Tag Archives: Museum of the Rockies

10/2/2019 Bozeman, Museum of the Rockies, Jams, Day 22


Home Again


Empty in the Morning

Osens RV Campground

Whacky Weather.  It’s been unusually cold in Idaho and Montana due to a deep dip in the jet stream.  It dropped down to Arizona.  Meanwhile temperatures in the east have soared.  This morning NPR reported that Washington DC was 100F.  Yes, O Orange One, there is no climate change.

At 8:15 the outside temp here is 33F.  Last night’s minimum temp 33!  The weather is improving slowly.  Our heater has brought inside temp from 45 to 65 quickly.  That rattling fan noise came back yesterday for a few minutes and again today for a few minutes.  Ii haven’t swapped out the thermistor yet..  The fan noise is insignificant for now.

Today’s news is consumed by Congress’ impeachment inquiry into The Orange One and government stonewalling.  Rachael Maddow’s book Blowout about the oil and gas companies is out.  She’s on the Today Show talking about corruption, Elizabeth Warren’s main campaign theme.

Ellen had her cappuccino in bed. She’s listening to NPR and perusing her smart phone.  We have good WiFi here.  The Osens manager once worked for NorTel.  When asked, I told her my email address that includes @pacbell.  “Oh DILBERT!” she said.  I looked befuddled. “You know Dilbert, right?”  “Of course, the cartoon character.”   “Well Dilbert’s creator (I forgot his name) worked at PacBell.  His comic strip is about people who worked there.”  I had a good laugh and another piece of trivia to file away in my mental sieve.   I’d expect good wifi from a communications person of any stripe.

Ellen just said, “It’s snowing!”  There are large snowflakes falling from the sky.  Not enough to be troublesome; not yet at least.  And here I’m planning to take a shower in a few minutes.

We have great local station reception.  Hillary is on The View at the moment.

Yellowstone NP

I called Yellowstone central reservation selected RV reservations and was transferred to Scott.  “There is only one campground open now.”  “Madison?”  “Yes, how large is your camper?”  There was one site open for a 24’ motorhome.  Getting  more information from Scott was difficult, “Can you put me in touch with the campground?”  Moments later Jackie at Madison Campground answered.  “No, we do not hold sites open for walk ins. If you make a reservation and don’t show we charge you for the first night and free up the reservation.” “If I call ahead could I cancel the first night and keep the 2nd and 3rd?”  “Yes, but you would still be charged for the first night and you have to call.”  With a senior pass camping in Yellowstone is all of $14.46.  I have no idea how 0.46 figures in.  Jackie was very helpful.  I would have made a reservation for 10/6, 7, and 8, but Ellen was desperately making “NO” hand signals.  There’s a website that details how many sites are taken at a campground.  Assuming it is accurate, we’d know if/when to make reservations.  We can “play it by ear” as to where to stay: Mammoth, Gardiner, West Yellowstone, Madison, or points south.  Madison Campground will be open through October 19th.

I absolutely love the freedom of retirement.  We can stay as long as we want wherever we want.  We have no need to be home at any time.  By keeping our plans loose without reservations ahead of time, we are not obliged to be anywhere at a specific time. That’s stress free freedom.

At the office I arranged to stay another day.  I mentioned we’ll be staying at Madison in the park and that there are quite a few campsites still open.  Mindy checked her notes and said, Madison is the only campsite with flush toilets and showers.  They also allow generators during the day.  The other campgrounds are dry camping only.  Then she looked at road closures in the park.  The road from the north entrance to Old Faithful is open. The road from Madison east to Canyon is temporarily closed. The road from Roosevelt Tower to West Thumb is closed as is the road south of Old Faithful into Grand Teton.  “They must have had snow last night.  Here the temp should be in the 50’s today and 60’s tomorrow. “We’ll be back to autumn weather in a few days.”  She gave me a good map of Yellowstone and the URL for park road conditions.  That will be useful in the days to come.

The sun is shining here with clouds over the ridges.  I know the pass to Bozeman will be open.  How much snow fell there last night?


“should we stay here another night?”  “I suppose so. It’s closer to Gardiner and the park.  We can buzz over to Bozeman for the day knowing we have a place tonight.” I said.  I’ll make the reservation shortly.  Today’s shower was fine.  With plenty of hot water the small room warmed pretty well.  We’ll be off to The Museum of the Rockies, lunch at Jams Restaurant on Main Street, then back “home”.  On to Gardiner we go tomorrow.  We could stay outside Gardiner or pop into Yellowstone and stay at Mammoth Campground.



Wide Open Road and Blue Skies


A Replica of National T-Rex in Washington

Museum of the Rockies

Entry the 2nd day is free.  Check when/if you go as that policy could change.  Maury Irvine is the fellow who guided us yesterday.  He is among the top eight volunteers to the museum by hours spent with between 5,000 and 9,999 hours. If you have a chance for a guided tour, do it.  You will hear anecdotes and photographs few others have seen.


Honored Volunteers, 4th name Maury Irvine

There is a benefit to doing your own thing in a museum.  Today we wandered at will spending as much time with each fossil, cast, or replica as we wanted.  Photography takes time and is not appropriate for a group tour. I had fun with a camera today.

I’ll post photos of the museum’s displays in a separate post. 




Really? The Beatles?  This Week?

Jams, Downtown Bozeman

Parking a motorhome on downtown Bozeman’s side streets is no problem at all. At least that’s true off-season. We had a three block walk to Jams.

We found Jams last year.  We asked local shopkeepers where to eat. Jams was most often mentioned.  We had breakfast last year.  I remember getting the Huevos Rancheros and Ellen had the corned beef hash.  We sat beside a political consultant who was helping Greg Gianforte prepare for a debate.  Greg’s the guy who assaulted a reporter in 2017.  That was last year. 

Outside the restaurant stood this sign.  I enjoy the unusual, the funny, the creative in our travels. 




Jams, Empty Half an Hour before Closing


Jams Mural, More Music, Less Jelly!

We sat at a window.  Jams was near closing and practically empty.  I ordered their Counter Assault: “House-shaved ribeye, pepper jack cheese, onions, grilled fresh jalapeños, and mango habanero sauce on French bread. Heat level made to order.”  I asked for hot.  Ellen had their beet salad: “Roasted red and golden beets, sliced slab bacon, chèvre, heirloom grape tomatoes, micro greens, pea tendrils, balsamic reduction, and crispy shallots.”  Both were excellent.  The Counter Assault is a variant of a pepper steak with Jalapeno instead of green pepper.  The mango offsets the hot (somewhat).  Hot was hot, not so hot that I developed hiccups or had my forehead break out in beads of sweat., but almost.  It was very good and right on the edge.




Counter Assault Sandwich


Beet Salad

REI Again

The light weight down jacket I bought yesterday is very warm; great as a layer under a wind breaker.  Ellen does not have anything that’s down.  I suggested we go back to REI while we’re in Bozeman.  We might find something she likes.  We did and she did.  She avoided a $300 Patagonia jacket settling for a modest REI down jacket in eggplant.

Returning to Osens RV Campground, we stopped for an LP fill but they were closed.  We’re down to 1/4, which should be plenty for tonight and perhaps a few more.  I fill often to be sure we have heat and refrigeration when dry camping.  We may be doing some in Yellowstone.

Ellen plans to cook chili in her new pot.  She’s browning the meat.   I’m running a test cycle on the pressure cooker.  This pressure cooker is just right.


Done in Fifteen Minutes in the Pot


With Cheese, Cilantro, Sour Cream, Avocado, Yum

Max temp today was 57.  Tomorrow should run into the 60’s.  We had snow this morning, clouds late morning, and partial sunshine through to sunset.  The weather is clearing.

10/1/2019 Butte, Bozeman, Livingston, Day 21




Morning Butte KOA

We were snug and warm last night with the heater turned down to 50 it never came on.  I heard the water heater kick on sometime in the morning.  Our under blanket set at 2 (one setting above low) last night.  It was perfect.  We cuddled listening to NPR with the heater set to 71.  I made coffee, Ellen heated croissants.  We had a comfy breakfast with no sense of urgency.

Low temp last night was 22F. I had the gray/black heater on and a light on in the water cubby with the outdoor shower.  I don’t think it was cold long enough last night to require it.

At the office I met Nathan and his dad, Chris.  Nathan is not shy.  He loves to talk.  Chris said when they started managing he was shy around strangers.  It didn’t take long for him to enjoy playing with everyone who came through.  They’re closing the KOA next week and headed back to Virginia.  I sensed that Nathan would rather have stayed.  “Someone gave me a penny.”  “do you still have it”  “I think so”  “I’d give you one too, but I don’t have one.”  Toward the end Nathan said, “I’ll call mom and let her know we’re coming back.”  To Chris I said, “I can see who’s in charge here” with a smile. He chuckled.


Partly Cloudy. Today’s Forecast.


It actually Snowed a Bit Today!


Our plan was to visit REI, Walmart, and Safeway in Bozeman; visit to Museum of the Rockies, eat at a Main St. restaurant, and stay over in Bozeman.  At REI I found a light weight down jacket that’s perfect as a second layer.  Ellen found water resistant wind pants. Perfect.  At Walmart, Ellen found a 3 quart instant pot to replace the far too big  6 quart we had returned.  One Bozeman campground was closed but for 2 RV sites.  Another is closed for the season, a third didn’t answer.  Osens RV Park in Livingston answered and had availability.  The Third campground called back, but I’d already pre-paid at Osens.  Osens said they’d close the gate at 7PM, we should arrive well before.



Museum of the Rockies

Museums smuseums!  We visit museums and often find them uninspiring.  Some are stellar. I think of the Rodin in Pennsylvania, the Met, the Louvre, Uffizi, and the like.  So many museums in the west are interesting, but not fascinating or awe inspiring.

The replica out front is of the original T-Rex skeleton that stood in the Museum. That skeleton is on loan to the National Museum of Natural History.  They re-named it Nation’s T. rex.  Not to worry, there is a replacement inside.

Today’s special price for seniors was $10.50.  The fellow at the desk said the planetarium show starts in 5 minutes. You’ll enjoy it.  The show was about the formation of the earth.  It was very informative, but not as emotionally intense as I had hoped.  Still who knew that Jupiter’s orbit came in as close as Mar’s current orbit before being dragged out by the newly formed Saturn.  That was news to me.  The seats were comfortable and reclined at an angle.  It was difficult not slipping into sleep.  Science was emphasized with no mention of god (yay).

Outside sits a 3/4 inch square piece of a meteorite that originated from Mars!  the original meteorite was cut into samples for display around the world.  Hence the small sample on display.  How do we know it originated from Mars?  There were (are) gases trapped in the stone.  The composition of those gases matches the content of Mar’s atmosphere.  Thinking goes, “asteroids striking Mars kicked up debris some of which broke free of Mars and arrived on Earth.


From Mars!


How We Know

As we exited, Mat, the counter jockey said, “there’s a docent tour starting in a few minutes with a 94 year old who knows more about the exhibits than anyone here.  It should be fun. You should join the group.”   We did.

Morey, who studied physics, worked with Jack Horner.  Jack Horner is famous for dinosaur bone discoveries and theories of development. Morey and Jack traveled the world on dinosaur bone hunts.  He was a wealth of information and anecdotes.  Like the fact that Jack flunked out of the U of Montana seven times and was not accepted back in the eight time he applied. 


I Find This One Fascinating

The collection of dinosaur bones, casts, and replicas is astounding.  The museum is wisely arranged build in intensity until the final dinosaur display.   The tour cut into our time for dinner in Bozeman.  We stuck with Morey.

We listened to Morey without a thought of taking pictures.  He flitted from one display to another skipping perhaps 2 out of 3 that were not of interest to him (and therefore not to us?).  He said the most important discovery in the past 100 years is presented in the display photographed below.  Dr Schweitzer presented a paper of her find of Dinosaur DNA.  Her paper was rejected because the DNA samples were insufficient to establish her claims.  The search continues.


Dr.Mary Schweitzer & The Search for Dinosaur DNA


Heading into Livingston Mt


Osens RV Park and Camp

We plan to return to the museum tomorrow to take in the exhibits.  Osens RV Campground is 26 miles away, a relatively short drive.  We’ll also have lunch or dinner in Bozeman before entering Yellowstone.

Waze guided us out of Bozeman skirting the town to the east.  That was efficient, but I desperately needed diesel. With no stations in site and Livingston over 20 miles east, we were forced to backtrack on I-90 to Bozeman for gas. “Next time” I’ll be sure to get diesel before it becomes critical.

We stopped at an Albertsons at the turn onto 89 south in Livingston.  Osens is very close; a left onto Merrill Lane less than a mile south from Albertsons.  Osens RV Campground is a small parking lot style campground.  It has showers and a laundry room, though compared to Blackwell Island RV park, the showers felt like they’re not heated at all. 

I just disconnected our water line.  I’m sure we will have no problem with our tanks or lines overnight.  The exposed external hose could freeze. Better be safe. There’s a light in our water service bin.  I’ll turn it on too.

It’s 10:45.  We just returned from a foray outside.  Outside walking around it feels brisk, cold even.  We dress for the weather. The cold doesn’t seem bad at all.  Then when we step inside Li’l Beast’s warmth, we realize just how cold it is outside and how much we appreciate getting inside.  Night time temperatures for the next week is projected to be low, 26, 28, 36, 29 for the next few days.  The daytime temps improve: 39, 46, 57, 49, up to 63.  63 will be a relief.


Tomorrow we’ll return to Blackwell and may stay at the RV campground that called back earlier today.  We’ll visit Museum of the Rockies and Main St. Bozeman.