13 August 2012

Training Log: Travel

For the first time since February, I attempted fewer than fifty tactics problems over the past week. During the week, there were two or three solving sessions consisting of perhaps thirty problems--I'm uncertain as to the precise number. The last of these sessions was Saturday morning while eating breakfast in a hotel in Butte, Montana. My wife, my youngest son, and I pulled out of the driveway at 7:00 am Sunday morning, and we pulled back in very near 5:00 pm Saturday evening.

During the week, I drove slightly more than 1600 miles (2575 kilometers). We visited museums with admission fees in Wallace, Idaho; Cody, Wyoming; just outside Powell, Wyoming; Butte, Montana; just outside Crow Agency, Montana (my son and I); and Garryowen, Montana (my son waited outside, and my wife was at her conference in Billings). We saw Mammoth Hot Springs, a herd of bison, Old Faithful, and the Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park. My son and I toured the Little Bighorn Battlefield. We visited the World Museum of Mining in Butte, as well as a small mining museum in Idaho's Silver Valley. We walked through the downtown area of Wallace, Idaho where every building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

We visited three National Forest ranger stations that had historical exhibits. We stopped at dozens of roadside historical markers. Although I left my fishing gear at home, I bought a hat and two river maps at three different fly shops along our journey. We drank wine with picnic lunches along the road in two states, and we consumed beer in a brewery. We ate bull testicles in a bar in Wyoming (my son is 21). In Cody, we spent an hour in the Buffalo Bill Historical Center's collection of some 15,000 guns, and then in the afternoon, my son and I spent some time discussion particular weapons with the curator of the gun collection. We glanced briefly at the exhibit of another 12,000 guns downstairs in the museum. We spent ninety minutes or so in the Plains Indian section of the museum, and then another couple of hours in other exhibits after lunch downtown.

We watched short historical films about silver mining in Idaho, Japanese-American Relocation during World War II, Mandan and Hidatsa earth lodges, the Custer battle. At the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center between Cody and Powell, we walked a trail that presented us with a sense of the size of the WW II concentration camp, and then visited the museum where there is a reconstruction of one of the guard towers and some excellent exhibits.

We photographed the Anaconda Smelter Stack and a large slag pile that remains uncovered alongside Montana State Highway 1.

We drove through the middle of an oil field after accidentally taking the longer road from Powell, Wyoming to Billings, Montana. After more than five hours at the Little Bighorn Battlefield, my son and I drove through the middle of the Crow Indian Reservation to visit Fort Smith, Montana but failed to locate the historical marker for the Hayfield Fight (1 August 1867) that is on private land (we did not trespass).

It was a busy week that left little room for chess. It was an excellent week for a historian of the American West.

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