Day 16 Bozeman to Pasco

Friday August 20, 2010

Breakfast at the hotel and a quick stop to fill up. There are bits of a LOT of dead things on the front of our car.

I have two pieces of advice for you if you are planning a road trip through the midwest in the summer months,

  1. I strongly recommend you take along a gallon or two of windshield washer fluid. We are on our 3rd gallon. I figure about a gallon every 1,250 miles
  2. If (sorry, I mean when) a bug hits your windshield hit it with the windshield washer immediately. Once it gets dried it won’t come off until you stop at a gas station and scrub.
The next town of any size we came to was Missoula with there “M” on the hillside. It reminds me of the old Willis Alan Ramsey song “Goodbye Old Missoula”; a great song. I first heard it living at 1214 Blaine with Craig Delk. He had a  great record collection. He also got me turned on to Bonnie Raitt and Doc Watson.
They do more than log the mountains; there is some strip mining going on there as well; you can see the terracing. I don’t know what they are mining for…
Montana is a big state. Eventually we hit Idaho as we crossed the pan handle
I think the state border must be the top of the Rockies because as soon as we hit the pass, we were in Idaho and headed down. And it was a long, steep drop down to Couer dÁlene  We stopped there for lunch at a Perkins because we had such a nice time in one outside of Deadwood, SD. This experience was not as great. Very friendly, but the lunch menu wasn’t great.
Back on the road and before you know it Washington snuck up on us.
In the midwest all the fields were still green and the corn about shoulder high. Out west there aren’t nearly as many farms and the fields we see are mostly brown, ready for harvesting. Here is a picture of some combines going through a field. You may need to double-click the image to get a larger view showing the combines.

We rejoined the BNSF. I was driving; Carla was trying to get some peace and quiet but I kept saying “Hey, there’s another train”. She’s a trooper and grabbed lots of pics.
We hadn’t seen many trains on the tracks in Montana. We came upon a caravan of many oversize vehicles with “Derailment Services” painted on the side. They were carrying big track shovels, extra freight car wheels (aka trucks) and more.  Looks like there might have been problems somewhere on the line. 
We pulled into Pasco where we have a room at the Red Lion. This is definitely the best hotel of our 2 weeks. We took a dip in the outdoor pool and that really did the trick. A couple of drinks at dinner helped as well. We split some appetizers and they were great: Capresè salad with heirloom tomatoes, crab cakes, and an avocado stuffed with crab.
Tomorrow we’ll head home. We plan to go up the first part of the gorge on the Washington side – state highway 14. It runs right next to the BNSF so Carla will drive and I’ll man the camera.

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