Montana is incredible.

Trip Start Apr 28, 2011
Trip End Sep 04, 2011

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Where I stayed
Fay and Jack's home

Flag of United States  , Montana
Thursday, August 11, 2011

The last two summers we have been particularly lucky to be invited to the home of friends in Anaconda, Montana. We had visited with two other couples each time, and had amazing experiences- a Folk Festival in Butte, traveling to Glacier Park (twice!!), visiting historical monuments, and enjoying the wide open spaces, and endless blue skies. Joe particularly likes driving along roads that follow rivers, as Montana has such easy access for camping and it never seems crowded. Sunlight and sparkling water at the edge of lovely mountains seem to be the birthright of those lucky enough to live in Montana. 

Our first visit to Montana was particularly important because we had letters from my maternal great grandmother from a century ago. She had homesteaded in the Flathead Lake area, but the farm was never to prosper; without understanding the needs of the land, the farmers who planted fields of winter wheat diminished the nutrients and the farms did not thrive. My grandmother grew up on that farm, started her family there, and migrated to Caifornia in 1929, just before the depression struck. My mother grew up in Watsonville, California and stayed there the rest of her life, marrying a corporal from Fort Ord in the forties and caring for five children born there. 

My paternal grandfather had better luck in Montana. As a teen, he had studied surveying along the railroad and became a mapmaker, setting up business in Dillon, Montana, where he created sectional maps first of counties and then the first sectional map of Montana, making enough money in that to carry him to set up a profitable lithography business in San Francisco, California, years later, whose profits supported my father's family well during the depression. We had great luck in finding copies of the two maps mentioned when we first visited Montana; we got two vellum copies of the sectional map of Beaverhead County from the Bank of Dillon, who had a carefully guarded box of them in their basement. The sectional map of the state of Montana was a display in a reconstruction of an elementary one-room schoolhouse at the Mining Museum in Butte. One of our goals is to find a copy of that pull-down map that we can purchase so if you know of any copies... let me know! 

Part of what makes Montana so wonderful is Glacier Park.  Though we didn't visit it this time, our trips there with Fay and Jack, especially on the very scenic Going to the Sun highway, are worth noting with a photo. 
This trip to Montana was not for delving into personal history, but to establish new history as Joe completed his 87th, 88th and 89th renditions of the National Anthem, well on his way to his stated goal of singing the anthem at over 100 minor league ball parks in one season, which is a singular accomplishment! Though Fay and Jack were not in residence at the time (traveling in Europe), we still gratefully enjoyed the gracious warmth of their home during their absence.
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