05.31.2018 - 06.09.2018
As I write this we are traveling down Montana Highway 212 from Red Lodge to Billings, our next stop. The sun is out, the wind is whipping across the basin grasslands, our traveling playlist is on, and I feel great. The last 10 days in Red Lodge were wonderful and just what we needed. Time to breathe, take it easy, live like we actually lived there for awhile. In a way, it gave us a taste of life after this crazy trip. And it made us know we've made the right choice. There are so many "Red Lodges" across this globe that we want to live in and feel the ebbs and flows of the daily rhythms of a town.
But this crazy trip isn't over and we're ready to move on. My feet are itchy to walk new ground.
Before that, I thought I'd share some of our thoughts from our time in Red Lodge.
It's a Happening Place
It's a really busy little town. And I don't mean with tourists. There was a music festival going on while we were there that involved the school kids and their music teachers. It seemed the whole town participated. Since our house was right by the school, every day we saw kids coming and going with their instruments. Each evening the teachers and locals that had attended the recitals would end up in the restaurants and bars afterwards. One night, they set up to play more music in the bar. There was live music in a few of the bars; different genres but all good. Town filled up almost every night with people having happy hour or dinner. During the day the Main Street was hopping. As we left town, a group of about 20 musicians was playing bluegrass in the small city park. In a few weeks, they have a singer-songwriter festival with musicians coming in from Nashville. And on it goes.
There are tons of kids. This is not some dying western town. School got out just after we arrived and summer kicked off for the kids. They were EVERYwhere! Riding their bikes, walking, playing in the skateboard park, just generally being kids and living outdoors. The sound of children playing competed with the barking dogs to provide the soundtrack for our stay. These kids don't sit inside playing video games, they are out until 8:30 or so every evening. On their own, roaming around. It was nice to see.
The town has a little museum as well as a walking tour of historic properties and parts of the town. There are beautifully restored homes and Main street retains many historic buildings. They are very proud of their role in creating the Beartooth Highway and in Montana's commitment to getting it open by Memorial Day "even if it's only to drive up to the state line and turn around". There is local metal sculptor who has populated the town with beautiful art in the form of benches, signs, and garbage cans. Out of town his work is on ranches and roadsides.
Life with an Old Dog
As many know, this trip is about two things, me showing Scott a part of the country I grew up with and that he has never seen and us spending Cadeau's final year(s) together with her. She is an awesome travel dog. In the truck, she does two things - sleeps and [/i]FARTS[/I]! As some of you know, she can clear a room. In the truck, it's an all windows down kind of moment! Ha!
She's also developed some hip issues (yes, Ginny, you were right!) It's harder and harder for her to get up from laying or sitting and jumping up onto the bed or the couch is a thing of the past. Stairs sometimes require assistance with a hand on the butt to keep her going forward. I took her into the vet in Red Lodge. Side note I love vets that treat horses and other animals as well as dogs and cats because they have an attitude towards animals that agrees with me. I once visited one in Pocomoke Virginia and he was also awesome. In any case, we did X-rays and there are no red flags so just another sign of old age. That was a relief.
On the bright side, I now get to wake HER UP! After years of the early morning call from her to go for a walk, eat breakfast, and just generally get my butt out of bed, she now sleeps soundly until 10 am sometimes if left undisturbed. Most mornings, it's me giving her a nudge to get it up and moving. Now that's a good travel dog!
Admittedly, in someways it limits us. We can't go on all day hikes, etc. But realistically that's not our style anyway and it encourages us to off-road, an activity she can join in. It encourages us to find cafes and bars with outdoor seating, which we prefer anyway. As long as she has some shade, hope of a morsel dropped, and a bowl of water, she's happy. And we are so happy to have her with us and to spend these days with her.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Capitals taking the Stanley Cup while we were here. It's been really fun to search out sports bars to watch the games. We've been to all varieties. In Red Lodge, we went to Foster & Logan's Pub and Grill. It was a nice pub-type bar that willing played the game for us and in which we actually found a few other folks interested in hockey, not a guarantee out here. I can't believe we actually won it! I'm so happy for DC and wish we could have been there for the celebrations, almost.
In summary, we've seen beautiful country, enjoyed the slow pace of a small town, and appreciated the break from travel. Recommending Red Lodge to anyone, we take our leave.