Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Dragon Lake

Quesnel, British Columbia


We might be 350 miles north of the border.


They say that the average trout in Dragon Lake is 8-10 pounds.


We are told that the trout here taste "muddy" so it is advised to throw everything back.


I hate to torture fish unless I get to eat them, so we are very relieved not to get any bites or catch any fish.


After Wild Rose Road, we spent the night in Oroville, Washington. They grow and process lots of apples and have businesses that cater to Canadian shoppers (liquor stores, grocery stores and shipping and receiving firms)...we hit a nice RV Park on the river...


We cross the border....

The first 100 miles of British Columbia are very lovely. Apple and cherry orchards, wineries, mountains, rivers and lakes are everywhere....








We spend our first night at a Provincial Park called Steelhead Camp.


This person has made an interesting home from old railroad parts...



Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wild Rose Road

North of Spokane, Washington


We met a Flathead Indian. He was a ranger working the gate on a lovely tribal park on the shore of Flathead lake.


The Flatheads have normally shaped heads. One story is that neighboring tribes shaped baby heads into points and contemptuously referred to the non-points as "flatheads". My own mother was afraid that the back of my head would be flat so she always tied me in the crib on my belly with her nylon stockings when she went to work building radar artillery fuses. I'm definitely not a flathead.

Another story is that the Flathead sign language for the Flathead tribal name was two hands pressed to the temples..hence flatheads...who knows...We leave Flathead Lake by circling to the North End and come down the west side. It's the biggest lake in the U,S west of the Mississippi....I don't know if that is the surface area, shoreline or volume....maybe all three?

The Flathead reservation includes most of the lake and a large amount of surrounding area. Unfortunately, much of it was declared surplus and given to white farmers in a lottery. The Flatheads are patiently buying back land and now own about 2/3 of the land on the reservation.



Mrs. Phred grumbles at first about the back roads that the GPS has laid out for us on the way to Spokane. As we cruise down beautiful river valleys her mood changes. We pass a place called Paradise, Montana where I want to live.


The Jocko and Bitter Root rivers run though these valleys. Somehow Jocko is another name for Flathead. The Flatheads gave Lewis and Clark horses, which they later ate when they got hungry.


We arrive in Spokane and I see a Dermatologist to get a basal cell cancer removed from my cheek. We also get birthday cards for two of the grandchildren, four bottles of Pinot Grigio and some fingernail polish.


This morning I walked about five miles on Wild Rose Road. It was all up and down hill. I turned back at the top of a hill that claimed to be a 10% downgrade. I couldn't see the bottom. I've lost 35 pounds since February which is 15% of what I weighed when I decided it was all getting out of hand....You don't want to be the guy riding around Wal-mart in the electric cart.





Sunday, 23 June 2013

Flathead Lake, Montana

Eventually this will be a blog about Flathead Lake, Montana.....right now I'm off to buy some lemon zest...


Last night was Saturday. They had live music at the Raven on the shore of Flathead Lake. We met an interesting young man who was very drunk. He was in the Montana National Guard and just back from Afghanistan.



He was also a big fan of Pink Floyd and Hunter S. Thompson. He told us we we suckers for paying him to be in the guard although it seems to me that if the government mobilizes you every few years to go to a shit hole like Iraq or Afghanistan, you are probably earning your pay....Anyway, we thanked each other for our service and I bought him a couple of shots...he showed me his two daughters on his smart phone and it made me remember carrying pictures in my wallet and using pay phones....What an complex and nice young man...some Americans can be interesting....


As the evening progressed, I switched from bourbon and coke to straight shots of tequila....We have decided to slide over to Spokane and then head up into British Columbia and the Yukon Territories to Hyder, Skagway and then Valdez...we want to be in Alaska before the salmon start running...



Ha...lemon zest is just grated lemon peel....



Saturday, 22 June 2013

Confederate Gulch

 Canyon Ferry Lake, Montana

 There aren't many big lakes in Montana. We've been camping on Canyon Ferry Lake, which was formed when the Missouri River was dammed up near Helena.  We traveled around the lake yesterday and saw a large number of lovely campgrounds that had been created by the Federal Bureau of Reclamation (which neither of us had ever heard of before yesterday.



The Missouri River officially starts at the confluence of the Jefferson and Madison in Missouri Headwaters State Park near Three Forks, Montana, and is joined by the Gallatin a mile downstream. The Missouri then passes through Canyon Ferry Lake,  west of the Big Belt Mountains. The river flows northeast to the city of Great Falls, where it drops over the Great Falls of the Missouri, a series of five waterfalls. It then winds east through a scenic region of canyons and badlands known as the Missouri Breaks.
 

 We went into Helena yesterday to see Brad Pitt in "World War Z", which we both thought was a passable Zombie movie. These were the fast-moving type Zombies. which are always more exciting than the slow, shambling Zombies.....but even if you shoot these in the head and burn them to a crisp, they still wiggle their fingers.....


We also saw "Big Medicine" or what was left of him at the Montana Historical Museum....he was the one in five million "white buffalo" born in 1933 and died in 1958...he was stuffed...at the time of his birth much was made of the portent....



So where were we?....Oh Yeah....Confederate Gulch....


 After the Confederate Army invaded Missouri from Arkansas, it disintegrated into a number of smaller dangerous bands like the James brothers and Cantrell's Raiders. Fighting them was a very dangerous business so the Union general in charge offered them a parole in 1864 if they would cease fighting and go northwest  up into Montana.....usually by riverboat....Confederate Gulch was formed by a small creek that now flows down into Canyon Ferry Lake. Four Confederate soldiers discovered in the gulch the richest per acre gold find ever recorded. At one point a single pan of gravel yielded seven pounds of gold worth $1,400 at $20 per ounce. There were descriptions of unguarded nail kegs full of gold and sluices made inoperable by being clogged with gold dust.


The gravel in the creek bed was eight to forty feet thick and about half gleaming gold dust and nuggets. Efforts to locate the mother lode were largely unsuccessful. Today the gulch is very quiet. It was once the largest town in Montana with about 10,000 miners. Today only a few timbers remain.
The picture below shows the intersection of Ambush Lane and Confederate Gulch Road....





Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Where the Buffalo Roam

Yellowstone National Park

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson...I hate to advocate drugs, liquor, violence or insanity to anyone. But in my case it's worked.


Mrs. Phred snuck up on this bison with her bad foot and took this great picture...the park ranger told her to stop harassing the buffalo....


There is a hotspot deep below Yellowstone which causes all the geysers, mud pots, hot springs and fumaroles. The hotspot remains stationary and the continental plate drifts over it to the northeast.


The three Yellowstone super eruptions occurred 2.1 million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago, One was 2,500 times as powerful as Mt. St Helens. If you do the math, you might conclude that we are due for another.


We spent all day in Yellowstone, looking at animals and geology...


Today Mrs. Phred is getting her foot Xrayed...


I did a little bicyling and bought a ten day Montana fishing license...


In the morning we will head for Canyon Ferry lake a few hours north...I want to catch and eat some cut throat trout....


Mrs. Phred has a fractured bone in her right foot. It will be four-six weeks before she can hike or play tennis....


She is being nice and blaming herself for not expecting something to fall out of the luggage compartment onto her foot...actually, I did a bad job packing....


We have a line on some outstanding Bar-B-Q outside of Austin, Texas....Maybe later this year on the way back?


The sky here is more blue...it might be the 9,000 foot elevation that puts us above 3/4ths of the atmosphere....





The people wait for "old faithful"...it goes off about once an hour...