Touring the country with Wilma necessitates an emphasis on activities in the great outdoors. We seek out scenic drives, scenic trails, restaurants with outdoor seating, and of course hotels surrounded by plenty of grass and walkable neighborhoods. Although we do miss the museums, downtown hotels, and an occasional environmentally comfortable hassle free meal, we have come to really enjoy our extended time with mother nature.
As mentioned in earlier posts, Wilma’s presence has also significantly increased the amount of our casual social interactions. Every walk, hotel check in, and (outdoor) meal, invariably includes a brief conversion (and Wilma rub-down) with a total stranger. Wilma encounters have truly become one of our favorite travel experiences.
Before leaving Spokane we stopped at Manito Park and took a walk through their beautiful botanical gardens (where we met and chatted with a nice retired man walking his Golden).
We arrived in Missoula, MT (something new) late Monday, had a great dinner at the Iron Horse Brew Pub & Grill,
followed by a nice walk through the historic downtown, a stroll along the Clark Fork River, and quick drive tour through the University of Montana.
Of course we had to stop and take a quick picture of our Wilma in front of “The Wilma”, a historic (1921) Missoula vaudeville theatre.
Tuesday we drove to Bozeman (old) by taking scenic highways 200 and 279. Unfortunately with much of Montana shrouded by a wildfire haze (as is Oregon), the views were a bit obscured.
On the way to Bozeman we stopped in Helena to see the Capitol bldg (believe it or not this is something old, as we also stopped here on our 2015 trip) and for a quick lunch.
While at the Capitol we met a group of new Interns who were on a scavenger hunt. They needed a picture of one of them walking a dog, and a picture of one of them high-fiving a guy with a beard. Wilma and I were only too happy to assist!
Arrived in Bozeman in time to take Wilma for a nice long bath at Dee-O-Gee. Poor thing was just covered in ash and dirt (baths take a lot out of Wilma).
Wednesday we replicated one of our very favorite drives from the 2015 trip, the BearTooth Scenic Byway (hwy 212 through Yellowstone NP). It rained during the best parts of the drive but the views were just as good as we remembered.
Exhausted from our 7 hour drive, we decided to take a short hike along the “Chief Black Otter Trail” in the Rimrocks above the city of Billings. The views were nice but, again, largely concealed by the haze from the nearby wildfires.
So we took that hike upon our arrival in Billings in anticipation of a full day of rain Thursday…….which has happened. So today was spent sleeping in (as dictated by Wilma), working out, laundry, and work. A nice and rare day indoors!