Thursday, August 13, 2009

Last Post on Legends Tech Blog

Kathy and I have maintained two separate blogs for the past few years, but the times are a changin. This will be my last Blog under Legends Tech, however I will leave the previous posts up for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I will be contributing to the official Legends Of America Blog (, with interesting tidbits on what's new, featured travel spots and of course Kathy and I's wild travel adventures in the American West.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Customer Service Please

It's been a while (almost a year) since I've blogged here, but something happened today that reminded me just how important customers are to Legends Of America, and how being a fanatic about customer service is a rarity in today's business world.

Kathy and I both are sticklers for good customer service. Someone pays too much for shipping, through no fault of their own, we make sure to refund the difference asap. Someone has a complaint about a product they received, we do everything we can to make it good. Someone finds a problem with the web site, whether it be incorrect information, or a broken link, we do everything possible to correct the issue as quickly as possible, or help the user understand the information better. The bottom line is people have a choice, and we want to continue to be that choice for our readers and customers.

Last week I bought a new laptop for our business at the local Micro Center. I added more bells and whistles, including a 3 year platinum protection plan, winding up spending over $2500. I left it there to be upgraded and didn't get a chance to pick it back up until a couple of days ago. The service people were very nice and friendly, and my overall customer experience was good.. until I got home that is.

After taking out the computer box from the bag, then opening the box (these details aren't important until next paragraph), I found that the technician had apparently forgot half my power cable. I had the power adapter, just not the other end that plugs into the wall and adapter. Not a big deal, I'm sure they are a dime a dozen, but since I already spent quite a bit of our technology budget on this one laptop, I figured I would call and request that they find the missing cable. The tech that answered was courteous and went to the back to find it, but couldn't. No problem, he said they would get me another one and just come by the next day to pick it up.

So today I went back to Micro Center to pick up my cable. After getting a blank stare from the young gal up front, she had her supervisor go to the back to investigate. Not too long after he came back up with a power cable for my adapter. Happy ending right? It could have been, except for the fact he just couldn't take responsibility for their mistake. He said, with a scowlish grin on his face, looking at me like I was trying to pull a fast one for a freebee, "Your power cable must of fallen in the parking lot when you left, but here is another one". Well now, that would be a trick since it was packed neatly in a box, then in a bag. I'm sure that power cable just rolled right out of the plastic and the box and the bag since I must be very irresponsible with how I hold things while I walk through a parking lot.

My point is simple. This very small statement from a supervisor turned what could have been a good customer service experience into a sour event. I could have very easily walked away with the memory of Micro Center being very helpful, courteous, and responsible (which overall they were), however my memory now is that one statement, putting the blame back onto me, the customer, instead of simply apologizing and handing over the cable with a smile.

I'm sure this is written about ad nauseam, but business owners should be more critical of their customer service. While I don't expect top notch treatment at the local burger joint, I would have expected a little better after spending that much at a computer store. I think it makes it worse to get it from a supervisor, as the employee's surely look to him for leadership and knowledge. Is this the kind of knowledge you would want your employee to gain? Despite the fantastic service I received otherwise, do you think this store will be my first choice when making my next computer purchase?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wrapping Up Adventure One View at a Time - Day 6 through 9

Axel Rose belting out "Knocking on Heavens Door" on 101 The Fox, Kansas City's classic rock paid for 2001 POS Chevy Cavalier rattling with the beat through it's cracked dashboard as I push it up to 80mph on mind set on the ultimate end goal..a night on the couch with nothing to do, vegging my mind away in front of the boob tube...I'm going home!!!

The trip from the airport last night wasn't fast enough. I had just landed from three days at our Dallas office, which is a short trip, but the end to a long two weeks of travel. Kathy and I had just wrapped up our vacation Tuesday, and didn't get home until after 11pm. My flight to Dallas was the next morning at 6am, so I really didn't consider it being home...Might as well have been another Super 8 stop over. I was finally coming home though, at least for the next two weeks. As I made the exit from I-29 to 635, getting ever so closer to the Kansas border, my mind started sifting through the last few days of our Ghost Town adventures.

We got up early again last Friday, preparing to leave our new friend Albert and his beautiful cabin just off the continental divide deep in the wilderness of Montana. Our original plan was to shoot up north of there to Glacier National Park, but a couple of days at Alberts brought back some sanity and we realized we must slow our trip down for a while, and take some easy days back to Jackson Hole Wyoming. So we relaxed that morning with Albert's freshly ground espresso, chatted the morning away while Albert cooked up another great breakfast, this time fried waffles...ummmmmm.... took some pics for prosperities sake and hit the road toward Missoula.

Our plan was to backtrack down Highway 12, then down I-90 a short ways to Deer Lodge as our first stop. Home to the Old Montana Prison Museum, this was a great side trip to all the ghost town adventures, getting a good feel for life behind bars in a prison that was active for 100 years starting in 1871. Kathy proclaiming as we toured the cell blocks "Remind me to never kill you, I wouldn't want to wind up in a place like this!" Thanks babe, I know the trips been a long one, but it's nice to know you need a reminder ;).

After the prison adventure and a tour through another old west museum, we hit the road again back up I-90 with a just a few more ghost towns on the way, including Montana's first gold discovery at what's now called Gold Creek. Not a lot left there, and you really had to hunt for signs of yesteryear. After finally finding a pond with some old mining equipment in it, we set our sites for the treat of the day, Garnett.

This ghost town is one of Montana's best preserved and least visited, and is kept up by the BLM and a preservation society. On both public and private land, they won't let you drive into this town, but they have adequate parking just up the hill overlooking the town, and the short hike in is well worth the price of admission. They have plenty of buildings still with contents on display, including a large hotel and general store. We took our time going through most of the buildings that were open, and really enjoyed the history. Signs outside each building that told you about the proprietors and how the town rose then fell as most mining towns did. On the other side of the parking lot there's another hiking trail to take you to remants of the actual mining. It's only .2 miles and it was an easy hike into the past, with several interesting things to see.

By that time it was already getting later in the day than we wanted so off we went to our stop for the night in Missoula. Our last three days of the trip would take us down highway 93, west on 75 into Idaho. Saturday was full of beautiful scenic drives, but by this time in the trip it was just another mountain and trees. Lot's of historic places to see along the Salmon River Scenic Byway, including Gibbonsville Idaho. Not a complete ghost town with at least 100 residents still there, but we found the cemetery interesting. Sure it was historic, but it was a recent headstone that caught Kathy's eye. A husband and wife..each side of the stone showing when they came and left the world, each plot with a mound showing that someone was buried there, but flowers only on the husbands side. On closer inspection Kathy found that the husband died December 20, 2005, but the wife's marker showed December 20, 2008....wait, what's today? This interesting stop kept our minds occupied for a while as we moved on down the road.

The rest of our day would take us on a side trip along the Salmon river through some gorgeous country down to Shoup, then backtrack to 93 for our stop in the town of Salmon. Didn't have any hotel reservations, and there were only 3 or 4 to choose from, but we got lucky and landed at one right at the edge of town by the river. It's a crap shoot sometimes with locally owned hotels, and this one was on the edge. Good enough though for a nights rest, with the river right outside our door.

I'll attempt to brief this up on the next two day and just say "welcome to Idaho". Oh there was beauty, but there was also desolation. After a side trip just south of Challis on scenic highway 75, into the Yankee mining district and several more places of yesteryear, which by the way includes a wonderful information center that is a must stop for any ghost towner, we started getting into area's of the state that you could tell were no-mans land. It stayed pretty much mountainous around us as we traveled more of a valley through Ketchum (lots of highway traffic this Sunday as people must of been coming home from the Salmon River recreational areas), finally hitting more flat roads and feilds as we turned onto Highway 20 to our next overnight stay in Arco. Along the way you run into Craters of the Moon National monument. This area home to a lava field that covers thousands of acres and made for some interesting stories of pioneers trying to make their way through. It was an unexpected site in western Idaho, and a nice change of scenery to wrap up the say.

After a great stop in Arco it was finally Monday, our last day of travel. This day would take us through the farming areas toward Idaho Falls, then out to Swan Valley and back north a bit on highway 31 into Victor and Driggs. Our main goal of the day was the Grand Tetons, since our first day 9 days ago didn't provide the time needed to explore the area. Quirky Kathy of course was also on the search for one specific photo opp that she had seen on several post cards. A giant potato on the back of a flat bed truck. Yep, that's my wife, and I love her dearly. I was convinced she was crazy until just outside of Driggs I saw the truck. It was the Spud Drive In theater. Of course it wasn't a real potato, but it made Kathy happy that we found it. I'm sure she will be selling the fruits of our search soon on her Rocky Mountain General Store.

We were definitely through with the flat lands by this time, and going up into the mountain range just east of the Tetons, coming into Wyoming on highway 33. Incredible drive that finally brought us to a point overlooking Jackson Hole. Coming down the mountain we ventured off on to highway 390 toward Teton Village, then up into the Grand Teton National Park. It was a beautiful day and there were plenty of vacationers venturing the same way. This entry is a gateway not only into the Tetons but also Yellow Stone if you had the mind to keep heading north. Our goals weren't that lofty though so we targeted Jenny Lake as our deepest point into the park.
Along the way there are several pull outs and trail heads for visitors to stop and soak in the incredible views. It was at the first major pull out that we saw first hand how absolutely rediculous we humans are when it comes to animals. Cars and RV's packed the pull out, and several people, cameras in hand and kids in tow were running across the road in front of traffic to a river bridge. My immediate thought was that it was a bear maybe? I mean, why else would people risk life and limb, leaving their children behind them as they run to catch a quick pic of nature. I was duped into the frenzy, so I carefully pulled into one of the few remaining parking spots and joined the crowd at the other side of the road. At least 50 people by now pointing to the river bank, I draw up our new video camera thinking I was about to get something spectacular on film. Panning left to right as the gawkers pointing fingers moved I see it...a young moose drinking from the river. there a bear or mountain lion about to eat the, it's just a moose. I guess I should have been more excited, but come on people, all this for a moose?

After soaking in the tranquil water of Jenny Lake and taking plenty of footage of the thousands of year old Ice still on top of the Tetons, we made our way back through the now even larger crowd at the side of the road still watching the moose almost an hour later, and into the bumper to bumper traffic of Jackson Hole. When we finally reach the Super 8 in Jackson, choking on the $200 dollar a night bill, we settled in for our last night before heading home.

I've already written about our experience with United Airlines the next day, the only thing I missed was that by the time we reached Kansas City on Frontier airlines, one of our bags was still in Jackson Hole, the other somewhere in Denver International Airport. Fine, I didn't need my deodorant anyway, despite the fact I was up at 4am Wednesday morning to hop another flight to Dallas on business. Luckily the Hilton Garden Inn up the road from the Dallas office had what I needed to get by.

No ghost towns on my agenda for quite a while. Finally home for the next two weeks before making business trips to Brazil, two trips to Dallas and Amsterdam all in a 4 week period. For now I'm enjoying the memories of a wonderful vacation and incredible adventure through yesteryear. Be sure to read all about the old west towns we visited on Kathy's blog and of course Legends of America. In the meantime I'll snap a few while out of the country and share, but it just isn't the same as this incredible nation we call home.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kansas City is a long way from DIA

Hey, this is reminiscent of my post on 7/19. Here I am again, in the smoking lounge of Denver International Airport, staring out at the same gate (B-37). Once again United has delayed us, this time going home. I know I haven't finished blogging about the rest of the trip yet, and will get to that soon, but internet here isn't that reliable for uploading photos.

At least Kathy looked up United guidelines, and found that if there is a delay of more than four hours, they will attempt to get you on another airline. So instead of having to wait from 3:30 to 8:15 tonight, we only have to wait until 6:51pm Denver time to catch a Frontier flight to Kansas City. I'm only home for a few hours though because some DORK booked me on a 6am flight to Dallas for work tomorrow morning. Oh...I guess that DORK is me. Anyway, just enough time to pack another bag, sleep and go. Can't wait to blog about the rest of our Wyoming, Montana and Idaho adventure. Ran into some more beautiful scenery and some strange mysterious things in cemetary's that I'm sure I'll be talking about.

Promise to catch up on the rest soon. Thanks for stopping by.

Ghost Towning with Albert - Helena Region, Montana Day 5

Waking up Thursday morning at Albert's mountain cabin was a great change to the endless hotel rooms with crappy coffee and thin walls. Climbing down from the upstairs bedroom, then into the den where the open glass picturesque windows give way to an incredible view of the mountains surrounding the kitchen, finding fresh ground espresso in a funnel filter, and a kettle of water ready to boil, and Kathy already up blogging about the past days adventures, relating her early morning viewing of the mule deer just a few feet away from the cabin at the salt licks laid out in the yard. I challenge anyone to find that at a Super 8.

Albert is a night owl of sorts, so it was expected that he would sleep in. Perfect for Kathy and I as we needed the time to geek and prepare for the days travels. Albert was up earlier than his norm, playing the excellent host and cookin up breakfast. After visiting for a while, and burning off some of his dog Zach's abundant energy, we loaded up in his Jeep and headed back into Marysville. This ghost town is not dead, and in fact has some active mining operations in the area. But there are plenty of abandoned homes and history to take in. We spent some quality time there roaming the hillside and talking to some guys restoring one of the historic buildings in town before pushing off south around Helena.

Our next stop was Remini just off highway 12, again not really a ghost town as several residents live there. Although the drive in through the canyon was beautiful and the town had some picture qualities, we didn't stay long. Saw a cool ladder that had hung on wall too long and bowed without breaking a rung (didn't know that wooden ladders would do that) and read the locals rhetoric about the EPA and a superfund cleanup gone wrong, splitting the town folk into a feud of sorts. By that time we were ready for lunch, and Albert had the perfect place up the road in Elliston. Stoners Saloon is a local favorite for good hometown greasy cheeseburgers and a little flare. Posters on the wall of a 1991 Weekly World News story about how the owner captured Big Foot right before the annual Big Foot hunt still attracts visitors attention today, and makes for a good chuckle while soaking in the atmosphere.

With bellies full we move back toward Helena then down I-15 toward the Boulder area, cutting off north at Fuller and landing in our first real ghost town of the day...Comet. This place was the best stop of the day. It's not protected by BLM, State or National Forest. Privately owned by several different residents, Comet has many building standing from the late 1800's and early 1900's, and was an active mining camp as late as the 1940's. Old abandoned cars still sit off the streets of town, and there are only a few areas marked off as private property. We were careful to respect the area, but unfortunately ran into someone who is not.

Rules of Ghost Towning are pretty simple. Respect the property, don't leave anything and do NOT take anything. If it says it's private property, don't go there, and if it warns you of risk, heed the warning. It's those who disrespect the ghost towns of America that take away the history, forever removing the memory of what once was there. That was the case with the guy Albert and I ran into by an old mechanics garage near the edge of town. An area resident, who obviously see's this old stuff every week, and doesn't have the appreciation we do for the history there. He was proud to tell us about taking away the scrap iron to make money, and even talked about cutting up one of the old cars by the road. Once again it made me realize that what we see today may not be here tomorrow, especially in unprotected areas.

We spent a lot of time in Comet, including crossing the small stream over to the old mining buildings. They were in good shape, and stepping carefully, we stepped through the halls viewing the history and some quirkiness along the way. Like this boulder that seemed to have come from no where, crushing the floor underneath. No angle from the hillside to explain it rolling into the building, and the only hole big enough in the side wall, where outside it was downhill, not up. Did someone throw it through the wall somehow? Weird anyway.

It was starting to get late, and Albert and I were both concerned that we wouldn't make our final destination of Elkhorn on the other side of I-15. Practically had to drag Kathy from Comet, then on the road again, reaching Elkhorn, part of a Montana State park with little time to spare. This area is protected, and several residents live there. A couple of buildings are kept up for viewing and the rich history of the ghost town is documented well. We took the time to go up the road a bit more to the Elkhorn cemetery, where reminders of just how rough life was back in the 1800's shown in the grave stones of many children, who died within weeks of each other in the epidemic of 1889.

Paying our respects and remembering the pioneers of Montana, we loaded up and headed back to Albert's cabin, not arriving there until after 9. The sun was just going down as Kathy wrapped up some email and headed off to bed. Albert and I stayed up again, both of us on our laptops enjoying the peace and tranquility of the mountains. It was a great way to wrap up a wonderful day, and I was thankful for our new Montana friend and his hospitality.

Next Blog: Back on the road, Marysville to Missoula and Prison along the way.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Butte to Marysville -Montana Day 4

Kathy has developed several 'internet' friendships over the past five years. Readers of her website that provide feedback and general information that occasionally check in on Legends Of America. She had told me of one specific reader in Montana a while back who said if we were ever there to look him up. As time drew closer for our trip, Kathy continued to communicate with him, and he actually invited us to stay in his mountain home near Marysville.

Being the joker that I am, I started teasing Kathy even before we left Kansas City. "So, you never met this guy right? And he has a home in the mountains, away from all other's, with no phone right? Does he have a dungeon as well..he he he?" I poured it on pretty good... in fact so well that by the time we drew closer to his home I started questioning things myself. What we knew was that he had internet, but no phone service. We knew he had to drive toward town to get calls, and that he was completely isolated somewhere in the Helena region. "So what happens if we get there and this guy is some kind of serial killer?" Kathy wasn't too phased by my rhetoric, and we pressed on Wednesday morning with her internet friend as our final destination (of the day that is).

We had made it to Butte the night before, and decided to spend a little time there before moving north on I-90 toward Deer Lodge. Butte was an interesting mining town and has some tragic history. It's open pit mine was the largest in the world when it closed in the early 1990's. During it's hey day around World War I, the copper mine employed about 14,000 miners, but later dwindled as ore production declined in the 1950's. It's also home to the worst hard rock mining disaster in US history. The Granite Mountain Mine Disaster in June of 1917 was a large fire 2,000 feet below the surface that sent flames, smoke and poisonous gas throughout the underground tunnels. Almost 170 men lost their lives, and today Butte has a monument overlooking the mining operation to honor them.

After Butte we move up I-90 and get off on Highway 1, the Pintler Scenic Route. Through Anacanda and up to Georgetown lake, this is another beautiful Montana drive. Once at the lake, turn right at the Ski Resort and just up the road a bit you run into Georgetown. This was on our list of ghost towns, but it isn't anymore. The resort area has taken over, and there are several homes there, but we didn't see any remnants of yesteryear. A short way's from Georgetown is Southern Cross, another mining ghost town. This one hasn't been taken over yet, however amidst the crumbling buildings of the 1800's were plenty of bull dozer's and workers clearing out places to build a new. It was one of those moments that you felt you may be one of the last people on earth to witness what Souther Cross was.

After Southern Cross it was back on Highway 1 with a stop in Phillipsburg. Another old mining town, however Phillipsburg still thrives today as a nice little tourist stop. Very cute downtown, almost like Virginia City, only more shopping than anything else. It's a good stop anyway, with a bit of history. Outside of Philipsburg about 5 miles, up a somewhat rough dirt mountain road, one lane most of the way, is Granite. This mountain top ghost town is very cool. Once a large thriving mining community back in the 1800's, several buildings remain, though many have been taken by the mountain side. You can take a 2 hour walking tour if your in shape to hike (we were there maybe 30 minutes and still got our fill of the history).

After Granite it was time to head back toward I-90 at Drummond, then down to Garrison where we cut off on Highway 12. We were supposed to meet Kathy's internet friend in Marysville, outside of Helena, at 4pm. Unfortunately as soon as we exited we hit road construction. 20 miles behind a follow me car that took an hour to get through. Quickly moving on to Helena, filling up with gas and a quick snak before hitting Birdseye Road past Fort Harrison on our way to the ghost town of Marysville.

Meet Albert, the Mountain Man of Montana....

The plan was in place. We had a good feeling about Albert through his emails. He was already generous with letting us stay in his cabin home, and had even planned on throwing some steaks on the grill that night for dinner. But one must be prepared, so we had already sent the exact location of his home via email to Kathy's daughter in Lawrence, and to my son back in Lenexa. Told them that if they didn't hear from us by Friday at noon to send out the search party. As we finally pulled into Marysville and found Albert sitting in his Jeep waiting, our paranoia was quickly alleviated. Let me describe my feelings about Albert in three words...Admiration, Envy and Awe.

Albert is a mountain man by choice. He had lived in California most of his life, with a career as a Sheriffs detective, artist and educator. He even got a few walk in roles in several movies, including City of Angels, along with his daughter. His acting stints started with her trying to get roles as a child and the casting director encouraging him to try out as well. He had the "detective/Sheriff" look down to a tee. With a clear vision of what he really wanted though, Albert spent years planning for his retirement. Then, when the time was right, he sold his home in California, bought an RV and spent two years traveling America searching for the perfect place. Somewhere completely off the grid. After the life of public service he had, I don't blame him.

It was by chance (payoff for a lot of hard work) that he found out about the home and land he has now. In fact, it almost didn't happen, as the real estate agent helping him couldn't find the place for several days. Both kept searching and had finally given up. Luckily though, the owners came back from the East Coast and guided them in. Getting to Albert's is an adventure in itself. Up from Marysville, then along the Continental Divide and back down just a bit into a small valley. As an 1863 mining claim, his home is completely surrounded by public lands. Not a neighbor in miles, completely isolated with nature.

Albert was easy on us, taking us in on the best roads possible, but definitely needed the SUV. When we arrived at his cabin, I was immediately overcome by the incredible beauty. A small spring behind his home provides all the water he needs. The mountain side behind the stream home to all the forest brings with it, including Mountain Lions, Elk, Bear and Deer. In front was just enough of the valley floor so you didn't feel claustrophobic, but not enough to give view to his home until your right on top of it. It's also enough to provide just the right wind's that allow him to generate electricity. That along with some hydro power. He's installing solar panels that follow the sun later this year.

Living in a place like this isn't something everyone could do. You have to plan, plan and plan some more. You also have to be in shape, as there is a lot of work that goes into living off the grid. He's fortunate in the fact he has satellite internet and can keep in touch with friends who check in on him daily. But you can tell that Albert will be just fine with or without that communication. After dinner that night he regaled stories of his past four years there, including the hard winters when he has to leave his Jeep closer to town and drive in for supplies using his Argo utility vehicle. He even had to buy tracks for it to get up and down the mountain, often times dealing with several feet of snow, finding himself stuck halfway home, having to walk back. Like I said, this isn't something everyone could do. But for Albert, it's a payoff for a the life he's led as a veteran and public servant.

He's not completely alone in the wilderness. Albert has Zach and Zoey, his dog and cat, that keep him company through those long winter weeks when he doesn't see anyone. At first I was completely envious of his life in the mountains, but after hearing some of the stories of the winters there, I can say for sure that I could come no where close to achieving what he has. I guess I'm still too plugged in and out of shape to consider moving that far off the grid. But for a moment there I was dreaming about it. I think for now I'll just have to dream through Albert's eyes.
Next blog: Ghost Towning in the Helena region with our new friend, and seeing first hand what happens when history isn't respected.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Livingston to Butte - Montana Day 3

Virginia City along the Bozeman Trail

The wind in Livingston had finally died down that morning, and we were ready for an early start. Long day ahead with some primary targets for Kathy's ghost towning, down the Bozeman trail. Along with the mining ruins along the way, we land in Virginia City. This is a really cool town for those of us who like the old shops, various tours and antiques. Lots to do here, including a train ride over to Nevada City, Stage Coach tours, an old fire engine turned into a touring ride, shopping and plenty of history. In fact, it's a National Historic Landmark District with 200 historic buildings. If your not into just the ruins, but want a good small town, old west feel, Virginia City should be on your list of stops.

After wrapping up there we head just a few short miles to Nevada City, which includes a walking tour of the recreated mining town. I think some of the buildings are originals, but others have been brought in. It was an alright stop, but not as fun or large as Virginia City. We grabbed a bite to eat while there at a small restaurant that appeared to cater to the 'California lifestyle' (in other words, no grease or fat, and what I call weeds for lettuce...Hey, if that's your thing great, you'll love it).

Next on the list of must see's was Bannack. Along the way we got a little lost (gotta learn that Tom Tom doesn't always know best), but after stumbling onto a couple more ghost towns and taking a leisurely ride down many dirt roads out of Garnett, we finally made it just in time for a good Montana thunder boomer. We just paid our entry fee and were walking in when the rain started, so we camped out in the old hotel. Very convenient that they let you in all the buildings, and the hotel was a great place to spend some time. I think Kathy got a vibe that a spirit still lingered there, but all I got was the since of history in this incredible mining town. After the rain we ventured through the rest of the buildings, and Kathy decided to jaunt off by herself up to the Cemetery. She was on the grand search for Henry Plummer, the local sheriff who wound up in his own jail and then hanged by the gallows he created. You would think that she would remember that ol Plummer's grave wasn't even there, especially since she wrote about it on Legends Of America, but it didn't hit her until after spending quality time looking.

By now it's getting late, and we have a long way to go to get to Butte for the night. We had also decided to take the Wind River Scenic Byway, which included another ghost town on the way. The rain had moved out of the area, but the storm was pretty powerful. Saw several tree's snapped at the base along the roadside, before finding our turn to Coolidge. A four mile detour on some dirt road, which happened to be blocked half way in by a nice plump pine tree. Lucky we had our high clearance SUV, as Kathy was insistent on getting to her out of the way backwoods treasure.

Within about a 1/2 mile of the town, you're hiking the rest of the way in. This wouldn't have been so bad, if it weren't for the fact that the mosquitoes were also on a mission. By the time we reached the town I looked like something out of a cartoon. Hands and arms waving frantically, constantly moving to avoid large hordes of the blood sucking bastards gathering, and generally getting a miserable experience (note to self: Deep Woods Off). This ghost town did have some treasures though. Several buildings still intact, and a school that apparently found it self in a fast flowing stream. Only the top remains, with the water flowing underneath. Don't see that everyday. We made our way just over half way through the town when I finally had enough.."I'm done, going back to the car before these vampires suck me dry". Kathy being Kathy wasn't even phased by them, and the look of "go ahead you wimp, snivel on back" didn't help.

I cussed a while on my way, then realized I had just left my wife alone, deep in the woods, as the sun continued to go down, traipsing through god knows what miles from anywhere. OK OK, DAMN IT! "Thought you were going back to the car?" Kathy's inquisitive, yet comical smile could be seen clearly while I was still 30 feet away. "If I keep moving they don't overcome me as much" I said, trying to convince myself as I rubbed the back of my neck which felt like a brail Stephen King novel. Fortunately she was wrapping up, and after what seemed to be a long journey back to the rental, we were on our way to Butte. Thank goodness the local ranger had moved the tree before our return down the mountain, and it was smooth sailing to wrap up our 12 hour day of history.

Next on the blog, Butte to Marysville and Albert, Mad Man or Mountain Man.