GRANDSON'S COLLEGE GRADUATION TRIP travel blog

Montana Highway Scenery


Marge and Ross spent two nights in Billings, Montana and Monday morning they planned on heading to Butte, Montana when Ross discovered a water leak above the bathroom sink. It had been raining very heavily all night and it was still raining lightly when Ross found the leak. Ross traced the leak to what he thought was the source of the leak. What Ross found was a two inch section of caulk that was extremely thin and it seemed it was simply held in place by the paint. Ross was running his hand along the seam between the roof cover the wall coping when his finger nail caught on a loose piece of caulk. Ross pulled on the piece of caulk and a two inch opening appeared and it was obvious the caulk had not adhered to the joint properly.

Ross looked for caulking in the motorhome and none of tubes were any good. He then got in the truck and drove to a nearby RV dealership and purchased a fresh tube of caulk. It was still raining slightly when Ross got back to the motorhome but within about 15 minutes the rain stopped. Ross climbed the ladder again and used several rags to dry and clean the exposed joint and then applied some new caulk.

After another 30 minutes or so they began getting the rig ready to head west toward Butte, Montana, a distance of 225 miles. Ross had planned on possibly stopping in Bozeman, Montana for the night rather than driving all the way to Butte. However, the road was good and the traffic light and he the set cruise control on 65 and away they went.

After leaving Billings and driving about 5 miles road open up to wide open valley surrounded by mountains. It was very spectacular view with the green landscape of lush grazing lands with sheep and cattle grazing as well as field of grain under cultivation and farms house and equipment scattered about. Marge took a photo from the passenger seat with her Note Pad and the photo will be included in this Journal entry if they can figure out how to move the photo from the Note to Ross’ laptop.

Ross had found what seemed to be a good campground under the Butte heading and he set his GPS for that location. Well it turns out that the campground is also listed under Anaconda, Montana which is about 30 miles west of Butte. The campground is called the Fairmont RV Park and it is located on Fairmont Road which is about 10 miles west of Butte, basically halfway between Butte and Anaconda.

Butte, Montana is the home of what was one of the largest, if not the largest, copper mines in the world. The mine started operation and 1955 and ceased operation in 1983. The mine was an open pit mine and what remains is a gaping hole now called the Berkeley Pit. Why it carries that name is not known to this writer.

The Berkeley Pit is 7,000 feet long, 5,600 feet wide and 1,600 feet deep. The pit is filling with water so all you can see today is huge lake. Ross and Marge drove back to the mine after getting setup at the Fairmont Campground only to fine the visitors center closed due to weather. The weather was crummy. It was raining, the wind was blowing and the temperature was in the mid 40’s with the predicted overnight temperatures dropping to near freezing.

Instead of returning directly to the campground they took a detour to visit the town of Anaconda. Anaconda was known as the smelter town because that is where the copper ore was smelted and the copper extracted from the ore during the days when the Anaconda Copper was in operation in Butte. It is small town with a unique feature that they observed in Williams, Arizona when they took a train ride from Williams to the Grand Canyon. The town has two main streets, each separated by one city block. Each street is one-way with each street running in opposite directions.

To get to Anaconda you must drive I 90 through Butte, past the exit to the Fairmont campground and take the next exit and as they drove along the exit they saw a small community to the south and they were thinking this is Anaconda. However, they were wrong. It turns out this community is called Opportunity, Montana and Anaconda is another 7 miles south. It could be said that they each missed an opportunity twice, but they won’t say that.

Anaconda has a huge smoke stack that Ross is positive was used by the smelting operation and there are huge piles of again Ross thinks, the operative words is thinks, are the remaining spoils from the smelting operation. There is a second large area shaped exactly the same as the black spoils and again Ross is assuming that this pile is simply spoils that have been seeded and you might say reclaimed.

The campground is located within about 100 yards of the Fairmont Sulfur Hot Springs Hotel and Ross and Marge decided to go there for breakfast. It was a delicious meal with Marge having a deep fried and breaded trout with two eggs and Ross having Eggs Benedict on a Portabella Mushroom. So much for a cholesterol free diet!!!!!!

They left the Fairmont Campground around 1030 and arrived at the Lim & Mary RV Park in Missoula around 1230. Ross called his friend after work both Dave and Mary came out to the motorhome. They brought a pizza and Ross and Marge provided a beer, wine, and a salad. They had an enjoyable evening with their friends and will be joining them for dinner this evening at their home.

This morning Ross and Marge drove to the Missoula Costco and restocked the motorhome. There is very little room left in the motorhome for anything more.

That is all for now,

Ross & Marge



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