Montana Cattlemen’s Association
I woke up to the sound of my Dad’s voice saying: “It’s time to get back on the road!” A few minutes before 7:00 am, Dad and I were bound for Lewistown, Montana for a very exciting and action packed event: the annual meeting of the Montana Cattlemen’s Association. The Montana Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) is an affiliate of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association. I can’t say enough good things about MCA and how much I appreciate the work its leaders and membership carry out. Please view the MCA press release for the best description of the event.
Today was the big day! I am outta here. I fired up my Dodge diesel and, while the engine warmed up, I planned out my itinerary. If all went well, I would hit two meetings in eastern Montana and make my way to Lewistown, Montana by late evening. As I roared out past the Rapid City limits, I was soon slowed down by the flashing lights that signaled the westbound interstate towards Sturgis was still blocked by snow. I pulled off at a truck stop and waited for what I figured would be a short period of time. It was not a short period of time. The rest of the afternoon was spent waiting to hear if the snow removal crew had cleared the interstate. Information was not very clear at first, but it became glaringly apparent the rescheduled Montana meetings would once again fall prey to Mother Nature. However, I still had one big meeting to attend: the Montana’s Cattlemen’s Association annual “Cattlemen’s Day.” If only I could find a way outta Rapid!
My luck changed for the better after I met my new best friend Tom Carey. Tom is the guy any traveler looks up to with respect and admiration. Tom is truck driver—and not just any truck driver—he is a road savvy, white-line fever-influenced bull wrack driver. That’s right, Tom drives a cattle hauling tractor trailer. Tom was also trying to make it West. Our introductory conversation involved the classic, “Do you know so and so from out by such and such…?” Well after both of us named every cowboy and rancher—from Broadus to Bridger and beyond—we figured we better partner to come up with a plan to get the heck out of dodge! After making several calls and carrying out discussions with the countless stranded travelers regarding which roads were open and closed, Tom and I hatched a plan. We invited any of the stranded travelers to follow our lead (a few took us up on the offer) and headed out on our way.
We headed south to Hot Springs, South Dakota. Oddly enough, the roads were clear in this direction, and the additional travelers who tested their luck in following us outta Rapid City were rewarded with access to routes leading to their destinations.
Tom and I made our way into Wyoming and got on the interstate bound for Gillette. At Gillette, we headed north to Broadus, Montana. From there, Tom made his way to Bozeman. I took a different route and made it to Hathaway just short of midnight. I was very lucky to meet Tom, and I cannot thank him enough for his help. Of course, this just goes to show—the words I opened this blog with are so true! You experience the best of life and meet the nicest people when you are out on the road. And let my experience be a helpful trip to other travelers: always be friendly to truck drivers; you never know when the day will come that you might need to follow a bull wrack out of a tight spot!
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