I have enjoyed the scenery in eastern Montana, which is breathtaking. I couldn't take pictures, though, because there is no pull-out or scenic view space in the whole state that I can see. I planned to see something of Butte today, but after 12 miles of the most beautiful drive I've ever been on, which was tense because of lane closures for road work, I didn't feel like even stopping. It is a larger and more spread out city than I thought it would be, and I am not interested in exploring a fairly good sized city on my own. At the end of the 12 mile road work section, I crossed the Continental Divide at 6393 ft.
I lived in Ireland for 3 years, in a small farming and fishing community at the end of the Beara Peninsula. In a village nearby were the Allihies Copper Mines, closed long ago, but still remembered by the people of the village. Working conditions were terrible as all mines were in those days, and many still are, but the English owners brought in Cornish miners to do the better jobs and also provided them with housing that was probably better at the time than what the native Irish lived in. When the mines closed many of the miners came to Butte, Montana, and their descendants are still here today. I heard many stories when I lived there, and nearly every family I knew had relations that came to Butte. I really wanted to see it, but realize now that it isn't like it was 50 years ago and I probably wouldn't find much to do or see there. I am no longer a museum goer, although I visited scores of museums all over the world in younger days. Besides, it was only 11:30 when I arrived - should have been 10:30 according to my GPS when I started out, but road work took care of that.
I opted to continue on to Missoula, where I am in a very nice and comfortable room. I walked to the local Albertsons supermarket about a block and a half away to replenish beer and breakfast supplies. I hadn't gotten out of the parking lot coming back when I realized I should have driven. By the way, I have thought about stopping in Butte on several cross-country trips, but the Mountain Directory West always scared me off with the information about the steep grades. Now that I've driven the east to west direction, it am glad I never tried it with my 5th wheel. I could have managed it, but if there was road work narrowing the lanes it would have been 12 miles of hell!
Speaking of driving, I have been shocked by what has happened to my gas mileage, and I am attributing it to ethanol added to the fuel, at least for now and until a couple of regular tankfuls yields an improvement. I was getting 28-1/2 mpg, which dropped to 22-1/2 after the first tankful of the ethanol stuff although I didn't think about that being the cause. At the last fill-up my mpg was slightly less than 20, and that won't do. I would love comments from anyone who has experienced the same thing, as well as those who think it is for a different reason.
Tomorrow I will aim for Pendleton, Oregon, and look forward to being off the interstate for a while. I will hopefully be able to take some time to see Crater Lake on the way to Sacramento. I had thought about trying Yellowstone again, but heard that the traffic has been bumper to bumper, and I don't like that kind of driving at all.
I have learned my lesson and will never again travel in summer during the tourist season. Short trips aren't bad, but driving coast to coast is not my preference. I salute all the brave folks, especially the solos (men and women) who can do it.
Lady has enjoyed the day. Two different families came up and wanted to pet her at rest area stops. We just came back from a little walk around the motel in Missoula, and it looks like a nice little town. A rushing creek runs by one side of the property, and the water tumbling over boulders reminds me of Gatlinburg, TN.
Finally, I walked to the nearby corner to Five Guys for a burger. I have never been in a Five Guys before, and thought this one was pretty gimmicky the way they route you around to place your order. I brought the burger back to the motel and will have to say I've eaten better burgers before. I prefer them cooked on the grill at home, but it was passable and i won't go to bed hungry tonight. I sure enjoyed last night's meal at Perkins with Sandie and Jim about a thousand times better! Thanks S & J, for the wonderful meal and the great company.