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Wandrin 2006

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by Lloyd Treichel





Dateline: August 15, 2006 -- Helena, MT

[To view photos full sized, click on the thumbnail photo]

North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park... was a place to explore for several days

With trailer in tow, Rich Goscicki drove up from Estes Park, Colorado to join me for a couple of weeks of travel. At Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we took a horse ride through the almost treeless rolling terrain of the south unit.


During the ride we saw wild horses, huge prairie dog towns and the ever present buffalo. We did manage to come across a rattle snake without incident. However, near the end of the ride, a buffalo did spook the trailing wrangler's horse tossing the wrangler. Fortunately, it was a young wrangler; they bounce better than us old guys.

This horse ride was a definite high point of my recent travel. There is no better way to see these wide open spaces than on the back of a horse.

Buffalo making an appearance for dinner at the Cottonwood Campground.

One of the thousands of prairie dogs in the park.

Petrified wood fragment on the roots of a petrified stump. There are no logs here, but a field of petrified stumps.

These geological formations in the park resembled toadstools. I couldn't pass up this self photo opportunity. From there it was fantasy time with Photoshop. Not the result I was looking for, but there it is. Please! No comments about consuming mushrooms....


Great Fall, Montana...

Make a visit to the Charles M Russell Museum complex. With many of Russell's paintings, it is a delight to tour and enjoy. To me the high light is the gallery of his correspondence to friends which were illustrated with watercolor, pen and ink. This is art at its finest; art that wasn't done for money. The CM Russell Museum also includes large galleries for contemporary artists.

On the bike trail following the Missouri River is Gibson Park where I found this scenic cabin. It would be just the right size if I was interested in a home without wheels.

This billboard ad on the side of the building may have been a little faded, but no doubt it was a long time ago when a cigar could be purchased for five cents. Over the top of the ad, are the words "Elmer Fudd's". Searches on the internet provided no clue about the name in Great Falls. Perhaps there was a business at one time with that name. A cigar store? A bar?


High fuel prices get me to thinking... about alternate forms of travel.

With few miles and good tires, this might work. A few horses and the fuel in the form of grass on the side of the road, this might be a way to cut expenses.


Campground Report... Near Helena is Devils Elbow -- a BLM campground on Houser Lake. No hookups with beautiful views at $10 a night ($5 with Golden Age). The lake is yours from Monday through Friday. The local boaters appear on Fridays and stay through Sunday.

This was a sunset captured at the campground. With little light pollution -- except for the moon -- the campground was a great place to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower one evening. In less than five minutes, I saw six streaking meteor particles. It was too cold to stay any longer. Besides, six wishes is enough for one day.

In 1805 Meriwether Lewis called these limestone cliffs on the Missouri River "the Gates of the Rocky Mountains". Today boats provide well narrated tours of the area including history of the area including geology, Indians, settlers, local dams on the Missouri, and fire fighting smoke jumpers.

When I was driving back roads near the campground looking for scenery and a place to hike, I came across the town of Nelson and this interesting sign. The town name does not appear on any maps I referenced. The town consists of ten mail boxes and three homes. There must be at least two people who play cribbage. They are probably the ones who put up the sign. Oh well. It did give me something to write about.

I did a self guided tour of Montana's capitol building in Helena. It's in very good shape with an interior painting and updating completed in 2000.

On a hike along the Ridge Trail, I came across a picnic table with carvings of female nudes in various forms of outdoor exercise including this runner. The oldest nude was dated 1997. The latest was 2006 with only one year missing. The tabletop includes a recent crude scratching "Who is the jackass making the nudes?" The real jackass is the guy who scratched the crude question.

The Grizzly Bear is the state mammal. These painted bears can be found throughout Helena. This was my favorite. It still looked like a bear.

Helena has several buildings utilizing natural stone in construction. This is a detail on the Atlas building located on the third floor level. Wondering about its significance, I headed to the nearby library. The building's original owner was in insurance. What better symbol of insurance than the strength and reliability of mythological Atlas.

Another natural stone construction is this church built in the 1930s. This is not the usual straight line construction which would have been really easy for a mason. Shaping the stone to these irregular shapes and patterns would take a real artist.


Cinnamon Rolls...

Speaking of cinnamon ... Neither was the baker at Baker Bob's in downtown Great Falls.... I headed downtown to Baker Bob's and selected a cinnamon roll "to go". When I opened the box after my lunch, I took a bite. Where was the cinnamon flavor? Then I unwrapped the roll's layers. There was no cinnamon or a filling in the whorls. With a little powder sugar frosting on the roll, it tasted like white bread with frosting. That is what it was! I was ticked and considered returning downtown to complain, but instead the roll went to the dumpster and I saved myself diesel fuel calories. Could this be an omen to give up the cinnamon roll search?

Wind's Pastry and Bakery in Anaconda, MT makes a great cinnamon roll -- with raisins. Before hitching up and hitting the road that last morning near Anaconda, I made a special trip to Anaconda just for a cinnamon roll. Yes. I used diesel fuel calories to get the roll. It was delicious. After four days in the area, it was only yesterday when I saw the bakery while on a bus tour of Anaconda.

Vanity Plates...

WANARCE -- car looks fast

B&CLYDE -- appropriate for a retro car: the PT Cruiser

2XPLOR -- on an SUV

WAR PNY -- spotted on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation

4HUSKRS -- Nebraska fan?

OUR 10T -- on an RV

FSHCAMP -- another RV

GRBGMAN -- profession or a personality statement?

Recent Reads ...

Life On The Mississippi by Mark Twain This is essentially a travel book. Thirty years after he was originally a steamboat captain on the Mississippi River, Twain travels the river in 1882. In this book he recounts his life as a steamboat captain and how the river and its cities have changed over the years. The geography and river commerce comes alive as Twain tells his story.

Maple Leaf Rag by Stephen Brook Subtitled "Travels Across Canada", the author begins his cross Canada travel in Newfoundland. After the Maritimes, he heads west through each province along the way and ends his journey in the cities of British Columbia. It proves an interesting journey as the author tries to find a Canadian national character. The author finds a very large and complex country made up of independent provinces which does not yield to a single definition.

Rocky Mountain West by Duane A. Smith Subtitle: Colorado, Wyoming, & Montana 1859-1915 This is a history of the booms and busts in mining, railroads and agriculture for these frontier states as they went from gold strikes to urban cities, statehood and beyond in a very short time. Over a 100 years later, not much appears to have changed; the economic life continues to be boom and bust.


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