Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 7 Saturday, July 2, 2011

Havre, Montana to Great Falls, Montana
Miles Traveled Today: 172.0
Total Miles: 2551.3

Apparently the motorcycle fairy didn't get the message that one of our bikes was not running well. We were ever hopeful to start it up in the morning and find the problem gone. No such luck. We took off about 6:15 in about 45 degree weather, so it was a long, cold two hour ride to Great Falls. There was some nice views though, as you can see. Don't ask how that picture was taken.

We arrived at the Big Sky Harley-Davidson, where the owner, Brian Moen, got the bike right in. Our hope of an easy fix came to fruition.One of the electrical wire connectors was bad and kept arcing, causing the bike to basically run on one cylinder.Fixed within a matter of minutes. A huge thanks to Big Sky Harley for taking us in so our trip would not be delayed. They saved the day, literally, because we were soon off to see what all the fuss was about at Great Falls. We found it.

Our first stop was the LCIC on the Missouri River. Once there, Mary Ellen Ergle, from the National Forest Service, gave us an introduction to the facility, and showed us this spectacular compass rose that was inlaid on the entryway floor. It had Indian pictographs in a circle, showing various scenes from the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Very cool. They even had round postcards in the gift shop with the compass rose on it.

Next we followed the blue carpet, representing the rivers, through the building where everything on the left hand walls showed what they did and found. Everything to the right was the people they met. Of course, the big deal was what they did at Great Falls, which was portage the canoes 18 miles around all the falls. We decided to help them push it up one of the hills.

Another display was the five language translation with Lewis speaking to Labiche, Labiche to Charbonneau, Charbonneau to Sacagawea, and Sacagawea to her brother Camehawait, and then the response back to Lewis. Must have taken forever to accomplish anything. It would also become worse, as they would eventually need a 6th person when speaking to the tribes close to the Pacific.

They even had the hallway split in two where Lewis and Clark separated on the return trip.

After completing the miniature journey through the building, it was time to actually see the falls themselves. Originally there were five falls, but since the river has been dammed, one is now submerged. When Lewis and Clark reached this location, they figured a half day around. Took them almost a month because of the size of the falls and the cliffs that surrounded them. The first waterfall they hit was the largest, called appropriately enough, Great Falls. We were able to hike across a bridge to Ryan Island to take in the beauty of this place.

The next set of falls is Crooked Falls, which is the smallest of the four. Couldn't get very close to it from the overlook.

Right next to it is Rainbow Falls. We found it interesting to watch the water move side to side over the spillways. Take a gander.

Last of the falls that the expedition had to portage was Black Eagle Falls. It is probably the least spectacular of all of them, but an obvious nuisance for Lewis and Clark.

KOA campground had fireworks tonight. Had a campfire to wrap up the evening. Looking forward to our first day actually on the river tomorrow. We hope...

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