Sunday, February 02, 2014

To Billings

We stopped overnight in Swift Current so we had a more reasonable drive to Billings, MT today. The snow was blowing across the road and visibility wasn't great at first but it cleared up before too long.

Near Val Marie we passed a group of deer led by one big guy with a nice set of antlers. But as soon as I reached for my camera they turned (white) tails and took off.

Into Montana we saw several large groups of pronghorn antelope (which aren't really antelope). They're one of my favourites - such beautiful animals. They weren't much more cooperative. If you drove by at 60 mph they barely looked up, but as soon as you stopped they got nervous and started moving away. Their winter fur is much thicker than when you see them in the summer.

Pronghorn Antelope

We saw one more snowy owl. This one was on a fence post and I thought I might get eye level photos but again, once we stopped it got nervous and flew away. So no photos but still nice to see quite close, and impressive to watch it unfold its large wings and fly.

We also saw quite a few hawks in trees and on poles. I thought most of our hawks go south for the winter, anyone know what kind they're likely to be?

We had a few hours of icy roads but overall conditions weren't bad. We reached Billings in time for afternoon coffee. We tried a couple of local coffee shops but they weren't open on Sunday so we ended up at the Starbucks. (Which was conveniently next door to our hotel.)

We're staying at the Northern Hotel, mostly because it was the only good looking one that wasn't an obvious chain. (It turns out it is a chain, but not one of the usual ones at least.) And they have a decent looking restaurant so we don't even have to go out for supper. We did hit the fitness room before supper (thanks to Shelley) - otherwise days of driving can be pretty sedentary.

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