August 13th, 2015 – Ophiem, Montana

I have been “town-hopping” yes town-hopping, no not bar-hopping, town-hopping.
From Plentywood, Montana where I spent 4 days at the fairgrounds to Ophiem, Montana I town-hopped, about 80 miles. Tiny towns, population 10 or 8, they are like Oasis’s to me, they provide me with water and shade, when its 100 degrees out I must have shade and water for my horses! We rode early mornings from 4:30 to maybe 11am. The towns are about 10/12 miles from one another built on a Railroad line that is now abandoned but Hwy 5 connect the towns. Some are but work stations for harvesting. Most all had or still have functioning grain elevators. The harvest is in full throttle. It is really something to see, mammoth machinery and the fields are so big one wonders how it is possible to do it all. So I stopped in each and every little town sometimes for a night over sometimes for an afternoon break to rest in the shade and water the horses. I pull all the gear from the horses backs every 10 miles!!!!.
From Plentywood the first stop was Redstone. I met Steve Nash, kind of a jack-of-all-trade and master of many. Metal fabricator. His father had the machine shop, the only business in town, now Steve had it. I caught him just as he drove with a semi of water. He let me put up in his field and left the shop open so I could get water and use the restroom. The town had 8 people living in it, nearly a ghost town, I was sure glad it was there!!  Then there was Peerless. It was pretty busy with harvest trucks. It had a Grain Co-op and large elevator. I camped across from the post office on the lawn of a empty home. We  camped in Scobey’s very nice fairground where the horses had in-door accommodations. Camped in Richland and Glentana, rested in Flaxville and Madoc, had lots of waves and curious, interested stoppers. as we rode the wide ditch, had to watch for gopher and badger holes .Lots of alfalfa and clover for the girls. With the amount of work my two horses do, alfalfa and clover can be fed to them, I let them eat as we walk. They come in with a full belly.
Ophiem. I rode thru Ophiem in 2012 with Emily McKee who ventured out with me for a couple of hundred miles into Canada. I remember the town well and seems many remember me, it’s been a fun stop and they found me a spot in town on a lawn, with shade and good neighbors.(smiles) The house is empty the horses and I are camped around back, it’s very nice. I would have died in this heat out at the rodeo ground’s. The Outpost is still here and Coreen Dear still runs the little café, good food and rustic friendly atmosphere. The horses were tied out back while I went in to visit. The Mint Bar is still going as is the Farm Cooperative. The school is sustaining itself as one resident commented. Having the café is so important. Today was senior day and the place was filling as I left, ( it  was busy in the morning, with the coffee club)  The café is exceptional and  is owned by a developmental council. Donations were received by alumni, local residents and businesses in the area to keep the café open. Coreen has been managing it for 3 years, its just a pretty cool thing that the town has done. I have seen it in other small towns, creative ways to keep the town alive.
It’s been a good ride, hot but good across this Northeastern part of Montana where the sky is bigger than the land.
I head north for Canada on Saturday. Will get another posting in 2 weeks.
Happy Trails Bernice