Friday, August 29, 2014

First Peoples Buffalo Jump

I would bet there are a lot of folks, maybe even you, who have never visited a buffalo jump.
Pull off I-15 at Ulm, Montana about ten miles south of Great Falls and follow the sign that says First Peoples Buffalo Jump three and a half miles (on paved road).

There you'll find an Interpretive Center staffed by some neighborly Rangers and staff who will guide you through an interesting part of Montana History.
Look at the cliff behind the sign. That's it. The Buffalo Jump.
It took great courage to be the Indian who dressed in a a buffalo calfs hide and ran out in front of the herd, drawing the Mother and the rest of the buffalo closer and closer to the cliff.
The Ranger will remind you as he leads you up the trail to the top of the jump to watch where you step, since the hillside has Rattlesnakes. Lots of rattlesnakes.
A few years ago I volunteered to lead a group on a walking tour  up the trail to the top of the jump. As the Ranger was outlining for us what we would see he said: "Now remember, you may see a rattlesnake along the trail and when you do don't jump and startle it, just stay calm and it will leave. The main thing is to remember that there snakes, and OHHH look there's one now!"
Sure enough, a big fat rattler was slithering across the concrete patio and heading right for us.
One of my elderly walkers was only a few feet away when the snake first appeared.
"Jim" failed to follow the rangers instructions and jumped at least three feet. He was quite agile, when the moment demanded agility.
It gave all of us, except Jim, something to talk about on our way back to Helena.

The story of the buffalo hunt is interesting and quite exciting. The Indians had a need for food, clothing and shelter and the buffalo provided it, until white hunters decimated the herd.
There is always lots of wildlife in the hills and you will learn more about it when you visit The First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park.
Oh, one last thing before we leave. 
If you look south from the parking lot you'll see a famous landmark.
Charlies Butte.
If you are a Charlie Russel fan you will have seen this butte in some of his paintings.
It's easily visible from I-15 as you leave the park and head south toward Helena.
Look closely and see if you recognize it from one of his paintings.

Heading for home the Sleeping Giant appears over your shoulder one more time.

Topping the North Hill is always a thrill as you see Helena and the valley spread out before you.
It's like a Welcome Home.
A great day for a ride and a little history lesson, and good to be home.

I'll be in the Right Lane America.
Come ride with me.


Wolf Creek Canyon

75 degrees for a high, wind calm, perfect for a quick Day Ride through Wolf Creek Canyon to Great Falls, Montana for lunch.
Riding the canyon is always a thrill, but especially on a day as perfect as this one.
The scenery is always spectacular, but this mornings sun brought great shadows to add to the color of every cliff, boulder and hillside.
Back in the day a ride through Wolf Creek on a two wheeler meant flying between the Missouri River and the mountain passes at full highway speed (and maybe a little more) and leaning the bike into every curve and bend the canyon has to offer.
I do have to say that doing the canyon with a SideHack at 50 MPH showed me a side of Wolf Creek Canyon I had not seen in the past. Every bend in the road brought boulders, rock slides, deep cuts and gorges that I really hadn't noticed when I was flying into each curve and maybe polishing the pegs as I went.
As Lois and I did a Sunday drive she would often comment on the power it must have taken to cause these deep rifts in the mountains and how the stone seemed to face every direction. I guess I failed to notice those things then, but they stood out for me today.
The new ride is smooth as silk with a throaty rumble from the pipes and a good solid feel to it.
I've ridden the canyon many times, but today I saw it all.

Saw a lot of Gold Wings heading south, and a couple passed me heading north.
If you're riding through Montana just get on I-15 at Helena and head north for Great Falls.
You'll have a great ride.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Visiting family

June 28th through July 6th I went traveling through North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Montana.
What a great trip.
Three Thousand Two Hundred Miles.
I visited in Fargo, North Dakota with Grands Katrina and Justin and Great Grand Vian.
That Vian, he is something else. Always smiling and making everyone around him laugh. Good one K & J.
Then on to Minneapolis, first stop at Twin Brother Dean & Bev's Garden and Vinyard in Monticello.
Here's Dean at Perkins for breakfast.
Had a great time at the graduation party at Vivian and Dave's, but it was raining and I didn't get any pictures. Under the canopy(s) everyone enjoyed the party and another of Viv & Dave's Grandkids has been graduated from High School.
We went to a wedding reception in North Minneapolis and saw Krystal Lonnquist and Adam Harvey. It was a great time at the reception while visiting with many Lonnquists.
Krystal & Adam. They are off to a great start. Thanks Krystal for the great pictures you sent.

I hadn't visited Tomah, Wisconsin for several decades. It was fun visiting some of the houses Lois and I and the kids occupied during the Tomah years.
This one was the first house we ever owned. It was on North Glendale Ave.
While living here the kids went to Kindergarten at the Lemonweir School.
 We built a house in 1967 on the other end of town. On the corner of Madison and Madison, the kids used to say.
It was a good visit when I had lunch with an old co worker from WTMB, Patrick J. Adler
He was Patrick J on the air.
Early the next morning I made the run through Fort McCoy on the Interstate. I remember well the morning I hit a deer with the motorcycle a few miles out of Sparta, Wisconsin. Sure glad I had that helmet on. Of course, it wasn't much good after that. The whole side was mashed in. I had lots of Asphalt Rash that morning, along with a broken collar bone.
Stopped in LaCrosse for a visit with old friends Jack & Ethel Sobotta. I remember them as The Country Caravan, a great country band in the 70's.
They sure don't look like they are in their 80's, do they?
Of course I don't either. Do I?
Had a good ride through the rolling hills of southern Minnesota and saw mile after mile of wind turbines spinning in the wind and making lots of electrical energy.
I had a good ride up I-29 to Dawson, MN for a visit with Allen and family. Well, good except for the rain and wind. That was a cold wet ride and I was glad to finally arrive in Dawson, more than ready for a hot cup of coffee and a great lunch with Allen, Pam, Laura and Lydia.
Good Grief, how did those two kids grow up so fast?
The sun was shining the next morning and I was ready for a nice long ride over to Sturgis and Deadwood, South Dakota. First their was a Lonnquist Farewell.
I-90 across Southern Minnesota and into South Dakota was an awesome ride.
I went to through Sturgis, SD with only a short stop at the Motorcycle Museum. It was great with over two hundred old motorcycles, some with sidecars. I told the kids they had motorcycle here that were even older than me.
Following the museum tour I headed a few miles down a great winding, twisting road to Deadwood. A couple of years ago when Lois and I went through here with Diana, Jared and Linda, Jenny found us a neat motel on the edge of Deadwood for just $35.00 a night. It was clean, neat and had plenty of room. I pulled in for another stay. The front clerk said, "Well I will have to charge you $45.00 since this is Thursday and the Fourth of July weekend is starting."
I told her my daughter Diana had stayed there a few weeks earlier and told me to be sure and ask for the specual $35.00 rate.
The lady replied, "Well, I guess it's not really the Fourth of July yet, so you can have the room for $35."
Nice lady. I'll stay there again.
Breakfast in Sturgis the next morning and of course it had to be at the Sidehack Saloon.
If you ever visit Sturgis you should try the Big Breakfast.
That is, if you dare to order The Garbage Omelet. It was actually very good and very, very filling.

Even if Dale Coyner in his book Motorcycle Travel does caution you to eat light to enjoy the ride.

I had planned to visit the Lehman Trike factory in Spearfish, but pushed on through on Sunday morning when it was closed.
Visit to see what my friend Dan Herstein does with the Lehman trike kits.
Wyoming came up fast once I made the run through Spearfish.
It was in the 90's and I stopped often for water.

Really nice Visitor Center just over the Wyoming line.
Nice folks and free coffee for visitors during the Holiday Weekend.
Pulling out of the visitors center I had to make a quick stop.
I had never seen a full size airplane mounted on a pole and being used for a weather vane.
You don't see that every day. But there it was. Turning in the breeze. Pretty neat.
This was a long days ride through 90 degree weather.
I planned on going all the way from Sturgis to Billings, Montana, just over four hundred miles.
Too far for an old guy to ride in one day.
A lot of hills in Wyoming can slow you down, but on a couple I was behind a truck and they sort of pulled me over the top. That was easy.
Worked good until I somehow got behind a semi that was trying out the new 80 MPH speed limit that the state of Wyoming put in to effect that very weekend.
Well I used the brakes and got back down to a sensible speed.
After a good nights sleep at the Billings Comfort Inn I had a nice relaxing ride through the Montana mountains to Helena and home.
Three Thousand Two Hundred miles.
A great ride.
It is true you know.
After being married for sixty years, learning to live alone is a lot easier if you have a sidecar.
I'm heading for Washington DC to visit Grands Jason and Allison in late September, and then, with my new Mini Mate tent camper secured by a sturdy trailer hitch, the Yamaha 1100cc Classic, the sidecar and the tent camper will head on down the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Destination, Lake Mary, Florida and a visit with Diana, Ilidio and Jenny.
Maybe a cruise on the Disney Fantasy if Lorna and Rosario have their way.

I'll be in the Right Lane America.
How about you?
May your ride be long and may your Love Song never end.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The New Ride

I was out for a short ride on Highway 12 heading East out of Helena when I saw it.
A 2006 Yamaha 1100cc Classic. It was just sort of waiting for me in the front row of vehicles at the Nissan Dealer. Cool maroon in color, sharp looking unit. I had to stop and take a good look. Turns out it is a 2006 model with only 8,000 miles on it. Shaft drive, floor boards instead of foot pegs and sort of a welcoming feel about.

I called son Roger to come out and take a ride on it. I'm just not too comfortable on a two wheeler since I fastened this side car on the Honda. He liked it. A salesman came out for a visit. Nice guy named Jason. They were asking $3,500. Too much.

When I got home I checked Kelly Blue for it's value. Hmmm, $4800 retail $3660 trade in. Not bad. I got Sidecar Bill to come out with me to check it out. He rode it, checked it over and pronounced it sound. That was a week ago. He has now taken the sidecar off the Honda, which I have in the driveway with a For Sale sign on, and is busy installing the Hack on my new ride.

The Honda 750cc Shadow did it's job. It was a great ride and took me over 9,000 miles into this new life and was a great comfort with the steady rumble from those great sounding pipes. Just not quite big enough for the next step which is a Cross Country Cruise. This new ride will not only handle the Side Hack, but after an October 6th visit to Open Road Outfitters in Virginia, it will be pulling a Mini Mate Tent Camper behind it. Look out kids and grandkids!

The Right Lane has never looked better, America. Here I come.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Delivering books to Valley County Historical Society in Glasgow

In July I received an order for 16 copies of Lois' book Fifty Cents An Hour from the Valley County Historical Society in Glasgow. I decided to deliver them in person and headed for Fort Peck. It was a great ride. I stopped at the Maltana Motel in Malta, MT where Lois and I had stayed several times on our many trips to Fort Peck as she researched her book.
 The Little White Church In Malta. The first thing Diana noticed in the picture was the little bird house. It's a nice church and the Pastor pulled into the driveway as I took the picture. He had a big smile on his face. I bet lots of folks shoot that same picture.
 Fort Peck Dam is a four mile long pile of dirt with a road running across the top. The rock used as Rip Rap was blasted from Snake Butte about sixty miles away and carried by long trains to the Dam Site where the big railroad cars would open up and deposit the boulders on the face of the dam.

The Memorial to the 59 men who died building the dam. Lois worked for several years with Michelle Fromdahl the curator of the Interpretive Center to get this Memorial completed.
Raymond Hagen was Lois' Dad's best friend. They went to work on the dam together. He was hit from behind by a big jack and was thrown into a two hundred foot hole to the bottom of the shaft. They were working together and Raymond had just asked her Dad, "What time is it Len, time for me to go home to my wife?" Lois wrote a song about this for our program.
The presentation room where Lois and I did her Songs and Stories of the Fort Peck dam program.
Peck's Rex, the centerpiece of the dinosaur museum at the interpretive center.
More dinosaurs.
 Huge floor to ceiling aquariums. That is one big fish!

 More big fish swimming in the fish tank.
The center has great wildlife displays
The Power Houses have a great tour. Don't miss this if you visit Fort Peck.
Stepping in to the past.
I took a picture of Lois and her friend Michelle standing by this picture and tried to get them to raise their foot to wooden beam in the picture so it would look like they were actually stepping into the tunnel. They wouldn't do that.
I took the books the Historical Society ordered to the Pioneer Museum. What a dedicated staff they have taking care of the history of the pioneers from Northeast Montana.
This is Kitty Lou Rusher who talked on the phone with Lois for many hours during the writing and after publication of the book. She was so sure it would be a big seller that when the head of the museum said they would order 6 copies of the book, Kitty Lou said you should make that sixty because they'll sell fast. They ordered 36 books and Kitty Lou ordered 36 more on her own. She kept them in the trunk of her car and sold them whenever someone asked her about the book.
Stayed again at the Maltana Motel and met fellow travelers from Knoxville, TN the next morning. It had rained and they were uncovering their equipment. I didn't have a rain cover so I just wiped the seat off with paper towels and hit the road. They were nice folks. We had a good visit. They were heading for Glacier National Park.
 The long wet road took me home.
It was a great tip. I don't suppose I'll be getting back to the dam anytime soon. Lois and I visited it many times as she wrote and researched her book. How great that it was published and was such a great success for her before the Alzheimer's Disease stole the memories and stories.

Well, til next time, Keep in the Right Lane America. Be Fantastic !

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Steptoe Mesa

Steptoe Mesa, 3600 feet up and with a view of nearly 50 miles, on a clear day. This day the smoke from over 50 Washington fires was cutting the view back by a few miles. And here we thought all the hot air and smoke was in Washington DC.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The world needs dreamers

"The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all,
the world needs dreamers who do."

Sarah Ban Breathnack