We Ride The Hiawatha!

Tiny Campsite in  Bozeman, Montana

We spent a few days crossing Montana… and did fun things like get new tires on the Suburban, and a wiper arm adjusted which was a bit off after the motorhome’s new windshield installation.  We had forgotten how breathtakingly beautiful much of Montana is!

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On a morning run, I saw this beautiful blonde and had to take a shot!

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50,000 Silver dollars

This place was listed as having a free campground, ten sites with electric hookups.  We were a bit skeptical, but we got there about 5pm and got a nice site with power!

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The bar really seems to have 50,000 silver dollars on display!  Every wall covered with mounted coins.  We spent very little time with these two dummies.

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The best thing about the campground is the location was a perfect staging for our ride of the Hiawatha.  They even have water available – here we are filling up after a two day stay.

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Ride the Hiawatha

This trail follows an old rail line.  Fantastic scenery, lots of tunnels, even more super high trestles, and it’s all downhill!  At the bottom of the 15 mile ride, you can catch a bus back to the top.  My kind of ride!

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Here is a little collage of most of the tunnels.  The ride starts with a 1.8 mile long tunnel… water drips from above, and therefore the trail is very muddy.  It is 44 degrees inside, so you emerge with numb fingers and if you don’t have fenders, you have a wide mud stripe up your back instead.  I mentioned the bus ride back to the top… It’s really not all the way to the top.  You have the privilege of riding back through the long tunnel to get back to your vehicle.

 

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The first view exiting the tunnel is a small but beautiful waterfall.

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I wondered if our funny little folding bikes would do well on this route, with so much of it gravel, but they did fine.

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Some of the trestles are extremely high!

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We packed a lunch, and we were very popular with the wildlife where we stopped.  This beautiful little deer wandered all around us, and didn’t seem at all afraid.

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Here she seemed to stick out her tongue, then have a good laugh!

 

We were surrounded with the cutest little chipmunks… and maybe they got a bit of our lunch…

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I didn’t realize how muddy we’d gotten the bikes till we folded them up… A great time!!

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Savenac Nursery Historic District

We just happened to see the sign for this place near the 50,000 Silver $ camp.  We decided it looked like a good place for a morning run.  It was BEAUTIFUL!  There was a nursery here, founded in 1907.   It was severely damaged in the Great Fire of 1910,  and then rebuilt by the CCC in the 1930’s.  If you are not familiar with the CCC, look it up!  The Civilian Conservation Corps was a federal program to give work to young men in the 30’s and a bit into the 40’s.  It not only supported a lot of families, but it taught many men valuable trades, and created lots of beautiful buildings and bridges.  Many of these are in our National Parks, and the quality and style of the CCC structures is still a pleasure to see.

Here is all you see from the road…

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But on the grounds the view gets better…

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Here’s a monument to the men of the CCC, who designed this whole tree seedling nursery.

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This is the “Yellowstone Bridge”, a remnant of the Yellowstone Trail.  Built before the Lincoln Highway, the trail was to be a way for people from the east could get to Yellowstone by car instead of the train.  It was then extended west to lure tourists to the Pacific.  I think this bridge was built in 1913… not car worthy now, but still cool!

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So the CCC laid out the plans for the buildings, roads and other infrastructure for this tree nursery.  At its peak production, it was sending millions of tree seedlings around the country annually.

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This foundation was for a three story tall “Extract the seeds from the pine cones” building.  There were apparently many levels like shelves, where pine cones were dried, then crushed, and seeds sorted out.

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Many of the seeds were then stored in this concrete vault.  Others went to be planted and nurtured into shippable seedlings.

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Kennewick, Washington

We finally tore ourselves from the tree nursery, and moved on to Kennewick.  We are in a pretty fancy RV “Resort”, here for some very special times with family!  That’s next weeks’ story!  Come on back!

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