Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Free Dinner from the State of Montana

Our drive yesterday from Dillon, Montana to Helena took us over I 15 and past one our favorite towns, Butte.  We pulled into Lincoln Road RV Park about noon and drove over to the information center.

This morning we started out early because we had a lot we wanted to see.  Our adventure took us to the state capital where we had a private tour.  Our tour guide, Dallas, was very knowledgeable and told us the stories behind the statues, people and paintings.

This Charles M Russell painting, Lewis and Clark Meeting Indians at Ross' Hole, is 25 feet by 12 feet and considered by critics to be his masterpiece.  It was magnificent!

Some of the furniture was original to the building.  

Our next stop was the Governor's Mansion.  Unfortunately, tours did not begin until noon.  No problem, we'll go take a tour of the cathedral.......

The unique thing we learned was the Cathedral of St. Helena was built like the one in Cologne, Germany which we have visited. Mass was just getting ready to start so we thought we'd come back later.

We hurried down to get our tickets for the Last Chance Tour Train.  Our engineer, Booty,  was very knowledgeable and fun.

Bill enjoyed sitting back and seeing the sights while 
someone else did the driving.

 We passed many beautiful mansions and our tour guide knew all the history of the families and how they acquired their wealth.

They even have 19 of the original horse posts where they tied up their horses.

There was one mansion after another.  They were all well taken care of and the lawns were all manicured. 

This was an interesting building because in its heyday it was the Montana Men's Club.  It was the only one west of the Mississippi. You had to be a millionaire to belong. 

This is the former Algeria Shrine Temple which is now the civic center.

The train took us right through the Last Chance Gulch Walking Mall.  The merchants came out of their shops with signs telling us to come back after our tour and letting us know what free things they were giving us  when we showed our train ticket.  Did I mention that the train tickets were $7.00.  

The train trip ended right in front of the Montana Historical Society.  Needless to say when Bill saw this skull outside we had to go in.  Our engineer knew we wanted to go back to the Governor's Mansion so she gave us two for one tickets.  The ticket also gave us a two for one for the Historical Society.  

The Montana Historical Society was very well done.  They had a Mackay Gallery of Charles M. Russell Art.  There were so many beautiful paintings and sculptures.  This was our favorite part but they also had a Montana Homeland and a Native American exhibit.  The second floor had a white buffalo and the third floor had a military exhibit.  
We could have stayed longer but there was a car show at the State Capital in honor of the 100th anniversary of the state department of transportation.  They had an exhibit in the rotunda and served everyone a piece of cake.

Bill was all smiles reminiscing about this convertible Ford.  He had one this same year and color with four on the floor.

I thought the highlight of the celebration was the food.  They served barbecue pork sandwiches, chips, watermelon, and hot dogs.  

With a total of $19 spent for the whole day which included our dinner it was time to head back to the RV Park.

I climbed the steps of the capital to get a picture of the Sleeping Giant.  See if you can see his outline in the mountains.  The nose is easiest to locate.  
I must have cut off his feet, but you get the idea.

Turtle safely......


  1. Great tour. And free food - even makes it better.

  2. "Free Dinner from the state" the last time I heard that phrase, the guy was in prison.


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