Montana is one of my favorite states….so beautiful. And as much as I’m excited about getting to see it over the next couple of days, I’m also starting to feel this overwhelmingly emotional welling up within me. It’s bittersweet to be feeling the excitement of seeing family and friends, but to also feel the sadness of bringing my incredible two-year adventure to an end.
We stop a few minutes shy of the border to stop and take a few panoramic photos of Waterton-Glacier park. And as we ride on and I near the border, I start to get a little choked up. I’ve been in my country on the homeward-bound leg of this trip already, but this is really it….the end is near.
Brian approaches the guard gate at Chief Mountain’s border crossing while I wait at the stop sign for my turn. I think to myself that I may get some normal questions (like…where have you been? how long have you been gone?, etc.) and I may have to reply with some strange answers. And I imagine a scenario where I briefly explain my trip and the guard says something like “welcome home” at the end of it. And a lump forms in my throat…if he says that or anything like it, I will probably cry. Lucky for us both, he didn’t.
And suddenly, I am back in my own gorgeous country.
We ride on toward Chief Mountain, which sits high above the plateau.
The road traces the eastern edge of Glacier National Park as we make our way south toward Great Falls for the night.
There are a few sections of road construction along the way. And I can see there’s been a lot of rain here this summer. The prairie is a vivid green color, covered in tall grass, and ditches and low spots are filled with standing water.
Montana fits its moniker “Big Sky Country”.
We settle into a KOA campground in Great Falls for the night, my first stay in a KOA ever…and they are GREAT!
Bugs have been slaughtered by the hundreds on my bike, helmet and gear today.
The next day we ride on toward Red Lodge where we plan to camp for a night before riding up over Beartooth Pass and into Wyoming. It’s a great day for riding and we take a scenic byway and stop to enjoy some of the touristy parts.
As we climb up over a ridge of mountains south of White Sulphur Springs we run into some snow, and not just in the shade. There’s slush on the road.
The green just keeps on coming….
The next morning we ride up the valley toward the switchbacks that will lead us up and over Beartooth Pass and into Wyoming.
On top we stop at the Rock Creek Vista Point overlook. A few years ago, my friend Jen and I stopped here on a trip to Canada and I remember the friendly chipmunks…and they are still here!
Then on we go, further up the hill and toward the Wyoming border. There’s still a lot of snow up on top.
One step closer to home…