Thursday, August 22, 2013

Discoveries on a Country Drive

There was lots of smoke in the air from wild fires in Montana, but we decided we needed to get out for a drive on our day off. We'd been up the Bridger Canyon Road in the spring and were amazed by the beauty. At this time of year the green hills have gone to tans and browns, but it is still beyond gorgeous. We found the Bridger Bowl Ski Lodge, looking lonely on a hot summer day.

Coming down from the Bridger Canyon Road we spied a long, straight road, the Springhill Road, going north from Bozeman. Several miles up a turn-off said "Springhill Community Road". We wondered what could be up that gravel lane, since we knew there was no town there. We found an old, well kept historical Presbyterian church, built in 1886 and very obviously still being used, though there were no houses around.

 A picturesque barn along the road.

 And, here is a school, built in the same era as the church. We couldn't tell if it was still being used. The entire road was several miles long with each of these buildings spread widely apart. There were 2 or 3 houses along the way, also far apart, and at the end of the road, right up against the hills, was a bed and breakfast, quite out at the end of nowhere!

This is the view from the Springhill Community, the Bridger Range. Big round bales of hay dot the landscape. I think it's interesting how the prairie farmland is flat right up to where the mountains rise. There is no gradual ascent anywhere in the valley.

 Horses are abundant in Montana. I love these two mama horses with their youngsters!

Back out on Springhill Road heading south to Bozeman we drove past this beautiful sunflower field. All the flower faces are looking towards the mountains except for a curious one or two who seemed to be checking us out when we stopped to take a picture.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ghost Town Reprise!

 We had traveled to Virginia City earlier this summer but wanted to make a second trip to go through Nevada City, just a few short miles away. My favorite building held a variety of very old musical displays. We could put a quarter or two in some of them and hear an old tune. I loved this player piano. It reminded me of the very first piano I learned to play, at my grandmother's home in Richmond, California.

This home must have been built and furnished by the richest of the town residents. 
 Nevada City was a real mining town, but many of the ancient buildings on the grounds have been moved from other locations in order to save and preserve them. We watched workmen in the process of building a foundation around yet another transported log cabin.

The yellow painted home also held a piano, one of the earliest "square" pianos. I don't know why they were called square, when they are actually rectangular. As a retired piano teacher I love to see the pianos that were used in the old days. I wish I could have tried this one out! That is quite fancy wallpaper, to go with the music room!

 Mr. Keith always wants his picture taken inside the creaky old outhouses we find in ghost towns. What is with that guy?

 The general mercantile store. We've been watching and loving the TV series "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" on Netflix and I tried to picture the characters in their similar environments, built by Hollywood, but very much like this era.

I've noticed that the doorways in ghost towns always seem shorter than our more modern doors, pointing out the fact that people didn't grow as tall then as they do now. I'd have fit in nicely, though, at 5 feet, 2 inches tall!

 A Saddler and a Barbershop, both important necessities. I believe that sometimes the barber did double duty as a dentist of sorts! I'm not sure I would have been comfortable with that, but in those days and in that part of our country there wasn't much choice! Just give me a good shot of whiskey first, please!

 I loved this building, with prickly pear cactus growing on the roof. That plant evidently survives the harsh, snowy, cold winters of Montana .

Back in Virginia City after lunch ... closing the door on yet another ghost town adventure.