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Central Montana 2020

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by wobbly one, Sep 21, 2020.

  1. pnw

    pnw Long timer

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    If you're interested, another worthwhile nuclear historical site is Hanford B reactor in Richland WA. First large scale nuclear reactor in the world that produced plutonium for the Trinity test and the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Later produced tritium for hydrogen bombs. Pre COVID there were daily free tours (by reservation). Amazing what was done with old technology and slide rules.
    #21
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  2. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    I am interested indeed pnw - thanks. I actually toured the B reactor as part of a ride down to the Reno Air Races a year ago at this time. Going to be part of an another little ride report that I should have had posted before now. It is truly an outstanding tour. Amazing the sheer scale and the condensed timeframe of the whole project. It sounds like you might be an odd bird like me with similar interests. There is also a very worthwhile nuclear historical site outside of Arco Idaho, called the EBR-1 reactor. I posted up some photos of that in a Pony Express Trail ride report I put up about a year ago if you are interested. Please let me know of others - always have room at the top of my bucket list.
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/pony-express-ride.1425858/
    #22
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  3. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Very entertaining ride report. I rode that area on one of the BOM rides and look forward to getting back that way next year.
    #23
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  4. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the compliment jonz. I did not take in any of the BOM rides - my loss for sure.
    #24
  5. Belgradian

    Belgradian Been here awhile

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    More please!
    #25
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  6. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    Thanks much Belgradian. I do have some more photos to post up - hopefully this afternoon. Have been tied up and busy trying to make the dog food money.
    #26
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  7. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    Robert Frost...
    The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

    IMG_2323-1.jpg

    The roads are nice and smooth and remote. Just as I like them. All the while I was in these mountains I only came across a group of 4 atv's, and one pickup.

    IMG_2324-1.jpg


    Well this is an interesting roadside attraction.

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    Huh, I don't think this cleared the Bureau of Safe Dams. I guess when you are an early day gold miner you sometimes just said F*' it – a dam is going in.

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    And when you struck it rich you bought food. And when you struck it fabulously rich and your ship had come in, you dressed up your place with some skirting. Looks like a 12 x70 Lancer – a smart choice.

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    It's nice up here. Quiet.

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    And that is my destination – Top of The World, or as most people call it – Judith Peak.

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    A little hazy today from the west coast fires but this is still an exceptional perch up here and you can see for miles and miles. I was later told by a local that on a clear day you can see in excess of 100 miles. This is looking north towards our Canadian friends.

    IMG_2331-1.jpg


    My spidey senses kick in and I get the strange feeling that I am being watched, observed. I don't know what it could be, but I become alert. I que up some Rockwell and continue to investigate.

    IMG_2332-1.jpg
    #27
  8. VEGASHOTWHEELER

    VEGASHOTWHEELER Adventurer

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    I look forward to visiting these areas next year on 2 wheels.
    Daughters newest base assignment has her in Great Falls.
    By next riding season my Son In-law should have his 2 wheel license and I’ll have the 650 Vstrom I’m rebuilding for him road worthy.
    Mike
    #28
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  9. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    I think you will enjoy the area very much Mike. The Little Belts are just a stone's throw to the south of Gt. Falls and in my opinion have some of the best gravel/dirt riding in the whole area. These Judith and Snowy mountains are about 100 miles to the east. You will have no shortage of cool places to investigate.
    #29
  10. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    A few others from the top.

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    Ok, enough playing King of the World. On to the gold mining town of Maiden. I'm liking this place already.

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    Skookum Joe... dadgummit. I swear, all the good names have been taken.

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    Not much is left of the town actually – starting off in 1881 but burned down in 1905 and they never rebuilt. But supposedly they had 1200 people in their heyday, eight saloons, two clothing stores, five general merchandise stores, a dry goods store, a butcher shop, a blacksmith, two barbers, a feed stable, a lawyer office, a doctor, a hotel, a restaurant, and a Starbucks. Ok, I just made that last one up - but a going concern none the less.
    https://westernmininghistory.com/towns/montana/maiden/

    Now just a few old ghosts left kicking around.


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    And if you are really really quiet around this place you can almost hear a sucking sound...

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    #30
  11. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem Supporter

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    awesome,


    again thanks for the help planning my trip up there this summer
    #31
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  12. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    Hey Red - nice surprise - I am honored you riding along. Thanks. Sorry our paths didn't get to cross when you were up in these parts. I hope you had a great trip. I have been a little remiss in checking in on other threads - I am going to bounce over to yours now and see how your trip went. Cheers.
    #32
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  13. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    So now it's off to the city of Roy, where I will take an offramp and head back south to the eastern side of the Judiths. Well, I almost smoke right through Roy because it's more like a few homes and an old grocery store. Good thing for double front disc brakes and pretty new pads. I stop and head into the store because I feel I have earned an ice cream sandwich. On my way back out I come across this old gent and realize it looks just like how I feel some days.

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    A quick story about this photo. This whole trip I have been encountering an apocalyptic amount of grasshoppers. I can feel them hitting my boots like bits of gravel. Well, as I am grabbing my phone from it's mount to get his photo I feel a smack on my forehead and I write it off as just another infernal grasshopper. So I take my time, get a couple of shots, eat my ice cream bar, probably sing a few songs. I go to gear up and put my helmet on, and I soon realize it was not a grasshopper, but a kamikaze bird that apparently had me in his sights. I can't believe it – I suddenly feel like I am a bit player in a roadrunner cartoon. I tidy myself up and then take a quick look around to make sure no one was taking this all in - don't want to find myself on YouTube one of these days. Good thing I got my ice cream when I did. Crows: 1, Man: none (today anyway).


    So off I go, heading to Grass Range on about 60 miles of gravel. Anxious to get Roy in my rear view mirror.

    ROY-GRASS RANGE-1.jpg


    First thing I need to do is initialize my old-school dead reckoning GPS and take stock of my first way point – Black Butte.

    IMG_2355-1.jpg


    It is surprisingly steep. And black. A few miles later I discover that another megaton is trying to hide there in the saddle on the right. It looks like Black Butte may have stood the small risk of becoming Black Bowl back in the day. That makes two of these today.

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    It is 30 miles of this delicious gravel road before I bisect asphalt. And in all that time I encounter only one truck.

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    Back side of Black Butte. Just don't want you to leave this thread thirsting for more pictures of Black Butte.

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    And now behold good people, I give you.... wait for it.... eastern Montana. I don't think there is another “mountain” due east of this point until you get to the Appalachians, 1500 miles away.

    IMG_2362-1.jpg


    Now turning your attention back west as a reference we have the Judiths. Calm, peaceful, quiet, and home to Skookum Joe.

    IMG_2364-1.jpg


    Next along my trail of discovery is this luscious find – a modest rancher. Oooh, do you see what I just did there – a double entendre or a bad pun – I am not really sure which. Rancher House - Rancher Homesteader... oh, just forget it. These old homestead places really capture my interest. I grew up on an old mining claim that was patented back in the 1880's and was surrounded by old cabins, buildings, and works. Something about these old structures takes me back to my youth. Could also be that they are the same age as me... I notice this one has a She Shed – probably a nice quiet place to get away and make tallow candles or pemmican.

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    I'm sure this ol' place has quite a few tales to tell.

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    #33
  14. handensco

    handensco Long timer Supporter

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    As an old Billings boy myself I am loving reading your ride report. Back in the day in the early 80's I remember taking the late SO and doing some huckleberry hunting in those there mountains. I grew up in Billings in the 70's and went to Billings West. Every time I see a ride report from those parts I read it. I haven't been up there in about 2 years now. I wanted to go up this past summer but Covid and my parents are 94 and 95. I see Jonz name and it brings back memories of the Jones brothers from Red Lodge. I will be up there next summer.
    Your writing skills are second to none.
    #34
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  15. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem Supporter

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    thx i'm enjoying your rr, hate we didn't bump into each other while we were out there too. Trip was awesome many thx to u, @jonz & many others that pointed us in the right way.

    i wound up with a extra week, so after i dropped the misses off at the airport i did idaho, wash & oregan
    #35
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  16. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    Wow - thanks for the nice compliment handensco! I am not worthy. Always nice to run into a another Billings fella. Give me a shout if you get up in these parts next summer and are looking for riding company.
    #36
  17. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    Dang it – this work mumbo jumbo is seriously affecting my ability to finish a ride report. I got to get this thing done. I guess I'm going to have to talk to the boss.

    So making my way along the east side of these mountains I get that old comfortable feeling of real solitude. I am a solo beast and it continues to be reaffirmed. Most places in the world are measured in people per square mile. As is the case for much of Montana, this place is measured in square miles per people. My kind of country.

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    I sincerely hope the peaceful protests don't find their way here – this place seems peaceful enough just as it is.

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    Old railway grade from the turn of the previous century. Pretty respectable what you can do with some picks, a steam shovel, and a few donkeys.

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    And this old whistle stop is now the Cheadle Community Center. Only one house within miles that I could see. The discriminating eye will instantly pick up on the presence of a biffy there on the left. An outhouse to the less informed. The keen eye will also pick up on the presence of 110v service, or a landline. I suppose so you can charge up your tablet while you're out there, or perhaps chat with friends. Curious either way I guess. There is also a motorcycle somewhere there in that inky blackness.

    IMG_2387-1.jpg

    Well enough languishing at the Cheadle Community Center- I am burning daylight. I que up Pure Prairie League and press on. It is here my deluxe gravel is intersected by Highway 87. I jet straight across it like it's hot coals. Didn't dab once.

    Some miles further on I come across what I can only guess is maybe an early day B&B. Looks like it may need to be re-chinked.

    IMG_2389-1.jpg


    And then there were these. Graffiti artists are really missing an opportunity out in these parts. Just think how much better they could look...

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    Is it just me, or does the floor slope a bit? Lots of stories locked up in these old places I'm sure.

    IMG_2391-1.jpg
    #37
  18. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    I no more than get a few miles down the road when I encounter my new summer home. Wobbly Acres. Sign should be changed soon.

    IMG_2392-1.jpg


    The N Bar Ranch just over the horizon. Don't see any 747's landing. At least now anyway.

    I look at this photo and I am reminded of my 8th grade biology teacher, Mr Struble. I know- weird, right? Anyhoo, he grew up right adjacent to where Hugh Glass made history and nearly became grizzly bear food outside Lemmon South Dakota. Hugh's incredible story of survival has been immortalized in the movie The Revanent. Contrary to what the movie portrays, the attack took place on relatively flat ground in north central South Dakota – not in the mountains. This was the grizzly's natural habitat until human pressure pushed them into the higher country. First time I ever heard of Mr. Glass was in Mr. Struble's class, and his words of caution stays with me to this day – be vigilant around willow filled coulees. Funny what knowledge sticks with you. I don't remember jack about biology, but I do remember about willow filled coulees. Thanks Mr. Struble.

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    Next I roll into the sleeply little burgh of Forest Grove. No BMW dealers here.

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    But they do have an implement dealer. Looks like he may be sitting on a bit of last year's inventory.

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    Now what do I owe this good fortune to?

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    Pretty typical central Montana scenery.

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    Oh. Dr. Stangelove, it's you. Fancy meeting you here.

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    And I present to you now... a barn.

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    #38
  19. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    A precautionary note to those that may plan to travel out in these parts on our fine gravel roads – apparently it was all the rage back in the day for road designers to incorporate blind, falling away, off-camber, tightening spiral curves into the road alignment – just for hoots and giggles. Better even still if they could be placed adjacent and steeply above life safety hazards like a rock fields or flowing streams. And a sign to tell drivers what they might encounter would just be money not well spent of course. Just my observation.

    I pull into Grass Range for a well deserved ice cream bar and a final fill-up before heading back home. It has been a fantastic couple of days. For much of it I felt as though I were the last person on earth – just did not encounter many people at all. As I fill up my old mule I start to think about my hot wife and how she is probably pining away at home awaiting my arrival with a big squishy hug and frosty pint of my favorite. My memory is a little unclear as to whether or not that is what actually happened, so I'm just going to go with that. Thanks for riding along.

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    And thanks Lord for letting me put another one in the books.

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    #39
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  20. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy Supporter

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    Very nicely done!! :clap

    Gotta get me some Montana in 2021.....
    #40
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