Day 9: Red Lodge, MT & The Beartooth Highway

Paul and I had an early wake up call this morning but got LOTS done! I can’t wait to share today with y’all.

First stop, church! We went to the 8am Mass at St. Patrick’s here in Billings. A beautiful church and such a welcoming Parish. The greeter asked where we were from and then went on to talk Tiger football and invite us to coffee and donuts after church. Very sweet!

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St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral, Billings, MT

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Driving out of town we couldn’t help but notice this beauty.

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Moss Mansion, Billings

The Moss Mansion was built in 1903 and only lived in by the Moss Family until 1984. If you tour it you can see the original furniture, draperies, carpets and fixtures from the turn of the century. I love it when history is preserved for the future!

We struck out toward The Beartooth Highway for today’s adventure. Check out what we saw in Rockvale, MT.

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The beginning of The Beartooth Highway is Red Lodge, MT. First a short history: In Sept 1851, the U.S. government signed a treaty with the Crow Nation giving them the area which includes Red Lodge. But whoops, coal was found there in 1866 and gold nearby in 1870 so guess what? “Excuse me but we want that land back”. A new treaty in 1880 allowed the area to be given to settlers. Imagine that! Here are a few pictures from Red Lodge.

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Red Lodge train depot

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Red Lodge Cafe, our brunch choice…delicious!!

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Carnegie Library, Red Lodge, MT

It makes me smile every time I see a Carnegie library! For those of you not familiar there are a total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries in the world! These libraries were built with money donated by Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American businessman who made his wealth in the steel industry. Books were very important to Carnegie. At one of his first jobs he was allowed to borrow books from his boss who opened his personal library to his workers every Saturday. Carnegie later credited this employer “with providing working boys an opportunity to acquire knowledge to improve themselves”. Carnegie believed in giving to “industrious and ambitious; not those who need everything done for them, but those who, being most anxious and able to help themselves, deserve and will be benefited by help from others.” Sounds like my kind of guy! To receive a grant for a library, a community had to to make a financial commitment to the project. In other words, they had to have a dog in the hunt. Hardly any request for a grant was denied. Carnegie libraries were built in the United States, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia,New Zealand, Serbia, the Caribbean, Mauritius and Fiji. Jennings, Louisiana, where Paul was born, has a Carnegie library! Wow, what a legacy!

Back to Red Lodge: Tradition has it a band of Crow Indians left the main tribe and moved to this area. They painted the council tepee with red clay, hence the name “Red Lodge”. (Neat since we are visiting from “Red Stick”!) There have been recent finds that lead scientists to believe that prehistoric man existed in this area several million years ago. The local residents say they don’t know what to believe but if people were around that long ago, of course they would pic Montana as the place to be! 😄

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And now we begin… The Beartooth Highway!

Wait. Gotta make a stop first…

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Yes, they have potties in the wilderness. No, I don’t know (or care) where it goes. Note to self: don’t drink so much water.

The Beartooth Highway

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Paul made a friend today!

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Does it get any better? Listening to the Saints game in 38 degrees! Who Dat!

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Oh no! Not again!

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Norma, this is just for you!

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Cooke City, MT is the end of the Beartooth but what a precious little town! We stopped in the Visitor’s Center and visited with the sweetest girl who was manning the desk. She had been raised here (only 100 full-time reaidents) and went to a one-room schoolhouse for grade K-8! And she LOVED it!! Wow!

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They had an old miner’s cabin set up behind the visitor’s center.

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Look who we saw at the edge of town!

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We did continue forward for the last few miles just to take this picture. I wanted you to know that The Beartooth Highway ends at the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone! We’ve been there and it’s FABULOUS!

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Back to Billings (and a soft bed) via the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway.

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After dinner we saw this rainbow.

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A perfect end to a perfect day!

Until tomorrow…

Day 8: Back to Billings

After studying the map and discussing options, we are headed back to Billings. Up until now, while we had no defined plans, we at least had a goal. Glacier was that goal. Now the world is our oyster. Or at least the West is for another week.

So we headed off… the first part of the day was on two-lane road. No interstate until this afternoon. Some of the best drives are on these two-lane roads.

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The Swan Lake to Seeley Lake area reminds me of the movie “On Golden Pond”. Looks like the kind of place you’d like to spend every summer.

It’s amazing what people will put outside their business to attract customers. Could this be the bull that disappeared from Jake’s in Orange Beach, Alabama during a recent hurricane? Hmmm…

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This entire area we are driving through is The Bob Marshall Wilderness Country, the second largest wilderness in the lower 48 states. This area, which is made up of several areas and ends with Glacier National Park, creates a continuous area of unspoiled mountains and valleys that are home to grizzly bears, mountain goats, wolverines, elk, moose, deer, and wolves. Someone once asked Bob Marshall how much wilderness America really needs. He responded, “How many Brahms symphonies do we need?” Pretty cool…

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We were passing through Helena and wanted to stop and take a picture of the state capital.

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It’s kind of a “thing” for me to see all the state capitals. Those of you who think I missed Denver and Cheyenne, have no fear. I saw those on previous adventures. 😉

While in Helena this beautiful church caught our eye and we stopped to take a photo.

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Cathedral of Saint Helena

Construction of this cathedral began in 1908. The stained glass windows were made in Munich, Bavaria. I think we should take a minute and think about their journey… they must have been packed very carefully to survive the trip. (I have a hard time getting bread home from the store not squished.)

On the road again… thought I would share these pics with you as this is how we spent most of the day.

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Paul driving (He has let me drive once. Granted it was around a full parking lot looking for a parking space while he stood in line for the restroom but I did drive. 😜)

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Deborah updating the blog

And note that we are both wearing LSU colors today…

We are snug in our hotel room with pizza enjoying the LSU football game on ESPN. And much drier than those in Tiger Stadium. We are looking forward to another wonderful day tomorrow. Geaux Tigers!