For about 15 years now, we've been heading to Anaconda MT in July for their massive Goosetown softball tournament. Wifey plays, I drive the truck and camper and make sure there's lots of beer around. And I get to go ride too. So Friday night we (Val, friend Clarissa, and moi) head down the highway, full of anticipation of a great weekend. The next morning, the girls' first game is at 7 AM. Off they go, to conquer the softball world. I hopped on the DR650, and immediately put some distance between myself and town. My planned route goes up in those hills Past Fairmont Hot Springs And up German Gulch road into the Beaverhead National Forest for a long loop back down around Butte When gold was discovered here in the mid 1800's, everything such as this creek bed was dug up in search of the precious rocks My planned route was aborted when I ran into gates by a big open pit mine. I take some other roads as I find them, just exploring. But you run into a lot of this out there Deadfall is a fact of life out here, and it will be much worse for the rest of our lives. The entire conifer forests of Montana are being destroyed by the pine beetle. Almost all of the British Columbia forests have been decimated by this bug, it's into Idaho too. It is an environmental disaster almost too great to measure, but you don't hear much about it on the news because there are no cute birds with oil on them I guess. But in a few short years, lumber will be at a tremendous premium, as these dead trees become worthless and the supply of green will not be enough to go around. Please excuse the long winded soap-boxing. Here is the typical Montana Lodgepole forest today. I wind my way around the mountains on various and sundry roads and see some nice country. I get up to the top, and take a break looking down into the big valley that runs north to Deer Lodge I then work my way down and across I-90 and up into some other hills for a second half of my loop. There's enough dead lodgepole in this state to build this kind of fence around the whole country I bet Here's looking back at Anaconda, facing south pretty much here I get back to the fields, and the girls are doing well. No doubt under the professional direction of their coaching staff Val gets a hit Jessica hits an exciting Grand Slam My Val plays first base and does well at it Well after doing some serious damage to the beer supply in town, the girls win again Sunday morning. We have time to kill so I head back out. Anaconda is a cool town with all kinds of old mining stuff around. I head out with no particular place to go. Found an MX track. Gated, otherwise I woulda been out there pulling doubles in the 650 Well, maybe not. I did end up at Lost Creek canyon, pretty spectacular place. Headed back to town for the afternoon. The girls took 5th out of a whole ton of teams in their bracket. Great fun it was. Another salute to Anaconda Montana and the Big Stack, the largest free standing masonry structure on earth. See ya next year!