Summer 2008 Trip: Day 37 – Butte, MT to Glacier National Park

First of all, let me just say that the fireworks in Butte, MT on the 4th of July are simply fantastic. It is probably the best show I’ve ever seen. Oh, and the fireworks the city launched were nice.

Apparently, in Butte, you’re allowed to buy pretty much whatever you want. For almost four hours last night, I watched fireworks launch over the entire city in the middle of an on again – off again thunderstorm. I sat at the top of a hill in the middle of the city and turned around in a 360; fireworks were going off in every direction.

But, this is supposed to be about today…

Got up and had camp broken by 7:30 this morning, even though that did mean a wet tent was placed in the car. That’s all right though, because after two hours of standing around waiting, I got to see Barack Obama from about 60 feet away and I have a little over 100 pictures of him on my camera. Now, I’m not an Obama fanboy, but if he wins the presidency, I’ll be able to tell my kids that I saw him in person, at the 4th of July parade in Butte, MT. And that will be cool.

We packed it in pretty quick at the parade, Obama made a quick speech, basically apologizing for not walking (because he didn’t want to put undue security restrictions on the entire route – the section I was in had to pass through metal detectors) and wished everyone a Happy 4th. With that, Sarah and I made for the car, not wanting to endure an hour of fighting traffic to get out of town. We made it after some wandering driving and found an on-ramp to the interstate not blocked by the parade route and it was off… for a lot of time driving.

There is one thing I’ve noticed about drivers in Montana; unlike in Michigan where the speed limit is viewed as the minimum speed one should drive, here it seems that people actually take it as the LIMIT. It’s a very odd sensation to be driving in a 75 mph zone and pass people doing 72 mph. It’s a new concept, as is the 70 mph undivided 2 lane highways that are prevalent in the state.

But, anyways, we’re settled into a campground for the night, have three days of activities outlined and then on Tuesday, I start my 2.3 thousand mile trek back to my parents via Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and the Badlands in South Dakota.

Day 37 - Butte to Glacier National Park

Travel Distance: 250 miles

Summer 2008 Trip: Day 36 – Butte, MT

Unfortunately for my plans of making it to Glacier today, two articles I saw in the morning paper here changed my plans. First, the fireworks show for the Fourth of July is tonight and second, Barack Obama is going to be in Butte’s Fourth of July parade at 10am in the morning. So, plans changed, and I’ve got a tent pitched at Lowlands campground in Beaverhead – Deerlodge National Forest to crawl into after the fireworks show. My plans are to wake up at 7am and hit the road into town and clear the metal detectors to get a spot close along the route to shoot pictures from. I imagine the Secret Service will have a field day with my camera bag.

After we made that decision, we hit a couple sporting goods stores to find some hiking boots for Sarah, watched Hancock at the local cinema (loved the movie – Will Smith is definitely becoming one of my all-time favorite actors) and attempted to explore some museums around town. Sadly, it seems like most of the town had closed up shop a day early for the holiday weekend.

Rookwood Speakeasy Museum was closed, Myra Brothel Museum was closed and we couldn’t find the local art gallery. However, Charles Clark Chateau museum was open and we toured a turn of the 1900s private mansion turned museum. Cool place, octagonal rooms, library and ballroom included.

So… now, we’re sitting in a thunderstorm, two hours before the the fireworks show is scheduled to take place waiting for it to clear off and hear whether or not it will actually happen. And when I say thunderstorm… at its peak a few moments ago, I couldn’t see out the car windows.

Travel Distance: 75 miles around Butte, MT

Summer 2008 Trip: Day 35 – To Butte, MT via the Dairy Queen in Bozeman

Hit the road this morning from camp and made the trip to Old Faithful in Yellowstone (through road construction, where I met a nice older couple from West Virginia). From there, I decided to take a small detour through Bozeman, MT to get some ice cream (I should have stopped at the Cold Stone Creamery though) and continued on to Butte. Tonight, I’m spending the evening and likely into early morning holed up in a hotel room editing pictures. Nothing to exciting today really; check out flickr tomorrow for pictures.

Day 35 - to Butte, MT via the Dairy Queen in Bozeman

Travel Distance: 251 miles