Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Looking Up!

A short drive south of Missoula is the town of Stevensville, the oldest settlement in Montana, established about 1841. St. Mary's Mission was founded by Father Ravalli, a name we see a lot in this part of the country. The day was cold and windy so we'll save a more lengthy visit for later in the season.

On another drive west of town we passed the Smoke Jumpers Center, the largest training center for smoke jumpers in the US. We were rewarded with quite a sight—this plane circled 'round and 'round and on each pass two men would jump out, their parachutes unfurling above them. That was exciting to watch! We couldn't see where they were landing.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Missoula at Last!

One last picture of our rig going down the highway. We won't be doing this again for at least 5 months. This is about 30 miles from Missoula, on the home stretch.

This is our spot for the next 5 months, a beautiful spot with big shade trees. We already love it here! Notice the KOA sign. We are right at the entrance, in the workampers' row.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Butte, Montana

Here is another road view of our home going down the road. This is near Big Timber, Montana, with the Absaroka Mountains in the distance.

Butte, a fascinating city—once the "Richest Hill on Earth". Butte produced more mineral wealth than any other mining district in the world up to middle of the 20th century. The people there had more wealth per citizen than any other place on earth up to that time. You can tell the former wealth by street after street of mansions and very fancy homes, and a business district with huge brick buildings block after block. The sad thing is that most of these homes and buildings are in bad repair, many abandoned. It's still a very busy place in many respects but also has the feel of a ghost town in other ways.

This is the Copper King Mansion, owned by the wealthiest man of all. It's now a bed and breakfast.

I love this one, too. These are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Just for fun—many of the old houses have been restored and given a distinct personality.

The Berkeley Pit. It's filling with water so you can't see how deep it really is. It's been abandoned for mining since 1982.

I couldn't resist this — 2 dogs watching me take pictures.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Billings, MT

Here we are in Montana, north of Sheridan, WY, heading for Billings. You can see we are no longer in the snow!

We got to Billings and checked into our RV park early enough to do some sight-seeing. We've always driven right past Billings without touring around there, so decided to do it this time. The park manager told us about a mansion we could go through, as well as other mansions in the area we could drive by.

This is it, the Moss Mansion. A very knowledgeable tour guide told us all about the family and the furnishings in the house. It was all quite amazing. What luxury some people want and are able to have! Mr. Moss was an important figure in the very earliest days of Billings.

We drove past other big, historical houses, privately owned. I liked this one. It is pink!

And this one. Look at those columns!
Today I really felt like I was being a tourist, instead of just traveling from one job to another, seeing the sights out the car window. It was fun!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Leaving the Black Hills

The night before departure day—taken from the hill above Rapid. I don't know why it turned out this way, but I think it's pretty! We were feeling a little sad to say good-bye to our beloved Rapid City. It feels like our home in many ways. God has given us so many adventures here. When we came into town last May there was snow on the ground, and when we're leaving in April there is snow again. But spring is coming!

Leaving Rapid City. I shouldn't be taking pictures while I'm driving the Focus behind the 5th wheel, but I did anyway. There's something about watching my husband pulling our house down the road!

Here we are going past the exit to Deadwood and Lead, where we worked for part of the winter. The snow is quite a bit deeper here, several feet.

This is a coal processing plant near Gillette, Wyoming. There was a huge open pit coal mine on the other side of the road.

And here we are getting nearer to Buffalo, Wyoming, where we planned to spend our first night. Those are the Bighorn Mountains in the distance. There is much less snow here than in the Black Hills, and the weather is a little warmer. We are so ready for that!