Tuscan Chicken and The Sundance Kid . . .

The drill rig is finishing up cementing the last of the casing in and getting ready to skid? the rig over 25 feet to the next hole.

Although I’m not sure if ‘skid’ is the right word for moving something that weighs 300 TONS. More like ‘drag’ if you askqed me.

I talked to the supervisor of the move today, and right now they’re planning it for Wednesday morning. He said they’ll use two big cranes, one on each leg, each pulling separately, so they can ‘steer’ it as they move. He also said the skid itself takes about 7 hours and he’d already done another rig earlier this morning.

I’m really looking forward to seeing this. I’ll try to get some pictures if I can.

Today, (Monday) Jan fixed a delicious meal of Crockpot Tuscan Chicken, along with a Peach Cobbler made using a yellow cake mix. Of course we have plenty of leftovers, but since tomorrow is Tuesday, we’ll  be having Chile Rellenos from Galindo’s that I’ll pick up on the way home from getting groceries in Pleasanton. So the leftovers will have to wait a couple of days.

That’s about it for what’s going on here at Rancho Peggy (Peggy is the nearest town to where we are. I think it’s one store and a Post Office.). So I thought I’d post what we were doing a year ago today. Quite a bit different.


The last time I was at 11,000 feet, I was on a plane . . .

Originally posted on July 31, 2011

We picked up Al and Adrienne about 9 am and then headed down the street to Peter’s Coffee for traveling food, coffee and muffins.

Hitting the road again, our trip took us back up into Montana on SR72 to Belfry (Yes, they have two belfries in town and the football team is called ‘The Bats’) about 50 miles north of Cody.

This was the route we came into Cody on a week or so ago, but luckily today we didn’t have to go far enough north to hit the 11 miles of one lane, gravel road construction we had to go through coming in.

At Belfry we took a left onto SR308 heading to Red Lodge, MT about 12 miles away. On the way we passed through the small town of Bearcreek, home of the worst coal mine disaster in Montana history.

On February 27, 1943, seventy-seven miners went down into the Smith Coal Mine. After an explosion later that morning, only three came out alive. And beside ending these seventy-four lives, the explosion also ended the local coal mining industry in Bearcreek.

Getting into Red Lodge, we took a bathroom break at the Visitors Center, and then did some shopping along the nice Main St. area.

Red Lodge 1

On one corner was this old bank that’s now a ladies boutique. Waiting for Jan I took a moment to read the plaque on the wall in front.

Red Lodge Bank 1

And, lo and behold, this was a famous bank. On September 18, 1897, the Sundance Kid, Kid Curry, and others of the Wild Bunch attempted “to make an unauthorized withdrawal from the Carbon County Bank.” The “withdrawal” went bad, and after an 80 mile chase, they were captured and returned to Deadwood, SD, where they later escaped again.

Red Lodge Bank 2

Leaving town and heading south on the Beartooth Highway we came across this store selling furniture and art made from juniper trees,

Rocky Fork Juniper 1

including this neat elk, and even a moose.

Rocky Fork Juniper 2

Really very nice work.

Rocky Fork Juniper 3

It didn’t take long for us start encountering the fantastic scenery and multiple switchbacks that the Beartooth is famous for.

BearTooth 2

BearTooth 3

This map picture shows just one of many switchback sections that takes you from about 5000 feet to just over 11,000 feet.


Beartooth Switchbacks

BearTooth 5

The higher we got the more snow we saw. And looking at one of the snow fields I thought I saw movement, so zooming in with my camera I saw

BearTooth 4

this herd of Big Horn Sheep crossing the snow. This was above 9000 feet.

BearTooth 6

And we just kept getting higher and higher.

BearTooth 7

BearTooth 8

When we would think we couldn’t go any higher, we’d look up and see more switchbacks above us.

BearTooth 9

At one of the pullouts where we stopped to take in the view, we did see this marmot sunning himself on a rock.

BearTooth Marmot 1

Although they kind of look like a beaver or a big guinea pig, they’re actually a type of large ground squirrel.

Cute, though I hear they can be mean.

BearTooth Marmot 2

The views just kept getting better and better.

BearTooth 10

BearTooth 11

Finally we reached the namesake of the Beartooth Highway, the beartooth.

See it, it’s right at the tip of the red arrow.

BearTooth Bear Tooth 1a

Maybe this closeup will help.

BearTooth Bear Tooth 2

We came across a lot of pretty flowers along the way, some of which only grow at high altitudes,

BearTooth Flowers 2

BearTooth Flowers 3

like this Sky Pilot Flower, that only grows above 10,000 feet, and also has a slightly ‘skunky’ smell.

BearTooth Flowers 4

BearTooth Flowers 1

Reaching our 11,000 foot peak, we started back down, with of course, more switchbacks and hairpin turns.

BearTooth 12

BearTooth 13

After our 50 mile journey on the Beartooth, we reached SR296 and took a left onto the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway.

BearTooth 14

BearTooth 15

BearTooth 16

BearTooth 17

This 45 mile section had its own set of switchbacks, although we didn’t get near as high as on the Beartooth.

BearTooth 18

BearTooth 19

BearTooth 20

BearTooth 21

BearTooth 22

Finally we merged back into SR120, about 17 miles north of Cody, and headed home, getting back about 4:30.

BearTooth 23

After dropping Al and Adrienne off at their rig, we all met back at Proud Cut Saloon and Steakhouse for dinner about 5:30.

The steaks were delicious, but more important Jan and I had our first chance to try Rocky Mountain Oysters when Al ordered them as an appetizer. If you don’t know what they are, don’t ask.

First off, they were good, nothing like real fried oysters, which Jan and I love (raw oysters, too). More like fried slices of roast beef.

Actually I think they just prove the old adage that pretty much anything battered and deep fried will taste good.

After a great meal, Al and Adrienne came back to the rig to check out Jan’s Amish rug, and then we talked a while.

Finally, after saying our goodbyes and getting in our last hugs, they headed back to their rig. Tomorrow we leave for Billings and we probably won’t see them again until next March at Nick Russell’s Gypsy Rally in Yuma.

After they left, I walked next door to visit with Jack Allen and Nell Dahl, who we had met before at Nick’s rally.

They wanted to say hi, and find out more about using South Dakota as a residency. I had a great time getting to know them better, and talking about our travels. They plan on being at Nick’s Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina, OH in September so I’m sure we’ll see them then.


Thought for the Day:

The Tripolitan Wars (The Barbary Pirates) taught our young republic vital lessons, among them: tyrants cannot be appeased, peace cannot be purchased and there is no substitute for victory.



3 Responses

  1. Yes, you were in our neck of the woods–bet you liked our temps better than what you are experiencing in Texas! We never get tired of the Beartooth Highway.

  2. Janna,

    We certainly loved the area and hope we can spend some more time there next year.

  3. Greg, I wish you could see how big structures get “skidded” around. I watched the “loadout” of an offshore oil platform some years ago. The structure was 700 feet high and weighed 50,000 tons. This thing is about as big as the Transco Tower building in Houston Galleria. Built on its side on two skidways at the waters edge down near Corpus Christi.

    For transport out to its Gulf of Mexico site, the completed “jacket” (underwater part of platform) was dragged onto a barge with matching skidway spacing. Pulled by two giant winches that each exerted 1 million pounds of force on the two attachment points. A team of workers mopped gobs of grease on the skidways along the way. The entire 700 foot structure was moved onto the barge in about 6 hours, moving just barely fast enough that I could see it was moving.

    Awesome display!!

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