Day 5: When you have to go, you have to go. Eastern Montana offers plenty of wide open spaces and solitude. Unfortunately, this also includes few or no rest areas for bathroom breaks. So when a child says he needs to go, then you pull over and go. We’re getting use to the quick pull over and go.
We had a lazy start today. We arranged a late check out and enjoyed a morning swim in the pool. This is Ethan’s third swim on this trip and his confidence in the pool is improving. His inflatable ring was key to his success today. Autumn has also enjoyed her swim time and has no fear when it comes to jumping into the pool.
The drive from Great Falls to Billings is about 4.5 hours. Except for a small portion of Interstate near Billings, the entire drive is along State Routes. An interesting observation along this drive and our entire driving in Montana is that we have yet to see any State Police. We’ve stuck to State Highways most of our drive in Montana so perhaps this is the reason.
We arrived around 5pm at Scottie and Allison’s house. Scottie is Laura’s cousin. When I lived in Burns, Scottie and I were both wildland firefighters and roommates. He and Shari, Laura’s sister, were instrumental in getting Laura and I to meet each other. More about that on our Family page.
Their home is about 20 miles from town so it’s pretty remote. They heat with wood or propane. They take the garbage into town. A neighbor plows all the roads in the area…and water? Well, water is brought to the property in the back of a truck. Twice a week Scottie drives about 5 miles to fill his 400 gallon portable tank to bring water to the house. This somehow reminded us of our Peace Corps experience. There is no doubt that this is a beautiful area to live. I took some photos of the skyline tonight but still don’t think it can capture the beauty of the area.
Scottie and Allison have two children, Gracie and Allie. Allie is 5 years old and her and Ethan hit it off. Gracie is 5 months and Autumn is intrigued with Gracie and all her toys. As expected, Scottie and Allie are extremely hospitable and have made us feel very comfortable.