Big Sky Country

Our first stop in Montana was a small community of 451 along the Powder River, called Broadus.  We stopped for diesel and spent a couple of hours visiting the local museum before turning east on 212 and traveling to Custer National Forest near Ashland.  The campground was less than a mile off the highway but was well secluded by large pines and hills. We dry camped for the night, doing little but enjoying the peace and quiet and the scenic views.  Midday we returned to Broadus for lunch and headed north.  Our goal was to stay in Miles City, Mt but the RV parks were full of pipeline workers so we ventured on to the community of Terry (population 611). We found Terry RV Oasis on the south side of town.  The sign along the highway said “CLEAN . QUIET . GRASSY . SHADY.  A Great Place to Camp,”  and it was.  We paid for a week and proceeded to settle in.  While there we explored the town, the museum, ate with the locals, and hiked the countryside.  After talking to a neighboring camper, from Minnesota, we learned that agate hunters come to Terry to hunt along the banks of the Yellowstone River.  While hiking we attempted to keep any eye out for agates but considering we had little idea of what we were looking for we returned empty-handed.

Over the weekend we attended the Prairie County Fair. The county has two other towns Fallon (population 151) and Mildred (population 30).  Counting the 1 rabbit and 1 chicken there were a total of 30 animals for the livestock judging.

County Fair Parade Terry, MT

The highlight of the fair was the Bump and Run competition.  It is a combination of stock car racing and demolition derby.  The stands were packed and it was 3 hours of great entertainment but I think once in my lifetime was enough.

Leaving Terry we traveled east to Miles City and spent half a day touring the Range Riders Museum.   We stocked up on groceries and headed towards Billings.  South of Billings we stopped off at the Pictograph Cave State Park.  A very small park with pictographs of elk, buffalo, prehistoric animals, and abstract designs, a nice side trip.

Continuing south we turned east at Bridger heading for the Pryor Mountains in Custer National Forest.  According to the map it was only 19 miles to the camp site.  What the map didn’t show was that the well maintained gravel road ended about two miles from Bridger and became what should have been labeled a 4 wheel drive or ATV road.  Three hours later we arrived at the campsite dusty, tired, and quiet shaken.   We had planned to stay only one night but it was going to take more than one night to recover from the trip.  Our day trips took us across the North Fork of Sage Creek and up Pryor Mountain to see the Ice Cave

and the wild horses.  With the exception of a few park staff our only other visitors were the local wildlife,  a small bear, numerous deer, hawks, and of course the campsite chipmunks.

After 3 days we felt like we could tackle the road back to Bridger.  South of Bridger, at Belfry, we turned west towards the Beartooth Wilderness of Custer National Forrest.  Between Belfry and Red Lodge we stopped at Bearcreek (population 83) for lunch and a great piece of Banana Cream Pie.  Full and happy we eventually made it to the campground.  The temperatures were in the mid 60s, great sweatshirt weather.

Wyoming Creek at Custer Forest, Montana

The following day was heavy coat weather with temps in the low 40s.  I managed to bike about 8 miles, between rain showers, but the evening planned by the campfire had to be moved inside by a persistent downpour.  We awoke the next morning to temps in the upper 30s and the threat of more rain.  It was time to move south to warmer country.

Heading east we returned to Bearcreek for breakfast and of course another piece of pie.

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