Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 22 -- Billings, MT to St. Regis, MT (July 3, 2010)

In all honesty, our morning started with a fairly somber mood.  Greg and I knew there was a decent chance that we'd be stuck in Billings for the July 4th weekend.  We'd already made plans to bail on Billings and head to Cody to see the last day of the Cody Stampede Rodeo so that the kids would have a fun memory of the 4th if we needed to do so. We woke up in the Walmart parking lot determined to make the best of things.  We drove over to the repair shop and were pleasantly surprised when the manager arrived, rolled up his shirt sleeves and got to work on the FMC.  Greg told me that the manager was hoping a mechanic would show up to help with the repairs and then we'd be fixed and on our way.  We agreed that if the mechanic did show up, I'd take the kids to do something fun for a few hours so as to be out of everyone's hair.

The mechanic showed up around 9:30 am.  I took the kids off in my car and we went to Zoo Montana.  It's a very small zoo that (honestly) could use more funding but they have some amazing exhibits.  There were only a few people there so we felt like we had the place to ourselves.  We fed the animals in the petting zoo and then took off to see the more exotic exhibits.

Kids with Bald Eagles, ZooMontana

They had a pair of Bald Eagles.  Both of them had been injured severely while in the wild and can only survive in captivity.  They were so beautiful and it was so cool to see them up close.  They also had a Raven and, again, honestly, it was hard for me to see him (her?).  Ravens are very social birds and mate for life and seeing one alone made me very sad.

Don't Wake Me Up!!!

The best exhibit in the zoo was the wolverines.  I've never seen a wolverine exhibit where the wolverines did anything.  They are generally asleep and/or hidden.  We thought this was the same as always but then we saw one of them moving around.  He was roaming and clearly looking for mischief.  Eventually, he decided to go wake up his friend who was not happy about it.  The kids kept teasing me that it was like me when I hadn't had my coffee!  There was lots of snarling and snapping.

While we were watching, my phone rang.  It was Greg.  The FMC was repaired, had been test driven, and he was on his way to the Zoo to pick us up.  Wow!  We met him and got on the road.

The drive across 2/3s of Montana was amazing.  Parts of it were dull but from Bozeman on, it was really beautiful.  We ended up spending the night at a USFS campground about 2 miles off of I-90 called Cabin City.  We arrived just after dark (about 11pm Mountain time) and were surprised that our campground neighbor came around for a nice long chat with us.  He was a lovely gentleman in overalls with two very sweet pugs who demanded lots of attention from me.

All in all, it was a good day and we were glad to be on our way.  We were going to be a day late arriving at Coeur d'Alene, ID and meeting our friends, the Cobbs, but we'd arrive in the early morning and that's not too bad!

708 at Cabin City, MT

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