Sparky’s Garage

I can’t speak for the food here, the Automotive memorabilia hanging on the outside of the building is fantastic.These pictures were taken on an early morning fitness walk, before most retail places are open.

Sparky’s Garage is located at the intersection where the US HWY 89 entered the south end of town before Interstate 15 was complete. In the 60’s there was a Standard Oil truck stop at the location. There was a Tastee Freeze just up the street.

Our family usually stopped for lunch in Dillon when we traveled to Utah for visits with my grandparents. Once there was a V W bus of hippies panhandling at the Tastee Freeze. They said they were on the way to a music festival in New York. My dad was skeptical of the bus making it that far. I often wonder if they begged enough gas and food to get there. Everybody who lived the sixties tries to make some connection to Woodstock. I choose to believe I talked to people who were headed there when I was ten.

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Scenic Lookout on Mansfield Heritage Route

The stretch of Interstate 15 between Butte and Great Falls is known as Mike and Maureen Mansfield Heritage Highway. Mike Mansfield was a long serving statesman from the State of Montana. When John F. Kennedy traveled to Great Falls in 1963 he had dinner at Mansfield’s childhood home. It was a modest house in an old part of town. The president coming to dinner at the Mansfield’s caused quite a stir in town. The president’s speech at Memorial stadium was an experience a five year old would never forget, though I could not tell you any content.

These pictures are all taken from the Scenic Overlook between exit 244 and 247, accessible from the southbound lane only. Both exits are easy off-on if you are traveling north but would like to stop here. There is a casual staircase to climb to the platform with the best view, but the steel Hardy bridge on the recreation road can be seen from the parking area.

Gracie’s, a Trading Place

I took an early morning walk in Dillon. This place was just too interesting to not take a closer look. It is for sale if you are looking to become the American Picker of Montana. Of interest on the chalk board is a 1975 Chrysler claimed to have eight thousand miles on it for ten thousand dollars. The store was not open, and I was not carrying that much cash so I did not investigate.

Beaverslide Haystack

The unique haystack is made by these devices known as a beaverslide.  Originally known as the Beaverhead County Hayslide, the name was shortened later. They were invented in the early 1900’s by ranchers in the Big Hole area. As the haystack is not portable once constructed the beaverslide is moved to make another stack. Also this lack of portability makes it only useful for feeding your own livestock, not selling hay to others. A few ranches around Montana still use horses to operate them, more practical as fuel prices rise.

The model behind glass is in the Beaverhead County Musuem.

Elk Herd In The Plains Below The Pintler Wilderness

This elk herd is grazing on a ranch south of Jackson. I counted about 50 head or so. The bulls were about 200 yards further away than the cows and calves.

The haze in the air is caused by forest fire burning in Nevada and Idaho.  The Pintler Wilderness encompasses the mountains in the distance.

Mission Mountains

On Highway 93 between Missoula and Polson. Yes, it is July 31. Yes, that is snowcaps on the mountains. Yes, it is 90 degrees where I am standing. Highway 93 is much improved from the last time I drove it. In the past it was common to get behind a caravan of motorhomes on their way to Glacier Park. Now there are several passing lanes and four lane a good part of the way.

Prickly Pear Creek

Heading north on I-15  take the Spring Creek Exit to the recreation road. The sign at the exit says no return to I-15 north. Silly sign, the on ramp is at Wolf Creek a few miles up the road. These pictures are of Prickly Pear Creek, less than a mile up the road. In the photo that looks like two streams, the left one is a beaver pond. I spied the local construction team with this years young a few times while I was here.

The long grass shot is about 50 yards upstream from the pond.

Cruisers at Highlander Bar at Norwegian Wood Golf Course

We cruised the north side of Canyon Ferry lake to the Norwegian Wood Golf Course. The setting is part golf course, part retro railroad depot, part ranch. They raise Highlander beef cattle on site. I was told there will soon be pork on the menu, much to the chagrin of the pink skinned critter I saw wandering around the corral.

Be very hungry if you order the Avalanche burger with potato salad and chili. The chili on this burger made me feel guilty. It is simply too good to be ordered as a topping on an entree.

The red solo cups you see in the photo are not standard fare. They have a significant wine and specialty brew selection. As we were all cruising cars that cost more than our first house, on a very sunny day, water and lemonade hit the spot thank you very much.

Reservations requested for four or more in your party.

Mormon Pioneer Day Answers My Big Question

I have often wondered about my passion for traveling. I have often lived 50 or more miles from work or school. Driven, walked, bicycled and ridden buses great distances daily. In June I traveled by train and Greyhound bus from Montana to South Carolina, stayed over night, and drove my sisters car back to Montana. I have enjoyed every moment. Where does this come from? Is it an affliction? Is it hereditary? Above is the day my eldest son returned from Afghanistan. now he lives in Hawaii. Second are my nieces sons. They traveled from Arizona to take a boat ride at The Gates of The Mountains about 20 miles north of Helena.

My cousin Matt may have answered the question of this passion for travel today. The State of Utah is celebrating Pioneer Day today. A relative was one of the pioneers with Brigham Young as he crossed America looking for the promised land. Actually my ancestor was not with the group the entire trip. It appears he had my penchant for excess travel as you will read in this excerpt of the message I received today.

Did you know our 3rd great grandfather, Thomas Woolsey (Wolsey) was one of those 120 pioneers who arrived in the valley on July 22nd? He was part of the Mormon Battalion and marched from Iowa to San Diego, then back to Iowa, then on horseback to the valley (as part of that first group), then back to Iowa to help others to the valley, then back to Iowa and back to the valley. During that first trip from Iowa to the valley, he and three other men split off to go to Fort Pueblo, CO to help Mormon Battalion members and Mormons from Mississippi who were sick. He helped bring them back to meet up with that first main group with Brigham Young. Then he arrived in the valley on the 22nd with the rest of that 120.

I don’t understand DNA, but Grampa Woolsey put something in my blood.