Week 828 - Montana Mike - 06-26-2022

Montana Mike

Donnalee's Big Adventure is coming to a close. A visit to Pete and Donnalee's brother, Montana Mike, is in order. Mike lives in Belgrade, Montana; Donnalee in Green Valley, Arizona and Pete and Ellen live all over. A sibling reunion is difficult with over a thousand miles separating them. So a visit to Mike was a must.

After leaving Yellowstone, due to evacuation, we landed in Cody, Wyoming. As we ventured into Montana, we witnessed some of the devastation of the Yellowstone River flooding.

Approaching Montana, we noticed the sign that all watercraft must be inspected. As we had none, we bypassed the inspection station.

1) The Clark Fork of the Yellowstone River rose up in Fromberg, Montana. Other cities suffered more; Red Lodge, Billings, Livingston to name a few. 2) The results of the heavy rain left everything green. Normally, the landscape might start to brown up this time of the year.

Simply gorgeous, thank you Lord for your marvelous creation.

The beauty continues as we head to Greycliff, Montana. Greycliff is a small town, but we were headed to the Greycliff Mill, a Harvest Host destination.

Oops, the road was closed just minutes before we arrived. We were just short of the mill, a mile and half to go. We had a couple of choices. Unhook the cars, turn around and travel about 12 miles to a dry road. Or we could take the MotherShip thru a 16 foot culvert through a local rancher's property without having to unhook. Chris, the ranch owner, offered this. Still a 12 mile detour. Graciously, the road engineer, Dana shown here, offered to lead us through the flooded road. We were concerned that Donnalee might not want to wade through.

Au contraire, she was thrilled and here comes the BabyShip in all its glory. Maybe we should have stopped at the watercraft inspection station! Note that no one would be allowed to plough thru the water without a guide, Thanks, Dana.

We completed the 1.5 miles to the Mill and came for our unique night's stay near the barn.

The Mill building was shipped from New York to Montana. The waterwheel on the hidden North side was brought in from South Carolina. The Mill property is a 1,800+ ranch offering many activities for its guests. Harvest Host sites offer a fee dry-camping stay. They offer goods for sale for compensation. We got a nice lunch at the Mill. So rather than pay for a stay, we get a meal for our money.

Back on the road to get to Mike in Belgrade. A stay at the Home Town Pump was great. This truck stop is just miles from Mike's house. We toured Mike's condos. Mike owns, rents and has renovated two townhouses in Belgrade. He lives in one with roommates and rents the other as well.

The next day, we were off for a 3 day river adventure. Mike led us to the Trapper Springs campground, a forest service camp. Our site was a short walk to the Madison River, which we will float.

After we set up camp, Mike journeyed down to the Madison to check out the flow.

Donnalee and Pete joined in. Pete tested the waters. Our plan was to "tube" down the river; Mike had purchased innertubes for the float. Question: Could your bottom survive a 1 hour float in a tube?

After a little discussion, we determined that today was not a day for hypothermia. Maybe tomorrow?

Settled in, the sibs sat down for a good chat. The three of us are not often together, so we had a lot of stories to tell. Pete was obviously delighted by this one.

The evening dinner was provided by Mike. Santa Maria style BBQ with tri-tip, beans, salad and garlic bread. Hmmm! Nothing better. We were joined by Caleb and Austin, two of Mike's renters; nice folks.

The next day was the time to float. The Madison River flows out of Yellowstone Park, up through Montana and merges with the Missouri River. Today's weather was sunny but windy. It yielded a interesting ride. With a two person canoe, Donnalee manned the front seat. Her job is to propel the canoe if needed, but mostly to help guide. Caleb was in the rear, his major responsibility is directing with help from Donnalee. Mike having no seat, sat on the floor and enjoyed the view.

Off they go for a short 1 hour float back to the Trapper Springs campground. At the camp Donnalee will hop out and Pete jumps in.

Ooh, maybe too big of a jump as the boat flips over and Pete is soaked. Too bad Ellen didn't get the video. (She then, started taking video hoping for 2nd flip. Sadly for her, that did not happen. Actor Will Rogers says "Its always funny when it happens to someone else!")

The day continued with a visit to Headwaters Golf Course in Three Forks, Montana. Three Forks is the location of the confluence of the Gallatin, Jefferson and Missouri Rivers. High winds precluded the round of golf at the 9-hole course. But, that left more time for dinner at Sir Scott's Oasis, an excellent steak house in Harrison. Mike ponied up for the meal as he continued his generosity for the entire weekend.

Speaking of Pony, we all went to church at the Pony Bible Church, in Pony, Montana. Pastor John delivered a great message as his wife lead us in worship. In the last 17 years, we have visited over 300 churches. We are pleased to say that Jesus is alive in all of them.

After a wonderful visit, it is time to move on. So long for now. Michael, thank you for all your planning and generosity. We built some great memories.

Continuing to Deer Lodge, Montana, we just keep getting presented with Montana's gorgeous scenery.

Thanks for traveling with us, see you next week.

With love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy

"For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine." Psalms 50:10-11

Photos from 06-26-2022

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