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Day 8: Montana, a Burger Dive and a HUGE surprise.

I am so excited to write about this day! It turned out to my most favorite day and the completely unexpected highlight of the entire trip! After our long day the previous day, we wanted to be able to take it easy in the morning and get some extra sleep. And, that is exactly what we did!

I wanted to go to Montana because we were so close and we have never been there. Billings was not far from Cody so I researched a few things to do there.

The Burger Dive kept coming up in my search because the chef had been on Man Vs Food and he had won many awards for his burgers. This is from their website: "Brad Halsten, owner and head chef of The Burger Dive, was recently crowned "Burger Champion" at the World Food Championships. The Burger Dive team won a three round competition featuring three awesome new burgers that are available at the restaurant now! Featured here is the "I'm Your Huckleberry" burger."

Before I tell you if the Burger Dive lived up to the hype, I need to tell you how our day was planned. Our friend and her children came with us to Montana. She very much wanted to see a herd of buffalo and had found this way back from Billings that was supposed have buffalo. We decided to come home that way. On the way there, we decided to take a route that was close to a river so we could fish and swim if the opportunity presented itself. We did this primarily because the children had loved wading in the creek and fishing in Yellowstone the day before. I had them wear their swimming suites only this turned out to be the completely wrong attire for our adventures. And, we were hungry and it rained the whole way there so we didn't get to swim.

When we got to Billings, we realized the Burger Dive truly looked like a dive and their parking lot was tiny. It took us a while to navigate the city and find parking. I really had second thoughts about going there, but we were committed and the children wanted to go, especially, my son!

When we got into the restaurant we noticed it was PACKED! We wanted to sit together and an entire table of people actually moved so we could sit together as a group (there were 9 of us)!

The menu was so fun. There were burger choices on there we had never laid eyes on and the shake flavors were unique as well!

The children tried three different shakes. Two of them were every day flavors but my daughter tried the Strawberry Balsamic. They were thick and creamy and huge but the reviews from our table were mixed for the Strawberry Balsamic!

My son ordered the "Date with Jim Beam and Coke" burger because it was the "winning" burger. He isn't normally adventurous but he went for it this time!

I HAVE to show you a picture of my daughters burger.

Isn't it HUGE???

She ordered an extra patty so she could share her burger with her friend. The burgers were cheese stuffed.

You probably want to know how we rated the burgers, huh?

My son said his burger was the best burger he had ever had and he has had a lot of burgers. He says the key to their perfection was the amount of topping are just right for the burger.

We all agreed, they had the absolute best burgers we have ever tasted. They also had specialty fries. It was definitely worth the trip and it was seriously filling. I didn't eat for the rest of the day!

We plugged in the route that would show us the buffalo and we could not figure out why it was going to take almost 2 hours longer to get home. The reception is sketchy in the west so we thought maybe it was a glitch. It wasn't. We were about to go on the drive of our lives and we had no clue about the adventure that awaited when we began.

It turns out that our route, US Highway 212, is also known as the Beartooth Highway! It is a 67 mile stretch that took us up 10,947 breathtaking feet above sea level on the Absoroka and Beartooth mountains and then back down. It is no small wonder it would take 3-4 hours to get back to Cody!

It was a foggy day and that might have been for the best because often there was an extreme drop right beside the narrow road. We stopped often and there was never a bad view! It was so breath taking. The pictures do not even do it any justice.

This next picture is from the internet. I just wanted to show you part of the path we took!

It is crazy to see a sign that says there is a phone in 1/4 mile on a highway but being stranded on this mountain would not be for the faint of heart. The picture on the right is of rocks that had fallen in the road! I am so glad we weren't ever hit by one!

We made it to the top and it was freezing! Remember, the kids had their swimming suites on under their clothes with the exception of my son, he had jeans and a jacket. The lowest temperature we encountered was 42 degrees. We touched snow and the kids played in it! What a crazy experience in July and we certainly didn't need swimming suites!

On the way down the hill, we took a little hike to this amazing waterfall!

We took 5 family pics in front of the beautiful waterfall and not one of them were perfect or even close! LOL

I will just name a few high lights from this trip because if I tell you all, this blog entry would be like a looonnngg chapter in a book than a blog entry!

We saw amazing wildlife but not a heard of buffalo. Cowboys were herding cows with their herding dog and lassos.

The cows were just allowed to roam across the road in places. It reminded me of Psalm 50..."for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills."

It was so breathtaking. The air was crisp, the fog lifted and the skies were bright blue, and the water looked so pristine and pure. We all want to go back, especially my husband! He would really like to fish the streams. We were supposed to go to the rodeo that night and we missed it! It is okay! The rodeo runs every night in Cody, June-August and we still had one more night to go to the rodeo!

Here is one more beautiful picture.

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