Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Great Falls, Montana

We had to make a stop at Albertsons for a few grocieries and I made a connection to the net through my laptop using my Nokia 3650 cell phone as a modem. Cool!

There were two possible routes from Billings to Great Falls, Montana. One, the Interstate route was the more scenic. Knowing we were going to Glacier National Park, one of the most scenic places in North America, we chose the shortest route which was State Road 3. It turned out to be a very interesting drive.

We suspect someone in Ryegate has a good sense of humor. It is a place that might have one store and a few houses. In an empty field by the road was a sign that said, "Coming Soon, Hooters." You should also know that the one store in town also had a sign on it saying, "21st Annual Testicle Festival." That should also give you a clue. Now, I know that the Testicle Festivals are some sort of tradition of fringe gatherings so that might be real. Google Testicle Festival and you will see what I mean.

Just south of Judith Gap in a wide valley between two mountain ranges we came upon a massive construction project. It was a gigantic wind electrical generation facility. The wind generators were about three stories high and spread out across the valley. None were completely finished and they were in various stages of construction. There must have been about twenty or more towers. What a perfect place for this alternate form of electrical generation. It was an impressive sight. We have not had an opportunity to learn more about this project since we don't have an internet connection at this location here in Great Falls.

About half way from Billings to Great Falls we stopped for lunch at Wade's Cafe, an intersection truck stop cafe. Service was slow but the food was good. The most interesting things were the photos on the wall of Wade's Cafe demolished with a large truck in the middle of the wreckage. Seems that many years ago a big truck was coming down the hill and the brakes failed or the driver fell asleep, it was late at night and the Cafe had closed, and he blasted through the intersection right through the little place. No one was hurt because the Cafe was closed at the time. If you ever take Route 3 up from Billings stop in, have a burger and check out the photos on the wall in the souveneir area by the cash register.

Great Falls like Billings has some interesting features that we have seen all over Montana. One is the universal presence of little casinos on every corner. They are like seven elevens in Florida. They are infinitely varied in their size and shape and look like any other business except that they offer poker, keno, and other gambling along with the usual offerings of a bar or lounge.

The other universal feature of Montana other than mountains that we find interesting are the little coffee shops. Some of them are out in the middle of nowhere and many are in the cities. Most of them offer drive through coffee in a wide variety of forms and flavors. We saw one today offering Latte, Mocha, Expresso, and Big Train. I imagine Big Train would keep you going for the long haul.

Tomorrow we reach Glacier National Park. As I said in the beginning of this entry it is known as one of the most spectacular sights in North America. Are we excited about seeing it. You bet we are and yet we are still reliving the days spent with Winn and Donna, our friends in Billings. For just all around fun and good times that will be hard to beat. That hanging guard rail where the rock slide took out the Beartooth Scenic Highway still is vivid in my mind.

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