(Missoula MT) The Big Money should start flowing in from the Dodge City, Kansas Board of Tourism just any old minute…since we have successfully captured the genuine essence of Dodge as we took of Saturday morning from the berg.
As mentioned last week, Elaine and I are off on another one of our not-perfectly-planned adventures to the Pacific Northwest.
This morning’s report is somewhat abbreviated due to the travels which got underway early Friday “scud-running” from East Texas up to Ardmore, OK, and through some of the leftovers of tropical news item Bill.
That ride was hot, bumpy, and the main highlight of it was the Book Hill Casino. We figured the Boot Hill Museum would be worth a gander, too, but most of the people there would be dead, so not going anywhere. We’d catch them on another trip.
On the other hand, bumping around the Casino, we came to find out from a retired school teacher or two that the Boot Hill Casino is run by the state of Kansas, not by an Indian tribe, as is the case at so many of our favorite haunts. Like Seven Feathers in Oregon, or Mazatzal in Payson, AZ.
I’ve lost a good deal of sleep worrying about the proper roll of state gambling, but after reading the adventures of an Austin woman who is challenging voting machines, maybe I’d just failed to appreciate how governments high and low are instituting “taxes on stupidity” which is (more or less) what gaming in about.
Saturday morning, we continued up to the thriving metropolis of Gillette, Wyoming, after a pee, lunch, and fuel break at Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Nice place, Scottsbluff, and the sandwiches at the airport were pleasantly above average.
At Gillette, the Best Western was OK…nice courtyard for guests…but by then, we’d been pretty well shaken and flipped all over the sky. You see, there was something called a “convective SIGMET” – a kind of strap-in alert) and that was what we did.
All over Kansas and the farmable part of Nebraska.
The local farmers seem to be having a really good year, although in fairness, the last time we flew this route was a couple of years ago, and later in the summer.
Still, judging by the amount of green out there, it was pretty clear that while California may be suffering a horrible drought, that the Plains states are doing just fine and America shouldn’t be starving this year.
There’s a footnote to this: Hope you like grains. We counted something life four elevators in the Dodge area, and more as we sauntered past Wray, and other such would-be Denvers, on our way into headwinds that range as high as 25 knots.
Up the road a piece, we were genuinely shocked by the amount of new mining operations in the Gillette area, however.
On the way to the motel from the airport, we went past a couple of mining supply outfits that specialize in heavy equipment to keep tearing things out of the ground.
It’s big open pit mines, and the next few hundred miles were spent contemplating how much of this American resource will be sent to China, and elsewhere under terms of the secret TPP deal, which, if you haven’t noticed, I am terribly skeptical of.
Some of these mines look like the private sector trying to keep up with governments bottomless pits. (Click on any of the pictures for a larger view, btw.)
American leaders generally do their best work on behalf of ..;. (wait for it)…American Leaders.
We the peeps, somehow seem to get second or third fiddle.
We would have more honest government if everyone holding office had to give a 100% financial disclosure statement prior to taking office. And then, after leaving, they would be audited again with anything over the starting amount given back to the public.
This would have several salutatory effects, not the least of which would be honest money; That is, money that would hold its value over time instead of its purchasing power being watered down – which we’ve been sold as the price of things going up. Which is BS: The value of a good steak dinner hasn’t changed in 500 years. What has changed is paper money that goes down in value so you need a larger denomination than you would have needed in 1913, when $1 steak dinners were common. Today, with the dollar holding 4.2% of its original purchasing power, the steak is up to about $23-bucks.
It wasn’t until lunch in Missoula that we finally figured out (with some local help) exactly where the Continental Divide is located.
One school of though held that it was somewhere in the pass between Livingston and Bozeman, Montana. But, no, another held that it was the past just east of Butte and an airfield named for Bert Mooney.
A surprisingly nice place, too, Missoula is a little lower than Bozeman, about 3200 feet. The folks here tell us there are four seasons: Yes, the winter is hard, but the spring, summer, and fall are idea.
While Elaine was sitting out on the patio, she watched half a dozen, or more, rafters come down the river. About half that number of fly fishermen were working their way down river as well.
Something I had never considered about fishing, before: A lot of the people in the city come down to the river and let their dogs run along the banks. And they inevitably leave little (how to politely put this?) “nuggets” of surprise.
It’s just something that never occurred to me, coming up in the world of Field & Stream, Outdoors, and other fine magazines.
Which reminded me that no matter how nice life may seem to be, even in the most idyllic of settings, there is always something to “step in.”
Wheels up at 6 AM this morning, which is why this morning’s report was posted last night. Today’s adventure should take us over the last lump of hills (Mullan Paas, ID) and into Spokane where we don’t know what trouble we’ll be able to get into, before flying into Tacoma, WA Tuesday morning.
Thanks for riding along with us…we can’t afford to live this kind of adventure every day, but I suppose if we could, it would become old hat, too quickly.
Scarcity causes prices to rise, and that’s a principle that works with vacations and family time, as much as it does high priced bling.
Write when you break-even,
George (and Elaine) email@example.com