We left Columbia Falls and drove down on the east side of Flathead Lake and then started heading east. For both days I was taken by the beauty and diversity of the landscape. I we drove it became more prairie-like with vast green undulating hills with dramatic mountain ranges in the background.
Great Falls sits along the Missouri River and hosts a number of hydroelectric power plants. Like Butte, Great Falls was built up as evidenced by the drive through about 5 miles of fast food restaurants and gas stations with casinos (slot machines apparently) in them! Wild!
The KOA in Great Falls is amazing. It looked like someone inherited a bunch of money from a rich uncle and decided to built a resort-like RV park complete with a water park and live music. From all appearances- it worked!
The Jakester and I got up early and checked out the sunrise near one of the locations of the power plants. Breath-taking!
The drive from Great Falls to Billings was mostly through the plains with an occasional mountain pass to cross. I spotted my first wind farms in a while. A lot of motorcycles on this part of the trip.
Driving into Billings I thought to myself this must not be much of a city as I could not see much of anything ahead. Ha! To my surprise I reach the edge of a butte and see the city below in the trees! Quite a striking scene!
The KOA here is apparently the very first one – established in 1962. Like Great Falls it is more like a resort with a putt-putt golf course and permanent food truck on site! I met a young woman with her two young children in the hot tub (best Hot Tub so far on trip!) who told me they were waiting for Dad to come home working from working on cell towers (sunup to sundown!). They live in a tent out of their car. During the winter he manages a small ski resort. COVID changed their lives. I was struck at how happy they seemed – amazing!
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
On our last day eastward across Montana we stopped to see the Monument. What I did not expect to find was a National Cemetery! Up until the 1970s a veteran could still be buried there. It was a moving sight.