Sunday, June 28, 2015

Three Forks Swimming Hole - Jefferson River

We were running low on groceries and it was time for me to go shopping at the local market.  Gerry still didn't feel like going so she wrote up a list and trusted me to fill it at the store.

I decided to pick up a few geocaches somewhat along the way to the market and off I went.  All in all I found 4 caches in a short order.  One cache was on a bridge, but when we went there a couple days ago the bridge was full of teenagers jumping into the Jefferson River.

It was more crowded today and most of them were families with not so many on the bridge.  It looks like the river is fairly shallow in this area and the two people wading in the middle would be a good gauge.

 This is the bridge where the cache was hidden and it was clear so I casually walked out and took some pictures to cover up what I was up to.  The GPS was spot on and the cache was hidden in the beam on the left.  One of the easier finds of the day so I was happy to grab it.

 This is a photo of the river on it's way to meet the Missouri river about a mile downstream.  The Gallatin, Madison and Jefferson rivers meet up to form the Missouri river.  Lewis & Clark camped at the confluence of the three rivers and had to make a decision on which river to continue their trek to the Pacific Ocean.

 Farming and railroading are the two main industries in the area. This old grain elevator on a railroad track combine both of these functions.

 The old caboose is the home of the tourist information center.  It was in very good condition and well maintained. 

The Sacajawea Hotel is a grand place nestled into one of the most important places in the history of Lewis and Clark. Three Forks, the Headwaters to the Missouri River, is the place where Sacajawea was reunited with her brother and afforded the Lewis and Clark Party the opportunity to continue their journey by providing goods and safe passage through hostile territory. Long after Lewis and Clark were gone and the west was being settled, the town of Three Forks emerged as an important stop on the Milwaukee Railroad at the turn of the 20th century.

In 1910 a purchasing agent for the Milwaukee Railroad named John Q. Adams, built the hotel as a rest stop for passengers and train crews on the railroad that ran from Wisconsin to the Pacific. The core of the hotel is the old Madison House, which was built in 1882 in Old Town Three Forks, closer to the headwaters. John Q. Adams ordered a contractor to drag that building into New Town Three Forks by a horse team. Local legend has it that the construction of the hotel was held up when the contractor  lost his horse team in a poker game. The Madison House eventually made it and was split in two, and Bozeman architect Fred Wilson designed the rest of the hotel around those two halves.
From the early 20th century to the 21st, the Sacajawea Hotel has weathered economic hardships, snow, and many different owners, trying to bring life back to the old hotel. In 2001, the Sacajawea was closed, boarded up, and sad. However, recently the Sacajawea Hotel has been brought back to life with a top to bottom renovation. The Folkvord Family, a three generational farming family in the valley, purchased the hotel in 2009. The Family had high hopes of restoring the amazing building to its fine grandeur of the 1900’s, combined with modern amenities, reviving the hotel to her original glory. The renovation took 8 months, and now proudly boasts 29 luxury guest rooms with spa like amenities, two full service bars, meeting space, wedding venues, and Montana’s finest new steakhouse, “Pompey’s Grill”. The Sacajawea Hotel is rapidly gaining a reputation as “one of the finest historic hotels in the west”. Nominated as the only Montana property to join as a member of the Historical Hotels of America, as well as receiving the 2011 Historic Preservation Award of Excellence. Elegant and tasteful furnishings combined with the friendliest staff to be found in Montana, the experience at The Sacajawea Hotel is one not to be forgotten.

I found it easier to copy the history of the Sacajawea Hotel rather than to describe it myself.  It is a very impressive building sitting on Main Street.  

The market was very well stocked and had reasonable prices for being so far out in the country.  I managed to find everything on the list and as a special treat for us, a Key Lime Pie found it's way into the market basket.  It was great when we sampled it later in the evening.  Almost as good as Public grocery store's Key Lime Pie,  -- Almost.

We managed to arrive here in Three Forks during their hottest week of the summer with temps +20 degrees above average.  Great!  Notice that yesterday was 110 degrees.

Time to get out of Dodge -  Three Forks that is.

That was our day how was yours?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

It's Hot In Three Forks, MT

Gerry and I are thinking about heading back to Tucson, AZ so we can cool off.  It's been running in the low 100s here in Three Forks and with only 30amp electric service we can only run one a/c.  It barely keeps it cool enough in the motor home but by late afternoon it is really laboring.   

We decided to have an early dinner at the Willow Creek Cafe & Saloon in the small town of Willow Creek.  It's a 20 minute drive from the campground to the Cafe and we enjoyed the blast of cool from the car a/c on the way over.  It was reading 102 at 4:15pm and it was like a blast furnace out there.

On the way to the Cafe we saw what we thought was an antelope out in a field.  The road wasn't busy so I backed a couple hundred yards so Gerry could get a nice photo of it.  It had a multicolored coat and looked quite strange with a dark belly hanging down.  We think it was ready to give birth in the field so we drove on.  A further check of the photo convinced us it was a doe deer.

Willow Creek is very small with a population of almost 200 hardy souls.  The Cafe is the only establishment open daily and the hardware store is a call in only place.  i.e.  Call the owner and he will meet you there.  It is mainly a farming and railroad town and the railroad presence is long almost all gone.

They do have a sense of decoration in the town and Gerry thought this one was neat.  It is across from the Cafe and looked like it's been well maintained.

 We were a little early for our 4:30pm reservation and decided to see if they would seat us.  The same waitress that we talked to yesterday was there and said she was glad to see us and that Gerry looked a lot better.  It seems she was worried about how peaked Gerry was on Friday.

The Cafe has two rooms and they seated us in the large room at a nice table.  When we were there yesterday, I noticed a couple very small tables in a cramped area and I wanted to avoid being seated there, so I mentioned there may be three of us for dinner.  It worked and we got a nice 4 person table.

 When we drove up Gerry noticed a car with a Montana license plate of "Escazu" which is a city next to San Jose, Costa Rica where we lived for 6 years.  Larry Jr. went to school in Escazu at the Country Day School and knew the counselors very well since he was in their office quite often.  

I asked around who owned the car and the gentleman on the far right side of the picture below said it was his.  I asked if he was a Tico and his eyes lit up as he said no, but he lived & worked there for a long time.  When I asked what was his profession he said school teacher.  I sort of recognized him and said he taught at the Country Day school.  He was shocked and wanted to know how I knew that.  I mentioned that our son attended the school and I remembered him.  He was totally flabbergasted that someone picked him out in a small Montana town of 200 people.  Small world, isn't it?

Later on he came over to our table and filled us in on what he has been doing these past many years.  It's too long of a story to tell, but he is living in Bozeman, MT and is still a resident of Costa Rica since he receives a pension from teaching there.  We enjoyed talking to him but he was with 4 friends and had to return to his table.

Our table was near the door in front and when we were seated there were only two tables occupied, but the place was full when we left.  The Cafe has a lot of charm and our meals were excellent, plus the waitress provided great service.   The kitchen is small and they limit seating to every 30 minutes so they can keep up the great service.  It worked.

We ordered some dessert to go and left there with our bellies satisfied and full.  Gerry took a doggy bag of the fantastic spareribs that she couldn't finish and it is enough for a nice lunch.

We drove by the garage on the way back to see if our parts had arrived and didn't see them at the door.  The owner was there but I didn't want to bother him and figured they would be here Monday at the earliest.

Nearby was a small RV park and we drove through it but it was full of construction workers and they didn't have any sites available.  We did run across an old sod roofed building and a very old covered wagon.  I think I'd prefer to live in the covered wagon vs the sod covered home.

By this time we called it a day and went back to the motor home to watch a movie called "Cloud Atlas" from 2012.  Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks were the principle stars.  

IMBD states "An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution."

Gerry managed to watch the complete movie but it was so confusing jumping around back and forth that I lost interest.  I did manage to watch the ending and I was just as confused as ever.

That was our exciting day, how was yours?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Tiffin Parts Dept Came Through

Yesterday I sent an email to the Tiffin MH Parts Dept with photos of the fan assembly parts.  We were up at 5:45am this morning to call Tiffin as soon as they opened and managed to find a gem in the Parts Dept named Heath.  He answered the phone and I explained that I had sent an email and he asked if I could send it again to his email address.  No problem.  I forward the email and he received it quickly.

With the photos and my explanation of what happened he determined what parts were needed.  Evidently the fan assembly has been a recurring problem for Tiffin and they have upgraded the assembly unit.  He needed to know what which version of the assembly we had.  When we first bought our Allegro Bus we had a different problem and the whole unit was upgraded.  That helped today since some of the new parts were already installed and made finding the part easier.  

We had a couple phone calls back and forth and he arranged for next day delivery of the parts to the diesel repair facility.  I can't say enough about how professional he was and going the extra mile to keep a customer happy.  Great job Heath!  The Tiffin factory and service center will be closed for a week at close of business today.  Whew, just under the wire to get the parts.  The parts should be here Monday and I have an appointment at the repair facility for when the parts arrive.  It should only be an additional 1-2 hours to finalize the repairs and we will be on our way.

In the meantime, we moved to a campground about 2 miles from the shop.  It only has 30amp service and we can only run one a/c and it is having trouble keeping it comfortable in this 97 degree heat.  At least at night it cools down to the low 60s and is comfortable to sleep with the windows open.  We are paid through Monday night and will stay here after the repairs are done and then leave on Tuesday morning.  That is the plan at least.  

We did drive around the Three Forks area and ran across the Memorial to Montana State Trooper David Delaittre who was gunned down 12/01/2010 about a mile from town.  Evidently he pulled a man over and was shot and killed.  The shooter drove about 35 miles away and took his own life.  David was 23 years old and a resident of Three Forks and highly thought of.  The town got together and erected a memorial to him near where he was killed.

 We heard about a nice restaurant in Willow Creek about 6 miles from us and decided to try it out.  This old barn caught our eye with the hillside and cattle behind it.

 The Willow Creek Saloon & Restaurant was in a quaint old building was just about the only building open in the small town.  We parked and Gerry stood out in the middle of the road to take this picture.  As you can imagine there isn't a lot of traffic out there.

We went in thinking there wouldn't be a wait since the place was out in the middle of nowhere.  Wrong!  They asked if we had reservations and with about 8 empty tables I thought they were joking.  Nope.  There was a 30 minute wait and then we could be seated, but the galley was too small to prepare meals very fast.  It would have been at least an hour before our meals could be served and since it was late we decided to go somewhere else.  Hopefully we can make a reservation for Sunday and try it out.

 We ran across this structure on an old truck on our way out of town.  We couldn't read what was on the sign and turned around to see what it said.

 Yep, you guessed it.  They were selling eggs on the honor system and the last line say if you are broke, take some for free.  Only in the countryside would something like this work.

 The Sacajawea Hotel is in downtown Three Forks and is a very impressive building.  They have a restaurant there if we have time we'd like to check it out.  Gerry was impressed with the huge Buffalo on the pedestal on the side of the building.

The following was copied from the National Park Service website for the Three Forks of the Missouri.

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[photo] Before Lewis and Clark encountered the Three Forks of the Missouri, it had served as a campground for the Shoshone American Indians--Sacagawea's tribe
Photo courtesy of Travel Montana

The Corps of Discovery reached the Three Forks of the Missouri on July 25, 1805. More than 2,500 miles from their starting point on the Mississippi River, the expedition had once again come to a critical juncture, the confluence of three previously uncharted rivers. Lewis and Clark first set about finding suitable names for these Missouri tributaries, naming them in honor of the President and two of his cabinet members, Madison and Gallatin. The next challenge involved choosing the correct river to follow. Should they choose wrongly and be forced to backtrack, they faced the likelihood of getting caught in the Rocky Mountains at the onset of winter.
In an effort to ascertain the best future course and to avoid making an unwise decision, a small group marched ahead and scouted the surrounding areas while the rest of the camp nursed injuries for a few days. Looking out over the lands, Lewis noted in his journal that "the mountains are extreemly bare of timber and our rout lay through the steep valleys exposed to the heat of the sun without shade and scarcely a breath of air" (DeVoto 1997, 174). In essence, the land before them looked rough and unforgiving, foreshadowing the physically daunting terrain of the Rocky Mountains and beyond.

One of the earliest sketches (1867) of the Three Forks of the Missouri, viewed upstream
Lithograph and pencil sketch by A. E. Mathews, in his privately published pencil sketches of Montana (New York, 1868), Plate XXIV, Montana Historic Society

Three Forks had previously served as a campground for the Shoshone tribe, Sacagawea's people. It was at Three Forks that Sacagawea had originally been captured and carried away to live with the Mandan tribe of North Dakota. Upon hearing Sacagawea's account of the area, the Americans realized that they had successfully penetrated Shoshone land. Anxious to encounter the indigenous people, Lewis and Clark hoped to acquire much-needed assistance and information about the regions that lay ahead of them on their westward path. So on July 30, 1805, with unforgiving lands lying ahead, the Corps opted for the southwest flowing tributary and pushed onward, down the rough and shallow waters of the Jefferson River.
We plan on going to the Three Forks headwaters area on Sunday and look over the place. It will be in the high 90s so it won't be a long visit.

That was our day, how was yours?