Another Visit to Montana in 2010: The sites of Montana, Part II

The rest of our trip to Montana in 2010, would be to enjoy the sites and attend the wedding that would take place in Bozeman.

Our first stop, after leaving Miles City, was at the Rosebud Rest Area. It was on a cliff above the Yellowstone River and the view was incredible.

Rosebud Rest Stop

Rosebud Rest Stop and the Yellowstone River

I wanted to visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield again, even though I had seen it on the last trip in 2003.  It is really very interesting and they are now featuring both sides of the conflict.

http://www.nps.gov/libi/index.htm  Here is what I wrote in my travel journal about that experience:

We got their about 1 pm.  The first thing was to go and hear the ranger talk.  This time it was a young lady who I think was new. After, we then went into the visitor center and they said a film was to be shown soon. I looked a look at the gift shop which had a lot of books on the history of the battle, Custer and the Indians.  We found seats for the film.  It was an interesting presentation of the battle giving a little more detail and showing the areas that they were talking about so it added to the Ranger talk.  Once that was over we went through the museum which featured some information and artifacts from Custer’s life donated by his wife who lived 54 years after his death.  What the soldiers worn and used and the mix of their heritage.  Some could not speak English they were new immigrants.  There was information about battle tactics. They had a machine in the back that had selections on the different groups that were involved in the battle and you could search them if you new a name.  They were the soldiers, the officers, the Indians and more.  The had a collection of the guns that were used by the soldiers. 

Ranger Talk at Little Bighorn Battlefield

Ranger Talk at Little Bighorn Battlefield

We then walked up to Last Stand Hill where Custer was killed along with his two brothers Tom and Buster and all the others in his outfit.  He is not there anymore having his remains placed at Annapolis. Others are buried in a mass grave under the big monument.  When they buried them at the time of the battle they did not have the proper tools to bury them and the graves were shallow.  An archaeological dig was done in the 1980’s after a fire had burned the area and they found a lot of artifacts like bullets and other things.  They could track a soldier by his bullets. There is still a lot of conjecture about the battle and the maps show that with the dotted lines. We visited the Indian monument.  They are adding tombstones for the Indian’s in a different color which is good.  They are honoring the Indian’s and trying to show both sides of the battle at this time.  I think that is a good thing.

Indian Exhibit Little Bighorn Battlefield

Indian Exhibit Little Bighorn Battlefield

We then returned to the car to take the road to the other sites which defines the movements of the officer by the name of Reno.  You drive for 5 miles along the ridge through private land.  The rain was upon us by that time with a big cloud and it was not fun so we had to stay in the car.  We arrived at the other end of the road and the rain opened up by then with the big cloud right over us.  I did manage to get the monument and the battle plan of Reno but that was about it before it started to rain. 

A Monument to the Battle

A Monument to the Battle

I think that the battlefield is haunted and it is always raining when I visit. What does that mean?

Our next stop was Billings where we stayed in the Dude Rancher Hotel.  I thought it would be good idea from the description online and have a western flare.  It was interesting.  Later it was on the TV show Hotel Impossible to get a revamp.  http://www.duderancherlodge.com/

I had really enjoyed my visit to the Western History Cultural Center in Billings on my first trip, so I wanted to stop and visit this archive. http://www.ywhc.org/

We arrived at the Western History Cultural Center about 11 a.m. and I figured we would put in two hours but we did about 2.5.  We had to park on the street and use quarters.  It was not like it had been 8 years ago and it was a little disappointing but I enjoyed what was there.  They had the lady photographer’s collection.  Alan had purchased a CD of her work so we have a selection of her photographs and can study them.  All black and white and she was doing this at the turn of the century and early 1896 to 1900’s.  Amazing dedication.  The Cheyenne Exhibit was sad but very interesting.  The oral histories that they have collected from the Indians is a good thing.  I guess you can access them.  The other exhibits were other oral histories of several musicians.  There were paintings and sketches as well.  They saved a sketch book of one of the Indians at one of the forts who had been shot with his sketch books with him and they are wonderful drawings, somewhat childlike but wonderful.

If you like Train Depot’s you might want to check out the one in Billings.  http://www.billingsdepot.org/  http://www.billingsdepot.org/history-depot/

We had to move on so we headed to Livingston arriving a the Train Depot with only fifteen minutes to view it.  The other museum was closing a 5 pm as well.  http://www.livingstonmuseums.org/depot/index.html  My timing on this trip was off a bit.

Livingston, MT

Livingston, MT

From Livingston we made it to Bozeman and found our Comfort Inn without too much trouble and settled in.  The next day was Friday so we had most of the day to dally and would later go to the wedding rehearsal picnic.

My goal was to find the gravesite of Armindo Spracklin the wife of Charles E. Spracklin a 1/2 brother of my great-grandmother Amarilla. The story is she wanted to be buried in the mountains so her son took her to Bozeman to live. This is what happened when we visited the cemetery, from my 2010 travel journal.

Armindo Spracklin's gravesite in Sunset Cemetery, Billings

Armindo Spracklin’s gravesite in Sunset Cemetery, Billings. Me standing about where it would be but no headstone.

We headed first to the Sunset Hills Memorial Park Cemetery and the office for the cemetery.  A nice man in work clothing was in the office and he helped located where Armindo Spracklin wife of Charles Edward Spracklin was buried.  He instructed me that we could follow him for it was a little difficult to find.  He drove thru the cemetery gates in his big truck that had dirt in the back and made his way through the cemetery.  This cemetery is huge so going to the office is a good idea. He came to an area in a shady part of the cemetery and tried to find the grave but there was no stone.  He finally decided it was next to this tree and this other person.  I was a little disappointed but not surprised for her husband’s marker was one of those metal tags. Find A Grave has a memorial and picture pretty much like mine for Armindo.

I wish I had money to do stones for family, maybe I can work something out, but I do have a long list.  Armindo made up a pedigree outline with the names and dates of our family history and I wanted to at least try to find her and pay my respects. I publish that on the Solomon Goss Blog with the title: Ancestor Outline by Armindo Spracklin, August 5, 2011.

Our next stop was the museum where I wanted to see if I could find any information on my great-uncle William Barclay, 1/2 brother to my George A. Barclay. http://gallatinhistorymuseum.org/  I write more:

The Gallatin County and Pioneer Museum which is right next door to the Gallatin County Courthouse.  We went inside and the museum was on the right and the archive center was on the left.  We paid the $5.00 admission fee.  I looked at books and then went into the archive area and was greeted by a nice lady but I was not allowed beyond a certain point.  I didn’t prepare myself for this type of archive and should have known better. 

Gallatin Historical Museum

Gallatin Historical Museum

I gave her William Barclay’s name and she brought me an obituary file but I didn’t find him listed.  I was thinking that if his wife had died in 1919 before him and his baby son had not survived he probably was going to be hard to find and the obituary I wanted would not be done.  She showed me on the map where Pony and Willow Creek were located south of Three Forks and we will go there tomorrow when we go to the Lewis and Clark Caverns.  She told me of a the Headwaters Heritage Museum in Three Forks and that they might have more local information.  He was a miner and poultry farmer in Pony, then Hot Springs and then Willow Creek were he died.  I tried online to see if I could find him in the cemeteries but he is not showing up.  So I will need obituary notices, family histories, cemetery information in the area when I get to the historical society. 

The lady told me that probate and deed indexes and information would be in the courthouse and I thought about going but decided I could call or email them for his probate if there was one.  He had some money and owned the farm in 1930 so he just might have given his inheritance to his brother or something like that? I then toured the museum which was on several floors and they had a chronology of the businesses in the area.  A flip chart of the different communities in the county like Willow Creek which I took a picture of.  Lots of information and artifacts.  A map of the trails to Montana and a little about them like the Bozeman Trail.  

When you travel with your hubby you do have to find activities they will enjoy.  He discovered that there was a Computer Museum in Bozeman.  http://www.compustory.com/

American Computer museum in Bozeman

American Computer museum in Bozeman

It is called the American Computer & Robotics Museum and it was on the south side of town at Kagy and 19th road in a group of buildings that looked like condominiums. We arrived with only about 30 minutes to view the museum and the nice docent gave us a quick tour around and then turned us loose to study the exhibits.  It was a great museum with awards for Computer Pioneering offered to many people.  They had the history of the telephone, TV, telegraph and all technologies that led up to the computer and cell phones. I teased them about a mag card typewriter and MTST which I used in my profession as a secretary.  Apparently they have a warehouse with a lot of stuff in it.  My hubby said they are the biggest computer museum in the country and very prestigious.  We didn’t have much time but at least we now know it exits and I highly recommend it to you. 

We were off to a picnic which was the rehearsal dinner where we gathered at a park in Bozeman.

Rehearsal Dinner picnie

Rehearsal Dinner picnic

Because I had enjoyed the Lewis and Clark Caverns so much I wanted my hubby to see them.  So, the next day, we headed up to the park. The wedding was later in the day. I wrote about this visit in my 2010 travel journal.

The Jefferson River Valley, Yup another river....

The Jefferson River Valley, Yup another river….

The scenery was spectacular.  We came to Three Forks about 40 minutes later and turned south on Highway 2 for the caverns.  It is a semi-circle from the west to the east. We were following the Jefferson River.  There is the Missouri Headwaters Park to the north of I-90 and it is where the Jefferson, Madison and the beginning of the Missouri River meet.  We would not have time to go to the park and see the rivers merge. 

The Sign

The Sign

The entrance to the caverns park has a new visitor center.  We stopped to see what was there. 

Visitor Center at the entrance

Visitor Center at the entrance

We then headed up to the visitor center at the top near the cavern opening.  I remember the climb up is about 2 miles with views of the Jefferson River valley.  We arrived and immediately went to see when the next tour was and we were in luck for it was about 9:45 and the next tour was 10 am. Our guide was young man and fun. He gave us the rules and we walked to the cavern entrance.  This took about 30 minutes to walk the path which is very steep.

The Ranger tells us the rules

The Ranger tells us the rules

At the entrance to the caverns our guide told us the story of the man who promoted the caverns. It turned out he did not have rights to it for it was railroad land and so that began a competition of locking the entrance door and cutting the locks between the man and the railroad company. This went on till his death in 1932 when the railroad gave the land to the State of Montana.  We had to be quiet the first couple of rooms so as not to scare the bats and no flash.  It was really hard to adjust to the lack of light in the caverns. 

We entered the caverns and the stairs going down were dark, but wide enough and there were hand railings in some areas.  The guide would walk us along through the caverns and then stop in a room and give an explanation of the specific room.  The was temperature was cool inside. We went down stairs, through tight tunnels and there were cave formations all around.  Some of the stairs were very steep and in one area we had to slide down on our butts. The formations were spectacular in each room and as we went along the rooms got bigger and bigger. The guide would turn off the lights behind us and turn on the lights ahead.  They had first used wooden steps and they rotted within 2 years and now it was cemented.  All work had been done by candlelight.  

The Caverns

The Caverns

The Caverns more

More views…

In one room the guide turned off the lights and it was so dark you could not see your hand before you. In the last room it had these huge formations. The very last part was a long tunnel with two doors to prevent the wind coming into the cave. 

We were done and it was out into the sunshine again and the wonderful view of the Jefferson River Valley.  We took our time getting back to the visitor center.  I decided to get a hot dog to help with keeping me happy. We headed back down in the car and stopped at a couple of vistas to take pictures. 

Jefferson River Valley

Jefferson River Valley

Before heading back to the motel, we took more time to do research on my great-uncle William Barclay, brother to George A. Barclay.  http://www.tfhistory.org/

Headwaters Museum

Headwaters Museum

We drove back the same way and turned onto a gravel road that took us to Willow Creek where William Barclay, half-brother to George, had homesteaded and died.  We then went on up the road to Three Forks where the Headwaters Heritage Museum was located.  We found it at Cedar and Main in an old bank building. There was a nice lady that greeted us and offered to have her son look for an obit on William Barclay so I gave her some information.  I doubt I will hear from them.  She did loan me the Three Rivers history book but he was not in that either.  The museum was wonderful with vignettes on the upper floor of a dentist office, military sets, trains and more. 

It was time to return to Bozeman and get ready for the wedding. Finding the location proved to be a challenge, because GPS was not working. It was set in a lovely forested area southwest of Bozeman.

The Wedding Venue

The Wedding Venue

The guests gathered out on a lovely grass field as the rain clouds began to gather. A little into the ceremony we started to hear the sounds of thunder.  We were stoic but finally the bride gave the word when the rain started to come down. Everyone made it back to the lodge area very quickly and gathered into the area that the tables were set up for the dinner.  The ceremony resumed as the rain came down outside.  It was a fun wedding and most everyone was there from my husband’s side of the family.

Guests gather

Guests gather

The next day, was our last day in Montana.  We decided to take in the Museum of the Rockies:  https://www.museumoftherockies.org/

We arrived at the Museum of the Rockies which is at the south side of Bozeman on Kagy and it was a lot bigger than I expected.  The parking lot was pretty much full.  In the lobby we found a line waiting for tickets. 

Museum of the Rockies

Museum of the Rockies

DSC06496

 

I wanted to see the dinosaurs and so we headed in that direction. We only had about 2 hours to tour the museum so we needed to move along quickly.  The dinosaur display was wonderful. 

DSC06495

Predators are the little guys

This museum states that T-Rex was a scavenger and not a predator. Scavengers are a more common animal, while predators are not.  I was not aware that they had done so much research since I was interested in Dinosaurs in my childhood. I didn’t realize that they have found dinosaur bones in 48 of the 56 counties.

They had an Indian exhibit, a western exhibit which had some really nice wagons but I could not take pictures. They also had the DaVinci Exhibit we had seen before. Pretty amazing. 

On this trip we had flown into Billings Logan International Airport. http://www.flybillings.com/

Rather than backtrack to Billings, we would fly out of the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, which is north of Bozeman.  http://www.bozemanairport.com/ I recommend that you go to an airport’s website because they have so much information on them and are truly helpful when you are planning a trip.

Here is what I wrote in my journal in 2010:

It was off to the airport which neither one of us believed was really there because we could not see it from the freeway. It was north of the town in Belgrade. It is a very small airport and there are not many flights out.  Again it was the propeller type airplane like the one we took to Billings. Everyone who had attended the wedding the day before was slowly trickling into this airport, so the wait was fun to have family around to visit with.

After getting our tickets and checking our luggage my hubby headed to the Hertz desk to check in the car. We had done 706 miles for this trip. We headed through security and they made me take my video camera out of the camera bag.  Our gate was about ten steps from the security gate. 

More of the family trickled in as we waited. It was decided that there were about thirteen people on our flight who had attended the wedding.  It was fun to hear them chatting away as we waited for the plane. When the time came to board the plane we walked down some stairs and then climbed into the airplane. The ride was a little bumpy but we arrived safely at SeaTac and were only about fifteen minutes late.  

Seattle, WA

Seattle, WA

Seattle's Downtown area

Seattle’s Downtown area

On this trip we visited with relatives from both sides of the family.  We attended a wedding.  Went to and walked through many museums of a great variety of topics. Took the time to enjoy the beautiful State of Montana.  I was able to learn about and view several rivers and did a little genealogy research regarding my great Uncle William Barclay. As you can see my trips are busy, filled with adventures and complicated.

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