We were up early for a yucky breakfast (not everyone eats pancakes; biscuits and gravy; or the weird, pre-made folded egg thing) at still-smelly Super 8; at least the coffee was good! Fortunately, we had plenty of provisions in our cooler, so I ate in our room after toasting my English muffin in the breakfast room, and then we were off to Great Falls, ND.
We took secondary roads – Rt. 2 and MT 200 – heading in the direction of, but not to, Glacier National Park so we could drive on the “Going to the Sun” road. We went through national forests, which were beautiful in spite of the rain and cold. Our new car tells us outdoor temps – the lowest temperature in the mountains was 38 degrees!
We pulled off the road to look at a pretty little mission in a park (name escapes me - sorry). We were too early for the park to be open, but the roads were not blocked so we drove on in. I got out to take some photos, and as I approached the mission, people (employees?) who had sneaked in the building to have a smoke, told me the park was closed. I told them that I had just stopped for photos, and they repeated that the park was closed. I would have been happy to pay them but they just wanted me to go away.
After driving part of the way through mountains, cold and getting hungry, we saw a sign for a café in Ovenda, Mt. There was no way we were going to pull off the road and do a tailgate lunch in the rain, so we drove along the one-road loop through town looking for a place to eat. No luck. A number of places along our route do not open until after Memorial Day – it seemed as if this whole town remained closed until then.
We got back on MT 200, and then spotted the sign for Trixie’s Antler Saloon. We figured that Trixie’s was probably our last chance for food for some time, and since we were both ready for a hot lunch, we decided to give it a try and turned back.
The sign on the door read, “Bar closes when last guy leaves.” Right away, we knew we’d feel at home. The people were very welcoming, and the food was good. Fun place with all sorts of stuff hanging all over, signs, t-shirts (yes, I bought one), a long bar, and some tables. In a way, it reminded me of Foxy’s (where the first Excellent Adventure now resides) ... but with antlers.
After a hot lunch, we were ready to push on to Great Falls. Bill asked what we were going there to see (the Falls). Our hotel – a very nice La Quinta – was not too far from the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, just down the Missouri river from the Great Falls. The Center was very interesting, and worth the visit. Much of the riverside between the hotel and center is park, which had a number of geese and their goslings. I approached them very carefully and got some good photos as they decided to head to the road for a swim.
Our room at the La Quinta had a view of the river and a balcony, which had a really pretty, peaceful view. There was a greenbelt between the hotel and river, so I managed to photograph more geese. We were beat, so had a quiet dinner in our room, accompanied by some of the good wine we bought in Bellingham.