2014 Great Circle Tour travel blog

Today's route

Pickup towing a 5th wheel towing a boat

Giant pack of Marlboro's

The road out of Havre

Wide load heading west on US 2

Snow then rain

Clearing the ice from Winnie at the Sleeping Buffalo Rock

Hillside animal statues for sale made by Buck Samuelson

F-80 Shooting Star

Another plane, this one is at the Hangar Bar

Another oil train - business is good for Warren Buffet

Class of 2014 graffiti?

There are lots of junk yards in people's yards along US 2

US 2 and US 85 intersection under construction and a Sunday traffic...

Buffalo Trails Campground

Winnie settled into Buffalo Trails

When we left Havre this morning it was raining lightly, but by the time we got out of town we could see some sleet on the windshield. The road out of town was under construction and had about 2 or 3 miles of gravel surface. We finally cleared the gravel and it started to snow. The further we went the heavier it got and snow started to lay on the ground, but thankfully not on the road. It began to cling to the front of Winnie and on the windshield wipers. We had to stop to clear the snow and ice off the windshield and wipers. Traffic along US 2 in Montana is not very heavy, but one of the pick-up trucks traveling west threw a stone the hit Winnie in the windshield. It didn’t appear to do any damage that I could see from the driver’s seat.

We stopped for another deicing at Sleeping Buffalo Rock. It’s a sacred rock carved by the Plains Indians and was a symbol of the buffalo hunt. Legend has it that they would dance around it the night before a big buffalo hunt asking the spirits for a good hunt. They were originally located on a nearby ridge, but in 1932, the Sleeping Buffalo was separated from its ridge top companions and relocated to the City Park in Malta. According to the historical marker, the Sleeping Buffalo was said to have been restless in Malta. It was moved to the current site in 1967. The Sleeping Buffalo was later rejoined by a larger “Medicine Rock” in 1987. There the 2 rocks are held in a corral under a shed. One of the rocks actually looks a little like a buffalo lying down with its legs tucked underneath. The other rock just looks like a rock. The corral is decorated with red and yellow strips of cloth that are probably prayer cloths used by the Plains Indians as physical, symbolic representations of prayers.

Our third stop was in Saco to clear the ice again and have lunch. Since we’ve had battery problems when towing the Fit I usually start it and let it idle while we eat lunch to recharge the battery. Before I got back in Winnie for lunch, I tried to start the Fit. No luck, it didn’t fire the first time and then all I got were clicks. Before eating I needed to unhook the hitch, back up Winnie so I could jump the Fit from Winnie’s batteries and then hook everything back up. After lunch, we headed back out onto US 2. As soon as I pulled out I noticed 2 cracks in the windshield. The stone that hit us must have stressed the glass and either temperature or bumps in the road caused it to crack. It’s a good thing it’s the side that needs to be replaced. I just hope the cracks don’t spread too far before we get to Schaumburg, IL later this week where we have an appointment to get it replaced. By the way, Saco was where Chet Huntley attended school as a child. The one room school house is still there. We didn’t stop because of all the fuss with the car and windshield. For those of you who are too young to know who Chet was he was half of the Huntley-Brinkley Report which ran on NBC, one of the only three TV Channels available, from 1956-1970. Their tag line at the end of the broadcast was “Good night, Chet. Good night, David”.

The snow continued as we travelled east and I began to notice that the windshield wipers were running slower no matter what speed they were set at. By this time it had stopped snowing and was raining just enough that you needed the wipers on all the time. They eventually stopped for extended period, but I could coax them to work by turning them on and off periodically. I’m afraid that the ice and snow of the last two days may have put a strain on the motors. If it continues to rain, we’ll have to stop for repairs. The forecast looks promising for tomorrow, so I’m planning on foregoing the repairs for right now. The trip has been pretty trouble free up to this point so I can’t be too upset.

Our plans were to stop in an RV park in Culbertson, MT for the night. When we got there it was pretty obvious that it was full so we needed to head onto Williston, ND. Eastern Montana and western North Dakota are in the epicenter of the Bakken Shale oil fields. Williston bills itself as Boomtown USA. The place is under construction with new roads, housing, shopping, and all kinds of oil field support services. There are only a few RV parks listed so we were getting worried we might not find a place before dark. The first place listed on my Smartphone App was out of business, it is being sold for development of multi-unit housing and shopping centers. The next place was Buffalo Trails Campground. We drove to the place it was nearly full and it was obvious that those staying there were there for the long run because they were working in the oil fields. Fortunately we were able to find a pull through for the night with water and electric. It is going to be a comfortable night after all. The only problem was when I went to start the Fit the battery was dead again. It will have to wait until the morning. I’m done for the night. Stay tuned.

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