Great Falls, Montana has been home for the past seven days. The weather has been spectacular! We have been doing a bunch of resting as my handsome chauffeur tweaked his back when we left Kansas and finally had to say “UNCLE” and seek chiropractic care. So rest, walk, heat , ice, adjustments, stretch and REPEAT has been our schedule. I am happy to report he is on the mend!
We left Billings, MT via the scenic route through the Lewis and Clark forest. This was breath taking both figuratively and literally! We covered some beautiful terrain climbing up to an elevation of 9,000 feet. The climb was fine for this passenger, but the descent was not as much fun! No run away ramps as we have seen in Colorado only rock sides and guard rails!
Those who know me are aware how much I LOVE riding roller coasters. Heck, I even love sky diving, but cruising down the mountain with 45,000 pound vehicle towing another 10,000 pounds gets this old heart a pumping! We now have indentations on the metal hand rail next to my seat and new dents in the floor where I kept pushing “my” brake!
My chauffeur is an amazing driver and is as calm as can be THANK GOODNESS!
Cruising through the forests all of a sudden we would come upon a prairie and farm land. The areas were covered with Prairie Dogs which unfortunately for many became road kill and bird food when they tried to cross in front of us. I swear I saw one that stopped in the middle of the road looking right at us in a praying position as we crossed right over him saving his little life 😁. Thankfully that was the only wild life that we came across… No Elk, Deer or Bears!
I breathed a sigh of relief once we got off the mountain and out of the forest. My thoughts often go to what the Pioneers must have thought as they crossed this vast country that was yet undiscovered. Crossing Prairies, up and down mountains on horse back or covered wagon meeting up with wild life and American Indians!
They do highway repair a bit different here in Montana. As we made our way on flat land of prairie little did we know but they were doing work in which they took out ALL the pavement on the U.S. highway!
Got some first hand experience on how it must of felt if we were in a Wagon Train! Bumpity bump, dust flying and shocks being tested for 15 miles did not make my driver the least bit happy, but we made it and didn’t lose anything!
There is a ton of history here in Great Falls. Lewis and Clark were tasked by President Jefferson to scout out this territory June 20,1803 via the Missouri River. They traveled this unknown land going AGAINST the current!
Makes me feel like a big old whiner 212 years later worrying about driving on a paved Interstate or US highway using an atlas and GPS. To think about being eaten alive by bugs, bears attacks or using Sextants and stars for navigation. Drawing maps on the “fly”.
I can only imagine how Lewis & Clark felt. While they were wintering in 1804 with the Mandan tribe the Chief told them that they will encounter water falls on the Missouri River. So not only were they rowing against the river flow, but they were going to encounter a water fall?! On they pressed they found a fork in the river and by the grace of God they picked the right one as the GreatFalls was their clue that they were going the right way.
For the next 3 weeks they portaged all their canoes and provisions etc. for 18 miles. Lugging and WALKING! Yikes. AGAIN, thank you Lord it was not ME! Also thanks to these courageous people and many who followed we now can navigate the west!
History states that Lewis & Clark took along Sacagawea with them to interpret and that having a woman along with them was also a sign of peace to other tribes. She had a newborn strapped to her as well. Again, I am so thankful that the good Lord saw fit for me to be born in this century. Can you imagine traveling by canoe against current with a bunch of men as your travel partners and a newborn strapped to your back? No “Calgon take me away” or time for yourself? NOT ME!
Poor thing became ill while on the journey. They did TWO blood letting procedures to help cure her!!! Oh my gosh, it wasn’t bad enough that she was sick … They bled her TOO?! Good thing my handsome chauffeur only needed a Chiropractor and no blood letting!
Fast forward to the end of 1805 the group aka Corp of Discovery get to the west coast and see the Pacific Ocean! Then the group divides up and heads back east to give their final report to President Jefferson. At least the current was in their favor and it is said they traveled at roughly 70 miles each day! WHOA!They reach St. Louis in 1806. Lewis & Clark were treated like National Heroes.
When we were in Tennessee this Spring we took many a Harley ride on the Natchez Trace.
Hard to believe how much of this country they traveled by foot, horse, boat and canoe. Also ironically we are following some of those same journeys, thankfully sans canoe and horse back!