Edward Bear found himself on a journey to a new place. Sometimes the roads followed are ones that the trailer has traveled before and sometimes the trailer heads down new roads. This was an adventure for new roads. Up through the Judith mountains the view was beautiful and the air cool, but as they headed east the temperatures began to rise and the countryside began to look very dry. At Jordan, they turned off the pavement. It was a long, slow and very bumpy driver over 25 miles of washboard gravel to get to Hell Creek State Park.
The park is on the southern shore of Fort Peck Reservoir in the midst of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is home to lots of different birds. Edward got close up views of Western Meadowlarks, who came right up to the trailer, seagulls who filled the air with their squawks and screeches, and geese, who kept mostly to themselves along the edges of the lake. The lake is very big with lots of hills with cactus, yucca, sagebrush, junipers and scrub pines on the hills. It is a beautiful place, though Edward could imagine it getting very hot on some days. It was a good place to have a plug in so the air conditioner in the camper could be used.
There was time for paddling and playing in the water, hiking in the hills and some very good meals while the family visited at Hell Creek State Park.
After three days of adventures at Big Timber, Edward could hear the familiar sounds of the camper being prepared for another move. Instead of heading back towards home, they went on the road north, up through Harlowton, through Judith Gap to Eddie's Corner, where they turned west on their way to Great Falls. From Great falls, they took the road towards Fort Benton and turned off at Floweree. Instead of going to the Floweree place, like they did last year, however, the camper began a slow trip across a bumpy road that lead to the bluffs over the river and down in to the river bottom to the River Ranch.
What a wonderful place! The river ranch is quiet, with only the sounds of the wind in the trees and the birds in the air and the swiftly flowing Missouri River. Russ and Elsie were there to greet them, with their dog. The men are working hard to prepare for harvest. The combine is being repaired and run and the trucks are being prepared.as well. There is a big baler for rolling up the straw after the combining is done. There is plenty of wonderful activity and plenty of family. Three generations of the same family working together to grow food.
Edward especially appreciated walking around the place and looking at all of the old and interesting machinery. It is a place that is full of memories and good feelings for Ted as he walked around and visited with the people and learned more about all of the crops and activities of the ranch.
At last! Edward Bear was excited because it was obvious that this time the camper was going on a real road trip. He listened as the bearings were greased and the air pressure in the tires was checked and he noticed that the refrigerator and pantry were filled, not just a little but, but real stocks to make many different meals. Two canoes were loaded on the truck and finally, at about 2 in the afternoon on Sunday July 12, the caravan headed out with Edward riding in his place among the pillows in the dinette.
It was dark when they arrived in Big Timber, but Edward recognized it as a place where he had been before. The mower started up in the morning and he could hear it off an on throughout the day, along with lots of breaks for ice tea and conversation in the camper. The Boulder property is special and the birds in the trees and the rush of the river were music to Edward's ears. With any luck there will be more destinations and more adventures on this trip. So far the canoes have remained on the rack on the truck, but Edward knows that there will be time for paddling on this trip.
The adventure is on!