2006 to Montana and back



Again this year we started the trip with an 850 mile drive to Wall, South Dakota. Interstate 90 goes right there without a stoplight and this year
we even got an I Pass to make the Illinois Tollway quicker by only slowing down for toll booths rather than lining up to pay.  Because of waiting
for Grace Nicole Valenzia's arrival, we were about ten days later than normal. That brought us that much closer to the start of "Bike Week"
in Sturgis, South Dakota. Google "Sturgis biker babes" to get a slanted view of what could bring 500.000 people to a town of 600. Golly!

Just like the white line on the map above, we cut across NE Wyoming and SE Montana and rejoined I 90 just SE of Billings Montana,
then stayed on I 90 until we got to western Montana and then headed north to Flathead Lake on beautiful Montana back roads. Another 800
mile plus day but we got there safely and had a week to rest and recover from two days on the road.  Many would think three days would be
better, but we've made the trip often enough that I think we've seen what needs to be seen enroute and we just need to get there.

Bigfork, Montana had an art & craft fair while we were there and I bought a couple of photographs by Juan de Santa Anna that I thought
really captured the Montana I've grown to love.  The Flathead Lake Brewing Company proved to be a wonderful new addition to the
community and an almost too convenient source  for my beverage of choice,  After a week at Flathead, we made the 200 mile trip to Helena
to visit Sandee's mother and spend a couple of days with her brother and his wife.

The long white line on the map above from Helena, Montana to Washington Island, Wisconsin is not the route we followed. We chose,
for the first time, to take I 90 back after using the short cut through SE Montana and NE Wyoming. We passed through Stugis SD on the last
day of Bike Week and made it to Oacoma SD about 750 miles from Helena. Disaster struck at the motel in Oacoma as I spilled an extra
large cup of coffee all over my laptop as I was checking email. The injury proved fatal and expensive as insurance does not cover stupidity
or liquid spills. This web page is being created on the replacement laptop which is one of the new Macbooks with an Intel chip.

Before sunrise the next morning we were off again as we had some 700 miles to go and could not risk missing the last ferry to Washington
Island at 6:45 pm. We made the trip with an hour to spare and caught the 5:45 pm ferry, but it certainly was not a nice easy day. Salemme's
wonderful addition to and renovation of their harborside home made the trip worthwhile and provided another very restful day to recover.
Much to our surprise, we found Moose Drool for sale at the Washington Island beer depot so we stocked up. It's nice to know this brew
is available much closer to home.