A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Into the Smoke Filled Sky

Butte, Montana

All the country to the west of where we were is dotted with fires.  We never saw any blue sky in four hours of driving.  Here in Butte it was ten degrees cooler at 92 (33.3C) than what it was to be in Columbus.  That is because we are up in altitude.  The plan is to get higher.

You can just barely see the mountains in the distance.

Just a spark from a dragging chain can cause a fire to start.

The evening before we left this guy set up his “tent” across from us.  That green thing is it; not even two feet high.  He stuffed his sleeping bag in from the side.  I never have seen anything like this before.  I don’t even think he can turn over inside that thing.  For as much trouble and length of time he took setting that up he could have done the same with a small pup tent he could at least sit up in.

Here’s some cuteness.
Notice the people from Tennessee are still here in the background.
It will be over a 100 for three days straight. I think I finally figured out why they are gone most of the day everyday.  They’re driving all around Montana with the air conditioner going inside the truck.

She wasn’t too happy the first half of the drive.  When we went over the Continental Divide she let me know about it.  She doesn’t like the change in air pressure and her ears must pop as does ours.  This has happened before at altitude changes.  It never bothered Sinbad, or at least he never complained about it.

A Fine Find


Columbus, Montana

I was toolin’ around town on my bicycle Sunday and discovered a laundromat in town.  Cool!  We will be leaving Itch-Kep-Pe Park Monday as you read this for our ten days are up.  I’m inclined to stay longer as I don’t think they enforce that ten-day policy all that much but we need to be moving on eventually anyway.  Another string of triple digit temperatures are coming so best we head west and up in altitude some.  So this is nice.  I can do laundry first thing when we leave and get that out of the way. 

I finally was able to get a photo of the mama deer.  
The fawns didn’t come out with her this time.

I wonder what she is thinking?

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Weekend Rafting


Itch-Kep-Pe, Columbus, Montana

Overall it is pretty quiet here.  The weekends as you may suspect has more activity.  Lots of it is due to river rafting the Yellowstone and everyone who engages in that activity has to pass by us on the campground road to access the boat ramp.  Some of them are the local rafting companies that use these school buses to ferry people and rafts back and forth.

More though are private individuals with their rafts or river raft fishing boats.  
Their trailers make a lot of noise clang-banging along the pothole filled camp road.

Now if they observed the 15mph speed limit it wouldn’t be so bad but HA!
that would only be in a perfect world.
I can say the commercial rafting people in their school buses are really considerate in their driving and keep the speed and noise down considerably. 

Beans really couldn’t care any less.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Our Other Neighbors


One day I saw this right outside my window as I sat at the table.

The next day.

There is no such thing as too many pictures of baby deer.
The young mother came out also but all three ran back into the brush when I tried to slowly open the window for a better photo.  Evidently they live back in there somewhere

On a related note...

One last bit of cuteness for today.

Gee, this river water is pretty tasty.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Our New Neighbor

Itch-Kep-Pe, Columbus, Montana

This is the closest campsite to us.  It is directly across the camp road.  They arrived at 2:20 a.m.  Yes, in the dark middle of the night.  They went about setting up the tent by flashlight and I finally went back to sleep at three to the sound of tent stakes being pounded into the ground.  The next morning I was surprised to see the size of the tent.  They eventually crawled out from bed near noon and set up the rest of camp meaning the shade structure and the shower tent.  It is a couple from Tennessee and they appear to be in their fifties.  It seems they are pretty experienced campers.  Just why arriving at that hour is beyond me.

 Beans and I found this little yellow bird on our walk one morning.  Looked like it go hit by a car.  We brought it home and Beans had fun tossing it about, feathers flying everywhere.  
That lasted for about ten minutes.

I like to go for a morning walk down the road that connects the two halves of the park.  The local golf course is off to the side.  That is where I took this photo of a bird who couldn’t care any less about me.  On one such morning walk a pit bull came out after me from a camp.  I’ll not go into detail what transpired afterwards but needless to say I was very unnerved and quit with my walks down there.  Two days later I observed the rectal orifices leaving so I could now safely resume my morning walks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Columbus, Montana


The town originally was just a stagecoach stop along the Yellowstone River.  When the railroad came through that all changed.

I rode my bicycle through town to see what there was to see.  Not much.  The town is just a little over two thousand in population. I can imagine back in the day folks stepping off the train at the town’s depot.

They would walk across the then dusty dirt expanse to the Line Block Hotel (est. 1908) and seek accommodations.  The place to the left of the hotel read Sam Webb.  The bank stood at the far corner to the right.  The other buildings could have been places to eat and drink, or shops of a different nature.

The next block down was the Columbus Mercantile Co.
This was about it for the “old town” I could find during my bicycle ride.
Oh, the town has two hardware stores, Ace and True Value each right across the street from the other.
What were they thinking? That’s convenient for the shopper at least. 

On a related note I found this interesting.
How long it took to get from New York City to various parts of the country in 1830.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Our Old Camp

Itch-Kep-Pe, Columbus, MT. 

I walked on down to look at our old camp but a group was in it.

I went back after the weekend crew cleared out.  This is where we were two years ago.
You can see, no shade.

Some logs have been brought in.  I think I had backed in there at one point.
A lady with a tent was way back in there among the trees.
No more camping there.

Where I used to get in the water.  It appears the river is down from the photo on the previous post. 
Both photos were taken in mid-July, two years apart.

Monday, July 19, 2021

My Swimming Hole


Itch-Kep-Pe, Columbus, MT.

Taken from camp, just across the camp road beyond that sunny spot is the water.

You see I don’t have to go far to dip in and cool off.
This isn’t the main part of the Yellowstone River, just a side branch.

This was taken from our camp when we were here before.  That was my swimming hole right outside the door.  The river was swift so I could get swept away if I went out too far.

What I have now for this visit to Itch-Kep-Pe is just fine by me.

Also, the days of triple digit temperatures are over and we did fine being in the shade.


Sunday, July 18, 2021

I Cannot Believe Our Good Fortune


Itch-Kep-Pe Park, Columbus, Montana

Beans and I stayed here in mid-July three years ago.  We really liked this place.  That time we camped at the east end along the banks of the Yellowstone River.  I knew the west end had more shade and I was hoping for the best.  With fingers and paws crossed we pulled in.  Good, not many people here.  The few full-in shade spots were taken.  That’s okay.  I do need some solar plus your neighbor is right there next to you.  At the far end before continuing down the road to where we were before, there it was. 

Beans, we better take this one.  I don’t think we will be able to do any better.
The trees provide just enough shade all day long with only a scattering of sunlight for the solar panels.  You can see in the above photo the distance to our nearest neighbor.
That’s us in the distance on the left.

We will stay here the full ten days allowed.  There is no camp fee but they do take donations.  
I left a donation last time and will do so again this visit.

If our good fortune in landing this spot wasn’t enough, I am very happy to report my gut issues are over.  That was two and a half weeks of unpleasantness I never want to experience again.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Searching For Shade


We ended up at a Walmart in Miles City that evening.  I am still having gut issues and picked up some items that hopefully will get things straightened out down there.  We had a nice evening behind the store.  The next day was all about shade.  It is heating up and a string of 100 plus degrees (37.8 C) days were to begin over the weekend.

The first stop was Rosebud Creek campground.  This was a lovely little place.

There is history here too.

It was free to stay here and it was in the middle of a plague of locust.  It was fun walking along and all these little hoppers would spread to the side allowing you to pass by.  Beans wasn’t amused.

It was still morning and we had miles to put in with the air conditioner going so we moved on.
This was the only spot with shade and I’ll add, we could have had it all to ourselves.
No one was there at Rosebud.

An hour of driving later brought us to Captain Clark, a fishing hole along the Yellowstone.

After a few miles of dirt farm road and almost there we were greeted with this.

Nope.  Not going any further.  I did a turnaround right there which was tight to do.
See my copilot?

I wasn’t too disappointed for we had just passed this place when I took the above photo.

As some reviewers noted for Captain Clark fishing access “You have to pass by a sketchy looking place to get there and we weren’t too comfortable being so close to whatever lives there.”

Towards the end of the day was Voyagers Rest which reviewers had noted was full of shade.  
I had high hopes.
After two miles of farm road in we arrived.

Oh it had shade alright and a bazillion mosquitoes.  I got bit by three just stepping out for this photo.  That is all the exploring I did.  It made me think of William Clark and his men along with Sacagawea with her baby coming through here in 1806.  How did they cope?  The campground road was in bad shape and nothing you’d want to be trapped in on if it rained.  There was no breeze and the air was stifling.  Plus there was a fee to stay.  They wanted $12 if you had a Montana fishing license, $18 if no license.  This place wasn’t worth two cents.  Now back at Rosebud that would have been a different story.

I was tired and not feeling all that great but stayed anyway despite not being all that comfortable being there (like what reason would someone be driving through there at 1a.m.?) and we left before sunrise.
I didn’t even leave two cents.

I will add, that afternoon a truck pulling a long fifth-wheel trailer passed in front of us and stopped.  You could not go any further unless in a four-wheel drive truck as the road dipped through a mud hole.  “How is he going to back that thing out from here?”  The guy did the most amazing feat of backing that long trailer into the spot next to us (same size as we are in) and got the truck turned around and aimed the other direction then pulled on out.  His wife had got out and was spotting for him watching for tree branches. They were in a large spot along the rutted camp road when we left that morning.


Friday, July 16, 2021

An Old Highway Rest Stop

West of Terry, Montana 

Terry was forty miles from our stay in Glendive.  We got off the Interstate to see the town (desolate) and passed on through on old Highway 10 which was the main route before the Interstate came into being.  A few miles down the old highway was what used to be a rest stop for the traveler.  We pulled in for lunch.  It was nice, quiet and shady.  Very few cars passed by and so we stayed there.

In walking distance on down the road.

I followed a rutted dirt track down the embankment to view the Powder River.

Standing beneath the trestle to take that photo a freight train roared by overheard.
That was exciting.

Yeah, I wanted to walk across but I’d just have to come back so I didn’t disobey the sign.

The trains weren’t an issue for me since there was no horn blowing.  Beans though didn’t care for them and would always bolt for her hidey-hole when one rolled through.
Our camp is down the slope where she is looking.

On down the road we go.