Red Lodge, MT (Day 2) and Gillette, WY

Yesterday I decided to stay in Red Lodge another day and try to relax and take a break for a while. I did my laundry and took in the local sights – mostly a historic “Main Street” kind of setting.

Thursday night, I ate dinner at a cafe that was a true historic building – it had an old-fashioned ornamental tin ceiling. Not one of those modern replicas with 2′ square grid ceiling tiles, or even a high-quality replica, but a real old-time tin ceiling, complete with tin cove mouldings.

Friday, after I did my laundry, I drove through town to see if Dame’s Crazy Mountain BBQ was open (yes, that’s really its name). It had been recommended to me by the motel staff on Thursday, but was closed when I drove there around 6 PM. It is actually an open-air tent and a couple of picnic tables in front of a disused office park. The motel clerk had told me “It’s really good, but kind of expensive – the sandwiches are five bucks.” She said that with a straight face and really meant it. Unfortunately, it was closed. Apparently, a lot of the town closes down for the season, or at least is only open for the weekend. Red Lodge hosts a motorcycle rally – not as big as the one at Sturgis, but still a big deal. It seems as though some of the bikers who come for the rally never get around to leaving – even though the rally was 2 months ago, there were a large number of bikers in town. When I parked the Atom Thursday to look for food, I asked a couple of them where there was good food. They answered “We don’t really know, we came here for the rally and have been alternating between this Mexican place and that bar and pub ever since.” I kid you not…

One of the beneficial side effects of this is that the town is very bike- (and Atom-) friendly. The motel had a big bin labeled “Rags for cleaning motorcycles” at the front desk, and would supply buckets of hot water on request. That came in useful for getting most of the mud off the Atom, from the 8 miles of watered-down dirt road back on the Beartooth Highway.

Anyway, Friday I had lunch at the aforementioned Crazy Mountain BBQ, and it was quite good – real pulled pork from a big outdoor smoker, on a bun and slathered with sweet sauce. It was so good I ordered two more of them and a side of beans to take back to the motel for later.

I felt a lot better on Friday and today than I’ve felt in a while – ever since the Yellowstone fiasco starting nearly a week ago, I’ve been really on edge. The extra night’s sleep and good food did wonders for me.

Today I drove 300 miles to Gillette, Wyoming. It isn’t nearly that far, as the crow flies, but it is truly a case of “you can’t get there from here”. That’s about 60 miles north and then 60 miles back south:


The surprisingly warm weather continued today – it was over 90 degrees during most of the drive. In Montana. In late September. Weird. And they had snow falling and sticking only a week ago. Since it is so warm up here, I’ll stay on I-90 for a while, through South Dakota. At Sioux Falls, I’ll decide whether to stay on I-90 or head south on I-29, where I can pick up either I-80 or I-70 in a warmer climate. The weather forecast for Sioux Falls says that it will be in the 70-80 degree range during the next 5 days.

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