Outlaw Run 2011: US 12 to Miles City, Montana

Wyatt and I rolled into Baker from the North. Baker was steel, dusty, industrial and windy. The tan gritty dust blowing off of the oil fields greeted us and followed us into the center of town. The town it self had a washed out look due to the high noon sun beating down on it and us. Baker seemed to be all business, as in oil business. We reunited with US Highway 12 at the center of town as we turned right and west to Miles City. We rode past a gas station and a garage; as we approached the western border of the town a big sign reminded motorist that there was no gas for the next 90 miles! Hmmm, interesting sign as I glanced down at mile trip mileage. What I saw told me, "You better stop and get some gas while you can!" So, I executed a u-turn and headed back to the only gas station that I knew of, a quarter mile back in Baker. Wyatt and I squeezed our bikes into the pumps and filled up. After filling up we went inside to pay up and to take a load off. The gas station doubled as an auto supply store but it had several key items: coffee, ice cream and a head. I bought some coffee and ice cream and claimed a seat at a small table. Wyatt purchased some goodies as well and being the ambassador of good will that he is, made small talk with the clerk. After finishing our snacks and telling of tall tales we rode west out into Custer County, again, the same land that Custer rode through back in '76...The ride was absolutely sublime! The sky was azure blue and seemed to penetrate my soul as I found the the sky and road intoxicating! Amazingly enough we encountered some very tasty twisty turns as we navigated past the famous Powder River. "A mile wide and a foot deep..." or something like that! We could see Baldy Peak, a dark green point past the Powder River, as we read the big red sign that gave a brief history lesson on the Powder River. The land was flat and straight but eventually Baldy came into view as we chugged past. After a while I spied some more dark green points; soon enough we met these points as we ascended the plains: Strawberry Hill and Government Hill; the road twisted to the left and then to right as we gained elevation physically and somewhat spiritually. The dark green hills contrasted wonderfully with the dark blue sky! Wow! What a wonderful nirvanic ride! I am having a difficult time trying to articulate just how beautiful the ride was-I could spend a lot of time looking at the pictures! Ah,to recall the beauty of the ride...After maxing out at 3200 feet we started our steep, curvaceous descent into the east end of Miles City! We found our campground, Big Sky Campground and RV Park, ( http://www.bigskycampandrvpark.com/) at the end of our descent on our left; we carefully navigated our way on the loose gravel and parked our steads in front of the office entrance. We walked into the spacious front office; our eyes took a few minutes to adjust to the darkness; shortly afterwards we recieved a genuine and friendly greeting from one of the proprietors, Ms. Amy. Ms. Amy gave us the low down on the campground as well as providing us with valuable local information like where the best place to eat is and how to get there! More on the campground and Miles City in the next post!

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