Lupe and SPHP were on the road before 6:00 AM on 8-2-13, Day 24 of Lupe’s 2013 Dingo Vacation to the Beartooths and Canadian Rockies. It had rained steadily during the night. It wasn’t raining now, but the low mountains of southern British Columbia were shrouded in fog. Just S of Roosville, Lupe crossed the border back into the USA. She really was on her way home now.
It was a long drive clear across northern Montana. At first, it was scenic and damp. There were mountains and intermittent rain. Lupe headed SE to Whitefish on Hwy 93, and then cut across on Hwy 40 to Columbia Falls. Hwy 2 took Lupe through the mountains around the S end of Glacier National Park.
The mountains disappeared in the rear view mirror first. For a while, E of Glacier National Park, the rain did not. In fact, Lupe went through two cloudbursts. When it wasn’t raining hard where the G6 was, downpours could be seen scattered here and there in various directions.
An hour E of Shelby, the G6 finally got ahead of the rain. Low gray clouds still stretched out to the horizon in every direction. SPHP stopped the G6 twice to get out and stretch. Lupe and SPHP took walks in the little towns of Chester and Chinook.
Neither Lupe nor SPHP had ever been in central or eastern parts of northern Montana before. To SPHP, it was rather disappointing. There were no mountains. There wasn’t even anything noteworthy on the horizon most of the way. The Bear Paw mountains could be seen in the distance S of Havre, and there were some ridges SE of Saco, but otherwise the land was gently rolling and featureless.
Lupe certainly wasn’t disappointed in northern Montana, though. She was having a field day! Cows were everywhere! The dingy Dingo leapt wildly from window to window trying to bark at all of them at once. It was exhausting, but clearly exhilarating, work. Outside the G6 was a placid, pastoral scene. Inside it was deafening almost non-stop action. At least the American Dingo had to stop for water, and to catch her breath now and then.
It was evening by the time Lupe and SPHP paid a short visit to the Fort Peck dam on the Missouri River SE of Glasgow. Fort Peck Lake was vast and stretched to the horizon. It seemed lonely and remote. No doubt it would have been fun to explore the huge lake by boat. More fun than seeing it from the land, as Lupe soon found out.
While sniffing around in the weeds near a viewpoint, Lupe’s left rear paw stepped on a cactus. She whirled around to bite whatever was biting her. She got the piece of cactus off her paw, but was rewarded with a cactus spine stuck in the roof of her mouth. SPHP had to use tweezers to remove it. All evening, the poor Carolina Dog tried to lick her own mouth to sooth the sore spot.
Still in Montana, Lupe and SPHP called it a day in Wolf Point. Before turning in, SPHP bought a milkshake at the local McDonald’s to help cool and provide some relief to Lupe’s sore mouth. Lupe proved quite willing to take this medicine. The milkshake was highly effective. Lupe’s sore mouth was cured.
The next morning, Lupe and SPHP started out shortly after sunrise again. Lupe was still going E across northern Montana on Hwy 2, but now she wasn’t far from North Dakota. North Dakota was about to join the American Dingo nation, and become the 9th Lupe state!
While in North Dakota, SPHP planned to take Lupe on a little tour of Williston. SPHP wanted to see what Williston looked like. The once sleepy, very remote town had been transformed by the Bakken shale oil and gas boom, which was in full swing. Lupe might also get a chance to visit her great Uncle Andy and Aunt Connie, meet King III, their old yellow lab, and see their farm near Beach, ND.
Before Lupe reached North Dakota, SPHP started seeing new housing subdivisions in tiny, formerly dying towns in NE Montana. The first new subdivision was in Poplar. There was a bigger one in Culbertson. Lupe started seeing a few oil wells. There were stacks of big blue pipes N of Hwy 2. Then a big blue pipeline appeared, not yet buried. Overall though, the effects of the oil and gas boom didn’t really look all that great, until Lupe crossed the border into North Dakota.
The first stoplight was 7 miles W of Williston. From then on, there was heavy traffic, especially truck traffic. Even though it was Saturday morning, Williston was a swarming hive of activity. Everything on the W and N sides of town looked brand new.
There were rows of metal buildings housing energy related companies, both famous and unfamiliar. Stacks of materials and lots of machinery were kept in adjacent fenced yards. New houses, new apartments, new restaurants, new businesses, new roads, new everything was all over the place. Williston was a genuine boom town.
Lupe and SPHP went and found a park in the old part of Williston. There were big old trees here, and a lot less going on. Lupe struck it rich, and found a squirrel in the very first tree she checked. She made such a ruckus about it, SPHP decided it might be best to move on. SPHP called Lupe’s great Aunt Connie in Beach. Right away, Connie invited Lupe and SPHP to come on down to Beach for a visit.
So before Lupe got in trouble for disturbing what little peace there was in Williston, she and SPHP headed S for Beach, ND, a tiny town along I-94 barely across the border from Montana.
Connie and Andy had an old yellow lab named King. Technically King was King III, the third in a line of yellow labs that Connie and Andy had. When Connie opened the door at their house in Beach, King III was right there. King III could hardly believe his eyes! Here was a cute little Dingo wanting to come in for a visit! King III loved the idea. He wanted to play! Lupe growled. King III was mighty big!
SPHP was interested in seeing Connie and Andy’s farm, but didn’t even have to ask for a tour. After visiting with Connie and Andy for a short while, they asked if Lupe and SPHP would like to see it. Of course! So everyone piled into Connie and Andy’s car, both dogs included, with SPHP between them to keep the peace. The farm was 16 miles S of town. Lupe and SPHP got the grand tour.
Connie, Andy and SPHP spent so much time visiting, that Lupe and SPHP got invited to spend the night in Beach. The next morning, Lupe, King III, Connie and SPHP all took a walk to the edge of town. After breakfast, it was time for Lupe to finish her trip home. It was now 8-4-15, Day 26 of Lupe’s great Dingo Vacation to the Beartooths and Canadian Rockies, and time to get back to the Black Hills.
Of course, SPHP dawdled along taking roads never seen before, instead of just taking the most direct route home. Lupe’s vacation continued all day. Lupe went back into eastern Montana. She went through Baker and Ekalaka. She passed Medicine Rocks State Park.
A forested section of hills in the Custer National Forest looked very similar to Lupe’s Black Hills back home. S of the Custer National Forest was a rather impressive long high ridge, topped with rock, which stretched far off to the SE. The Little Missouri River valley was beautiful. Cows and horses kept Lupe busy. She took up the sport of barking at hay bales, too, just for good measure.
The 73rd annual Sturgis Motorcycle Classic (Sturgis Rally), a week long event that brings huge numbers of motorcycle enthusiasts to the little town of Sturgis, SD on the NE edge of the Black Hills every year, was just beginning. Before Lupe even left Montana and entered Wyoming, there were bikers on motorcycles pouring in from all over.
Actually, the place was packed. There were hundreds of motorcycles. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and having a great time. There was a big party going on. The store was doing a brisk business. Lupe got lots of compliments from the friendly bikers. She was loving it and basking in glory.
It has been a tradition with SPHP to buy blue ice cream at the store just E of the monument on each visit to Devil’s Tower. SPHP had intended to get Lupe some. This time, though, it looked like it was going to take a long time to get waited on. It was too hot out to make Lupe wait in the G6 that long.
So Lupe didn’t get any blue ice cream at Devil’s Tower (5,112 ft.). Lupe and SPHP headed S for Sundance, WY. There were 6 bikers riding 2 abreast ahead of the G6. They were taking their time enjoying the scenery while winding through forested hills W of the Black Hills of Wyoming, also called the Bear Lodge Mountains. Before long there were 50 or 100 motorcycles following the G6. It was fun! It was like Lupe was leading a grand motorcycle parade!
Lupe and SPHP left the motorcycle parade at Sundance. SPHP stopped at the grocery store there. Since Lupe hadn’t gotten any ice cream at Devil’s Tower, SPHP was going to make it up to her. SPHP came out with a box of 6 Eskimo pies. Lupe was forced to help devour every last one of them as fast as possible, since they were soon melting fast. She was completely up to the task. She would have been willing to do more, if only the need had arisen.
Instead of heading home on I-90, SPHP took Lupe S on Hwy 585 from Sundance. Lupe saw Inyan Kara (6,360 ft.) mountain. She was soon back in the Black Hills of South Dakota. In the Black Hills, Lupe went on the final exploration of her entire 2013 Dingo Vacation. From Black Fox campground, she headed up the Rhoades Fork of Rapid Creek following USFS Road No. 233 for more than a mile.
Of course, she drank from the cool, clear stream! Of course, she posed for the final pictures of her 2013 Dingo Vacation!
A little more than an hour after returning to the G6, Lupe was home. Her 26 day summer of 2013 Dingo Vacation to the Beartooths and Canadian Rockies was finally over. It seemed like a long time since Day 1, when she went to the Elysian Fields of Puppy Happiness and spent the night on Bald Mountain (10,042 ft.). It had been a wonderful trip, but it was still good to be home!
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