Yes, we recently took to the highways and byways of the West, and we went BIG. 2300 miles and 13 days = an epic road trip. In keeping with the classic American "vacation," we hit some of the hot spots. Yellowstone. Grand Teton National Park. And what would a vacation be without some lesser known attractions, such as the Museum of Clean in Pocatello, Idaho? And we were blessed to visit family along the way. Most people would schedule such a journey in the summer, but we are not "most people" and these are not ordinary times. So, buckle your virtual seatbelt and come along for the ride as I recount our adventure in several installments.
October 13: A Drive Back in Time
When I was young, we did not take many family vacations. But I remember distinctly my father deploring the major highways. In his view, a drive on the nation's byways revealed the true nature of the country and its people. In college, I was also deeply affected by the book Blue Highways, by William Least Heat-Moon. Hailed as a masterpiece of American travel writing, the book is an unforgettable journey along the nation's backroads (which were denoted by the color blue on maps at that time). Both of these memories coursed through my mind's eye as we skirted the eastern edge of Flathead Lake on Highway 83, a two-lane that is squeezed between the Mission Mountain and Swan Mountain ranges. It was a misty morning and I shivered in anticipation as we passed Seeley Lake and began to roll through countryside that was new to us.
It might have been the gloomy skies, or maybe the rain had washed off the dust, but either way the aspens, larches and sycamores shone through like an army of yellow torches. Numerous bald eagles perched majestically in the sycamores, pumping my heart with pride near to a bursting point. Along Highway 12, I observed loaf-shaped haystacks as tall as a house, each one surrounded by a fence. Curious ...
Ever since we got to know our neighbors with the farm, I pay more attention to farm affairs, and I was fascinated that this method is so different than the round bales and rectangular bales we see in our part of Montana. I sent a haystack picture to Dear Neighbor Friend, and in turn she sent me the link to the video below. According to Wikipedia, these haystacks of loose, unbaled hay are intended as fodder for livestock. They are made with a beaverslide, a frame supporting an inclined plane up which a load of hay is pushed to a height of about 30 feet before dropping through a large gap. The device was invented in the early 1900s and was first called the Beaverhead County Slide Stacker after its place of origin, the Big Hole Valley in Beaverhead County, Montana. Once I read about it, I realized I had seen one or more of these structures, but didn't know what it was!
As we planned our trip, it was easy to slot in the big puzzle pieces such as Yellowstone. We could have a little more creativity as we traveled to those places, and I reveled in the chance to research options. One of them? "Drive west on Highway 43. When you come to the fork, go south to Wisdom or north to Opportunity." How cool is that?!? Unfortunately, we could not build that into our itinerary, but when we saw the sign for Opportunity, we just had to take a photo! (By the way, the video of the beaverslide is from Wisdom!)
After passing this exit, we quickly reached Butte, with its massive tailings from gold, silver and copper mining. On the eastern side of the fifth-largest city in Montana, fascinating rock formations dazzle the highway driver. Definitely an area I would like to explore, but alas, no time on this trip! My research yielded an extensive list of possibilities that would have filled a decade of vacations; for our first day of travel we narrowed it down to two ghost towns along Highway 287.Nine booming gold camps sprawled along remote Alder Gulch in 1863. Nevada City and Virginia City were the largest. Dozens of stores and cabins extended back six blocks, but by 1876, only a few residents remained at Nevada City. The gold dredges later came through, leaving piles of tailings as big as barns, and by 1920, the highway had cut the town in half.
Charles Bovey began collecting buildings in the early 1940s. Acquiring Nevada City from Lester and Mary Stiles, he began to place buildings here in 1959. Nevada City became a haven for endangered structures; today more than 90 buildings from across Montana line the streets. The state of Montana now maintains the historic resources at Nevada City.
On the day of our visit, Nevada City was padlocked for the season, but we could still see quite a bit.
The railroad never made it to Alder Gulch, but that didn't stop Mr. Bovey from establishing a railroad collection at Nevada City. In fact, the Virginia City Shortline Railroad was built by Mr. Bovey in 1964 to connect Virginia City and Nevada City, a mile and a half away. Today the 20-minute ride is an opportunity to enjoy the scenery and learn about the surrounding area (May - September only).
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Angie, it was an interesting travel in the past and actually last but not least your vacation.ReplyDelete
It's a dream of us to visit on day the Route 66 with our Goldwing... we will see. Now, we look only on the next day, step by step.
Stay healthy and well, dear Blogfriend.
Happy MosaicMonday 🍁🍂🍁
My what a grand tour you had. There is so much history in the West. Not all of it is lost to ghost towns. Have a great week and thank you!ReplyDelete
...all of the kind of things that I like!ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing the start of your journey, the old towns look amazing and that method of storing the hay was really interesting to watch.ReplyDelete
lol, most of this post was like watching an old western movie. Love those old buildings. :) :) That beaver makes sense :)ReplyDelete
You had a nice trip :)
That was really quite an amazing trip and you got to see so many wonderful places!ReplyDelete
How wonderful to hit the road for 13 days! I'm going to pay close attention as we are hoping to hit the road next year after the shop completely done! That house in Nevada City is a real beauty for sure. You can just imagine... Happy November to you!ReplyDelete
Thank you for takin us on this trip. I would love to see "Nevada City". It really looks fascinating, and a peak at the old West. Stay safe, enjoy your week, and thankyou again for the linkup.ReplyDelete
So beautiful post, amazing pics.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing.
What a fun road trip! We've visited Yellowstone and The Grad Teton National parks in the past--such gems! I'm glad to see those vintage western buildings being preserved in Nevada City. There is a similar project here in Park City up in Park County, Colorado. I blogged about it a few times. We love to see all the exhibits there as you can go inside the schoolhouse, and dentist and newspaper building and the saloon, etc, and they are all filled with period furniture and accessories.Thanks for hosting and Happy November!ReplyDelete
How wonderful to take a road trip. Thank goodness for people like Mr. Bovey who cared enough to preserve all those buildings. We took summer vacations every year until I was 14. I remember going to a ghost town when I was little. Will have to ask my mom where it was.ReplyDelete
I love going on a road trip, your first day sounds great. I love that big old house and the cool looking Nevada City. The two story outhouse is weird, I wonder how it would work. The train car is neat. The river scenery is beautiful. Wonderful photos and mosaics! Thanks for hosting. Take care and stay safe! Enjoy your day! Have a great week!
Always a pleasure going on virtual road trips with you, Angie. I am waiting with bated breath for our borders to open so we can go on a trip as well. At the moment we still have the 25km radius limit in force, so we cannot move away further afield. November 8 is our big day of lifting of that restriction if all continues going well COVID-wise...ReplyDelete
PS: Thanks for hosting, Angie!ReplyDelete
What a fabulous trip! We've made long road trips and enjoyed them so much! But we've wondered how convenient it would be to find restaurants (and bathrooms). It sounds wonderful to get out of the house though and see so much! I love that big old house outside of Nevada City too! Really gets your imagination going!ReplyDelete
A happy Monday to all. Its November already, where did this year goReplyDelete
Neat trip! I love seeing Nevada City! Alex and I watched The Ballad of Lefty Brown, now I know where it was filmed! :) The Pioneer Bar looks so nice inside...in the spirit of things I'd likely order a shot of whiskey...leave the bottle bartender lol! True Western movie line. :) I really enjoyed this post Angie!!! :)ReplyDelete
I love that house too. The whole scene is something out of a wild west painitng. Epic road trip!ReplyDelete
What a great trip! I would love to visit some ghost towns. I loved the video too. Hay stacks aren't as common here as they used to be and I've never seen one that tall. Interesting homemade "tractors" they used to gather the hay.ReplyDelete
i love a good road trip in real life. Virtual ones are a close second. Can never decide if it’s more fun to virtually visit new territory or see familiar places through new eyes. This trip was a little of both, because we’ve been to those places, but so long ago that my memory needs the brush up. Loved it all and look forward to the next installment. And interesting to learn how you handled “food and drink” in these changed times.ReplyDelete
Oh your post brought back so many great memories. When I moved out here in 74 my parents took me to those towns. I am glad you had fun and were smart with distancing. I'm looking forward to your next post. Take care! KitReplyDelete
I could not agree with your father more about the byways. Glad I waited to read this post. Beautiful photos too. Thanks so much for sharing and hosting!ReplyDelete
Angie, That was a nice trip! Sylvia D.ReplyDelete
Sounds like an interesting trip. I haven't done anything but half-day trips this year, basically because eating out has become so difficult. Thanks for hosting.ReplyDelete
What beautiful scenes! Looks like a great trip.ReplyDelete
What a cool trip. Love the old buildings.ReplyDelete
Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade
What a wonderful trip! Now that's a hay bale.ReplyDelete
I absolutely love the old house, and the other old buildings.
Thank you for allowing me to tag along on your trip. And thank you for hosting, Angie.
It's so great that you could get away on this trip. Beautiful scenery. That old house has quite the atmosphere!ReplyDelete
We went on a small road trip and went up into the mountains---Mt. Baker to be exact but I would love to poke around in some ghost towns. thanks for the tourReplyDelete
Beautiful images along with the trees, houses of a wooden verity. Love it very much.ReplyDelete
Wonderful road trip photos ~ did a similar one several years ago ~ Fun !ReplyDelete
Live each moment with love,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)
Super read Angie. Like a journey through the Wild West of my TV youth. I am positive I would not be able to resist those two towns of Opportunity and Wisdom or a visit to old Nevada City.ReplyDelete
Lovely photos 😍😍😍ReplyDelete
How lovely to get away.ReplyDelete
A wonderful trip and a great collection of photographs you've shared.
A great post, thank you.
All the best Jan
Love those old towns. I am in love with that fabulous grand old dame of a house! America truly does have fabulous houses. You really do have to do things right then and now, don't you. In these times one never quite knows what tomorrow may bring.ReplyDelete
Amazing trip Angie with lots of great photos. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed it.ReplyDelete
Quite a trip! Wonderful shots.ReplyDelete
Ah cool beans. My grandfather was a powder man in the copper mines in Butte. His family was on a dry farm in Dubois, Idaho south of Butte. He only came home every once in a while but he was busy while there, as he had 13 children. My mother was the youngest. Butte is quite the place, and from what I hear it used to be pretty wild. I never met my grandfather but my uncle told me some hair raising stories.ReplyDelete
Island Park is a wonderful place. My Mom's family is scattered all over that part of Idaho and we have had several family reunions at a resort in Island Park.
Waiting to see more posts about your trip.
Me again, I love Blue Highways. It is the only book that I read twice in a row. I have it on kindle now. I think I have read it about five times.ReplyDelete