According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: It's A Fact, Montana's Cool

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's A Fact, Montana's Cool

Kathleen and I vacationed in Montana last week. Did you miss us? Sam did. Boy was he glad when we returned home and picked him up from the kennel.

We had a wonderful trip, as usual. I love going to Montana - if it just wasn’t such a heckuva long drive (you have to be rich to fly there). We visited Kathleen’s family: her mom and dad, brother, sister, in-laws, nieces and nephews. The high point was all the great meals and picnics. FOOD! BABY! FOOD! Thanks to George and Norma for hosting us. Love you guys.

Since Sam didn’t travel with Kathleen and me, he was anxious to learn a few facts about Montana.

The name Montana comes from the Spanish word mountain. The state nickname is The “Treasure State.” The state’s motto is “Oro y Plata,” which means gold and silver. And the Montana Yogo Sapphire is the only North American gem to be included in the Crown Jewels of England.

46 out of Montana's 56 counties are considered "frontier counties" with an average population of 6 or fewer people per square mile. Vehicular traffic is nil, but you do stand the risk of being run over by deer, elk antelope and the grizzly bear. The state boasts the largest breeding population of trumpeter swans in the lower United States. At the Rocky Mountain Front Eagle Migration Area west of Great Falls more golden eagles have been seen in a single day than anywhere else in the country. North of Missoula is the largest population of nesting common loons in the western United States. The Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area contains as many as 300,000 snow geese and 10,000 tundra swans during migration. At Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge it is possible to see up to 1,700 nesting pelicans.

Montana is the only state with a triple divide allowing water to flow into the Pacific, Atlantic, and Hudson Bay. This phenomenon occurs at Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.

We traversed four mountain passes to arrive at Churchill, our destination in Montana. Churchill is so called because of its two churches - go figure. One of passes we drove over was Homestake Pass at the Continental Divide, six miles south-southeast of Butte and on the border between Jefferson and Silver Bow counties. At 6,329 feet Homestake is a real challenge in the winter. Water on the west side of the Continental Divide flows to the Pacific Ocean. Water on the eastside to the Atlantic.

The headwaters of the Missouri River are found at Three Forks a few miles west of Churchill (near Bozeman). The three rivers forming the Missouri are the Jefferson, the Gallatin and the Madison.

A couple of quaint customs you should know about when you’re in Montana include the two-fingered wave and the way you order a whiskey and water. The two-fingered wave is especially prevalent in the farm country. As you are driving along, if a vehicle approaches from the other direction - especially on a narrow road where the other driver can easily see you - you casually lift two fingers off your steering wheel to signal “hi” or “dude” or whatever. If you let go of your steering wheel to wave a whole hand you are definitely not from the area and risk the derision of the locals.

If you go to a bar and order a drink, if you want say, a whiskey and water, just tell the barkeep you want a whiskey ditch. You heard me, just ask for a whiskey ditch. It has something to do with all the irrigation canals in the state I think.

Something else you probably didn’t know about Montana is that in 1961, Evel Knievel - he of the motorcycle jumping fame - hitchhiked from Butte to Washington, D.C. with a 54-inch wide set of elk antlers and a 3,000 signature petition, to stop the culling of elk in Yellowstone Park. He made his point and the culling was stopped. How ‘bout that? Who says no good ever comes of evil?

Montana’s cool and that’s no poop.

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