Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Great Falls, and then! Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jog!

on January 13, 2013

Can you believe it? this is the last post in this particular segment – the end of the original “Biggest Ball of StriSceneryng Tour.”  Not that I’m done writing.  Next, we are moving on to one of our trips to Michigan.

Technically, we could’ve driven home from Butte, but 1) my cousin and her husband had come to visit us there, so we wanted to leave Butte leisurely, and not on a specific schedule, and 2) we didn’t want our road trip to be over!  So, we meandered to Great Falls, which is only 2 1/2 hours from Butte! (By the way, this is the point where we sadly had to say “see you soon” to Brian and Taunya and crew, as they headed back towards Seattle.)

Besides, we’d never really spent any time in Great Falls, but aLOT of Canadians go to Great Falls to shop, especially for school supplies, etc., making a weekend getaway of it. (Great Falls is less than 2 hours from the US/Canada border, and about 5 1/2 hours from Calgary.)

Sacajawea, baby, and Lewis and ClarkOnce upon a time, the first people who lived in the Great Falls area were, of course, Native Americans.  The Lewis and Clark Expedition went through 1805/1806, but the area wasn’t “founded” until 1883, when a businessman, named Paris Gibson, was in the area and recognized the potential for building an industrial city near “the great falls” – which would provide power by hydroelectricity.   (When  Meriwether Lewis (of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) first saw it in 1805, he said the Great Falls were the grandest thing he’d ever seen!)

By 1887, 1200 people lived there.  By October, 1887, the Great Northern Railway arrived. (The Steamboat had arrived in 1859, by way of the Missouri River, which runs through.  Apparently, THE Great Falls was as far as the Steamboats could go, anyway, because it was impossible to “portage” them… “Portage”, in case it’s not a familiar term to you, means “The carrying of a boat or its cargo between two navigable waters” as per… all on-line dictionaries.)   And, by 1888, Great Falls was incorporated.

As hinted, Great Falls was named for THE Great Falls of the Missouri River. These are a series of 5 waterfalls, which include Black Eagle Falls, Colter Falls, Rainbow Falls, Crooked Falls (a.k.a. Horseshoe Falls), and The Great Falls.  The Great Falls is the highest, at 87 feet (26.5 meters), although, apparently, most of its water is diverted to Ryan Dam, for hydroelectric power. (The Ryan Dam is 1336 feet (407 meters) long and 61 feet (19 meters) high.  Because of all of the hydroelectric dams (5), the city of Great Falls has been called “Electric City.”)
Crossing the MissouriSame bridge

Speaking of Lewis and Clark… you might be recall, we talked about them in my blog of January 6, 2013, about Lewis and Clark Caverns.  Interestingly,  Meriwether Lewis and William Clark never actually went to the Caverns, but they DID go to Great Falls. (The Lewis & Clark Expedition was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson – see blog December 11, 2012 (Mount Rushmore) for some summarized details about Jefferson!)

The Expedition (Also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition) stretched from St. Louis, Missouri (blog Nov. 20, 2012 about St. Louis) to Fort Clatsop, where the Columbia Basin empties into the Pacific Ocean…. there ~ and back again!

National Geographic did a series on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and their on-line introductionLewis and Clark explains: “In 1803 Thomas Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s Corps of Discovery to find a water route to the Pacific and explore the uncharted West. He believed woolly mammoths, erupting volcanoes, and a mountain of pure salt awaited them.

What they found was no less mind-boggling: some 300 species unknown to science, nearly 50 Indian tribes, and the Rockies. ”  (The “Journey Log” is REALLY interesting!!

On occasion, especially as we travel through and to various Montana destinations, we pass or follow the Lewis & Clark Trail.

Great Falls is the home of one of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, and gets 5* reviews on Tripadvisor. One review says: “I was absolutely blown away. I’ve been to other Lewis & Clark sites and this is nothing like any of them. You walk through the exhibits that take you through the entire journey and attempt to give you a feeling of what they were experiencing.”
(http://lewisandclarktrail.com/section3/montanacities/greatfalls/lcinterpretive/index.htm) (http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g45198-d103830-Reviews-Lewis_Clark_National_Historic_Trail_Interpretive_Center-Great_Falls_Montana.html)

Lewis and Clark on the Lower Columbia by Charles Russell (1905)Great Falls also is famous for being the home of Charles M. Russell – famous Old West artist. Born in St. Louis in 1864, he moved to Montana when he was 16, to work on a ranch.  He finally settled in Great Falls, after he was married, in 1896, and stayed there, until he died in 1926. (According to Wikipedia,” On the day of Russell’s funeral in 1926, all the children in Great Falls were released from school to watch the funeral procession. Russell’s coffin was displayed in a glass sided coach, pulled by four black horses.”)  Visit the CM Russell Museum for more information.

Besides CM Russell, others who have called Great Falls “home” include (apparently) Charley Pride (best known as a country western singer), Walter Breuning (was once the oldest known man in the world – 1896-2011), a lot of professional athletes, AND the shortest river in the world – the Roe River, which is 201 feet long….(not sure if that record has been “beaten” or not – apparently Guiness Book of World Records stopped have “shortest river” as a category in 2006.)Margarita

Also, many movies have been filmed here, including The Untouchables (1987) and A River Runs Through it (1992).

Despite the many interesting things to do in Great Falls, and its fascinating history – we were really just concerned that it was our last chance to eat yummy (hopefully) delicious Mexican food before we crossed the border!

AND we did!

We had delicious enchiladas and chili relleno at El Comedor, and let’s not forget to mention the mmmmmmmargaritas!!!
enchilada Chili Relleno

We had a nice, peaceful drive home the next day – it was a beautiful surprise to see the flax blooming beside the canola, with seas of blue and yellow.  And that’s it! Home sweet home!!
CanolaCanola and flax

Never done – I will be talking about something-Calgary on Wednesday, and then on to Michigan!
Calgary

http://www.greatfallsmt.net/

Advertisements

Opinions? Viewpoints? Please, leave a reply! :D

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

LakeShore Haven

Our Cottage (yes, it's a vacation rental!), steps to a white sandy beach on Lake Michigan

Hyperbole and a Half

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe - so far)

Dowedoff's inThailand? Seriously?

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe - so far)

In an Irish Home

What Life is Really Like Behind the Hall Door

Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe - so far)

Where's my backpack?

Romancing the planet; a love affair with travel.

thepracticalhistorian

Your guide to practically true history.

MowryJournal.com

Life's Passions

The Road Trip Hound

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

The Silk Road Spice Merchant

The latest spice news from the Silk Road

off the beaten track in spain

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe - so far)

One Dusty Track

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe - so far)

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Self Reliant Network

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe - so far)

%d bloggers like this: