Thursday, June 28, 2012

Silver City Ride

Last month at the Hells Canyon Rally, I met several riders from the Boise area, who invited me to join the Boise ATV Trail Riders and ride with them. This morning I joined Jay, Derrill and Dennis for breakfast in Murphy and then rode to Silver City via a route that included numerous creek crossings, narrow mountain trails, and pine scented forests. A track of the ride including distance, time, speed and elevation has been uploaded to EveryTrail.

Derrill, Jay, Lucy (dog), Dennis

Silver City subdivision (note half bath out back)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Experimental Breeder Reactor-I Atomic Museum

EBR-I generated the first usable electricity from atomic energy in December 1951. The tour showcases four nuclear reactors (including two aircraft nuclear propulsion prototypes), a reactor control room, remote handling devices for radioactive materials, radiation detection equipment, and much more. The facility is located 18 miles southeast of Arco, Idaho. Click on photos to enlarge.

Control room

Nuclear reactor

Here are the two nuclear aircraft engine prototypes...

Lead shielded locomotive developed to move the nuclear powered aircraft

Lastly, I photographed this encrypted code written on the mountain outside of Arco...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Craters Of The Moon

This National Monument is the result of a series of volcanic eruptions over 15,000 years (the last one occurred ~2,000 years ago). Early pioneers, who encountered this area, referred to it as "the Devil's Vomit".

There is an extensive cave system here which is open to the public but you will want to be careful as getting in and out of them is not easy.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Trivia Question

What was the first city in the world to be lit by atomic power?

My RV is starting to glow in the dark

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bannack State Park

Bannack is one of the best preserved of all of Montana's ghost towns. Over 50 buildings remain today... from tumble-down, one-room bachelor cabins to the once-stately Hotel Meade. 

The infamous sheriff of Bannack, Henry Plummer, was secretly the leader of a gang of thieves, murderers and robbers called "The Innocents". This gang is said to have murdered over 102 men and robbed countless others. A group of Vigilantes hanged Henry Plummer and many of his gang on the very gallows that he built to hang horse thieves. Click on photos to enlarge.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ohrmann Museum & Gallery

Bill Ohrmann and my father served together in the Pacific during WWII. Today, I had the honor of meeting Mr. Ohrmann and seeing some of his impressive artwork. I was also able to learn a little more about what Dad went through in the war. Tom Brokaw definitely got it right when he called them "The Greatest Generation".

Bill Ohrmann

On the way back to the RV park, this doe posed for me...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

West Glacier National Park

From West Glacier the Going-to-the-Sun Road winds along Lake McDonald and then up river through a forest of old growth, moss covered trees. There are lots of hiking and bike trails that will take you off the beaten path. Today, the road was closed to motor vehicles at the Avalanche campground.

As a result of the recent rain and snow melt, there is a lot of water moving downstream...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

East Glacier National Park

Glacier is one of those parks where you need to pack extra socks because it's going to knock the ones you are wearing right off. A "must do" is the Going-to-the-Sun Road (I rode it on a motorcycle in 2001). This engineering marvel spans 50 miles through the park's wild interior, winding around mountainsides and treating visitors to some of the best sights in northwest Montana. Unfortunately, it is not yet completely open (click here to get the current road status) so I took U.S. 2 to East Glacier to see the Glacier Park Lodge, Two Medicine, Many Glacier, and the eastern portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Glacier Park Lodge & Red Bus

Lodge interior - those logs are huge

As soon as the weather permits, I will tour West Glacier.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Accommodations Tax

Just as I was getting use to not paying tax on my purchases here in Montana, I move to an area (Kalispell) that has a 7% "accommodations tax"... or as I like to refer to it - the "screw-the-tourist tax".

Saturday, June 09, 2012

LED Light Bulbs

I have wanted to switch out the incandescent bulbs in my RV for LED lights in order to reduce electrical usage and extend battery life when I primitive camp but did not want to spend a lot of money for the conversion. A recent search of eBay for "T10 LED Bulbs" listed a number of companies that had them in my price range ($1.99/bulb with free shipping) so I ordered a bunch. After installation I found they work great and remain cool to the touch. It's too early to comment on bulb life but supposedly the LED lights last much longer.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

National Bison Range

That unfamiliar, yellow ball reappeared in the sky so I headed up to the National Bison Range. This federal wildlife refuge is home to 350-500 bison and numerous other critters. The Red Sleep Mountain Drive is a 19-mile, one-way, gravel road which gains 2,000 feet. There are many switchbacks and 10% grades along the drive. No trailers or vehicles over 32 feet are allowed.

One benefit of the recent rain is that it turned to snow at the higher elevations which made today's drive very scenic...

Monday, June 04, 2012

Montana - No Sales Tax

You would think the first thing I would write about Montana would be the "big sky" vistas. But no, the first thing I noticed was the fact there is no sales tax. Having spent the winter and spring in Arizona and California where state, county, city, and lodging/resort taxes added 10-15% to my bill, it is a delight to pay only the sticker price. Makes me wonder why the other states cannot do the same.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Jimmy's Down The Street

Jimmy's Down the Street is another restaurant that I found via Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. For lunch I had fried catfish served with fries, cole slaw, hushpuppies and cornbread. It was like being back in the deep south... minus the armadillos.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Coeur d'Alene

Is a pretty town located on the shore of Coeur d'Alene Lake in northwest Idaho. It has an active downtown with lots of specialty stores, restaurants and outdoor sculptures that makes strolling main street a delight. Unfortunately, the cool, rainy weather has hampered my exploration and photography.