2010 Sep 1-6 – Days 21-26 – Hardin, MT to home (Fort Benton)

This is the final entry on my 2010 Road Trip blog.

We had spent the night in Hardin, MT, a few miles east of Billings.   The next day, as we drove through Billings we stopped to tour the beautiful Moss Mansion.  No photos allowed inside unfortuantely but even the outside and garden were pretty nice. Our drive that day took us to Great Falls.  Once we make the decision to head for home John tends to get in destination mode and we don’t spend a lot of time finding stops of interest; so we pretty much have driving days.

From Great Falls we went back to Fort Benton. Since we were not able to tour the fort and museum on our way down to Yellowstone we stopped in again on the way back to BC.

At Fort Benton there is also the Museum of the Northern Great Plains which had interesting exhibits and a ‘typical’ town heritage street. In the museum is a taxidermy group of six buffalo.  These animals were collected by a man named Hornaday in 1886 on behalf of the National Museum in Washington, DC, when the species was on the brink of extinction, in order to preserve an example of these great creatures.  The animals were on display in the Smithsonian for 70 years and the big bull’s image was the model for several national symbols and issues. Coins, paper currency, postage stamps, the Great Seal for the Department of the Interior, and the National Park Service badge all bear his likeness.  The group was returned to Ft. Benton in 1955 but was put in storage until the it was completely restored in 1996 in the original positions and put on display. After we toured the museum and town we entered the fort.  Fort Benton was established in 1846, a full generation before the Civil War, and was the last fur trading post on the Missouri River before a 642-mile overland trek on the Mullan Road that would get you to Walla Walla, Washington. Inside the replicated trading post we were greeted by the ‘trader’ who gave us the lowdown on the items that were the common goods kept in stock. John ‘wore’ a hide as a demonstration. The one constant as we drove around Montana and Wyoming that summer (and I would think every summer) is the massive number of mosquitos that meet their end on the truck and windshield.  It was a daily chore to clean them off. We spent the night in Havre, then Spearfish, ID, then Nelson, BC and finally, after three weeks, we were home again.  This endeth the blog.  Thanks for tagging along.

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