#85 PNW - Missouri River Headwaters

2007 July 12
357 miles

PNW Trip
Day 5
Meet Jim and Mary Jo from Missoula. They are on their way home after a trip to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
We had a nice visit over our coffee while packing up to leave the Super 8 in Billings, Montana.Driving out of Billings, I see snow on the mountains toward Beartooth. I decided not to loop across Beartooth Highway and through Yellowstone today. I spoke to Barb last night and she told me it took her 10 hours to do that ride one day before when she came through Billings on her way from Texas to Missoula. I decide that I don't want another long day after yesterday's 770 miles. So I opt to take a none rushed route straight through Bozeman to Missoula.

I see some interesting rock formations ... but took special note of the signs, knowing that rocks would not discriminate and would just as soon fall on a motorcycle.
More likely though, I would need to watch for the rocks in the road in these areas...a special hazard for motorcycles. Since I had plenty wiggle room in my schedule today, I didn't even feel guilty when I got distracted by a sign. I took the turn following the signs to the Missouri River headwaters. I think I found it. Looks like this is the cul-de-sac of the Missouri River. I've been criss-crossing Lewis & Clark's trail as I make myself westward. According to the sign, they were here too. I'm not sure what they did here when they ran out of river. I saw many interesting books about their journey and may have to add one to my reading list. Then I'd know these answers!
When I stopped to take this picture...

...I met this lab taking a swim in the Missouri River and his person.

This is Bill. Bill traps for a living in several states around here and likes to let his lab take a swim on hot days like today. Bill had lots of stories. We chatted for about an hour about a variety of topics. This is one of those times that if I didn't have somewhere to be, I'd enjoy shedding my jacket and boots, dropping my feet in the river and chatting with Bill for a few hours.
Trapper Bill suggested an alternate route to the freeway and I was ready to get off the freeway. So I take his advice and take US287 that turns to highway 2 as it goes by Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park then through an interesting canyon before looping me back to meet the freeway again.
I think I spotted one of the caverns in the area. I didn't climb up to check it out though. What do you think? Looks like a cavern, huh? Before I get back on the freeway, it's time to shed a layer of clothing. I find a shady spot on the side of the road in the little town of Cardwell. I pull off my boots, then shed my textile pants leaving my mesh on underneath. Reboot up and add the damp cool vest, then switch to my mesh jacket and I'm ready to roll in cooler style! Good thing because the temps start climbing upwards of 100 degrees! By the time I pull into Missoula, it's 105!

Nice railway trestle visible from the I80. I make a short detour through Deer Lodge to obtain another NPS stamp.
A shot of the old historic prison in downtown Deer Lodge taken over my shoulder after I pass it and realize that it was photo worthy. The Grant-Kohrs Ranch is where I find my next stamp.Me, as I keep my cool in the 100+ heat riding the last few miles into Missoula!
Fleeter has a private parking spot next to the door at the Super 8 where I stay for the next two nights. Tomorrow I meet up with some other MTF riders for a ride and supper.

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