|The road signs in Montana come factory installed with the birdshot! |
For those anglers headed to the Bighorn River from the south, the Good Luck Road west of Lodge Grass, Montana cuts off quite a bit of time. If you take this road through the Crow Reservation you don't have to go to Hardin then backtrack to Ft. Smith. Originally, the Good Luck Road was an unpaved dirt road. The surface was rough, rutted and always an adventure and if it rained... GOOD LUCK! The roadbed contained a lot of bentonite and when wet, this clay-like material became as slick as snot. To successfully negotiate a wet Good Luck Road, you had to crawl along to avoid sliding off, but if you went too slowly, then you risked getting stuck or bogging down in a deep rut. Once you turned off on the Good Luck Road you prayed for clear skies. Any thunderhead building in the west or, God forbid, a drizzle started a wet spot under your arms.
|A beautiful, empty landscape. |
Then the road was paved! We all thought now we could bomb across this deserted landscape and get to the river sooner and at the end of the day, home much more quickly. Problem solved, the name of the road would remain but it would no longer apply... right?
Not so fast.. literally.
When our speed went from 30 to 65 mph and beyond, another problem immediately cropped up. On both sides of the road is open range and in some silly cosmic twist of fate, almost all the cattle grazed here are black. Now, we don't fear rain, we fear the night. If a good hatch keeps you on the river and you hit the road after dark.... it's still GOOD LUCK! Black cattle, black asphalt and the black of night don't mix well... nor do black caddis. This hatch is a killer. The black caddis come off in August, the hatch is best just before dark and as you watch big browns on the lower river suck in these bugs, you know you'll have hell to pay.
|I checked, no cell service. I saw one pickup and 500 black cows.|
Imagine bombing along at 65-70 mph and up out of the inky darkness comes a coal black cow. The only logical solution to avoid a fatal accident (and there have been quite a few) is to drop your speed to pre-pavement levels.
It was bad enough earlier this week at dusk (see story here), and I was thrilled to get across the road before dark. At night, the pits still get damp, you feel a bit flinchy and if your friends get off the river after dark and are headed south, you always remind them to "Be careful " and wish them "Good luck on the Good Luck!"
|No traffic... the option is to shove the accelerator to the floor.|
|We got an asphalt grazer at 12:00. Slow down!... this is not an option at night.|
|Who the hell are you?|
|I'll not move an inch!|
|...and she wants to fight me too!|