Ole says we need a sign for the back of the motorcycle “This Harley stops at all quilt shops.” Usually I do my research before we enter a new area, but sometimes there are shops that don’t show up on the internet and when we stumble across them they require a fast stop and a quick turn. But I knew about this one in advance, so there was no disaster.
We started off this morning to investigate Route 308 which goes through Washoe and Bearcreek, two old abandoned coal mining towns. There’s not much left of either town, so to see this quilt shop out in the middle of nowhere is quite astonishing. I had a great time inside browsing through all the fabrics and picked up several patterns that will go on my pile of “Projects to Do.”
Believe me, Washoe is in the Middle of Nowhere. Here’s a picture of Nowhere.
We could see the top of Beartooth Pass from that point and it’s still got snow on top of it. We could also see some weather moving in.
But we chugged on through Bearcreek and on over to Belfry where we stopped in the Silver Tip Saloon for lunch. We bellied up to the bar and ordered burgers and beer. I couldn’t believe the burgers – they hung over the edge of the buns a half inch on all sides.
Now, there was an individual sitting at the bar when we walked in that I would have LOVED to have taken a picture of, but I didn’t think it would be polite to flash my camera in his face. This was a REAL cowboy, right off the range. He even smelled like a horse. His black 10-gallon hat was shaped to his head, had a wide band of sweat going around it and was quite beat up and dusty. I think it had been waved in the air to move cattle more than a few times. There was even dust on the shoulders of his shirt. He ate his lunch in complete quiet, never saying a word to anyone at the bar. When he was finished he pulled out his can of Copenhagen and proceeded to take a big chew. After paying his bill he got up and sauntered out on a pair of the most bowlegged legs I have ever seen. After seeing him I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a horse tied up out front at the hitchin’ post.
Then Ole decided he needed gas in the iron horse before we headed back to Red Lodge. As we drove through what was left of this little wide spot in the road we noticed a homemade sign that said, “Gas, one block” with an arrow pointing off to the side street. We finally located what we thought was the gas station.
Now this was not a pump-it-yourself station like we’re used to, and if you look closely you can see the head of one of the owners just on top of the gas pump as she was coming out to pump gas for Ole. She was a little old lady that was minding the store. She watched Ole pump the gas and we visited a bit. I asked several questions about all the old buildings in the neighborhood, most of them boarded up, and she invited me into the station to show me a picture of the town (Belfry) when it was thriving.
The owners were George and Edwina Black who had owned and operated the gas station since the 50s, such a charming little old couple. Not only did they run the gas station, but Edwina was also the “local librarian.” There were bookshelves full of paperback books on all the walls, there were bookshelves full of paperback books in the ladies’ bathroom and the men’s. The old roll top desk was so loaded with paperbacks that the roll top couldn’t be shut. I asked her if she kept track of the books going in and out and her answer was, “No, of course not. People here are very honest and will bring back all they borrow and more.” When I asked her if she had read all the books her response was, “Heavens yes. I have a lot of time to read during the day as there just aren’t that many cars and motorcycles coming through anymore.”
On our return run back to Red Lodge we stopped at the overlook by the Smith Mine, a coal mine. In 1943 seventy-four coal miners were killed when there was an explosion down one of the shafts. This is what’s left of it today.
Then it was back to the campground where we awaited the arrival of my Big Brother. He pulled in about 3:30 and he and his two kittens were glad to finally land. He travels with two kittens that are about 4 months old named O.C. (short for orange kitty), and Pillar (short for caterpiller).
He had had an exciting run the evening before between Casper and Shoshone where he hit two antelope dead center with his pickup and then heard them roll all the way under his truck and trailer. Been there, done that – it’s a horrible sound.
Speaking of hoofed creatures – there are numerous deer that come up from the creek right into the campground every evening. Last evening there were two, and this evening I watched six walk down one of the driveways and disappear into the trees by the creek. So far Daisy hasn’t seen them, and hopefully she won’t.
Tomorrow is Beartooth Pass day – that should be exciting.