Saturday, August 8, 2015

Just a Few Miles North to .........

Miles City, MT

Yeppers, we've finished up in Wyoming and headed further up the road to Montana. We enjoyed working in and around Lander and may be back there for a few days in September to inventory a few more roads that BLM plans to add to their planning area. The last week in Lander we routed some mountain areas near an old settlement called Miners Delight.

Gold was discovered here in 1868 and miners rushed into the area already bypassed during the Gold Rush to California years earlier. By 1868 the town's population was 75, 40 of which were miners. The gold boom busted in 1874, but boomed again in the 1880's with 'newer' technology. Another short lived boom before the city was abandoned. Then during the Great Depression desperate men moved into the area attempting to eek out a living. The community was populated as late as the 1960's. Now it sits in the middle of BLM land and BLM is working to preserve the area.

We stumbled across this large group of elk as we were routing along a mountain stream.

And Joan found another souvenir.

This is what we saw.....
Our last work day in Lander we ended one of our routes at the edge of a pristine meadow. We had driven down a heavily treed downhill slope and stopped 20' from a luxurious carpet of green grass. Needing to turn around, I could either back up the hill or turn around in the meadow.......hmm, which one looks easiest.....Oh! I know, turn
around in the soft green grass. So down I went....and down I stayed! As soon as all 4 tires touched the grass they sank in the mud. Not sank as in frame on the ground, but sank enough that the treads filled with mud and all of a sudden all I had for traction on that downhill slope were 4 wet racing slicks! Even 4 wheel low with lockers wouldn't help as we had no traction. I spent about an hour & a half cutting limbs and attempting to fill the mud tracks with something the tires would be able to grip. I managed to turn the jeep 180 degrees so it was facing the uphill slope, but could not climb up the slope.

This is what we got!
We had no cell service so we activated our SPOT, pinging the network with our exact GPS location and notifying our company office that we were in need of non-emergency assistance. We broke out our lunch, sat down in the shade for a few minutes and began our wait for one of our team mates to be notified to assist.

We thought we might have to wait several hours depending on when our co-workers would be in cellular service so the office could contact them. Luckily we only had to wait about 30 minutes before Dave & Maxine drove up. Lucky us! It took us longer to hook up the tow rope than it took to pull us out and we were on our way in minutes. Thanks Dave!

And you'll never guess where we were......we checked out GPS as we were leaving and discovered we had been stuck in ......Crows Nest can't make this stuff up!

Just like our old sticks & bricks home, our motorhome requires a few home repairs every once in a while. Our refrigerator broke and we had to have it repaired before we left Lander. About $1600 for a new cooling unit, plus labor (luckily we have a warranty and only have to pay the deductible!). A 'check engine light' required a quick trip to the jeep dealer for a new oil pressure sensor and oil cooling unit replacement. And we've ordered new slide topper awnings for the RV which I'll attempt to replace with the help of our neighbor Dave. That works well because Dave ordered new awnings too and we'll work on both units together.

We've only been in Miles City for a week and believe we'll be here close to a month. There's a county fair next weekend and we've already been to the Chamber of Commerce to check out activities while we're here. We don't think we'll get bored. The area is similar to Wyoming, but a little flatter and not quite so 'green'. Montana has not had the rain that Wyoming has had this year. We did see something quite unusual already.....a dam made up of cars! Look closely at the pic below and you'll see 50-60 cars placed end to end used to form a retention dike for a watering pond.

Well, that's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come!


  1. Oh, Steve!! You are bound and determined to see what that Jeep can really do, aren't you:) Well, it's good to know that the SPOT button worked well! Glad you had it with you. Still looks and sounds like you are having a wonderful time:) Are you returning to Lake Meade to work again this winter?

    1. Yes, we are. Arriving mid-October, planning to stay thru Feb, possibly Mar. Will we see you there?

    2. Yes, we are. Arriving mid-October, planning to stay thru Feb, possibly Mar. Will we see you there?

    3. We will be back mid Nov. Our daughter and her boyfriend are running in the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Vegas around Nov 18. There are also trails we didn't get to last time. So we'll be there for the race and some visiting. We'd love to hear all about your summer job:)

  2. You guys can sure find the fun and excitement! Never a dull moment!
    Love the first picture! I think old barns and mining homes are so cool to photograph!

  3. Very interesting job. It looks like you need a winch for that Jeep.

  4. Welcome to Montana! If you are still here in 4 weeks, hopefully we can get together. Since we have not had as much rain, feel free to explore the meadows!

  5. Well at least your batteries weren't dead and Dave and Maxine came to the rescue fairly quickly. Good to hear you will be in Lake Mead this fall, we will plan on stopping by for a few days on our way to Quartzsite in late December.