Sunrise – Hauser Lake

An early morning walk on the road leading to Hauser Dam starts the day.

I saw more deer than people along the way.

I am not much of a fisherman, can’t even catch them on camera. They were jumping.

Walk over. No down to the business of the day I have dreaded. You can’t put a value on life, but when you split with a spouse you must put a value on the things in your life. It is going to be a long day. Can I just take another walk?

Additional Pictures

The Elk Tracker

Carl and I have hunted together since before we both shaved every day.
I shave every day. Carl, here and there. Nearly 29 years of military service hath wrought habits I will not likely shake.

When he asked if I wanted to go along on a preseason scouting trip to this elk hunting grounds I couldn’t have been happier. This is not a hunt, more a shakedown run for new gear. Break in new boots by walking a few miles. The new backpack fits alright with stops for adjustment of buckles and straps. Shooting is limited to my camera. Carl tolerates my blog related hobby.

I understand his eccentricities and he understands mine. Our friendship  has seen more ups and downs in our lives than the hills we walk. We’ve had vehicles, marriages, children, and jobs. All open for discussion without judgement or pretense.

Does he know why I always get my elk the last day of the season? We just don’t need to put that into words.

Gran Torino – Thanks Mr Eastwood

Gran Torino at blast from the past car show 2012. Bill took the photo. Scott admiring the laser stripe.

Ford Motor Company built the Gran Torino at the end of the muscle car era. Ralph Nader, insurance companies and environmental regulations were changing the automotive industry. Gone were the ground pounding, high compression, two-four barrel carburetor, big blocks of the sixties. The 1972-1976 model years had the looks of the factory hot rods, but not the performance. They were fast for their day,but smog equipped meant less power. The classic car market for these cars had always been weak.

Clint Eastwood appeals to “the guy” in every man. His character is misunderstood by everyone but the movie audience. He communicates poorly with friends and family. Bad guys shake at the sight of him. Now Clint Eastwood makes a movie titled Gran Torino. He owns a Gran Torino in the movie. As I watched the movie I thought the value of those cars is going up right now. Thank you Mr. Eastwood.

Pictured is a 1972 Gran Torino at the Blast From the Past car show in Helena, Montana. The value of the car has increased considerably according to the owner. A benefit I had not anticipated was parts availability. Any restoration relies on the availability of model specific pieces. The Gran Torino Sport had an optional laser stripe on the side with a fading color scheme that is very hard to recreate in a paint shop. The desirable option had been out of production for years. Since the movie Gran Torino, the demand is high enough for graphics companies to reproduce the laser stripe. Cars that may not have been restored to their full glory are back thanks to the power of the media. I love America.

A Walk in the Rain

I rode the Honda 750 to Crow Creek Rd. I took a hike from the campground. This is in the Elkhorn mountains about 4 miles from Radersburg.

To get to Radersburg turn off of Highway 12 at The Bunkhouse Bar and go 9 miles. As you turn off the main road there is a sign Radersburg 9 miles. As you get to Radersburg there it is, mile marker 9 right at the edge of town. You don’t accidentally get to Radersburg. You need a reason to go, and there are not many reasons. The locals like it that way. It has no bar or post office. I am not sure how the town incorporated in Montana, as those are the two prerequisites. There are two semi-trailers parked on Main Street advertising moving companies that are long since defunct. They have been parked for over 9 years.

It was a sunny, hot day as I arrived at the campground. I changed into my workout gear. I wore two shirts and a jacket on the ride up, but planned to wear just the dri-fit shirt. The shirt I was leaving behind was damp from being worn, so I decided to hang it on the handlebars because I wanted a dry shirt to put on after my workout.   I stowed my other clothes and Stanley vacuum bottle of coffee in the saddle bag.

As I got about 4 miles from the motorcycle I heard thunder in the distance. It started clouding up. A storm was imminent. A few dirt bikers came by and asked if I had rain gear. I indicated I was Okay. Some people in a Powerstroke offered me a ride down the mountain. They were perplexed by my response that if I got wet I was sure I would dry off. I never told them that had I taken the ride I’d have been standing, shivering until the rain subsided.

I like walking in the rain. A lightning storm in the mountains is a spectacular display when you get past the what if it hits me worries. I had dry clothes to put on back at the bike. So I walked as the rain let up and ducked under trees to wait out the heaviest downpours. The rain had let up as I hit a nearly level stretch in the road. I thought this would be a good place to run a bit. I had seen a snake on the way up the road and merely stepped around as it slithered off to the side. This time I was moving faster and it was a rattlesnake. When already running it is not easy to make your foot go an extra distance before hitting the ground. Somehow I managed to do so. The snake poised to strike as I jumped sideways up and back in one motion. I don’t know if snakes can laugh, but that had to be a sight.

As my life flashed before my eyes in that instant one picture stood out. Me hanging my shirt to dry on the handlebars before this torrential rainstorm. Walking down the trail I sang to myself “Tonight We Dance”, and wondered what Spanish for snake dance was (Baile de Serpiente). As I changed into dry pants and donned boots in place of running shoes I had to make the decision, very wet stinky shirt or dripping wet shirt. Very wet stinky shirt won out, and I apologize to the clerks at Town Pump in Townsend for that.

Heaven Sent

I stopped with the WagonTeamster and at Toston Bridge on the way here.

The Coolest RV on the Road Today

Image

The coolest RV in the worldI met Bob Skelding on my way to Crow Creek in the Elkhorn mountains. Check his blog: wagonteamster.com

This rig is completely self contained, near self sufficient. It has solar power with deep cycle batteries for the electrical. It has shower, coffee pot, refrigerator and toilet. The main wagon is living quarters. The second wagon carries supplies. He has capacity for a 2 day water supply, 7 day food supply.

The horses free graze, as he calls it. The grass is always greener in the barrow pit. Because of runoff from the black top they get more water than the surrounding fields. The highway crews spray for weeds and mow. It is a perfect scenario for this setup.

Bob called the horses the horses by name. Their ears perked up. He said “make tracks” and away they went.

As I returned from my day in the mountains I saw him camped along side Highway 12. Bob explained he doesn’t need a campground. Quite frankly they are not set up for him. He is just too independent for the confines of what most people consider the most laid back way to travel.

Missouri River Corridor

The beauty of Big Sky Country is easy to experience. Travel from Wolf Creek to Hardy, Montana. I traversed this section of Montana daily for several years. Take it in at your own pace. In a hurry, take Interstate 15. Got a little time, take the recreation road. Got all day, float the Missouri in a raft, canoe, or McKenzie River boat. If you are a photographer take the gravel road from I-15 Exit 228 to Craig for vistas of the river most people never see. Over the years I have seen, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, black bear, elk, bald eagles, pelicans, hawks, osprey, even a mountain lion from the seat of the car.  As I drive the recreation road and see people fishing I think “Man I love to drive.”

A Walk to The State Capital Building and Down Memory Lane

I walk/run marathons for a hobby. many of my training workouts are in the evening. I like the solitude, and cool of the night air. As I approached the Montana State Capital building I remembered the first time I thought of the artistry of a building. At least three generations before me were home builders on my fathers side. Homes and buildings had always been just work accomplished in my eyes.

I dated a woman named Beverly for a short time, not short enough I say. We had gone out a few weeks when I decided I needed control of my life. I told her it was over, been real, thanks, see you later.

It was not that simple. She called my mother and attended church with her the next 2 weeks. My mother was not impressed and made a remark about not wanting to be in the chapel during the lightning strike.

Next Beverly called my friend Carl, cried, begged and started dating him. I had once told her a friend commented to me that she was a woman I should hold onto at all costs. Beverly mistakenly thought Carl had made this comment. Carl is more savvy than I in these things. He grew weary of her company after a few days. He suggested I ask her out to set him free, as she may have mentioned me occasionally, OK constantly, while they were together.

I asked her out the next night. Beverly called Carl to apologize, she wouldn’t be seeing him again. I am certain she believed her plan worked, dating my best friend to make me jealous. She didn’t know I was taking her out to say “No, this is really goodbye, and Carl is dating someone else now too.” You would think after I put the boot to her the first time she would have seen it coming. No, she seemed just as surprised the second time around.

Now to the part about the Capital Building. Beverly was not quite cooked yet. Time to turn up the heat. I lived in Great Falls, she lived in Black Eagle, 89 miles from the capital. She had a house in Helena, but needed some help with repairs. Would I go with her to look it over? Sure, no problem. She picked me up early evening, not the normal time to go estimate remodeling jobs. We got to Helena and visited friends of hers. I never knew what that stop was about.

Then we went to the Capital Building. She remarked how beautiful it was. I did agree, and still marvel at the magnificence of the structure built when stone was still a hand craft. That moment changed the way I viewed the work done by true craftsmen. I had never appreciated the things my dad knew, and did. I never did get on well with him, even after this.

We ventured over to Beverly’s place. I say place because the trailers built in those days were not houses, by any means. She started carrying on about moving there with me. We could live there rent free, get state jobs etc…. I still lived at my parents house, at no cost, had worked construction at age 13, never dreamed of living in a trailer in my worst nightmare. I was away from home, in her car, and stuck that way until she decided different. It was winter in Montana, without heat in the trailer. Thankfully, we only stayed long enough to verify that her ex-husband had left the place intact. On the ride home I came up with a new plan. Enable her to find someone else on her own.

The next morning I called the Air National Guard recruiter, MSG. Tim McCann. Everybody I knew that had a decent steady income worked at the guard. I went up to The Hill and took a test. I have always been good at tests. He handed me a book about four inches thick and said pick any job in there, you qualified. I still had ditching Beverly on my mind. The longer I was at guard school the more likely she would find a new muse. There it was, Electronic Communication Cryptographic Equipment Systems Repairman, 35 weeks. Some people struggle and strain, read books, visit colleges, talk to friends and family before making a career choice. I was going lower on the hierarchy. I just wanted freedom from the lynch mob that was tightening a noose on my neck, Beverly.

As predicted she was long gone by the time I returned from basic training and technical school. By chance, I was successful at communications repair. I have been making a living at it since 1979, including my current pension.

Tester Getting Mileage on a Harley

John Tester rides a Harley in the Butte 4th of July parade. This is pandering to the crowd, no doubt. He is a politician.  What strikes me in the photos of this event is how comfortable he looks on the bike. John waves to the crowd, smiles, poses with people for pictures. All the while he looks as comfortable as Jay Leno telling a joke.

What has Denny Rehberg done in Washington?

I have been on the internet quite a bit the past few days. I keep getting this advertisement for Denny Rehberg. It carries on about his independent thinking. I am all for independent thinking, but using the phrase “toe the party line” is going too independent. Please tow the line for the English speaking world. It mentions a truckload of programs he has voted against. After I had seen the ad several times I realized every one of them passed.

Montanans take pride in dealing with the adversities we endure  to live in big sky country. Failure in the face of adversity is not considered admirable. Bragging about the fight you lost seven years ago borders on whining.