Day 2: Bismarck, ND to Billings, MT.

We were tired last night and turned in early. The plan was to hit the hotel restaurant early, before the place filled up and got noisy. The place opens at 0700, and even though we didn’t stumble in until twenty five minutes later, we were still the first people to take a table.
Because we were only going as far as Billings today, instead of all the way to Bozeman, we didn’t actually want to start driving until after 0900, and we actually delayed almost another hour. Billings is about a six hour drive, which we cannot do on one tank of gas, so rather than stop once for lunch and once for gas, the plan was to stop in Glendive for lunch at CC’s Café and just gas up early. Hah. Headwinds were so ferocious that we saw the low fuel light come on before we even got to Glendive. It was so windy that the noise drowned out the radio, and the CRV spent a lot of time in fourth gear instead of fifth. I was surprised that trucks weren’t having more trouble staying in their lane, but I did notice that there were very few double or triple trailer rigs around.
There were people waiting to get in at CC’s, and they ended up clearing off their staff/work table for us. Caroline had the Denver sandwich, which she swears by. I had a clubhouse, but it was kind of bland. No butter on the toast; it came with a side of mayo. Horror of horrors, they got the layers all wrong! I am a firm believer that a clubhouse is one side BLT and one side Ham and Cheese, and I’m flexible about where the turkey goes. My favourite restaurant put the ham on the grill and melted the cheese on top of it. CC’s put the lettuce, tomato and two kinds of cold cheese on the top deck, and all the meat on the bottom. Sort of like a vegetarian layer and a meat lovers layer. Kind of weird. On the way home, I’ll try one of their burgers instead.
The afternoon was even windier than the morning, and while I was passing a semi, I had to run over a big tumbleweed – it was about as high as my hood. No harm done, so I’m glad I didn’t swerve and cut off the truck. Saw some bison, but they were safely on the other side of a fence. If you wanted to convert one of those to road kill and live to tell the tale, you’d need a tank or an armoured personnel carrier. With air bags.
Because it was another day of interstate driving, we counted trucks again. Caroline still kicked my ass, nearly 300 to just over 200. I blame the wind. Tomorrow we’ll be driving in Yellowstone for a good part of the day, so we’ll count boats or campers or motorcycles or something.
Our hotel is in downtown Billings, which is great for dining, we can walk to the place we have reservations at. It may not be so good for peace of mind – the guest services book is full of warnings not to leave valuables in your car and not to answer the door for anyone claiming to be staff without checking with the front desk first. Hmm. We have stripped the interior of the car bare of everything more valuable than my book of crossword puzzles. This would be a giant pain if we were in an upstairs room, but we are on the ground floor. On the other hand, maybe if you stay upstairs, you get less not-really-staffers knocking on your door.

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