Wednesday, July 12, 2006

June 27 06 Western Montana

Tuesday: We left West Yellowstone.  We took a route toward Dillon Mt that took us thru Virginia City. It is a historic old gold mining town that was once the capitol of MT. I had stayed at Dillon 2 years ago when on the Lewis and Clark Trail and had remembered a beautiful lake south of there Clark Canyon Reservoir with nice campsites right on the lake and best of all FREE.

Wednesday: Planning on leaving Dillon tomorrow to get to near Hamilton for the fourth we decided to drive a big loop (300 miles) over the Lemhi Pass which is on the Lewis & Clark trail. We stopped at the pass and took both east and west photos then went to the Sacagawea memorial area where we saw the springs where the Missouri River gets it’s start. I actually stood across the little rivulet that emerges from it. We then continued down the western slope of the Bitterroot Mts and stopped at a hot springs. We took a short soak because they had just refilled the pools. The temp was 108 in  the water. Stopped at Salmon for lunch and a decadent sticky pecan cheesecake dessert. HMM! We toured the Sacagawea center and then went over Lost Trail Pass toward Hamilton. Bob will be taking the 5th wheel down a 7 mile, 6% grade when we move there, so wanted to check it out. We got to Lake Como to find the campground totally full already for the holiday. It was heavily wooded, so no internet, satv or cell service. We found another small riverside national forest campground we will go to near Sula MT. We drove past the Big Hole National Battlefield. It was raining, we will stop there on our move. We decided to stay where we are thru the holiday as we have more to do and a beautiful spot with internet, cell service for me and Satv reception. We headed into Dillon for our 8pm social hour at the Elk’s lodge. Met some nice people there who gave us literature on the area and invited us to the pork chop dinner tomorrow night.

Thursday was a day of  rest. Stayed home all day until we went to the Elk’s Lodge for their pork chop dinner.

Friday we went into the Elk’s Lodge as they had a shower. We are running low on water so decided to do it there. There wasn’t any hot water. Bob took a cold one but I refused. We then drove to Elkhorn Hot Springs where we not only soaked in their warm pools but we could also get a HOT shower. Back at the Elk’s for social hour. Then home.

Saturday we went into town to Sparky’s Garage for my birthday breakfast. Yes, I said garage. It looks like an old garage turned into a restaurant. Great food, old vehicles, antiques related to garages and automobiles. They gave me a huge cinnamon roll for my birthday (cake) which I made Bob eat as I went back on weight watchers today. We then went to Bannack State Park which was an old gold mining town, the first MT territorial capitol. It is deserted now the last person left in 1972. We took a tour where they told how they would crush stone so fine it would pass thru a screen with 200 holes to a square inch. Regular screening has 16 holes to a square inch so you can imagine how small the rocks were crushed. We walked around looking at the old buildings then at the old Methodist Church there was a performance by a Mark Twain impersonator who told about his life.  We went back to Dillon for a delicious steak dinner then to the Elk’s lodge where we celebrated my birthday. The people there were so friendly and bought us both drinks.

Sunday we took a dirt road out of Dillon to Virginia City. We stopped one mile before, at Nevada City, another old gold mining town where they had volunteer’s dressed in period costume. At VC we walked up the street, found the Brewery and bought tickets for the Follies. We had 2 hours to kill so checked out the old building which most have been converted into shops. Had a bite to eat then went to the follies. Humorous, risqué comedy.

Monday we stayed home.  Tuesday again we stayed home except for a 3 mile walk and a 6 mile kayak trip on  the lake. In the afternoon we kicked back and relaxed looking at the skidoos wasting gas out on the lake. Out to Dillon for dinner and the evening fireworks show at the fairgrounds wrapped up our week.

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