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 !|
Next stop is Kalispell, Montana,Twinkles and Slick