Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lewistown, Montana

August 22 - 23, 2015:

A pleasant 112 mile trip on route 87 south through miles of wide open wheat and hay fields.  We must have seen a million round hay bales along the route in the fields.  We passed several small farming towns along the route, I only detoured through one, Stanford, which was a nice clean well manicured community.  A couple of the other town we passed looked less prosperous and half deserted.  A sign along the road told how the Great Northern Railroad promoted farming in the area which enticed many early farmers and businessmen to homestead and establish towns along the train route.  Of course the railroad made money from transporting their goods.

The grain elevators in Stanford

View from the highway

Interesting art work off highway

We arrived at the Mountain Acres Mobile Home and RV Park in Lewistown, Montana in early afternoon.  We were told to pick any campsite, all are full hookup sites, and then come to the office to register.  This is not the usual method in RV parks, but it works pretty well.  The campground had many open sites and it was a very easy set up. I then took a ride downtown and did my usual walking tour.  It’s a historic downtown with most everything built in the early 1900’s.  It still seems weird to me that the Euro-American history of the west is only about 150 years old, my mother or grandfather would have been a pioneer here.  This really is a nice town with all the necessities, probably the largest town within 100 miles. They just had a cowboy poetry festival, sorry to miss that, and it seems that the Chokecherry festival coming up in September is a big deal, not so sorry to miss that.  

There are several nice old buildings as this was a very prosperous town in its early days.  It seems that most of the buildings were of stone or brick and have survived.  There is a beautiful Carnegie Library, Court House, Movie Theater and all of the old fraternal organizations are represented.    

Remember fire chief gasoline ?

Great sign, but unfortunately it was closed

The beautiful Judith Theater

Architectural details

An original soda fountain inside, unfortunately closed on Monday.
Many businesses in these small towns seem to operate  on
a part or limited time basis.

The Court House

Really nice Carnegie Library

And a great Moose Club sign, brings back memories of
going to the Moose Club in Trenton, NJ as a teenager
to see professional Wrestling

The Mint appears to be under renovation

That's a serious Tractor

You can trust Captain Bob

A trip to the hardware store was made to get some wall anchor inserts to reinstall the kitchen window shade which had fallen off during the 
ride.  Screws going into thin wall board, typical shoddy RV construction.  

We then took a ride into the Judith Mountains northeast of Lewistown to an area that has some gold mining history.  The first stop was the ghost town of Gilt Edge which was founded in 1893, had considerable gold, but was played out in the early 1900’s.  There are two buildings half standing by the side of the road, a very small jail building and a home that is said to have been the home for the ladies who kept the miners "comfortable" at night.  There are other ruins but they are on private property.  Continuing on the road you ride past the townsite of Maiden , which in 1888 was a thriving town of 1,200 residents.  It was short lived and by 1896 was down to 200 residents. Everything is on private property, you can’t see much, but it’s a nice ride into a mountainous area.

Fields of grain along the way

A wider angle is needed to appreciate the vastness

Believe it or not, this is the old jail ?

I'm told this is the comfort House ?

The old wagon is only decorative these days

Near the campground is a auto shop filled with some great vintage vehicles, it's tempting me ?  I then have to take a side road to check out the wheat fields again.

Old Chevy and International Harvester trucks rule

Virtually endless fields

Wheat field of dreams

We had quite a time finding a reasonably priced campground for our next stop, more will be revealed about that latter.

Next stop is Billings, Montana,
Twinkles and Slick 

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