Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 53 – Marion Montana to Deer Lodge Montana – August 21, 2011


Today’s Mileage: 230.6
Total Mileage to Date: 2863.1
Miles to Home: 1228

The low temperatures for the last several nights have been hovering at 31 degrees. After an enjoyable visit with our friends in Marion Montana including attending the Kalispell rodeo, it is time to head south before the snow begins to fall.

We are spending the night at Deer Lodge that is about 20 miles or so west of Butte Montana. We are parked in a large parking lot behind the Sinclair Station. Trucks spend the night on the south side of the lot and RVs spend the night on the north side. That puts just enough separation between the trucks and RVs so one does not notice the truck engines / reefers running all night. One cannot complain about the price, zero dollars.

The population of Deer Lodge is about 3,400. Deer Lodge is best known as the home of the Montana State Prison, a major local employer. Deer Lodge was also once an important railroad town, serving as a division headquarters for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad ("the Milwaukee Road") before the railroad's local abandonment in 1980. Deer Lodge is also the location of Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, dedicated to the interpretation of the frontier cattle ranching era. This site was the home of Conrad Kohrs, one of the famous "Cattle Kings" of Montana whose land holdings once stretched over a million acres (4,000 km²) of Montana, Wyoming, and Alberta, Canada. The Grant-Kohrs ranch was built in 1862 by Johnny Grant, a Scottish/French/Metis fur-trader and trapper who encouraged his people to settle in Deer Lodge because of its pleasant climate and large areas of bunch grass prairie, ideal for raising cattle and horses. The city's name derives from a geological formation known as Warm Springs Mound which contained natural saline that made for a natural salt lick for the local deer population.

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