Major Item Checked Off My Lifetime To-Do List – Day 106

Major Item Checked Off My Lifetime To-Do List

Day 106 – July 15, 2003 – Tuesday

We saw Zurich, Malta, Dunkirk, and Glasgow today. These are all towns in Montana — named by the Northern Pacific Railroad as part of a program to attract immigrants to the area back in the late 1800’s. We drove from Havre — in the middle of Montana — all across the eastern half of the state on Highway 2. There isn’t a lot to see, but we enjoyed the drive.

We left the Great Northern Inn Best Western in Havre, Montana at about 9:30 am. Worst towels on the trip, but a nice room. We were headed for the bison death area.

The Wahkpa Chu’gn buffalo jump (or bison kill) is located behind the Holiday Village Shopping Center near the northwest corner of Havre. Over 2,000 years old, it is one of the largest and best preserved buffalo jumps anywhere. In prehistoric times, Native Americans would drive bison over the edge of the cliff, killing or severely injuring the animals. Afterwards, the Native Americans skinned the animals and preserved the meat. The buffalo jump is now an archaeological site.

When we were trying to locate this unusual spot, we learned that Havre has another attraction. Small grids of purple colored squares could be seen in some of the sidewalks in the downtown area on the north side of the city. These are skylights for a sort of underground “mall” built in the city over 100 years ago. Throughout its history, this underground area has been host to a brothel, a Chinese laundry, a saloon, a drugstore, opium dens, and rooms used for smuggling alcohol during Prohibition. The underground area is now designated “Havre Beneath the Streets.”

In Saco, Montana, we saw the one-room schoolhouse that newscaster Chet Huntley attended as a boy. The school has been turned into a museum and is now named “Huntley School.”

We saw a few Quirky spots along the way — including one big hill covered with animal sculptures of various types — grasshoppers, a giant fly, dinosaurs, bear, elephant, and much more. We never saw a sign, and we have been unable to determine the origin of these giant statues.

On the side of the road outside Malta, we met Dan and his mother. We were at “the big buffalo rock.” The sign said the Indians had an area a little bit north of here, where all of the rocks were rounded and appeared to be like sleeping buffalo. So, the Indians considered it a sacred area. Two of the rocks that were saved were on display at this spot in the road.

Dan lived in Culbertson, Montana — near the North Dakota line. He suggested that we try to eat at the Pitchfork Fondue and see the Medora Musical in Medora, North Dakota. We received that same suggestion this morning in an email from one of our online travelers and email pen pals, Becky Brown. Dan told us where Medora was, and we calculated that we MIGHT be able to make it if we put the old PT Cruiser in high gear, didn’t run into Vincent Passarelli, and didn’t stop for many photos.

We were in a hurry, but when we hit the North Dakota border (29th state on the trip), I had to jump out of the car for a photo. Boz took a photo of me holding up a sheet of yellow paper with a big black checkmark on it. While it was the 29th state we have visited on the trip, this is the 50th state I have visited in my lifetime, so I checked off “Visit all 50 States” from my lifetime To Do List.

We passed through some of Badlands National Park on our way to Medora.

Nine cars were passed (hated to do that as this increased our total passes in 21,000 miles from 13 to 22), but we pulled up at the Pitchfork Fondue just in time to watch them dropping pitchforks holding a dozen huge steaks each into the boiling oil. We enjoyed a delicious Pitchfork Fondue steak dinner, met and spoke with some delightful people, and enjoyed the Medora Musical performed in the big, beautiful Burning Hills Amphitheater. The musical is a look back at the “Wild West” days of the region and includes Theodore Roosevelt.

We were very excited to be in North Dakota as the people of the state have been so wonderful in emails over the last several months since a number of the newspapers in the state ran stories about our trip. When I got out of the car at the border between Montana and North Dakota, it was an especially big deal for me. We were surprised thus far with how great the scenery is in North Dakota.

We met a lot of really nice people today. Dan. Bill and Char and Tami at dinner. Jody and Wally after dinner. Stephanie and Denise at the Amphitheater. Margaret, Sweeney, Sally, and Jan at the musical.

If you haven’t planned your next vacation, a trip to the Dakotas, over to Yellowstone in Wyoming, and up north from Yellowstone to Glacier National Park in Montana would make a wonderful vacation! We thoroughly enjoyed western Montana, and we know we will really enjoy the Dakotas!

We were reminded today of the power of goals. Success is a journey…not a destination. Most people will make careful plans for small trips and none for their longest trip, that is, for their entire life. In training employees over the years, I have asked: “If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you expect to get there?” We should begin with the end in mind. In 1971, I read a book that had a profound influence on my life. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Our children have read it. I have given the book to many friends and fellow workers. While the book teaches many valuable lessons, the main message is: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” The book caused me to realize the power of positive thinking and goal setting. I have been a goal person ever since. One of the things that I have wanted to do is to visit every state. Now that I have accomplished that, the goal is to finish this trip and see all 50 states in one continuous trip. That goal will be accomplished with another 45 days on the road.

Random Comments:

We understand the newspaper story about our trip written by John Garrett appeared in a number of newspapers — not just the Memphis paper.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this web site. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:Havre Montana — Buffalo Jump — Saco Montana — Medora North Dakota — Pitchfork Fondue — Medora Musical