Ft Robinson Nebraska to Salina Kansas

Day 3 Rambling:  Below are scenes from a beautiful morning spent at Ft Robinson State Park and Chadron State Park in Northwest Nebraska:

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC The scenery at Ft Robinson is as wonderful as the people. Plains full of antelope rolling hills, buttes, hidden canyons, and clear blue lakes. Buffalo and long horn cattle roam the open range.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCTexas Longhorn cattle are impressive. Tough looking even without the big horns. Those were men back in the day who drove herds numbering in the hundreds over 1000 miles up from Texas to Montana. Ft Robinson sits along the Texas Cattle Trail where so many passed by and a few never returned. The last pic of the monument is the grave site of First LT. Levi Robinson who gave his life during the Indian Wars. Since his portrait hung in the room where I stayed that night I thought it only fitting he gives us all a reminder that freedom isn’t free. Take a moment to thank a vet and pray for our servicemen and women.

SONY DSC SONY DSC View from the top of the ridgeline at Chadron State Park looking toward the black hills. Ft Robinson and Chadron are 2 of the nicest state parks I have visited! I loved the carving of the cross inside the heart shaped piece of wood. A great reminder it wasn’t nails that held Christ to the cross but His love for us.  Pay a visit to these 2 state parks. Both feature beautiful scenery, wildlife viewing, hiking and at Ft Chadron their our wagon rides and many fun activities if you have kids along and what a great opportunity to combine a lesson in history and natural beauty.

SONY DSCThe Platte River Nebraska! Following the Platte River takes you back in time. Along the Platte were branches of the Oregon, Mormon, Pony Express, and Texas Cattle Drive Trail. It is as if the whole history, myth, and legends of the west have been brought together in one place. Read any fiction or non fiction accounts of the old west and the rivers of Nebraska are found there. The Platte, the Canadian, The Broad French.  SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC Above are pictures representative of so many of the small towns of Nebraska and Kansas. I don’t know how old the buildings in the 1st pic are but we can guess by how long ago you could get a coke of 5 cents. It was taken in Boyse Nebraska. The last 2 were taken in Herndon Kansas just a few miles south of the Nebraska line. It was one of those moments of odd serendipidity I love to find on my travels. The town shares my last name and the name of the church is Immanuel Baptist which shares the name of the church I am a member of in Havre Montana. How cool is that.

SONY DSC This picture was taken in southern Nebraska but I thought it was a picture that symbolized the importance of farming to Kansas/Nebraska, the USA, and the World. The Great Plains are truly the breadbasket of the World.

And last but not least a picture of the teepee I stayed in on the Saline River (another river of history think of all the history those waters have seen flow by) It was so awesome to think of a boy born in Florida who finds himself in the wild and wonderful land of Montana for so long and then one day camping under the stars in a teepee in Kansas. It was like being transported back in time, a moment one remembers as breathless, historic, and timeless.



Pioneer Story

I have a pioneer story in which 2 of the photographs I posted figure prominently. I met an elderly couple in my office who saw some of my framed pictures. The gentleman told me a great story involving his parents from the early days last century. The first picture is the Galata Motel in Galata Montana.


The 8 room hotel was built to serve cowboys who drove their cattle to the railroad and ranchers who would stay the night after purchasing supplies at the mercantile. The town only boomed for a few years and then in the 1910’s the hotel and the town began to die off. The Campbell family left to make a new life in the big city of Montana. They travelled as many miles as they could each day with the family and livestock and would sleep in hay stacks at night. Except for the one night when they reached Loma Montana and got to stay in “luxury” at the one room schoolhouse there.

Early 1900s 1 room schoolhouse at Loma, Montana

Early 1900s 1 room schoolhouse at Loma, Montana

That’s the thing I love about getting out and taking these historic photos so many of which are close to my home in Havre Montana. I get to meet the people who lived that history and it brings these old places to life for a little. Its also a driving force behind why I take so many of these historic style photos. To help preserve and protect these places for once the people are gone if those structures are gone as well then those memories and our shared history are lost forever. I am getting very serious about bringing attention to these structures to find agencies or private individuals (since many of them are on private land) to preserve these beautifully haunting structures that represent a time when this nation was being built. I hope through sales of my pictures, this blog, and shows that I do to raise awareness and funds to keep the pioneering spirit and relics of the past was fading away and being lost in time.

Ft Benton, Montana (teaser)

I will be heading to Ft Benton, Montana in June to do a full story on the town for the blog. I did a little scout trip this morning and thought I would give everyone a little teaser of some of the sights you will see when I do my full story.

Along the way I stopped to take some pictures of the Lone Tree Casino, I love the two neon palm trees out front, probably the only two in Montana real or neon.


I took a little break in the small town of Loma, Mt to take a pic or two of some buffalo and the Marias river near Decision Point. Loma has two claims to fame, Decision Point which is where Lewis and Clark camped and debated which river was the Missouri. The Marias flows into the Missouri just east of town. The second is the World Record for a temperature change in a 24 hour period. On January 14th 1972, the temperature was 54 degrees below zero (f) that night a Chinook Wind began blowing the recorded high on January 15th 49 degrees above 0 (f)  Meaning the temperature change was 103 degrees in 24 hours. It broke the previous record change of 100 degrees set where? Browning Montana in 1916. If you don’t like the weather in Montana just wait half an hour it will change.

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Ft Benton Montana established as a fur trading center in 1847 and bills itself as “The Birthplace of Montana” Ft Benton began to prosper in 1859 with the advent of steamboat traffic. It was as far up river as steamboats could navigate. In addition to being known as Montana’s birthplace Ft Benton used to hold title to being “The Bloodiest Block in the West” People were advised to “….Walk in the center of the street and keep your mouth shut.


Today is a much more friendly town, loaded with history, culture, several museums, the old fort, cafes, bars, and a lot of really nice people.

The only unfriendly resident I discovered was this angry hissing goose 😛

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He was located on the old Ft Benton Bridge which was made by the Milwaukee Bridge and Ironworks in 1888 and rebuilt after the flood in 1908

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The steamboat journey ended at the beginning of the Mullan Road.

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After these photos I broke for lunch at the Wake Cup Coffee House: Really good food (cheeseburger and sweet potato fries for me) awesomely nice people staffing the restaurant, friendly and fun, and epic awesome décor. Tables made from antique doors (cool) and absolutely beautifully designed inside with a local interior decorator. I will get the full story when I go back in June…just a teaser today. Here are some photos of the restaurant, If you are in Ft Benton stop in Mon-Sat 7-4 and Sunday 7-3 for a great meal with great people in an amazing atmosphere!

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And my order number ticket –a piece of an old license plate- how fun.

After lunch I finished up with some quick street shots of the down town area. I can’t wait to go back do some serious photos and get the backstory and history on a lot of these buildings and talk to the people.

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Above the I.G. Baker Company that rivaled the great Hudson Bay Company. Below the Benton Bank Building now home to Ft Benton Realty


020 The JJ McGraw building 1912

069The L&R meats sandwich shop in a building built in 1888 (have to eat there next time)

047 066 023 025 Some other scenes from around town and following to historic motels. More on those when I do my June visit.

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And while in rained in front of me and behind me I had sunshine my whole trip it was awesome considering the spring storms that were rolling across the plains all around me. Hope you enjoyed this teaser and be sure to check back in June for the full story.




Adventure Cruisin

My early morning drive from Havre Montana out to the Sweetgrass Hills near Whitlash, Montana. I was up with the sun



Cruised down to Fresno Resevoir which was still frozen except around the edges!


Some cliff swallows had made a nest under the picnic shelter where I shooting some of the photos. I suppose that makes them shelter swallows but that makes them sound like the poor birds are underprivileged.


Kremlin Montana


Skyscraper Kremlin, Montana style


Kremlin also gets credit for having the 2nd best piece or yard art for the day, this van rocks, I always wondered what happened to the Mystery Machine after Scoobey Doo went off the air ;D


Other town signs the one for the little town of Rudyard always makes me laugh.

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Best “yard art” of the day goes to Rudyard


The Sugar Shak Diner in Chester, its an awesome town I will do a photo blog on it one day soon, so I will just include this one pic of the town.


The rest of the pics are taken on the gravel roads that head north from Chester to the boarder post of Whitlash Mt. I didnt make it that far today but I did get to the edge of the Sweetgrass Hills near the old one room Hill schoolhouse and the homesteader house nearby a beautiful setting for a home or schoolhouse in the valley at the feet of the Sweetgrass even the antelope in one shot seemed to be checking out the view.

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And one final pic…Zombie Dinasour Terror of the High Plains!!!!!!!!!!!



Rodeo Circuit

ImageRodeo night for the MSU-Northern Rodeo Team in Havre, Montana. Geared up and ready to ride.

I tried to capture different moments showing the overall feel of the rodeo. I shot the action scenes at a slow shutter speed. I know its cool to “freeze the action” but I felt the blurred effect of the action shots gave a more realistic image of the speed,power,violence,and physical stress the riders and their mounts face.ImageReady to ride — first riders ready to get the action started and here we go.ImageThe shot above I think is perfect for showing the physical challenges face by both rider and horse. The horse bent forward back high in the air nose almost to the ground and the cowboy bent complete back over the horse. Rodeo aint for sissies.ImageCowgirl up!!! Goat ropin competition on a hot dusty night.ImageYou know your a true cowgirl when you can ride, rope, and still come out looking like a lady.ImageImageRodeo GroundsImageTheir event over these cowboys and cowgirl are relaxing and watching the competition through the dust turned golden by the sun going down.ImageRodeo is a tough tough sport as the following shots show. You wanna live that life you better know how to put your big boy pants on and Cowboy or Cowgirl up!!ImageImageImageImageImageA series of shots showing the action away from the action.ImageImageImageImageImageEnd of a long night.ImageGhosts Riders.ImageCowgirls ridin off into the sunsetImage