I left Lookout Pass at 6:30 AM and arrived at the Missoula County Fairground at about 9:00 AM.
I was early enough to have a choice of dry camping or having electricity. I chose not to take electricity.
It is a lot warmer here than at Lookout Pass. In the afternoon the temperature was 95 degrees F.
The air conditioner would have made a difference. I went in town and saw a barber shop. I drove in the parking lot and since I did not have to wait I got a haircut. The barber was just finished with a customer. I stopped at Albertsons. They had a lot of fruits on sale.
I bought cherries and grapes.
At the circle meeting we were looking for shade. The rest of the afternoon I spent outside. The motorhome was too hot. As soon as the sun disappeared it cooled off.
On our morning walk we stopped at two garage sales. The ladies bought stuff. I was the banker since I was the only one who had money with me.
On Saturdays there are four Farmers Markets in Missoula. I went to one.
There were also food vendors. At one place they made delicious Mexican food right in front of the customers. I had a breakfast burrito.
At 10:00 AM we met at the carousel.
Karen, the host for this outing, had arranged for us to meet the lady who is in charge of the carousel.
She gave us the history of this fine merry go round.
It started with one local man carving a wooden carousel horse. He liked it so much that he carved more. Other people joined him. He promised the city a carousel if they promised to keep it in town. The city provided the land near the River Walk.
A nonprofit organization was formed and parts of a carousel were found and brought to Missoula. They were able to built a working carousel and it is one of the fastest. Riders on the horses have to wear seat belts.
We all enjoyed a ride.
There is also a repair shop. Broken horses or other animals are being fixed and made like new.
Near the Farmers Market was a Pet Fest.
The Humane Society and other organizations were trying to inform the public how to treat animals, to have them fixed so they cannot reproduce, and to adopt the animals which were there in cages.
A tattooed lady had a colorful French Poodle.
Most of the group went to the other Farmers Markets and I ended up at the library. It is a few degrees cooler today.
Last night we had a beautiful sky.
This morning we went to the Missoula Smokejumper Base and Visitor Center. The Smokejumpers fly out in ten or sixteen member teams. As soon as their services are warranted they parachute near the fire and try to control it.
Smokejumpers are the special forces of the fire fighters. They are highly trained and have to be in good physically shape. When they jump they have 65 pounds of gear with them. They jump from a low altitude which is dangerous and with the extra weight they have to know what they are doing. This mannequin wears the Kevlar suit and has all the gear used during the parachute. This includes personal item for a two day stay.
The Smokejumpers make their own Kevlar suits and other equipment which has to be sewed.
Saws, axes, survival gear and other equipment are dropped with different parachutes.
Here is the cargo display.
In the locker room each firefighter has his or her own space.
When the teams come back from a fire the parachutes are inspected and hung up to dry.
The cargo parachutes are orange.
In the parachute folding room are long tables.
In the ready room are performed the final inspections.
On the grounds is an old fire lookout building. That kind of building is not used anymore.
Those buildings were replaced with lookout towers. Most of them are shut down too. Airplanes are used more and more.
After the war water bombs were used for a while. They left big craters and did not work very well.
On the tarmac were two airplanes, a tanker jet and a propeller driven machine for delivering the Smokejumpers to the fire area.
I would have never qualified for being a Smokejumper. After a fire they have to be able to carry a bag with 110 pound of equipment for three miles. They fill the bag and lay on it with their back. They attach the straps to their body and then turn on their stomach. The bag is then on their back. Getting up with 110 pounds on your back is another story.
The Navajo Hotshots, another elite fire fighting unit park their trucks on the same property.
This was an interesting tour. We saw some short movies and the lady who gave the tour was very knowledgeable.
Our next stop was the Elk Country Visitor Center. The center was started by four hunters. In the visitor center are wonderful displays of elks and other animals. There is also a movie theater.
Elks were very important for Lewis and Clark on their expedition. Each member of the group ate eight pounds of meat a day. In the prairie they ate buffalo meat.
Elk teeth were very important for the Indians. They were used on the dress for women. If a woman had a lot of teeth on her dress it showed that her husband was a good hunter.
I walked the Nature Trail and ate my lunch there.
In the morning I helped to bring kayaks to the river and then drive a truck to the take out point. Eight WINs took off for four hours of fun on the river.
In the afternoon we went to Traveler’s Rest State Park. Lewis and Clark and their expedition stayed here for a while and took a rest. They gave it the name. Indians used this spot for the same purpose on their way to hunt bison in Eastern Montana.
During the archeological investigation here, researchers discovered that the layout of the camp was consistently with the Order of Encampment in the military manual developed by Baron Von Steuben. Since this was a military expedition and the camp was laid out as such, researchers are sure they found the correct site.
The small Visitor Center has a few items which also show proof that Lewis and Clark were here. There are also items the local Indians used in their daily lives.
While we were at Traveler’s Rest one of the big fires in the area got bigger. When we got back to the motorhomes we were informed that the highway we were on was closed and people in the area had to evacuate.
Ashes are all over the place. We have to close the windows in the motorhome to keep the black and gray soot out.
Life goes on though. Some people play cards.