Monday, August 10, 2015

Missoula, Montana

August 6 -8, 2015:

Our destination, Missoula, Montana for some weird reason does not have many private campgrounds and the ones available are fairly expensive.  We considered staying at a Forest Service campgrounds, there are several, but they are not convenient to downtown Missoula.  As a result, we opted for the free Walmart parking lot along with many other campers, I counted about 30 RV’s in the parking lot at 9:30 PM.    Twinkles talked to a person in Walmart who told her it was OK to stay one or two nights.  We found out that they do keep track as we received an eviction notice on our second day.  So, we now have the distinction of being kicked out of Walmart.  So, off we go to the Pilot Truck stop for one night which was fine, we have a spot away from running trucks that it even has a view.

Our eviction notice

Missoula is a very cool town with lots of cultural activities and a vibrant downtown area. It is another collage town with the University of Montana.  The Clark Fork River runs through Missoula which was named after William Clark who passed nearby during the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806.

The Missoula Club was packed at night

Stockmans is a big college hangout

The Studebaker building was an actual car dealership

The old F.M. McHaffie building

This is part of a series of murals called the "Heart of Missoula"
murals done by artist Hadley Ferguson

Another mural of the above series

A very ornate building on Higgins Avenue

Missoula was founded in 1860 as Hellgate Trading Post while still part of Washington Territory.  The word Missoula comes from the Salish indian name for the Clark Fork River, “nmesuletkw” meaning “place of frozen water”.  The narrow valley at Missoula’s eastern entrance was strewn with bones due to inter-tribal indian ambushes which caused the French trappers to refer to the area as “Porte d’Enfer” translated as “Hell’s Gate”.  By 1866 the settlement had been moved 5 miles upstream and renamed Missoula Mills, later shortened to Missoula.  It supplied supplies to settlers traveling on the Mullan Road which was an early wagon road across the Rockies.  The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1886 brought about rapid growth.

We walked a portion of the River Trail on Friday stopping for a picnic lunch in a small park area.  We came upon the old Milwaukee Road Depot, a very impressive building, which is now the headquarters of the Boone and Crockett Club.  Boone and Crockett is a conservation organization that also promotes the virtues of hunting, trophy hunting in particular, a somewhat controversial mix of values.  I went into the open exhibit room which was interesting with information on the founding members and of course lots of mounted wildlife.  Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell founded the club in 1887.

A view of the Clark Fork River

Display inside the Boone and Crockett Club

The Milwaukee Road Depot

Caras Park is in downtown Missoula on the Clark Fork River.  It has a designed rapids area built in that has been used in the past for kayak competitions.  They also have a beautiful hand carved Carousel in the park which was a done by a group of volunteers and a very popular attraction.  This park is also the site of the excellant Saturday farmers market.
In the evening, I went there for the "First Friday" evening music event.  The bands were all good, but I particularly liked the last band, the "Hill Stomp Band".  I then went to the Top Hat Lounge where another interesting Americana/Roots band was playing many odd instruments. 

This is known as "Brennan's Wave in honor of Brennan Guth, a local
Missoula world-class kayaker who died in Chile kayaking 

First Friday music event

The Carousel ride

The Top Hat 

After we move to the Pilot Truck stop on Saturday morning we go to the downtown farmers market.  It was one of the best ever !  Fresh corn, cherries, lettuce, potatoes all good !  We then found the other major train Depot in Missoula, the Northern Pacific Railroad Depot which is restored, but now converted to office space.  They have a northern Pacific Locomotive, 1356, there on display.

The view on one side at the truck stop

View on our other side

Twinkles is all smiles to see these vegetables 

Free samples were great !

The Northern Pacific Depot

Northern Pacific 1356

Nearby building with old Coca Cola advertising

Next stop is Kalispell, Montana,
Twinkles and Slick

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