I was asking John just this morning how the city of Bismarck got its name, and at our first stop for the day I received an answer to that question. At this historical site sits a 1909 Northern Pacific Locomotive. The interpretive sign there notes that the town was established in 1872 and at that time was called Edwinton. It was given that name to honor Edwin L. Johnson, Chief Engineer of the Northern Pacific Railroad. A year later the town was renamed Bismarck after Chancellor Bismarck of Germany. It was an attempt by the town to attract German investors to the region to spur railroad construction by Northern Pacific. Camp Hancock was the location of a United States infantry post from 1872-1877. The purpose of the post was to protect railroad supplies, equipment and engineering crews of the railroad. At this historical site Bread of Life Episcopal Church is located. Here the first " non-Roman church service" for Bismarck was held in 1873.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Before touring the capitol we stopped at Zion Lutheran Church. It was a hot afternoon and the garden of this church, located behind its fellowship hall, looked very inviting. In the center is a small fountain.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Our home is now parked outside of Bismarck, very much out on the plains. No more mountains for us. Out here there are fields of corn, wheat and sunflowers. We drove into Bismarck today for church services in a driving rain. By the time we were ready for touring the rain had stopped. We drove to the governor's mansion,a Late Victorian-style home built for a local merchant in 1884. The state bought it for $5,000.00.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
This show is supposedly one of North Dakota's top tourist attractions. The variety show has western style music, song and dance routines, and a gospel selection in tribute to Teddy Roosevelt. We attended the show Thursday evening and it reminded me a lot of the musical shows which we have seen in Branson Missouri. A special feature of the program when we attended were the NY Goofs, a comedy group out of NY city. At the end of the show an actor moving slowly down a distant hill on a horse was spotlighted. It was a tribute to the 26th president and quite moving. I have a picture of the stage below.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Our motor home is currently parked just outside of the Roosevelt National Park. Here we are surrounded by some of the badlands. We did not see elk within the boundaries of the park, but this morning while I was working on the computer, I happened to look up the hill in front of our home and see a herd of elk grazing. That certainly made my day. The national park is home to several prairie dog towns. It was shortly after we started on the scenic loop through the park that we saw one of those towns. I was fortunate to capture a picture of one of those critters, they do move fast when they sense danger! They yip loudly and wag their tails in a warning for the others to run into their homes below ground for safety.
Our 26th president came out to the badlands at the age of 20 years and it changed his life forever, both in his development as a man and as a president. He bought two ranches out here. The first home he built has been moved to the park and the public is able to tour it. I was impressed by the fact that the cabin still had his desk, hutch and rocking chair in it. Below is a picture of the section of kitchen which had his desk.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I originally had the misconception that the rim rocks were only unique to the Billing's area. In actuality we have continued to see those sandstone rock structures wherever we have been touring this past week. We thought we were traveling through farm land the other day when all of a sudden, coming around a curve in the road, we saw the rims standing up starkly against the sky off the side of the road. This was as we were entering Pictograph Cave State Park. I have a picture of that scene below. I think the one spire of rock standing by itself in the front of the other rims is what some call a hoodoo. Don't hold me to any of this misinformation!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This is the highway we took on our return home to Billings. There were a couple of beautiful canyons on this route. The first one we were able to hike around. The picture below is of that gorge, it was taken by John while he stood on a ledge over-hanging the canyon ( he did give me a scare while he was doing that because he was standing beyond the fenced-off area).
Before I write about our drive yesterday I want to give you an update on the forest fire we saw Saturday. According to the Billings Gazette, the fire had started a couple of hours before we came into the area. By Sunday morning it had burned 7,800 acres and about 8 families in the Columbus town area had to be evacuated. Fortunately Sunday night this area had a nice steady rain, maybe that was able to quench the fire. Monday we drove a total of about 280 miles round trip to see the one of the most scenic highways in the country. We drove it in our little Fit and it was well worth every mile we drove. I will show here the first view of the mountains which we saw as we started out on that road trip. The mountains are a bit washed out because of the sun being so bright. That is all right, rather have that than a heavy cloud cover over them!
Monday, August 23, 2010
I was going to be lazy today and not do any writing. I certainly do not have any pictures to show because I left my camera behind when we headed out for church yesterday. And yet it was such an interesting, serendipitous day, that I decided I did have a few things to share with you. First English Lutheran church turned out to be a good place to start our day. The pastor, Mark Donald, in his sermon spoke on how Christ was not afraid to do the unusual in his ministry. He broke with tradition when he healed a woman in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Pastor Donald said that one of the best things the ELCA church did was break with tradition and ordained women for the ministry. After the services John chatted with him and discovered that he was thinking of our niece Kathy when he wrote the sermon. She is an ordained pastor, and now professor of theology, who he came to know at Christikon some twenty years ago. After church we did some shopping and, since we were close to the zoo, decided to stop there before heading home. We usually do not do zoos since there are only a few that can even measure up to the St.Louis Zoo. At ZooMontana we found a few unusual things. It is advertised as a 72 acre home to north latitude temperate animals.The zoo also has a beautiful flower garden. White chairs were set up in rows here, apparently a wedding had been held there yesterday. It was an absolutely beautiful setting for a wedding. In the education center, filled with small cages for toads, snakes, marmosets and other small animals, there is a preschool classroom. I must say it is a bit of a stinky place for a classroom, but most unusual! In that room we stopped to watch a keeper play with a mink. That little guy was busy jumping in and out of the keeper's lap, diving into a bucket of ice water, and also zipping through tunnels. In the barn, located on the zoo grounds, we noticed a pigeon sitting on a zoo keeper's shoulder. The young man said the zoo is trying to get the bird to return to the wild but she will not leave the barn. While he was currying combing a horse the pigeon jumped on the horses' back to watch the process. A large section of the zoo was not open to the public because of construction work being done there.We were still able to see a grizzly, a wolf and some river otters. Somehow we managed to have an enjoyable time at ZooMontana. What is fun about our travels is that there are just some days when we have no idea what is going to happen that day when we head out the door. The unusual can and does happen!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
We had a short drive here yesterday from Big Timber. Just before coming into Billings we saw large plumes of smoke off in the distance. As we got closer to the smoke we could see trees burning. We assumed that it was another forest fire. We never realized before this summer how common those occurrences are. After seeing that one forest fire yesterday we noticed that many of the hills surrounding Billings have on them charred trees.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
A couple of postings ago I mentioned that the buffalo came close to extinction in the 1890s. There is a Bison Exhibit at the Russell museum which explains what happened to the tens of millions of those animals in the 19th century. It is the usual story of people discovering a natural resource, thinking the supply is endless, and using it fully for their own gain. In the 19th century some called this industrial progress. Buffalo bone was pulverized and primarily used as bone ash fertilizer; it also was used to make such products as charcoal, bone or ivory black pigment, glue,gelatin and ash for bone china. Michigan Carbon Works purchased thousands of tons of those bones from the North Bone Syndicate in North Dakota. Below is an exhibit at the museum of a pile of bison skulls.Fortunately a few people saved some of the bison and started their own herds to be placed back out into the wild.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
We got back from Ohio Sunday evening and started sight seeing again Monday afternoon. I really had very little energy yesterday, however. Traveling over three time zones in a day is certainly a physical challenge! We picked up KC at Happy Tails first thing in the morning. Once we got him home he paced around us a lot and cried. As you can see from the picture below, he finally settled down.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Yesterday we drove from the Canadian Rockies in Alberta to the plains of that province. What a change in scenery! It was was a bit hard at first to accept the difference. One good thing was that we no longer climbing mountains at a snail's pace. At one rest area on that trip a man walked up to me- he was an elderly man wearing shorts held up by suspenders. He squinted at me and said: " going north, deary?" I replied that we already had been north to Alaska. I knew where he came from by his manner of speech, but asked where he was from. He was from Calgary and going to visit Yellowstone in his small camping trailer. His next comment, so typical Canadian was,: " well, have a good trip now, aye? One nice thing about the traveling we are doing is the opportunity of talking to people and becoming familiar with the traits of their particular ethnicity. This afternoon we dropped our cat off at a kennel called "Happy Tails". They will care for him while we fly east for our niece Rebcca's wedding in Ohio, for which we are leaving tomorrow. I am so afraid that the separation from us will send him into a major depression! He is staying in a cat condo but I am sure that will not be the same as home for him. Anyway, after dropping him off we drove out of Great Falls to see the falls for which the town is named.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
We entered these parks yesterday morning,Sunday, from British Columbia. We drove the Icefields Parkway for the entire length of the parks. In Jasper and Banff there is a lot to see and do, but we had only one day scheduled for this visit. Well, at least I know now what people are taking about when they mention this area of Canada. It is everything and more what people have told me about it. Jasper is the largest park representing the Rocky Mountain natural region. The parkway took us through remote high elevated terrain with mountain vistas which are spectacular. Many of those mountains are covered with icefields. The Columbia ice fields alone cover 241 square miles. From those ice fields lie the fingers of many glaciers which can be seen from the parkway. The Icefield Centre is one area where it is possible to hike fairly close to one of glaciers.