Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mullen, Church, Bordello, Deaths Remembered, Fresh Meat

Now that the "Title of this Posting" has your attention....

Captain John Mullan is a bit of a historic legend along I-90 in Idaho.  Back in 1858 through 1862, then Lt. Mullan and his men built the Northwest's first engineered highway (wagon road), connecting Fort Benton with Fort Walla Walla, a 625 mile road which closely follows the current I-90.  
We then drove east on I-90 until we got to Cataldo, where the Cataldo Mission, also known as the Mission of the Sacred Heart, was the first mission in the Northwest, located now in the Old Mission State Park.  It is the oldest standing building in Idaho.  In 1850,  Antonio Ravalli designed the mission building.  It was built using the wattle and daub method, and was finished 3 years later, without using a single nail.
We continued east on I-90 until we got to Wallace.  Why Wallace?  Because I heard that they had a special type of museum there....yep, you guessed it, the Oasis Bordello Museum!
Now Marcia would not let me enter into the Bordello Museum....well, ok, perhaps she would have.  However, the Bordello was still in business back in 1988, yep, that's right...a mere 24 years ago.  I don't know about you, I am not sure all the germs have died since they advertise that "The final occupants left in a hurry, leaving the upper rooms with their belongings as though they were going to come back."  Also, it has stairs, and Marcia just can't do stairs.  However, I know that many of you want to know what it looks like inside, so just click this google image link and see for yourself.  (I did not see anything offensive, but if you have your google set up with the safe search filter "off", that is your problem, not mine.).
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After lunch and another drive by the Bordello (or two or three), we headed out to the north on the 9 mile creek road.  However, there was a sign that said that it was closed 6 miles ahead.  We were headed to Murray, and that was the most direct way to this remote ghost town, so we traveled another 3 miles and another sign said, "Road closed 3 miles ahead."  So we turned around and went back to I-90, which turned out to be a good thing because I had seen a sign as we flew by at a mere 50 mph earlier that said, "Miner's Memorial", and I wanted to see it too.  But had we gone to Murray, we would have missed this memorial along I-90 unless we stopped with the motor home when we come this way on Saturday.  
It ended up being a memorial to the 91 men who died on May 2, 1972 in one of the worse hardrock mine disaster when the Sunshine Mine had a fire.  Those who died were overcome by the smoke, dying of carbon monoxide poisoning or from smoke inhalation, not from burns.  Even today they are not sure how the fire started.  Below is a close up of the names of those who died.
Below is a picture of most of the monument, with a small portion of the garden missing to the right in the shot.  In the gardens there are memorial plaques from families who had a tree or brush planted in the garden in the name of their lost loved one.
Of course, we just had to see the mine, and it was on the other side of the freeway about a mile down the road. 
Although the mine has changed owners a few times, and during low silver prices it slowed down its operation considerably, it essentially is still in business today.
Research after we got home showed that they had another fire as recent as March 2012, yep, this past March....just over 60 days ago.  This time no one was hurt....
Well, after that, and a very quick stop at a Walmart Super Center, we headed back to the motor home.  Our plan was to leave again an hour or so before sunset and find the so far allusive deer and elk that are suppose to be plentiful in the area.  In fact, at the very beginning of our day trip, we turned right onto Wolf Lodge Creek Road before coming to I-90 as we left the RV Park.  I wanted to see if the meadows which showed up in Google Maps Satellite view were as promising as they looked.  

So after we both had a quick nap, we left the motor home around 7:30 pm.  As we drove first up the Alder Creek turnoff from Wolf Lodge Creek, and then after we turned back and continued to follow Wolf Lodge Creek, we had only seen one deer.  By now it was 8:00, the sun was going to set by 8:30.  From there to the end of Wolf Lodge Creek Road (which is a dead end a few miles back in there), we had plenty of pictures of deer and turned around to head back...and take more pictures of deer, many the same ones we had seen. 

At first we saw just one deer at a time.  They would watch us, but as long as we stayed in the car, they did not seem to mind us much.
Eventually we started seeing them in groups, but further away from the road, which makes it hard to photograph.
 Some were very elusive, keeping trees between them and the road.
And as it got a bit darker (most of these pictures are facing to the west, and the sun was down behind the mountain there), it got harder and harder to get a good picture.
Shortly after we passed the Alder Creek turnoff, I thought I saw something a bit bigger off in the distance to the south...and although there was some cattle and horses along the route, I was sure it was an Elk.  Marcia got the binoculars out for me, and sure enough it was an Elk with a baby...headed our way.
Thinking that we might be able to get better light and perhaps a closer view down the road, which was now headed west but takes a hard left turn, I went down the road some more and we see two more Elk.
Since we are now facing to the east, the although the sun is nearly down, the lighting is just a little better despite, as the picture below shows, that the Elk were a good ways off from the road.
 In the above picture, we did see many Deer coming off that mountain, which is where the Elk surely came from too.  I am sure by the time the sun went down, this large pasture land is filled with Deer and a few Elk.
And in this last picture below, you can see all four of the Elk, with the baby elk right behind the Elk that is in the middle.  After this, the sun was just not giving us enough light to take any more clear pictures.
It was another nice day...and I know we will see much more wildlife over the next few weeks, and we will enjoy and enjoy and enjoy....

And now you know why the title of this blog is what it is. 

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