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I’m in a wide open space

@geofftech more wideopenspace standinginthemiddleofanemptyroad photos please 🙂

@diamondgeezer no problem, it is after all your ‘fault’ that i’m here 🙂

So we’re on the outskirts of Yellowstone Park, and will be here all weekend. Montana is known as ‘The Great Sky State’, and I think it’s bloody obvious looking at those pictures why. The road rolls out in front of you – an endless long road, and the sky hangs above, its vastness dazzling you in the way the sky envelopes an awe inspiring scenery.

Towns in Montana are a little strange though. Not content with having Casinos (slot machines) attached to the side of all gas stations, when you get into the big towns, such as Billings, there seems to be a local law that says “Thou shalt not build a block of shops without having at least one casino”, and so it is. I counted 17 places to get rid of your quarters without a high chance of a reasonable return in the space of ten minutes as we cruised around Billings, looking for somewhere to stop for lunch.

The shops pick up on the ‘Great Sky’ theme too – especially if their business begins with the same letter. Great Sky Grill, Great Sky Grain and Great Sky Gorillas were just three I saw in quick succession – okay, I may have been making that last one up.

Eventually, we spy the Good Earth Market grocery & deli for some non-fast food and patchy WiFi. I get Pam, the lovely lady that serves us to sign my t-shirt, and she writes “There’s more to Montana than Casinos!”. We soon found out she was right.

We headed through the town of Red Lodge (and met some completely unwelcoming people working at the ‘Welcome Center’) and up the Beartooth pass towards Yellowstone Park. We climbed up to almost 12,000 feet when you could feel that the air was thin, and a packet of Kettle Chips on the dash of the car visibly expanded as the air pressure changed. The views – I think you will agree were totally worth it and completely breath taking.

The pass trundles on, turning and rising and dipping and changing, and as the light started to fade we realised that gas/petrol level in the car was getting a bit low, and suddenly wondered where the next place to fill up might be. Oops!

The next place as it turned out, was Cooke City, who – obviously used to people in desperate need to fill up – hit us with outrageously expensive gas, 50c a gallon more than what I’ve been paying on average so far. “The truckers hate driving to here, that’s why it’s so pricey!” explained the clerk behind the counter. They have to make the run two times a week. I shouldn’t complain, we saw a Humvee kicking out black fumes from its exhaust and surely it must have been getting gallons to the mile as apposed to miles to the gallon up the 12% gradient.

We entered Yellowstone about 8pm – cost $25 – and Bob cheerfully greeted us. “Hang on!”, I said, “Can we do that again? This time on video!”, and I reversed out, hit REC on the camera, and drove back up to the booth where he greeted us all over again. What you think that everything that you see on film – even documentary style is natural? Think again.

Twenty minutes in and we spot a long Bison, a few hundred yards away, and with me going “Oooh! Look at that!” I start excitedly snapping away using my zoom lens. The cars passing us coming in the other direction must have been laughing their heads of knowing what we were about to hit. For a minutes later, we turned a bend, and were greeting with the sight of over fifty Bison, grazing by the side of the road, snorting at each other, kicking their hooves and the dust, and some of them – just standing nonchalantly in the road, not giving a shit about us and not moving. So all the cars just had to wait patiently … very patiently … until they decide to still out of the way and let us move on.

The sun was setting, the air smelt super-clean, and with wildlife just literally feet from the car it shot chills up my arm at the natural beauty of the whole thing.

And there’s still lots more to come …

7 responses to “I’m in a wide open space”

  1. omigod roadsandwideopenspace andhillsandskyandbison andwow

  2. geofftech says:

    Your wish …

    Now off to download some Mansun.

  3. MumTina says:

    I agree with DG, Photos – Fanblo*dytastic!

  4. scottb says:

    Wow, I’m used to seeing some pretty nice mountain views, but those are some might fine vistas. BTW, despite my trudging up mountains, you’ve managed to drive to a higher elevation than I’ve ever attained. What’s with that?

  5. geofftech says:

    you’ve never been up to 12,000 feet !? but YOU ARE the mountain climber boy!! honestly Scott, cmmmmoooon!!! 🙂

  6. Richard says:

    12,000 feet is pretty high (especially if you live in Europe) – you’ll have to go a long way to find a mountain that high which is climbable without technical knowledge. Super photos btw.

  7. geofftech says:

    ’tis ture… Snowdon is only what… 4,000 feet or so? i hadn’t really thought of it like that.

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