Friday, July 8, 2011

Day Fourteen: Big Sky Country

Today was not a very exciting day. We decided to take a few days to regroup and relax. We started off pretty early- even earlier than the kids next to us (turns out they were up, just waiting to yell and scream). After fighting with the tent for a good half-hour, we were finally packed up and ready to go. We stopped at Mammoth Hot Springs, in the Northwestern corner of Yellowstone, before leaving the park. It was impressive, to see the thermal terraces. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but then again, I'm not sure what I was expecting. It took us two hours to actually leave the park. We entered Montana at around 9:00 this morning. The first town in Montana is called Gardiner. There isn't much in town, but it is very "Western".
We planned on heading up to Helena, the Capitol. There isn't much in between. There is a town called Bozeman, where Montana State University is located, so it's pretty big, relatively speaking. We stopped there for lunch- totally worth it! From there, it was another 90 minutes to Helena. If you want to know where your tax dollars are going, it's going to fixing the roads in Montana. There was at least 30 miles of road work, in remote areas. Not much to see on the drive, except for the historical marker that said, "Thar's gold in them thar hills!" There is a reason they call it "Big Sky Country"- because that is all you can see for miles. There are no buildings to block it.
We finally got to Helena and went to Starbucks to catch up with civilization. It was one of the nicest, friendliest one we've been to. We found a hotel to spend a few nights in- it's really nice compared to the ground. We also heard that there was a bear attack in Yellowstone a few days ago. The activities around the park all make sense now. If it happened when and where we think, we were pretty darn close to it...luckily we didn't go in the backcountry. Apparently everyone else knew about it before we did. We spent a little time trying to plan the next leg of our trip (and probably the most exciting!) Other than that, not much happened today. We're planning on relaxing tomorrow, so it's probably going to be another low-key post. And with that, it is time for bed!!

States Visited: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, South Dakota, Wyoming, Wisconsin (11/50)
Provinces Visited: Ontario (1/10)
License Plates Seen: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming (49/50)
Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan (8/10)

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