Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sights of Deer Lodge MT

   Deer Lodge heavily advertises the tourist attraction of the museum in the old Montana prison, and it is a nice tour to take. We did it a few years ago.  This time I got more information on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul (Milwaukee Road) electric locomotive on display there and we visited the Grant-Kohrs Ranch operated by the National Park Service..

The Milwaukee Road electrified 662 miles of its track in the Northwest; it was the only western road to do so many miles. Some PRR (now AMTRAK) routes in the Northeast have been heavily electrified for years.



This electric locomotive was built by General Electric around 1948 as one of 20 for the Soviet Union. The “Cold War” resulted the locomotives not being delivered. The Milwaukee Road was able to buy 12 of them at bargain prices to use on its previously electrified Rocky Mountain Division headquartered at Deer Lodge MT.  This loco, numbered E-70, was the first of the 12 delivered to the road and was used for freight hauling until it ended all electric operations in 1974. The loco ran on 3000 v dc current and was powered by 8 GE 750 motors. In “running order” it weighed over 545,000 lbs. It was cosmetically restored in 1994. It was nicknamed ‘Little Joe” after Joseph Stalin.


When we were in Deer Lodge a few years ago, the impression I got from driving by the ranch was that the historic site would be boring. But after visiting it on this trip, we both thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to future visitors. A nice feature of the site is that no admission is charged!



This is the front of the 4000 sq. ft. ranch house built by Johnny Grant in 1862. He operated a trading post on the first floor and the family lived on the second floor He is reported to have had 8 wives (from various Indian tribes) at one time! After four years he became homesick for Canada and returned there, after selling the home and ranch to Conrad  Kohrs for  $19,200. Mr. Kohrs then ran several butcher shops in the area.IMG_8419

As the Kohrs businesses (ranching, mining, banking and selling water rights) became very profitable, he had the 5,000 sq. ft. brick addition built in 1890. Electricity, central heating and hot and cold running water then were added, with air conditioning! At one time his was the largest cattle ranching operation in Montana, with herds also grazing in Canada, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado. He truly was a cattle baron.


Oak wainscoting in the dining room of the new addition cost more than a whole home in Deer Lodge! The ceilings in the formal rooms were wallpapered!


Closer view of the set table. All of the furnishings of the first floor of the home are original to the home as last occupied by the Conrad Kohrs family.


New stove in the kitchen with more features than the old! The hood is unique; the heat caught was ducted to heat the second story!


Flower garden next to the house.      Vegetable garden near the outbuildings.   Fencing on both is to try to keep out the deer.



Rear of chuck wagon, where a docent gave us a cup of cowboy coffee and explained the history of chuck wagons and how they were used on cattle drives and when the cowboys worked on remote parts of the ranch. The cook made Arbuckle coffee and used sourdough, probably for biscuits, in serving the cowboys. I resisted the temptation to tell her of my experiences in cooking with sourdough! How is my facial hair coming?


Beaver Slide Hay Stacker used to build tall hay stacks. Loose hay is pushed by a horse- driven hay fork into a carrier (with the solid floor) at the bottom, and the carrier is pulled  up the ramp by horses pulling ropes attached to the carrier. At the top the carrier is tilted to dump the hay into the top of the stack where it is spread and compacted by workers. We watched a good video showing it in use.


Snow-capped peaks add to the views from the ranch. It is a working ranch with 100 head of cattle. The last generation of the Kohrs family to operate the ranch (Conrad Kohrs Warren) sold it to the National Park Service in 1977 to preserve the ranch, its artifacts and extensive financial records from the operation of the ranch by his grandfather and great uncle. Demonstrations are given occasionally of hay cutting using Belgian horses, stacking hay with the beaver stacker, branding cattle and uses of the blacksmith shop.

If you get to Deer Lodge MT be sure to spend a few hours at this great place.

Copper Mining at Butte MT - “Richest Hill On Earth”


We had a great day touring Butte Montana, especially looking into the history of copper mining there. But first we toured the old “Uptown” area. consisting of many square blocks.  The older buildings, some of Victorian architecture, were made of brick, often of several stories. Most of the commercial buildings housed businesses; few were empty. The phrase “Richest Hill on Earth apparently is a nickname for Butte. It was the largest city in Montana until about 1960.








Snow capped mountains were readily seen from “uptown”.



The headframe for this old underground copper mine on a hill above the city proclaims “Mile High” and “Mile Deep” The mine yard is at 5280 ft elevation and the workings go down 5280 feet from there.


Many underground mines close to each other were converted to open pit mining beginning in 1955. The original Bradshaw pit went down 1800 ft. by 1982, when the dewatering pumps were turned off. Water from two aquifers have been filling the pit since. The water now is about 1000 ft. deep. It is so laden with metals in solution that it is a Superfund site. The deeper more dense water is being mined for copper. The water is pumped to a structure, left in contact with scrap iron, and copper precipitates on the iron. The water is pumped back into the pit. The copper  concentrate is removed from the scrap iron, and the iron goes back into the cycle to capture more copper. The process yields about 20,000 pounds of copper every month!

To the far right of the picture is the Montana Resources’ current open pit operation using conventional methods. The minerals recovered are copper and molybdenum, with small amounts of silver and gold.





Wider view of the open pit walls. There was no convenient observation point to look down into the pit.


Old “Euc” mine truck displayed is much smaller that mine trucks currently being used.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rafting the Colorado River in Grand Canyon Part 8

These are the better pictures from my third roll in the Minolta waterproof camera. (Sorry if this is posted somewhat out of order!)


I occasionally rode a rapid on the pontoon, but near the back!



Serpentine Rapid, said to be “technical” by Nate, our boatman. He turned the boat sideways with the bow pointed to the right bank to pass the series of rocks jutting out from the right bank, and once past them used the motor to avoid the rocks downstream jutting out from the left bank.



Our companion boat coming down the rapid we just completed.



We were told by Nate to wear our rain gear the morning we went through this area. He called it Icehouse Canyon due to the lack of sunlight penetrating down to the river for many miles.



Two desert bighorn sheep are right of the tallest part of the big tree. Their white rumps make them easy to pick out. We saw  several of them while on the river, but only one mule deer.


This rapid was mild, so Nate allowed a few to ride on the pontoon. Note the spray.


Our companion boat just completing our last major rapid, aptly named Lava Falls. The combined drop of the upper and lower parts is 27 feet (13 for the upper and 14 for the lower). The upper is rated as a difficulty of 8 -10, the highest rated one we went over. 

Lund Boat Factory and Statues in Perham MN Area

Our next stop was Golden Eagle Campground near Perham MN through which we maintain our Coast To Coast membership. This is our third visit. At the suggestion of a friend, we toured the Lund Boat factory in nearby New York Mills.


The Lund Boat business was started several years ago in New York Mills. It has been acquired by Brunswick, and it has moved the production of Crestliner aluminum boats to the Lund factory. The two boats are quite similar, except Lund aluminum boats are riveted and Crestliner hulls are welded. The company recently began sending boats to dealers with engines installed and on their own trailers. It currently employs about 400 working one shift and some overtime.


We started our tour where rolls of heavy aluminum are cut with computer controlled routers into pieces needed to assemble the hulls and formed on large break machines, also computer controlled. Here they are being riveted together to form the  hull.


Tracy was our guide for the plant tour. He is in charge of the “paint kitchen’ shown here, also computer controlled. Paint is mixed here and goes from the containers shown here by overhead pipes to the long paint booths where several painters spray paint the hulls.


Interior parts and assemblies are installed after strengthening members are put in the hull and foam is installed for floatation. All of the parts of the interior are brought to the boat in one large container, as are the upholstered parts in the next step.



Here is a completed “top of the line” Pro V boat completed except for adding the engine. Tracy told us that it will retail for about $65,000 including the motor and trailer. From here it is wrapped in white plastic, put on its trailer and then shipped by truck to the dealer, Lund also makes low end aluminum rowboats, with many models between the two.


A practice of municipalities and businesses in the area is to erect a statue of an animal and proclaim that is the largest in the world. Here is the turkey statue. There are many turkey barns in the area. A nearby town has a statue of a loon, a pelican, and another, of a bison.



And here is the statue of an otter, appropriately in the town of Otter Tail, County of Otter Tail. New York Mills also has a more traditional statuary park.

Eagle River WI June 28, 29

From Dearborn we drove north through the center of MI to stay in the Cheboygan Walmart at the northern tip of the southern part. The next AM we crossed the Mackinac bridge on our way to Eagle River WI to visit cousins Martha and Kendrick and families. Ken gave us a nice ride on the Eagle River chain of lakes on a beautiful day, taking us down all the way to the junction of Eagle River and the Wisconsin River.


Cousin Ken driving his boat for our long ride.


Nicest boathouse on this lake. Linda Strong is at right.


Jo loved the ride.


We had lunch at the Chanticleer Inn on the channel connecting two of the lakes. My facial hair is flourishing! ( I am afraid that my belly is also.)


One of two Bald Eagles we saw.


After seeing cousin AJ and husband Morry in Minnetonka MN, we visited Joann and Orlando Klassen at their farmstead in southern MN. We continued our happy hour tradition there which we enjoy in Mesa in the winters where the Klassens have a home in our subdivision.

Greenfield Village June 24

  Henry Ford founded Greenfield Village as a school for local children.   He moved a few historically significant buildings to the site. The public became curious, so it was opened for tours. I have the impression that it is continually being expanded, and there is room on the site for further expansion.


The first attraction upon entering Greenfield Village is the steam powered train carrying passengers around the perimeter of the park.This locomotive is over 150 years old.



Couch in parlor of the home in which Henry Ford was raised, moved just a few miles from its original site. Lucy was given a similar couch which we used for 35 years before she sold it to an antique dealer.


Jo and I had lunch in the Eagle Tavern, built in 1831 in nearby Clinton MI and moved to Greenfield Village in 1929 for use as a dining hall for the students. Entrees now served replicate those which probably were served when the building was at its original site.


Roundhouse with turntable in foreground for the railroad, complete with machine shop to perform major repairs on locomotives and cars. Two locomotives currently were undergoing major repairs.



Our driver in our Model T ride and a view of the depot wagon model in which we rode. Neither of us had ridden in a Model T before.

Henry Ford Museum at Dearborn MI

With the RV parked in the Wayne County Fairgrounds RV park, we spent a day each at Henry Ford Museum and the adjacent Greenfield Village. The museum had a wide variety of collections, including early airplanes, farm equipment, locomotives and cars, an unusual prefab home developed after 1945  to house retuning service men at the end of WWII, and even clocks.


Although the car display was closed for renovations, several presidential limousines (all Lincolns) were on display, including this 1938 model used by FDR and Harry Truman.



This is the car in which President Kennedy was shot.


I owned vehicles similar to these – a VW Camper and a 1940 Ford 2 dr., similar to this 1939 or 1940 Ford deluxe.


This huge steam farm tractor was used mainly as a stationary engine to power threshing machines and perhaps other large equipment. It was self-powered to move from farm to farm, and the display added that they were also was used for plowing.


This gigantic steam engine was used to power an entire factory in the late 1800s.




Flywheel from another large steam engine, with governor at upper right. When the speed of the engine, which also rotated the balls, increased, centrifugal force caused them to take a wider arc which slowed the steam engine RPM.