Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday the 13th: All good in Montana
A bit of sprinkles at the outset turned into some pretty heavy rain as we drove from the southern edge of Montana into the interior. It was big cloud country instead of big sky country. Green hillsides covered with yellow black-eyed susans and other wildflowers looked like California in the springtime. Bryn was thinking how nice these flowers were as opposed to the yellow mustard, that invasive alien species on the California hillsides. Randy mentioned that maybe they're aliens too - but no! Bryn looked it up, and for you flower fans who read this, you can read more about black-eyed susans at http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=RUHI2
We stopped in Bozeman for the wonderful Museum of the Rockies at Montana State Univ. We all watched a planetarium show and toured the excellent dinosaur section. Jack Horner, the paleontologist who is featured on all of those dino shows that the boys love to watch on the Discovery Channel, is based out of this institution, so the collection and presentation are fabulous. Bret was thrilled to see the biggest T-Rex skull that has been found to date, and insisted that it go into the blog. Bryn liked the Native American section, Reed liked the Winchester rifle display, and Randy liked the Leonardo Da Vinci Machines in Motion traveling exhibit. This consisted of hands-on wooden models of many of his inventions, including a column-lifting machine, a machine gun, and an automatic saw. The boys made bridges with toothpicks and marshmallows following Leonardo's design. Fun for science-headed guys and even for mom. Then lunch at "Taco John's West-Mex." We figured out that West-Mex means adding potatoes to everything - under nachos, inside burritos, etc. Must be neighboring Idaho 's influence.
We arrived in Helena and were lucky to get a hotel. It turns out there are two big weddings and a convention in town. Lynn, John and Anna met us and we went downtown to wander the pedestrian area and to eat at Riley's Irish Pub. Later Bryn went to Lynn's and we talked until midnight, she drove me back to the hotel. Lots of catching up to do with this friend and former co-worker. Photo - sculpture on the downtown mall near where gold was discovered in Helena. Boys in jackets, Anna in shorts - you can tell the tourists from the local!