Thursday, August 8, 2013


Look closely and you can see a paddle boarder, Dashing under the bridge.
      Thursday morning found us heading up to Bigfork,MT. The route that follows the east side of Flathead lake is stunning. While every bit as scenic as the west side, it is drastically different. As you peak the high point of of the east side, the road becomes framed with cherry orchard after cherry orchard. As you drive along the road, the orchards seemed to be packed as closely together as individual Flathead cherries themselves are in those pints you can by at every roadside stand. Stand after stand begin to pop up like a crazy version of "whack-a-mole". As the last of the cherry shacks, waves goodbye, the beautiful town of Bigfork says hello.
     We stayed at Marina Cay.  
The Marina has very spacious and clean room and all you could want
 was a call to the desk away. Catering to land lubbers and boat
people alike, there was plenty to do for everyone.
     We elected to rent paddle boards and make our way out of the bay.
Dodging bridge jumpers, we paddled under the bridge, out of the
bay and into the clear waters of Flathead Lake.If you're looking
for a core workout, that will do it every time!
So many dinner choices and so little time. We'll be back, no doubt about it,
We had a delicious dinner at Bigfork Inn. A midst the scrumptious choices on the menu, we settled on the Cajun shrimp pasta. (Both shrimp and pasta cooked perfectly)  The salmon with balsamic vinegar sauce, also grilled to bring out peak performance for the taste buds.

Two locally brewed beers that complimented dinner were the Bufflehead Brown and the Wild Mile Wheat! Reason enough to head to Bigfork.

Nothing soothes the soul like floating on the water and soaking in the sun,

Bigfork, go there.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Highs and Lolo's

     As the sun rose Wednesday morning, my strawberry roan was headed west; southwest to be exact. With the sun at our backs and the wind in our face, we roared out onto highway 200 towards Missoula. The first 180 miles came to life when we broke into the tiny town of Sun River. The elegant land welcomed us with a mixture of handsome ranches and rugged landscape. The crisp edged plateaus, stood like giant sentinels standing guard, ensuring us safe passage. Rough stock, sagebrush and antelope stood in the wings as though waiting to go on stage. Beauty and rolling hills went on and on and on.
     As we rolled into Lincoln, we stopped in the ranger station to see the giant grizzly on display.
 This big, 800+ pound bear was hit, just down the road, by a dump truck. Long story short; the bear was killed and the truck was wrecked as well. While I got my fill of Griz at the ranger station, I had to endure one more brush through the home of the Griz, Missoula,Montana. The worst part of the entire trip was the path through Missoula. Breaking through, however got us to Lolo and it was a cool 30 more miles until we hit Lolo Hot Springs. 

Lolo Hot Springs Home

We decided to spend the evening in a small cabin, directly across the road from the springs. Dinner (only by definition) and a wonderful soak and off to la la land. As the sun breached the canyon walls, we were already on the rocks, high above the campground, welcoming the morning and giving thanks for all we have; everything.........highs and Lolo's. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Best Food in Great Falls,MT

     Located at 300 1st ave, in Great Falls,Montana is a spectacular place to reward your pallet. It's places like Bert & Ernie's, that make Montana the "Treasure State".  The delicious food at this restaurant is proof positive that "pride in ownership" and absolute "pride in what leaves your kitchen" is alive and well and being served up for your dinning pleasure right in Great Falls,Montana. 
     I have a sneaky suspicion there could be a gun turret on the roof, just in case the Sysco truck tries to do a drive by. Only once, during my dinning experience did I see a Muppet reference.I did not, however,  see a soft version of Odd Couple room mates dinning in a questionable fashion. 
     The food is all grown locally and made in house. Every bit of it arrived at our table, plated with showmanship and had all the taste to back it up. Probably the most stout house, side salad ever. You'll have to order one for yourself to see. The pulled pork sandwich landed on the table, softened by the fresh baked roll and nestled on a smooth layer of cilantro-slaw. (a terrific cross between coleslaw and pepper cabbage). The Miss Piggy, as they call it, may very well have displaced the former "best pulled pork sandwich" from Ritz Barbecue in Allentown,PA, for best pulled pork sandwich ever!
     The Thai Spicy Noodles were flavored perfectly and turned out to be the perfect dish to share with Miss Piggy. I wanted only 3 additional things, more time to sample everything off the menu, a sample platter and pants 4 sizes larger than when I walked in.
     If the surprise of finding spectacular food wasn't enough, the sticker shock when the bill arrives will make you happy enough to tip your server so well, it's a happy ending for everyone. I'll be back for more.
                                  Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

Collins Mansion

Tuesday turned out to be quite the surprising day as the dart of destiny, not only landed in Great Falls,MT, it also stuck on the site currently occupied by Collins Mansion. The Victorian mansion dates back to 1891. It turned out to be quite the hidden treasure. As if the wide, white stairs inviting you up to the gracious and spacious porch weren't welcoming enough, the staff that greeted us made us feel like royalty from our first hello. A visit to the web site will introduce you to the choice of rooms.
Contrary to popular belief,the mansion actually resembles the house 
I grew up in.While I grew up having the entire third floor to myself,
we stayed in one room on the second floor.Go to the web site and guess 
which room we were in.

While in Great Falls, we found the famous Giant Springs. I can only imagine what Lewis and Clark thought about them, back in the day. The clarity of the water and the stunningly beautiful vegetation make this among the top most gorgeous things I have ever seen in all my days!
 The Giant Springs are the beginning of the shortest river in the U.S. At 201 feet, the Roe River may be short in distance, however, that just sets it up to be.........."pound for pound", the most beautiful river in the world. Ironic that it flows into the longest tributary in the U.S.
 The photographs do not do this body of water justice. In the midst of all it's splendor, giant rainbow trout glide effortlessly through the luscious vegetation. Keep in mind this is not man made. It's not indoors. It does not reside in Florida or California. 24/7, 365, it's in Great Falls,Montana.
I had to change angles in order to illustrate both color and clarity. As close to the Garden of Eden as I could ever imagine.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Fish Tale is at the End

What the Yellowstone looks like when there is a landslide over 50 miles upstream.
Below you can see where the green backwater merges in with the main channel.

 In the green backwater, the trout were feasting on some kind of flies.
After I saw the first fish break the top of the water, it was me that was hooked. I sat down and began to search, intently for the next big splash and ripple ring put up by a hungry fish. It was with the same intensity I implore when star gazing. Once I'm hooked. I just want to see one more before I walk away. It can be hypnotizing if not intoxicating.
I know it's not polite to stare at someone else while they are eating. My bad.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

 The first go-round, we put up 866 bales of hay. I love the look;  outwardly they seem so identical yet, like snow flakes, they each have their own fingerprint. Like an army, strategically strewn about the battle field.The bales seem to be waiting for the bugler to sound "Gary Owen". When the wind is ever so calm, I swear I hear them whispering,"hold steady........hold............. 
Yes, the wheel line. Over the years, the simplest of technology has managed to hold off the new. Ever so basic, yet mighty enough to quench the thirst of the earth. This age old beauty could trace it's family tree back to the aqueducts. The mere sight of this, as it stands, would be enough to stop a Roman Centurion in his tracks! 

This photo was taken from my "in cab", Deer cam. Cutting Hay. As a young, rather spunky child, I loved to create wind rows,with my fork and food on my dinner plate. Oh how I would spend hours at the dinner table separating my lima beans into neat rows. Time ticked on as the rest of the family readied for bed and I procrastinated the daunting task of finishing my meal. For dessert? Destiny! (Hey ma, look at me, no hands!!!"

My very own full size Tonka trucks. You will notice the beautiful, turquoise, 1974 GMC 6500. 
Please note, the bale on the upper left is smiling and the one right next to that one has a smirk.. Also 4 outies and 3 innies. Take a guess how much 1 bale weighs. No googling or nit wik a pedi ing!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Land Tamer

Well, I decided that since I have spent the last month trying to tame the land from the inside of a tractor, I'd take a whack at trying out the real deal. I headed up to Helena to see an old pal, who works for his father at Land Tamer     Up above, you can see my chromed out "Strawberry Roan", parked right next to one of the big beasts!
     The Land Tamer is more than just a glorified golf cart, it's what it would look like if a battleship and an A1 Abrams had a son who wrestled in the light-heavyweight division. 
     If you watch the video below, closely, you may see that the terrain looks awfully similar to that in Montana. An even closer look and you might see that those are not real Taliban bad guys. If you were to look even closer, you might see someone you recognize, dashing up the road. What can I say, it pays to have friends in high places.
    Speaking of "bad guys". Here is a blast from the past! I saw this in a bar in Townsend,MT and I could not pass on the shot. (They drum that into your head)

Yes girls, our 7th grade sense of humor never stops!