Published: August 25th 2012August 24th 2012
"Home, home on the range. Where the deer and the antelope play..." There are many songs that talk about "home" but this one that always sticks out in my mind whenever I go home to Montana...and I'm fairly certain it was sang aloud during this trip! It had been over 2 years since I had been home, so I was overdue to say the least! Jeremy was gone and I had the awesome idea to invite my good friend Amy to come on vacation with me...her and her 1-yr old adorable Lilly. Amy and I have been friends forever, and she has said many times that she would love to tour Montana. I brought her home once on a very quick weekend trip and she got to see about a half a sliver of Montana. This time, my trip was going to be much more leisurely, I was on vacation from school, and she had just graduated hers, so it was the perfect time to make the trip. We drove from Phoenix, over the new bridge over the Hoover Dam, through forest fires in Utah, around the falls and ducks at the "greenbelt" in Idaho Falls, past the new rest area
in Lima, and arrived in Drummond (where my mom lives) before the sun set on the second day. A lot of this trip was just playing it by ear. I had planned out to visit my dad in Kalispell and go up into Glacier Park on the Sat/Sun, but the rest was just flying by the seat of our pants...or the seat of the Volkswagen. Lots of "firsts" on this trip. First off, it was Lilly's first long car trip. She did what you would expect of any 1-year old who does not want to be in a car seat all day. lol! Actually, I think she did very well! She got bored sometimes, but overall she was great. She got to play with the ducks in Idaho Falls, play in the grass in Lima, see cows and a horse on the farm, and watched the 4th of July fireworks from the base of the mountain (pretty much the closest we could get). She enjoyed it all! After coming back out of Glacier, we had decided on a day trip up to the northeast of Great Falls. We saw what looked like some interesting sights in a tourist magazine so
First fire in southern UT
This one was right up next to the highway and we had to actually detour off of the highway for a ways...and we were low on gas. It was quite exciting to see if we would make it to a gas station!
decided to check them out and meet up wit my sister Jen, who is in Conrad, at the same time. It was an interesting day. We made the trip to see the Upper Missouri River Breaks, not knowing that it was just a river and that much of the sights were only accessible from floating the river. We really wanted to see the white cliffs of the Missouri, so the ranger guy in the headquarters building directed us to a remote section of the river in which we could see some of the cliffs from the road. The road is 19 miles of dirt, ending in a "ferry" that crosses the Missouri in the middle of nowhere! Then another 10 or so miles of gravel road. It was insane, but so funny and unexpected that it was a blast and I think we will all remember it forever! The ferry was really just a floating barge that went back and forth across the river on a pulley system. It tool about 10 minutes to go about 30 ft across river. Then on the other side of the river is an old mercantile, the Virgelle Mercantile. Really, it's this awesome old
Fire #2 in southern UT.
This one was nearer to central UT.
building in the middle of nowhere by itself! There is no town...just some old cabins that they rent out, and a farm down the road a ways. The merc was an antique shop, which sold ice cream and offered kayak trips, and doubled as a B&B. All-in-one I guess. They had a fire pit that had tractor seats as chairs! Wish I would have taken a picture of that! It was a fun, unexpected day, but next time I think we will check out the Gates of the Mountains instead! In case you are wondering, the Upper Missouri River Breaks monument is in Fort Benton, and the Ferry is just south of Big Sandy, called Loma Ferry Road. On the 3rd of July, we ventured to Butte to visit my Uncle Doug and Aunt Jacque, and to watch the fireworks display. Anyone who attended our wedding will remember the fireworks from the "M". It was a good show, and the first time I had watched them in 8 years. Wish Jeremy was there to watch them with me, but maybe next year! ;) It was so dry this year that we were really worried they were going to cancel the
show. The police had gone around and shut down all the fireworks stands earlier in the evening because of the fire danger. We had planned on buying some fireworks while we were in Butte, so that put a bit of a damper on our day. We did have a wonderful BBQ at my mom's ranch on the 4th, with my aunt & uncle Pixie and Danny. They were camping nearby and came down to spend a few hours. We headed back the 5th and made it home the afternoon of the 6th. It was a nice relaxing trip, the weather was absolutely beautiful, I got to spend a lot of time with family, and I can't wait to go back and do it again!
There are more photos below