Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 47, 6/24/10 - Chinook to Dodson, MT

Just the Basics: About 54 miles to Dodson. We left Chinook at 8 and were in Dodson by 3. We would have been there sooner except for traffic. Except for 12 miles on County Road 9, we were on U.S. 2, and until we hit Phillips County at about Mile 48 the shoulders were terrible - very narrow and with rumble strips in the shoulder. Consequently, we made lots of stops to let traffic pass from behind whenever there was oncoming traffic or poor visibility. The 12 miles on County Road 9 were great from a traffic perspective - perhaps 3 cars of through traffic - but the road was under construction so lots of riding on gravel and a fair amount of construction traffic but it was very slow and very watchful of us.

On the plus side: The scenery continues to be incredible. The roads are bordered with a vast variety of wildflowers - we've finally succumbed and bought a prairie wildflower book and hope to learn some new ones, but we've been seeing wild roses, orange globemallows, lomatiums (Cow Parsley and others), a pea-like flower, arrowleaf balsamroot, several sizes and varieties of sunflower-like plants - etc. Lots of red-winged blackbirds today and more curlews and what we think is an Eastern Kingbird - we saw one at the Chinook Wildlife Museum - stay tuned!

Much of the time we had a tailwind and much of the day clouds kept it from getting too hot. In RILEY'S opinion the traffic wasn't all that heavy either!

Let's not even TALK about mosquitoes. For lunch we shared a Power Bar we ate fast walking around in the middle of traffic-less CR 9 dodging mosquitoes. No real rest stops, either, also due to mosquitoes. Luckily, we had stopped for pie and coffee at mile 20 in Harlem. We arrived in Dodson, which supposedly has a cafe and a grocery - turned out they are the same place and it was closed. We went to a bar and had a bag of chips and a couple of very cold O'Doul's Amber Non-Alcoholic Beers- very welcome. Things were not looking good for dinner - the cafe was closed and the bar had no food . . . .

Then we arrived at the Stage Road Inn B & B and the cares of the day melted away - see below!

Today's Picture: Sadly, we didn't take any - if we had one, it would have been of antelope!

Tomorrow: 45 miles to Saco, along U.S. 2. Per our map, the shoulders get better after Malta at about mile 20.

For Those Who Want More: Sandy Calk's Stage Road Inn B & B is about 0.7 miles from Dodson on County Road 204, located on 1600 acres, much of which has been farmed by Sandy's folks for 4 generations - her grown kids are the 5th generation to be raised in this area. The house was built in nearby Savoy for railroad magnate James Hill and moved here at some point.

Here is a partial listing of the many delights of our stay:

  • Sandy herself - a retired social worker who grew up farming here and has a fascinating collection of family treasures, local art, and tons of stories.
  • Ice cold limeade and brownies to welcome us - when Sandy heard what we'd had for lunch she topped the brownies with ice cream and chocolate syrup!
  • Since dinner was NOT going to be available in town, we asked if she ever made dinner for guests - for a fee, of course. She was more than willing but said it would be "just quesadillas." Turned out they were loaded with chicken and veggies (and cheese of course) and were wonderful. She makes them in an electric quesadilla iron - sort of like a waffle iron - something we had never seen before. We also had fresh pineapple, papaya and melon.
  • She offered the use of her washer and drier - Becky gladly accepted.
  • After dinner she drove us out around her property to see antelope - we saw many does, some fawns and a beautiful buck. We also saw her fields of winter wheat and rye (all planted last fall) - she rents them to a longtime friend who farms them (and his own land) organically. The rye is already very high and looked like the heads were forming on it.
  • There is a painting in her living room of the Native American who posed for the Indian Head Nickel - her parents had it in their home. Nearby is a photo of the same man - she found it at an auction or something.
  • There are lots of books and she gave us some neat ones to look at while we're here.
  • We can hardly wait for tomorrow morning's "Full Ranch Breakfast"!

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