Our Aunt Marjorie passed away February 12, 2004 in Boise, Idaho. We were invited to attend her Graveside Service July 10, 2004 at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman Montana.

We left Auburn Washington about 10am, Sunday, July 4th.  We crossed the Vantage Bridge and stopped to take a picture of the Wild Horse Monument.

We had earlier decided to spend the night at a favorite place in Post Falls Idaho. It is the Red Lion Templin's located on the Spokane River. They feature breakfast and dinner cruises, daily public cruises and private cruises on the scenic Spokane River.  We enjoyed sitting on the deck and watching the Paddle Boat leave for the dinner and 4th of July fireworks cruise on CoeurD’Alene Lake. The cost was $75.00 per person, so we opted to just watch the boats come and go

Monday, July 5th, we drove to Stevensville, Montana and spent the night with Chuck, Mary and Misty, their little white Maltese.

Tuesday July 6th, we left for Jerry and Pam’s cabin on Placid Lake. Jerry is Chuck and Mary’s son and it was his birthday today. He and his wife Pam live in Las Vegas, but they recently bought a cabin on Placid Lake.

The cabin was built in 1970.  Pam turned twelve that summer.  For years they hauled rocks for the shore-line, raked the entire lot every summer.  They swam, water skied, sunbathed, sat around the campfire, picked huckleberries, explored, caught frogs in the run-off next to the road every spring, and went to the swinging tree almost daily for years.  They were always encouraged to bring friends so there were always a lot of kids there.  Pam’s brothers had friends that would come up almost every weekend year after year that became like extended family. Pam has many, many wonderful memories of her childhood in this cabin.

Pam's dad sold the cabin years ago and when it came up for sale, Jerry and Pam quickly bought it. It is a cute little place and they have been doing a lot of improvements to it.  We had a great time celebrating Jerry and Pam’s birthday.  We were honored when we were told we were to get the honeymoon suite.  It is right on the lake and even has a shower. Yes, it has an outhouse, too. I slept well listening to the lake wash up on the shore all night. 

That afternoon  Jerry asked his son Hunter and nephew Levi if they wanted to go intertubing around the lake behind his boat. The boys had a blast, but then asked me if I wanted to try it.  I said sure as it looked like a lot of fun.  It was great to be tubing around the lake.

Pam served everyone snacks, the most unusual were the meatballs made with Elk and Arkansas razor back and Russian boar meat.  It was good.

Jerry is a bow hunter and bagged the boar on one of his many hunting trips. He also has bagged a Grizzly bear, Kodak bear, Polar bear and an Ibex. He also gets a Bull Elk every  year with his bow.

The next day Wednesday, July 7th, we went to a coffee hour at Pat and Wes Brennan residence on Placid Lake. Each week a different resident provides coffee and rolls for all to attend. We counted 52 people that attended that day. There are a lot of nice people in Montana.  They have a very friendly attitude and treat people with respect.

Later, in the afternoon, Jerry noticed a split in a tree and decided it needed to be cut down.  It was in a very tight spot and could possibly hit a car or the cabin.  We were all a little nervous about it. Jerry did a fine job cutting it down as it fell right where he wanted it too.

Pam has an interesting hobby of melting glass. She puts it in a kiln for hours and it takes on interesting shapes. She sent a melted wine bottle home with me and I love it.

Thursday morning July 8th, Pam made coffee and her mother Joan and dad Richard come over via their Platoon boat.  Joan brought freshly made cinnamon rolls and we all boarded the platoon boat for a ride around the lake.  That was a peaceful ride.  It was a little cold.  I had to borrow a sweatshirt from Mary.  We saw a lot of beautiful homes, like the one Pam's parents live in It is a very nice place to live.  We had a great time with Pam and Jerry.

Later we were on our way back to Stevensville for the night.

Friday morning July 9th, we left bright and early for Bozeman Montana. Along the way we stopped to visit our cousin Helen Maichel that lives in Butte Montana. We made a stop at Harrison, Montana to visit  another cousin Melvin Maichel and his wife Peggy. Finally  we were on our way to Three Forks Montana where we planned to spend the night before going on to Bozeman.

Three Forks is where the Missouri Headwaters are located.  The headwaters were the meeting ground of various Native American Tribes, like the Blackfeet, Shoshone and Crow, before the famous Lewis and Clark expedition.  Within the park is physical evidence of the tribes passing through.  Fur trappers and settlers began to reside in the region soon after the return of Lewis and Clark.  A few weathered ruins still stand as testament to the determination and resilience of the pioneers.  The river ecosystems provide a rich environment for over 90 bird species in addition to numerous fish and game animals.  The Missouri Headwaters is situated in Montana’s scenic Gallatin County Valley where the Gallatin, Madison and Jefferson rivers join together.  The confluence of the Missouri became a historically significant site of the Lewis and Clark expedition, which arrived there on July 25, 1805.  Meriweather Lewis was so moved by the beauty of the rivers that he remarked in his journal..”the beds of all these streams are formed of smooth pebble and gravel and their waters are perfectly transparent; in short they are three noble streams.”  Sacajawea, the expedition’s famous Indian guide, recognized this region to be her native land where she had lived before being kidnapped as a young girl.

We toured the Headwaters Heritage Museum. As they say in Montana “Welcome, Stranger!  Come in and stay a while.” This museum of Three Forks is one of those gems a tourist sometimes finds off the well traveled highways. It has a lot of interesting history. Three Forks began as a railroad community in 1908 and the Milwaukee Railroad station agent’s office exhibit holds an interesting assortment of memorabilia of those bygone days.  Another excellent exhibit is the 571 different types of barbed wire.  My family has items on display, even my brother Chuck has his picture posted there.  No it is not a wanted poster.  The dugout canoe on display was used in the documentary film “The Search for Lewis and Clark”.

I was born in Three Forks in this little house that is still being lived in.  I remember visiting my Grandmother Russie as a young child.  I spent many hours at the Annual Pow Wows located close to her ranch and near the Headwaters.

We spent Friday night at the Broken Spur Motel, a western motel with old fashioned hospitality.  We went to a famous restaurant called “Land of Magic Dinner Club” located at Logan Montana.  It is about 10 miles from Three Forks.  We had big Montana Steaks.  We celebrated Chuck and Mary’s Wedding Anniversary over dinner.  Mary decided on the Steak and Lobster tail.  The Lobster tail was so huge; she didn’t have room for the steak.  We had a good time in this small out of the way place.

Saturday morning July 10th,  we were on our way to Bozeman to attend our aunt’s graveside service at 10 am.  We met up with Pam and Jerry just outside of Three Forks and continued on to Bozeman.  The service for Marjorie Bohart was beautiful and the weather was beautiful too. John Mannix was the Remembrance speaker and Cocoa Douma was the vocalist.  Immediately following the service we joined the family and friends for a reception at the Wingate Inn.

That evening we had dinner at the Montana Ale Works.  A little Ale works history:

The building was constructed by the Northern Pacific Railway in 1914 to store Gallatin Valley goods and cargo for transfer to the great beyond.  Known then, as the Bozeman Freight Depot and later as Little Montana Transport, the building remained in the service of transferring goods for most of the last century.  Today, having restored the brick and wood truss structure and reclaimed it as a community gathering place, Montana Ale Works continues the tradition of transferring goods, welcoming you to trade not wool or wheat, but tall tales over a pint or a glass and a plate of good food.  It is the place to gather, talk stories and swap lies, tradition at the Ale Works.  We talked with relatives and friends.  We got acquainted with Al and Lynn Frieze and Burrell and Billie Lirgg that had traveled from Boise Idaho..  We enjoyed visiting with Sonny and Robb Bohart, along with John Mannix.

We returned exhausted to the Comfort Inn at Bozeman.

Sunday July 11th, after a good night of rest we all planned to meet at the Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks for Brunch. Read history about Sacajawea the Indian Guide for Lewis and Clark today pictures of Sacajawea Hotel at: http://www.sacajaweahotel.com .

After brunch we were on the road again heading towards Helena.  On the way there we stopped at Houser Lake to check out Chuck and Mary’s summer home on the Lake.  It is very quiet and calming with a beautiful view of the Lake. Then we arrived in Helena to visit our cousin Cis and her husband Vern. Vern has done extensive genealogy on the Michel side of the family. This is our mother’s side of the family. It was very interesting to read the documents he has put together. While we were sitting there I captured a neat picture of a squirrel cleaning the gutters. Cis has a beautiful collection of horses and grows big beautiful African Violets.

We arrived back in Stevensville late and tired again.

The next morning July 12th,  Mary’s cows were grazing close by with a beautiful view of the mountains.

Later in the day Chuck decided to take us for a ride to see some of the devastation of the Forest Fires in Montana from last year (2003). Last year a forest fire had just erupted on Cooney Ridge, just behind Chuck and Mary’s place. It burned approximately 25,000 acres. It is east of Florence, Montana up Eight Mile creek. It lasted about a month. Last year as we were leaving Missoula on our way home it looked like we were driving through a blanket of fog. Today as we ride up Eight Mile creek, it is so sad to see the result of that fire a year later.

This is a picture I received via email some time ago. It is close to where Chuck and Mary live. Chuck has been here.

The next morning July 13th, we left Stevensville for home. We stopped for breakfast at the “Lincoln World Famous 10,000 Silver $”.  The largest collection of its kind is displayed in this unique bar in Western Montana.  This 10,000 plus Silver Dollar collection was started in 1952 by Gerry and Marie Lincoln.  Now in their third generation the Lincoln family is continuing the Silver Dollar Collection.  People from all over the world have their names inscribed. Over $2,500 are embedded in the bar top, with the remainder graciously adoring the back bar wall.  It is nestled in the beautiful Bitterroot Mountains and is Montana’s largest Gift Shop.

Now we are home with memories.

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