"All traveling becomes dull in exact proportion to its rapidity"
Ė John Rusk

TODAYíS ROUTE:
Helena, MT to Gardiner, MT: US-12 West to Garrison, I-90 East to Deer Lodge through Butte to Manhattan through Bozeman to Livingston, US-89 South to Gardiner. (
MAP)

THE DETAILS:
I was getting a bit antsy back in Helena, and it feels great to be back on the road. Iím starting to feel more comfortable on the motorcycle than off it. As I ride across the McDonald Pass, and cross the Continental Divide once again, I think to myself how much I love doing this. Iím so lucky. I donít think there is anything else Iíd rather be doing right now than this.

I stop at the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site near Deer Lodge. Established by Canadian fur trader John Grant and expanded by cattle baron Conard Kohrs, the site was the headquarters of one of the largest 19th century range ranches in the country. The 1,500-acre site is maintained as an active working ranch. Cool if you like cows and hay. I get the stamp, take a quick tour of the grounds and move on.

The weather today is just spectacular. You know how sometimes you say thereís not a cloud in the sky all day. But maybe there was a little hint of one or something off in the distance. Well, not today. The sky has been perfectly clear blue from dawn to dusk. Not as much as a whisper of the white stuff.

I cruise east across the Interstate, and near Livingston I head south on my old favorite road (from two days ago), route 89. You can take this road all the way from Glacier to Yellowstone, 377 miles. I kind of wish I had but I wanted to get that damn Grant-Kohrs stamp. I follow the Yellowstone River through a valley of steep, gravely hills, surrounded by 10,000-foot peaks. They call this Paradise Valley, spreading between the Gallatin and Absaroka rangers. They ainít kidding. Itís magical. Twice a year, the river corridor acts as a migratory funnel, guiding thousands of elk, deer, sheep and bison between their summer and winter feeding grounds. Itís the largest migration of wildlife in the lower 48.

I arrive in Gardiner for the night, gateway to Yellowstone. Actually, there is an 80 foot stone gateway, Roosevelt Arch, which serves as the North Entrance to the park. When the park was first established this was the only way in and people would arrive in Gardiner by train. I walk across the bridge, down the street front and over to the arch as the sun sets. Inscribed at the top it says "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People." Weíll see more about that tomorrowÖ.

Iím getting much luckier with the meals lately. For lunch I stop in Manhattan, Montana, population about 8,00. I couldnít pass it up. I drive down Broadway, and have lunch at the Broadway Cafe. I order a Reuben sandwich, of course. For dinner I have the Crazy Mountain Alfredo Pasta at the Park Street Grill and Cafe in Gardiner. Penne with sausage, sopresatta, sweet and hot peppers, and a bunch of other good stuff. Apparently some Indian woman named Crazy Mountain had it as her last meal. And they also serve it in asylums in Italy.

THE DAILY TAKE:
Miles Today: 259
Total Miles: 7,788
Time on Motorcycle: 4 Hours 9 Minutes
States Visited today: 1 (MT)
Total States Visited: 20
National Park Service Passport Stamps: 1
NPS Stamp totals: 55 Stamps, 17 States
Weather: Perfect. The sky is not cloudy all day.
Price Kohrs paid Grant in 1866 for the ranch, farmhouses and over 2,000 cattle: $19,200

SEEN ON THE ROAD:
"Opportunity, 1 Mile, Exit 208" Ė I-90 near Opportunity, Montana

RANDOM PASSINGS:
Today I got the following e-mail:

"I just received my daughter's driver's license in the mail. Your card was inside. I would like to thank you for taking the time to mail it. Thank You again. - Mrs. Worthing, dworthing@hs.mt-morris.k12.mi.us"

Remember the laundry in Houghton,Michigan, on Day 15?  Boy, that sure makes me feel good.

 


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