Missoula

We are now in Missoula. We did some awesome hikes this morning at Craters NP. That place is so interesting. I now want to add a foundry to my list of things to do and melt down some of the volcanic iron slag into some interesting projects. But that is another story for the future.

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We made our way north to Missoula through the Sawtooth National Forest, down the Salmon River valley, over another pass and down the Bitterroot River valley into Missoula. Saw a couple of bald eagles and tons of hay and potatoes. The area is just beautiful and every turn presented a better vista than the previous. The Salmon River road (Hwy 75) could have been a little wider, but it helped to improve my skills driving the Roamer. I think all four tires were touching at all times, but in reality only 3 are required and possibly two if you really lean hard.

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Craters

I’m catching up from yesterday since we had no bars in Craters NP. The trip from SLC to Craters was interesting. It covered a few hundred miles, but the stops we made along the way made the trip. First one was at Promontory, Utah. For those of you that know the significance of this place get bonus points. We saw the sign for the “Golden Spike Historical Monument” and pulled off the highway on a 58 mile off-course adventure that turned out to be well worth it. Promontory, Utah is where the railroads met to join the east and west. They had replicas of both of the steam engines on the track and in operation, each with a very interesting story on how they got to be the engine of choice. The building itself was made of iron and copper quartzite that was very striking. Definitely on the building material list for our next house. Well worth the 58 mile detour if you are in the area.

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Next we stopped at the Shoshone Museum and gift shop. They had some great stories of the local families, very beautiful beaded apparel, but we only walked away with a bag of buffalo jerky for the road. It was good.

The final stop before the Craters was EBR-1, or Experimental Breeder Reactor 1 located out in the middle of nowhere Idaho. It was the first atomic reactor that was brought online in 1951 to show that atomic energy could replace coal and oil. A very interesting place and the period furniture in the place made the trip. Took a lot of guts to try what these guys did, not knowing if the lights would flick on or if the entire place would go up in a mushroom cloud. I wonder who decided who throws the switch the first time, and did someone say “bang” when he did?

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We made it to Crater around 4pm expecting all of the camping spots to be gone. In fact only a few were gone and we picked a rather nice one. We did an evening hike with a Park Ranger and sat through a great night show on the moon. By sunset (around 9:30 this far north) all of the camping spots were filled. All around good day.

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