For centuries, this country was home to huge buffalo herds, stretching as far as the eye could see. And Indians, who lived off the abundance of the land. Lewis and Clark were the first white explorers to this neck of the woods, at the beginning of the 19th Century. They were followed by mountain men - explorers, trappers, prospectors. Later followed by pioneers, seeking their piece of ground and the American Dream. And cowboys.
100 years after Lewis and Clark, western artist Charles M. Russell settled in Great Falls, Montana. From there, he ventured out to portray the American West - the world of cowboys - in his artwork. His home and studio - and a big museum full of his work - still stand in Great Falls, and was perhaps the centerpiece of this particular adventure. (I ventured to the area over 8 days in the summer of 2004.)
Other highlights included:
- Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks,
- A loop side-trip to enjoy the Wind River Mountains, Atlantic City (Wyoming, not New Jersey!), and retracing some of my pioneer forefathers' footsteps along the Mormon/Oregon Trail (South Pass is where they crossed the Continental Divide... in the center of a high mountain prairie),
- Big Sky Country of western Montana,
- A side trip to Cardston, Alberta,
- Glacier National Park (including the lesser-known "Many Glacier Road"),
- Flathead Lake
- Highway 12 in north Idaho - Motorcycle Nirvana, home to the legendary sign: "Winding Road Next 77 miles."
Click on the photos, and the map, for larger views.
- More photos, and/or a slide show - click HERE.
- Google Earth detailed route and points of interest - click HERE. (Note - you need to have Google Earth installed on your computer, for it to be useful).