Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Oct 4th and 5th Wyoming and Montana to Shelby
Big Horn Mountains

Tuesday morning we left Gillette with the promise of a lovely sunny day. Until we got to Sheridan the scenery was pretty much the same as yesterday. Then the elevation starts rising into the Big Horn Mountains.
Looking back from the mountains
At the summit of 9430 feet, it was very windy and terribly cold. There were patches of snow that hadn't melted from last winter. The summit is a wide open flat area of grassland which explains the wind whipping through there.
The "bump" on the plains at the summit is called Bald Mountain, and you can see the snow in the basin. There is also another bump up there that has an observatory.

To the right is a view of the plains up there, as you see the sky is a major factor in the views. 

View going down of Big Horn Basin
Okay now we start down! What a road that is! On one slope where the highway zig-zags back and forth several times, we saw a couple of huge rolls of paper about the size of hay bales on the side of the road. As we got further down we looked up the slope and saw lots more paper all the way down. It looked bad for the driver of the truck that lost the load. Also the road was badly damaged in this area, and several of the zig-zags had been patched. When we got to the bottom we had 'lunch' at 3:30 in Lovell. One of the locals told us that the driver turned the truck on it's side and hit the railing but was very lucky to escape with a bump on his head. And very, very lucky not to go over  the side! He said it was comical to see the huge rolls of paper come rolling down the hill like a giant had lost his toilet paper. It was also very lucky that there were no vehicles on the road below. The highway was damaged because it was built on a poor foundation and they have been repairing it every month for years.

We slept in Billings, Montana and then headed for Shelby. Didn't take many pictures today as nothing was much different from yesterday. They have a lot of beautiful horses out here.
We also saw a huge wind farm. These don't look so big, but when you consider that yesterday we saw the arms on rail cars and each one took up two oversized cars, you can see how really big they are. Tonight we are in Shelby and the trains are very noisy across the road, so I hope we get some sleep!