Heading East — Island Park, Idaho to Glendive, Montana, August 20-27, 2015

On August 20 we moved on down the road to the Buffalo Campground in the Targhee National Forest. Buffalo Campground is located 26 miles south of West Yellowstone, Montana in beautiful Island Park, Idaho along the banks of the Buffalo River at an elevation of 6,200 feet.  There are no hookups, but the campground is huge and we found a nice pull-through site for our one-night stay.  Next day, we continued east to Bozeman, Montana, where we turned north and motored through lovely country some 10 miles to the ranch of Roxanne Linderman, nestled some 5 or so miles below the Bridger Mountains.  There we visited Roxanne and her sister Monica, who lives on a plot cut from the ranch.  Monica is a long-time friend of Barb – they were in school together as girls, and Monica has visited us on Tusen Takk II several times.  The ranch was homesteaded in the 1860s and still has log-cabin structures, including a barn, a chicken coop, and a portion of the main residence.  Roxanne has an interesting array of animals on the ranch, including llamas, alpacas, unusual breeds of sheep and cattle, and many types of poultry.  She was busy doing some haying while we were there, and I got a chance to do a tiny bit of tractor and truck driving.  Monica, silly goose, is still working as a computer consultant in hospital software, so she is only home from her job in Florida on weekends.  She had to fly out on Sunday afternoon, but we were enjoying our visit on the ranch with Roxanne so much that we delayed leaving until Monday morning.  Roxanne took me out on a dune buggy so that I could find and photograph a magpie, but instead we found a large herd of elk.  On a different walk, I found and photographed sandhill cranes in the grass.  Earlier, I had popped off a whole series of two in flight.  Processing later revealed the incredible extent to which they fly in synchronization — I illustrate the fact below with but two of a dozen photos.

On our way back toward Bozeman, we noticed that we had a chip in the camper windshield, so we made an appointment to have that fixed before leaving the area.   We deposited the camper at Sunrise Campground in Bozeman and spent the afternoon at the Museum of the Rocky Mountains, where we enjoyed the many exhibits about the dinosaur fossils displayed there, and also attended three (!) different programs in the planetarium.  Next morning (8/25) we got the windshield taken care of and then moved on down the road a bit to the little town of Roundup, Montana, where we spent the night in the nearly-deserted campground at their county fairgrounds.  We spent the night of 8/26 at the Big Sky Campground in Miles City, and the next night in Makoshika State Park campground near Glendive, Montana, the largest of the State Parks in Montana.  The name of the park comes from the Lakota Indian mako sica, which translates to “bad land” or “bad earth”, an apt description for the geology of the area, a fertile source of dinosaur fossils, including many that are now exhibited at the Museum of Rocky Mountains.