Snow in Spokane!

Fort Fetterman

Before leaving Douglas, Wyoming, we checked out Fort Fetterman. Some folks might say the place was closed, because the gate at the entrance was locked. But there was plenty of room to walk around it… so we visited a very quiet park. There are walking trails with plenty of signs about what buildings used to be there.

Fort Fetterman was built in 1867 by the US Army, where the Bozeman Trail left the North Platte River, to protect the area from warring Native American tribes. “It contained quarters for three hundred enlisted men, and the necessary officers; the various magazines and store-houses required for the preservation of ammunition, rations and other supplies; a hospital with fifteen beds; stables for fifty horses; a corral capable of holding fifty-six mule wagons, with their animals; a theatre, an ice-house, a root-house, a granary, a bake-house, blacksmith shops, saw-mill, saddlers’ shop, paint shop, laundresses’ quarters and a steam engine for pumping water from the North Platte River.”

The Army abandoned the fort in 1882. Foundations for some of the above mentioned buildings are still there, but little else. A lot of open land and beautiful skies!

Douglas is also the home of the Wyoming State Fair and Pioneer Museum… which was also closed while we were there. The entrance is nice…

Somewhere in Montana we came upon this car, upside down in the median. A small girl was running around in back of the car. We stopped, and a couple of truckers did also, to see if we could help. Turns out the poor mom fell asleep, and this was the result. Both Mom and Child were OK – a bit of a miracle. The Dad was driving a U-Haul truck and ahead of them, and didn’t know what had happened till he called 911 to report she wasn’t answering her radio or phone. He had to head back about 10 miles… Cherryl was very good at helping the poor little girl calm down. The couple was moving from Denver to Washington. Glad they survived!

There is lots of open space in Wyoming and Montana – the drive is gorgeous in its own way.

Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site

From its beginning in 1804, this ranch grew to over 10,000,000 acres. Started by Grant, it was eventually sold to the Kohrs family. The stories are really interesting but this blog is long enough already. You’ll have to go there and study up on it.

The site is now preserved to show what living was like for ranchers in the 1800’s. The days of the open range, with cowboys driving herds across the country, pretty much died out by the 1890’s. The extremely hard winter of 1886-1887 devastated herds, and overgrazing and droughts added to the trouble. The Homestead Act of 1862 and Desert Land Act of 1877 allowed private land ownership. The Glidden Barbed Wire patent in 1874 led to mass production of cheap and effective fencing. Ranchers started using more modern means to graze cattle, and this included fences around their ranches. Haying and irrigation were now utilized. Fenced ranching took over, and the Grant-Kohrs Ranch is a great example of a huge ranch.

Below is the original Ranch House, built in about 1860. The brick expansion in the back was added in 1890.

Many outbuildings are preserved in good condition. Below on the right are the bunkhouse and stables.

Some of the ranch may still be operating… We saw riders out in the fields.

One huge barn houses the vehicles. You might guess I enjoyed that!

These first two are a Cutter and a Bobsled. Cutters had single runners on each side, a bobsled has two “Bobbed” runners per side. These were both used on the ranch in the 1890’s.

The wagon below was built in the early 1900’s as a coal wagon. It was converted to a show wagon, pulled by Belgian Draft Horses, in the 1930’s to advertise for the ranch. It is considered a 5th wheel wagon – the 5th wheel above the front axle let it make shorter and easier turns. A precursor to all the 5th wheel trailers we see in RV parks?

The sign says this fancy Phaeton Buggy was a rare luxury vehicle in the 1890’s. Rubber tires, leather fenders, and a canvas lined leather blanket pulled out from underneath the dash to protect passengers from lousy weather. Posh!

Here is a horse-drawn Road Grader. Never knew that was ever a thing. Two men would drive and operate it.

This Thoroughbrace Wagon dates back to the 1870’s. What makes it fascinating is its full length adjustable leather springs! Ride control 150 years ago! I had to study it a while to see how that worked. Leather straps run most of the length of the wagon, and a large handle on the right side is used to rotate a bar and tighten the straps.

This is a “Swan Bodied” cutter, named for the beautiful double curve in the dash. It was used for social visits by the ranch owners.

Below is a Daugherty Wagon (doe-er-tee) which was shipped by the steamboat “Emily” up the Missouri River to Fort Benton, Montana, in 1862. This type of wagon was originally intended for long distance travel, but later adapted for use as a Civil War ambulance. The particular wagon served in both categories, transporting wounded soldiers from the Big Hole battlefield in 1877, and a long distance tour when the Kohrs family took a seven week vacation to Yellowstone National Park in 1883. Yellowstone, as a National Park, would have been 11 years old then.

In the parking lot for the Ranch is a slightly more modern tractor.

As we were parking the motorhome at the ranch, I drove over what I thought was a flat piece of metal. It turns out it had a bit of a curve to it, and it caught and punctured the “Vanity” mud flap at the rear of the Motorhome. No real harm done, but it was a bit of a pull to get it out!

We got hit by another couple of rocks on our windshield. Cherryl got on the phone, and got an appointment to fix them first thing the next morning! The guy was very good, and we were done before 9 am.

The roads up through Montana and Idaho were full of beautiful fall colors.

After we arrived at Loren and Karen’s house, we noticed some more gorgeous color!

And Moose in the yard! We’ve seen two at a time a few times now… once just 50 feet outside our Motorhome dining room window. But usually they are deep in the trees precluding photos.

We got to the kid’s house in time for the Soccer Tournament. Both Ashlyn and Bryan play on their school’s team, and they had been unbeaten going into the tournament. The finals were on Wednesday and Thursday, and it was FREEZING out! Below you can see the excitement of a goal by their team…

We dressed for Alaska and the kids are out playing in shorts!!

The winning team (in blue) wanted the second place team to be included in victory photos.

Elated victors!

Ashlyn got awards for being a League All Star as well as a 3.5 or better GPA.

Bryan also got a 3.5 or better GPA award, but ran off before I got his picture, so had to be photographed at home.

The sky is cold and clear… for a bit.

Because then the snow started! I know snow isn’t supposed to be that exciting, and I avoid driving the motorhome in it, but this was a good 3-4 inches, I didn’t have to drive, and these pre-dawn shots were very pretty. And we were very glad the snow started AFTER the soccer tournament was over!

Bryan “found” this snowman apparently headed for the back door.

I liked this surrealistic art…

Created by snow and fog on our windshield! Fun!

Leave a Reply