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Friday, August 20, 2010

My Daddy's Roots

You are looking at the Crazy Mountains just out of Big Timber. I'm standing on the banks of the Yellowstone River looking north and just over those mountains is where my father grew up in Harlowton, where my grandfather was an engineer for the Milwaukee Railroad. Grandpa Al took his boys hunting and fishing in the Crazies and Dad skied there in the winter. Put The Horse Whisperer on your Netflix queue to see more.
Today I am in Broadus, way out east on the Powder River, where my grandparents and my great uncle homesteaded. I am about to go to the courthouse and the museum to find out more. I drove through the Crow and Northern Cheyenne reservations and the Custer Battlefield yesterday. This afternoon I am driving down to Sheridan, WY where I think Great Uncle Bud had a general store. In Sheridan there is an amazing collection of tooled leather saddles upstairs above King's Saddlery on Main Street (I think every town in Montana has a Main Street and a Stockman's Bar).
I'll stay the night with friends in Dayton, just down the road from Sheridan, who fell in love with the Big Horn Mountains and fly fishing. Now Dave is a river guide when he is not painting. He has a show at the Bradford Brinton Museum which I am hoping to visit. He actually introduced Willy and me back in 1972.
Yesterday I was feeling very melancholy about not having more time in Montana. I didn't go to my cousin's ranch in Harlow and I looked at all kinds of fantastic mountain ranges that would be heaven to hike around in. I saw campers and trailers and RV's everywhere and wished I owned one. I imagined riding across Montana on horseback, slow enough to really soak up these panoramas. Me, I'm buzzing by at 75 mph on I-90.
Today I am reconciled that I will be back and that I really would like to get home sometime soon. I guess I am already planning my next trip! For now, there are several folks here in Broadus that are curious about what I'll find out in my research so I have to report back to the Stockman Bar for lunch. Good thing that I eat beef.

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