Day 33 – Happy 4th of July! Parade…but No Fireworks

Most of central and eastern Montana, and a lot of other areas of the country, are designated Red Flag Fire Danger areas. Camp fires, BBQs, and fireworks are banned. Local fireworks shows are usually produced with or by the Fire Departments, but are cancelled or postponed this year. Thus, no fireworks for me…but I did see a parade, a really little one.

My day started in Livingston with clear skies and forecast of HOT. I had a brief setback when I discovered, after I had checked out of the motel, that I had lost the memory card for my camera. I had it in my room to download pix to my laptop last night. Long story short, the desk clerk let me back into my (former) room and I found that I had dropped it under the desk chair. Was that caused by the full moon???

Even though I could not get a ticket to the rodeo last night, I drove past the rodeo grounds this morning anyway. The contestants are still there for tonight’s show, which I will miss. It was pretty quiet, with the horses and calves resting, but I saw a neat Model T with flags on cruising past. I tried to follow him, but traffic made it hard to catch him, so when he pulled into the parking entrance of the wonderfully restored former Northern Pacific Railroad Depot, I quickly parked.  I had a long and enjoyable visit with the old timers (the guy and the car); he’s a local fella who has two Model Ts and has helped restore many others over the years, and I took some pix.

After he left, I toured the Livingston Depot Center Museum…very, very nice. One thing I noticed was that the “Smoking Room” (now a place to watch a DVD of rail travel in the good old days) was a place for the bigwigs to have a cigar while waiting for their train way back when. That is not politically correct today, of course, and smoking is forbidden. I’m a smoker, and I wish a few places treated me the way they did those bigwigs. One other thing that struck me was the fact that the Women’s Rest Room is located off the Smoking Room, while the Men’s Room is located off the area that was, and is labeled as Women’s Lounge (now gift shop) at the other end of the depot. Hmmm. What’s that about?

I then made a stop at the newly, and very well-restored Yellowstone Gateway Museum where visited with Paul, who I had also visited a month ago on my way west.

Man-o-man, I spent the entire morning touring the town, but now it was time to hit the road for a 230 mile jaunt. I-90 took me past Laurel, Billings, and a few other towns I have visited and mapped in the past. I stopped into a Rest Area on I-90 where I saw my first "Doggy Rest Area", complete with a fire hydrant.

I remembered a really good burger and “buffalo chips” (spicy fries) I had with the Aussie guy last year in Custer, so I stopped in again. He said “you’re just in time, the parade starts in half an hour”. Who is he kidding…a parade in this tiny, dead little burg? Where is everybody? But, sure enough, some folks showed up in the bar parking lot and along the road, and they started the parade almost on time…with two Model T’s, two small wagon “floats”, a very well-trained horse team, a couple of little 4-wheel ATVs, and two small fire trucks. Seven or eight “units”…so the parade didn’t last very long…about 5 minutes! No band, as the Custer schools closed years ago. But hey, it’s 4th of July, they have lots of spirit, and I got to see a parade. By the way, the burger and buffalo chips were really good.

Then, it was off to Forsyth, one of my favorite stops in eastern Montana, for a restful night at the very well maintained, catchy-named, and historic Restwel Motel. Ask Diane or Dan why it’s historic.

It looks like a 200 miler to Theodore Roosevelt Nat’l Park tomorrow, with a forecast of “hot and nasty”.