer this time.
The smoke followed us eastward all afternoon. For some reason I thought we would escape most of it once we crossed Lookout Pass on the Idaho-Montana border. I mean, smoke can’t go over a mountain range . . . can it?
We spent the night in Butte-iful Butte. Have you ever slept in your car in a WalMart parking lot before? Lot’s of people do it. The Feeshko and I have done it too, and we considered doing it again tonight for Covid reasons. But we were just too tired. We broke down and got a motel room and were very impressed with the anti-covid precautions that were taken at the LaQuinta Inn.
Butte is an interesting old copper mining town sunk in a bowl with mountains all around. The city claims that its downtown area is the largest National Historic District in the U.S. I’ve been there before, but not this time. Sorry, no pics.
Yes, we did get pasties from Joe’s the previous night and took them back to the La Quinta for voracious consumption. We had ordered them from the road for pickup and, knowing they closed a half-hour before we could get there, we paid in advance and asked them to leave the pasties outside the door for us. To our surprise, the owner and his wife waited for us to arrive and they were as friendly as can be, which added to our very positive pasty experience.
We got back on the road. We drove and drove a long time before our next stop which was about 40 miles east of Montana’s largest city, Billings. The Feeshko will not use a restroom at a gas station, so we use state rest areas for that purpose. This one is probably our favorite I-94 & I-90 rest area between St. Paul and Spokane. It has a short hiking trail up into a juniper forest with great views. Diggity and I took advantage of the outdoor facilities while The Feeshko used the indoor facilities.
A few more hours of driving brought us to another one of my favorite places on this earth.
From Teddy Roosevelt’s park it was only another 30 miles to Dickinson, North Dakota. We took another chance on a motel, with our newfound confidence in the La Quinta Hotel chain. I know North Dakota is very unpopulated and very rural, but that state seems to have no respect for the Corona Virus. It was clean, but the staff wore no masks and almost none of the guests did either. They even served pizza, buffet-style, this evening for everybody to help themselves. There must have been fifty pizza boxes there. It all looked delicious but we decided to pass after seeing all those hands and un-masked faces so close to it.