Monday, August 7, 2017

Smoky, smoky, smoky.

Everywhere you go in the states has some kind of threat or discomfort, whether it be heat, humidity, traffic, congestion, tornados, hurricanes, thunderstorms, you get the idea, well here in the west it's fire.  In fact someone we met said there are 3 seasons out here, winter, spring, and smoke.  For the last week or so, the smoke has been pretty intense, it wafts in and out with the wind, at times it is thick.  There are more than 13 active fires right now in Montana alone!  So at times it is very uncomfortable, but not as bad as when the fire is endangering where you are, and thankfully that has not been the case this year.

We left the Yellowstone River and went west to Anaconda, MT, a town that had the world's largest copper smelter, and the highest masonry structure in the world, the smokestack, which is still there by the way, is 585' tall.  It was built here to support the many mines in nearby Butte.  The smelter was closed in 1980 and much cleanup and redevelopment has occurred since.  

We pulled into our campground, Fairmont RV Park, a pretty nice, well laid out park with lots of room to maneuver and very large sites.  Not too much there, but it had views and was dark at night, two of our biggies.  Gravel sites with grass between.  We didn't accomplish too much while we were there:)  We looked for some wadable water to fish and didn't have a lot of luck, so we went into Butte to run a few errands and have lunch.  We had been to Butte several years before and remembered it as a bit run down, with a backdrop of some of the biggest mines you'll ever see, in every direction is a sign of mining.  It still is pretty quiet, but it has plenty of stores and restaurants.  We had a good lunch at Sparky's Garage.

We read about a ghost town about 80 miles away towards Missoula that is one of Montana's largest and most intact ghost towns, Garnet, so through the smoke we took a ride.  Most of the way was interstate, but the last 10 miles or so is a very narrow, windy, steep, single lane dirt road up to the town.  It was very pretty, and would be even more so without the smoke.  We parked and it is a 3/8 of a mile walk down a winding path to the old mining town.  It has been redone very well, and still has a couple houses that are being lived in.  It was built in 1895 and in its boom had 4 stores, 4 hotels, 3 livery stables, 2 barber shops, a union hall, a butcher shop, a candy shop, a doctor's office, an assay office, numerous miner's cabins, school with 41 students, and of course, 13 saloons!  By 1936 it had grown to 250 residents, but the onset of WWII and the dynamite restrictions made mining almost impossible, so the town faltered.  The post office closed in 1942, and the people moved away.  Since then the BLM has worked to preserve the town.
A view from the path coming down the hill

That was one of the hotels to the left

Some of the miner's cabins, center and right, the post office to the left

The general store in the foreground, the hotel behind
It was an interesting take and nice to walk around and picture it as it was back in the heyday.  We then took a detour back to the campground on mostly dirt roads.  A good day!

We took a loop drive and found the Big Hole River, a very pretty, but pretty shallow river this time of year.  With the water temps rising, the fish were taking it easy, but Jan did give it a go.
Here fishy, fishy, fishy.....
We also had the pleasure of meeting a couple new to full timing, and motorhomes in general that were our next door neighbors while we were there, David and Lingky in their spectacular coach.  It was fun to visit with them and sure hope our trails cross in the future!

We have now moved down the road about 80 miles to Dillon, MT, still in the smoke unfortunately.  We checked out the town quickly, but found out we are allowed to wash here at the very nice Countryside RV Park.  It is run by a couple, a fairly small park very well done, with plush grass and gravel sites.  It is like a park environment, and quiet, but unfortunately has quite a few streetlights:-(  
Also great views through the smoke

Now I should make mention of this washing situation.  Most parks, and I would say 90% will not allow washing, sometimes it's local water rules, sometimes they don't want water flowing on the ground, maybe some don't want to take a chance that you might spray someone else's rig, I don't know.  So when you get an opportunity to wash we try to take advantage of it, and especially since it has been over 6 weeks ago that we washed the coach, and we also took the time to unload the truck, wash it inside and out, and repack.  A productive day.
Scrub a dub


Sandy said...

It is called NPPDS, non point pollution discharge source. Passed by Clinton into law about 1998. ANY commercial activity (includes RV parks) that does not have a collection point for stormwater runoff or to collect fluids or water used in the operation is prohibited from allowing water to enter the ground. Thus, your RV park is breaking federal law by allowing you to wash your rig. It has very little to do with water usage outside of California. Every commercial building is required to have a storm water collection plan as well. Yes, every strip mall, parking lot, has to have a plan on file and approved with the Feds. NO exceptions. So why is it so expensive to operate a business in the U.S.???

Bill said...

Well I won't tell them if you won't tell them:-)

Chief said...

We will be in Dillon and staying at Countryside RV Park over Labor Day weekend. Hope the smoke will be gone. Sounds like a great place to stay, thanks.

Bill said...

We are in Ennis, MT right now and with the bunch of rain coming through, the smoke has cleared somewhat. Hopefully the rain has killed some of the fires. Yes Countryside is a nice place, quiet, nice couple running the place, not much in Dillon though:-)