Part 4 of a special guest post by Ben
We slept in. Which is good since we didn’t have a reservation at the (relatively) famous Hotel Saskatchewan sunday brunch until 10:00. We were both up by 9:30 and we got dressed and went downstairs for the brunch. It wasn’t quite ready for as at 10:00, so we had to wait for a bit until it was all set out, but once it was ready – I was blown away.
This was the very best buffet I have ever been to. There was a table with giant bowls of shrimp, mussels and smoked salmon. There was a GIANT table filled with cakes, pies, custards and all kinds of other treats and pastries. The back wall was filled with those metal serving domes and had things like rice pilafs, eggs benedict, bacon, sausage, gravy and more. There was even a fella carving off very nice looking roast beef of some kind.
Jack got a plate of bacon, a pastry and three pieces of cheese. He ate only the bacon.
But it was gooood.
Not the best bacon of the trip, but a close second! I had a slightly larger brunch, but I could only do three plates without feeling like an absolute glutton.
Third plate not pictured included eggs benedict, bacon and sausage.
The waitress came to clear Jack’s plate and when I said we were probably ready for the bill, she looked shocked. It was at that point I realized that I had probably just paid WAY too much for a plate of bacon. It was true, but I thought the experience was worth it.
We popped back up to our room to grab our stuff and checked out. We were on the road by 11:00, which was right on schedule. The road out of Regina into the Regway portal was even more lonely than the road we had taken in. I assume because it was not a rail line. We soon came to the border and easily made it back into our home country.
Our next stop was the sleepy town of Plentywood, MT for a snack stop. The first place I saw was the Dairy Queen, so I took it as a sign. Jack was VERY pleased that this was where we had pulled in. I was extra lucky since when we called home, we found out that Sam was already eating ice cream. If we hadn’t already had an order in for a blizzard – there would have been some serious jealousy. It was a nice little town and a very busy and friendly DQ.
“Well, luckily, I just ordered ice cream”
Filled up with good ‘ol american dairy, we plunged deeper into Montana. After several miles on a pretty rough highway, we transitioned to this:
Umm, Montana? Can we have a word about your “highways”?
It was actually a REALLY nice gravel road though. I also felt the need to pull over to take a picture of the beautiful terrain and stopped to read about the old wagon road that was nearby. At that point though, Jack noticed the impending storm and had to become brave again.
Stiff upper lip
Luckily, we made it off the gravel road and got some fuel before the storm hit, but south of Wibeaux MT, the storm hit hard. It was the most hair-raising portion of the trip, if only because I wasn’t sure what we would even do if the storm got any worse. It was blowing hard and whipping huge sheets of rain across the road. The road was good by this point and was free of standing water though. We kept going at a much reduced speed, despite Jack yelling “I can’t see ANYTHING”. (Note, I COULD still see well enough to drive at the speed I was going).
After the storm passed, we drove by a really neat state park called “Medicine Rocks”. There were a bunch of slate grey sandstone formations that looked like giant blocks of swiss cheese scattered about the prairie. Jack was in no mood to stop, but if you’re ever between Baker and Ekalakka MT – you should consider stopping in.
A little further down the road, I decided to pull into a little town called Ekalakka in search of some food for the nights stay near Devil’s Tower. It was a tiny little town, but actually had a quite large grocery store, so we were able to get some yummy stuff for that night – most importantly, marshmallows.
Another interesting find in Ekalakka was as we drove through town, I noticed a big trailer and a bunch of people in weird clothes. Then I noticed that there was a stage and an audience in front of the trailer. They were putting on “You Never Can Tell” by George Bernard Shaw in this tiny little town in the middle of nowhere! I desperately wanted to to stay for a bit, but Jack was in a road trance. “We’re not here for plays Dad.”
We continued on toward our camp ground, but I was becoming more and more worried that I hadn’t been able to contact Rachel in hours. If I still didn’t have a signal at camp, I was sure she’d freak out. So we stopped at a little crossroads gas station and I asked if they had a phone I could use. They said they didn’t, which kind of irritated me. Luckily, it didn’t matter. Shortly down the road, we had a phone signal again as we neared Devil’s Tower.
Along the final stretch of road, we saw SO MANY deer. We saw some antelope that were right up next to the road and just chilled while we stopped and gawked. We saw a herd of eight deer chilling in a meadow under some burr oaks and cottonwood. Not to mention the dozens I saw roadside as I carefully drove with blistering perceptual intensity through the final stage of the day’s trip.
Finally, we saw the tower and soon after we were at our campground. We had made it well before dark, which is good – that drive would have not been great at or around sunset. Our campground had the cute practice of showing “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” every night, and we had arrived just in time. I didn’t make Jack stay long, since I’m sure it’s too scary for him, but I at least got to experience it.
No free mashed potatoes.
We had great views of Devils Tower and we got a nice little cabin (since we were worried about weather).
Jack was almost too silly to photograph by now
Even a porch swing!
As night fell, KOA employees wandered around lighting communal fires. Perfect! We have marshmallows! I knew that fire was allowed, but I didn’t want to buy wood and try to start my own fire, but I did want Jack to experience roasting marshmallows.
He thought it was pretty cool at first, but got bored and tired pretty soon. We retired to our cabin and watched a little TV on my phone as we drifted off to sleep. This was the longest drive of the trip, and probably the least eventful as well. We still had plenty of fun though and we were ready for a great start in the morning!