A Travellerspoint blog

Day 7 (9.8.07) - Helena to Billings (Photo's Added)

We finally got back on our original route and are 'catching up' (after the side trip north).

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Starting Mileage: 110912, East Helena, MT
Ending Mileage: 111150, Billings, MT
Weather, Cool, Overcast, clearing in PM

Again, we'll write more here shortly, it's getting pretty late so will have to try to get some done in the AM....

When we got near I90, we saw a large wheat farm and started seeing signs advertising "Wheat Montana". There was a large bakery (I believe this is a chain now) and store right at the I90 interchange, so we stopped in. They had a lot of stuff for sale, including 50 pound sacks of wheat as well as breads, sandwitches, and tourist goods (coffee mugs, etc.). Mom wanted to try a sweatroll, but they were so big we opted to share one. We also bought a loaf of Pioneer Bread and Banana Bread.


We finally saw prong horn antelope, praire dogs and cotten tail rabbits today, all along I90!



(Note: The above are "Thumbnails", or small versions of photo's that you can click on and get a bigger version. Do you prefer these or that I just post the big version in the blog? It may not matter much, in a few day's I'll run out of space on Travellerspoint and have to link photo's from another location, such as Flickr.)

When we got to Bozeman, MT - we turned off to try out the Museum of the Rockies. I had mixed feelings, never have been much of a museum fan (except for the Royal Canadian Museum in Victory, B.C) The Museum was OK (for me anyway), seems their specialty is dinosaurs. The entrance even had a full size replica of their most famous staff member, "Big Mike":


Inside was the real Big Mike:


Here are a few other exhibits I found interesting. Mom especially remembered the "Woodie" from her youth.


I don't particularly like going to the dentist, even though I do regularly, but am especially glad mine is better equipped than this!


Finally, here are a couple of shots of a Sheep Wagon (Exterior & Interior). This is how a sheppard would follow and tend his flock around the turn of the century, with this particular wagon in use from 1915 - 1960. Using this method (& dog), a sheppard could manage 1,000 sheep or so.

Out side was even better, they had moved all the buildings from an actual pioneer homestead onto an area just outside the museum and set it all up as it had been when in use. The day we were there, several local 're-enactors' were playing the role of the Tinsley family, in period costume - which added greatly to the experience. William and Lucy Tinsley moved into a small log cabin (about the same size as the Manlove cabin) and lived there for 17 years. In 1889, they built this much larger home on their homestead:


The Parlor was unoccupied when we were there, all the womenfolk were in the Kitchen cooking and cleaning up from an earlier meal:


Some of the 'family' had been out back picking Apples (they also had a cider press in the back yard, so I imagine some of the apples were going to end up as juice):


In the back were also a woodshed (in the 1800's in Montana, you probably needed a lot of wood to get through the winters), and a blacksmith shop. The original cabin the family had lived in was converted to the blacksmith shop after the new house was built. The forge was used to repair plows and tools if they broke (you couldn't just run to the store and buy a new one), to make horseshoe's and a variety of other things. <<I have a video of the blacksmith making an iron hook, will try to post it soon>>:


After spending a considerable amount of time with the 'Tinsley' family at their homestead, I noticed another 'exhibit' in the field on the other side of the museum. This turned out to be a "Lewis & Clark Challenge Course". It wasn't a challenge course in the usual sense (physically hard), but had a number of things you could do or review to learn more about the expedition, things they had to do or encounter. At one stop was a small put put green in the rough shape of the USA, with rock obsticales where the Rocky Mountains should be. They also had a replica of the river boat the explorers had used during the first portion of their trip up the Missouri River. Another stop had a ball that dropped through some tubes - if you could run around a fence before the ball dropped an hit a bell, you could outrun a bear (I got eaten by the bear of course). They also had a Tipi villae set up with a statue of a horse pulling the pole platform I described earlier (how the Native's carried their Tipi's and belongings when they migrated).


After the expedition left the large river, they started making and using canoe's that they had learned from the native peoples. These were small, here is a replica:


Finally, we drove on to Billings, Montana (Where Penny lived for many years) and found a nice RV Park on the Yellowstone River:


Posted by jl98584 22:17 Tagged family_travel

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Sounds like your having a great time. Mom you look 20 years younger

by rllomas

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