Timing is everything...

Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
1
5
60
Trip End Jul 11, 2013


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Where I stayed
The Enchanted Forrest

Flag of United States  , Montana
Monday, October 22, 2012

    From Helena we headed to Billings to visit an old friend I met about 30 years ago in Jackson, Wyoming. We didn't give him much notice, about 8 hrs, and caught up with him on his way home from pheasant hunting with his father in S. Dakota, which consequently benefitted us greatly come dinner time - a fresh Spicy Asian pheasant dish diligently prepared by Steve. We joined Steve, Melissa and Sarah for an incredible meal with lots of good wine and banter. 
 
     The three of them met working as biologists in Antarctica, and their stories were fascinating. Sarah, who moved to Billings to find work, owns 160 acres near Missoula which is off the grid where she escapes to tend to her herd of free range cattle. She told us about a job she had in Antarctica leveling out a runway on a plateau at 13,000 ft using just a snowmobile with a groomer attached, knocking down waves that had frozen in full crest, along with one other guy. The two of them were provided with one tent to share which was no more than a pup tent, a situation that presented them with some difficult "personal issues" in the middle of the 40 below night…. I'll refrain from the details. Sarah also spoke of her grandfather who, as a 14 year old growing up in Appalachia, escaped the poverty to get an education at a free college in Kentucky and went on to earn his doctorate, eventually working at a nuclear plant - all of this back in the 1920's.
 
 

    Steve and Melissa related stories of tourist cruises on which they were the token scientists on board to not only provide educated insight but to coddle the passengers, some of whom were completely uninterested in the environs and the wildlife and could only express their dismay with that day's breakfast. Other great stories of periodic jaunts from the ship to the Ukraine were punctuated with shots of "real" Russian vodka, all culminating in another blissful night of sleep in yet another urban driveway. From Billings we headed to Herman, Minnesota with a layover in Dickinson, N Dakota. We spent the night at a trailer park - 70 spaces @ $700/mo - which just happened to have a “one nighter.” Otherwise the place was booked solid, with a waiting list, for workers in the oil fields. Not much to say about the trip through NDak, no offense, being the least populated state, barren, windy and all, but now I write from a cozy farm house in Norcross, MN, population 60 or so.... 
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