My own Reality Show… MT

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Monday, July 27th, afternoon. So a Friend wrote to me the other day about a reality show being played on television called “1000 ways to die” (???). The one episode about the guy and the bear (???). I mean really? Are things that bad? All one really needs to do is get on the road, even for a day and if lucky and a bit perceptive will come across the real oddities we ourselves encounter. Of course they are not oddities to me, only free spirits. I am sure they are seen that way considering what I now know of shows being watched. I have mentioned this before, the roads are themselves the space so rich for some many moving. The shoulders are the meeting places. They are the comfort zones where we can rest, eat, chat with whom ever we choose to, they choose to. Many I see, unfortunately, with nervousness on their faces, probably thinking if we are going to rob them or harm them with this Dog of mine. Some have finally told me so, when realizing we are not there stopped for them… but for us only. Maybe to just take photos, or if Spirit needs a break as I do. Of course unpaved roads are the best, the less traveled, but sometimes the movers, the “odd ones” are only and can only move on paved roads. Sometimes I don’t watch it, there are no shoulders and a ditch only welcomes us having then to wait for a good Samaritan to pull us out since Spirit is of no help.


Sometimes it is a fuel stop that lasts when coming across a 1939 Ford, original, not restored, one that has even been in the Godfather movie. Garaged for 50 years! Of course I want to hear about the V8 under the hood, touch the leather that has been so well kept and check out the license plate that says “prison made”.

39 Ford  
39 Ford 39 Ford
39 Ford 39 Ford

But it does not stop there, Spirit also attracts attention and suddenly we have admirers of the Car, Spirit, Old Faithful… What schedule? No one has a schedule, we just continue on chatting and taking photos. OK… so she was nice to me because of Spirit.

Malissa Malissa

I had promised myself yesterday that we would not get wet on this particular ride. Not the two of us anyhow. So whoever was bored or curious enough to check out our SPOT, must have wondered the why’s of our route which included a few U turns and come backs. We did ride a big loop but it was not as the map shows. While waiting for the clouds to go away ahead of us on 191, we rode into the little town of Gallatin Gateway and glad we did. There was an old Post Office, now a Pizza Restaurant, and a Bar~Restaurant called “Old Faithful”! Both closed on Sundays.

dark clouds  

This way did not look so good, but the other way did… just a game of hide and seek, no real destination.

post office pizza  
post office pizza  

“Old Faithful”, ours, I think was happy…

old faithful  
old faithful  

Finally 191 cleared up, one of the most beautiful black top roads ever ridden along the Gallatin River, but yet was too early to make a right on 287 going west a little bit further down the road. No choice but to run into the little tourist town of West Yellowstone and sit there, under cover, on a rent free bench for a couple hours and listen to many complains and comments about the posted Menu of the Restaurant near by us. It was entertaining, no doubt. Never realized all these years myself in the retail food establishment business what on comers could talk about before setting foot in to eat. That in itself was a true Reality Show. The weather changed to worse, Old Faithful got the heavy cleaning treatment in the form of much hail and Spirit, well, one look at his expression from under the bench tells the story. (I phone photos). I love my buddy!


On and off the surge stopped, walked around a bit, overpriced shops, $3 coffee and $5 ice cream cones where not for me that day, but taking photos of the painted bulls which will go for auction for the Town was interesting enough. They were 36 of them and I spared my camera a bit.

bad weather  
bull bull
bull bull
bull bull

After so much entertainment the southern skies started clearing up and with another added layer of clothing, a bit late now in the day, the temperatures dropping fast at 6800 feet, we backtracked to 287 west toward Earthquake Lake, just in time for an eerie sight played by the lights and the remaining surrounding mountains.The largest Earthquake in Montana on August 18th 1959.

eathquake lake  
earthquake earthquake

Damaged and collapsed buildings at the Blarneystone Ranch, near Hebgen Lake, Montana, caused by the August 18, 1959, earthquake. (Photograph by I.J. Witkind.)

eathquake lake  

The most spectacular and disastrous effect of the earthquake was the huge avalanche of rock, soil and trees that cascaded from the steep south wall of the Madison River Canyon. This slide formed a barrier that blocked the gorge and stopped the flow of the Madison River and, within a few weeks, created a lake almost 53 meters deep. The volume of material that blocked the Madison River below Hebgen Dam has been estimated at 28 – 33 million cubic meters. Most of the 28 deaths were caused by rockslides that covered the Rock Creek public campground on the Madison River, about 9.5 kilometers below Hebgen Dam. [Quote USGS]

nest - nest --3

My own reality is at every step I take, it is almost as Old Faithful wants to stop at every turn of the wheel. The perceptions of it all have accrued to a point where I feel I could just walk through this country and amazement will never cease with every footprint. I saw this plant and had no clue what was. Still don’t. Maybe dried out nests I am thinking. I crossed the road as I noticed them and at the same time almost stepped on this torn baseball. I looked at it, my thoughts twirled as where maybe it had been, how many games it had played, how many cheers has been heard from it or was it just a dog’s toy that maybe he or she tore up and abandoned. The frames of it’s past went by me with a smile filled with curiosity and truly at the same time an amazement of happiness toward my own thoughts. I was thinking. Is it that important? as the cars went by 80 miles per hour, as their driver and passengers will never experience this bit of introspection. After all, it is just a baseball, like millions of other ones, or was it?


My own reality is filled with care, care for animals, people and Mother Mature, care for it all that touches the heart even if seemingly it could not for others. Lance has cared enough to sacrifice himself I feel to make me a better person that I am today, my own torch is brightly lit as it has only passed hands and on this path it remains high above everything else that I might encounter. I care for this young man named Noah, 20 years old that rushes down the roads on his long board at 50 miles per hour. We stay in touch. Life just does not pass me by unattended.


I care for Ron Dakota who I met yesterday. He is my new Hero. I will go back to see him tomorrow and hopefully cook dinner with him. Did I say he is my Hero? A wagon, 5 beautiful horses, a 68 year old man traveling on the road now for… 26 years. “Americana” he said loudly, this is “Americana”, as I remembered using that same word not too long ago. I expressed to him that often I had thought myself doing the same. 20 miles a day, six days a week. But now I understand it’s difficulty. He has to ride on roads which have no guard rails and much grass for the horses to eat. They eat their weight per month, that is 1000 lbs of hay times five per month and drink close to 50 gallons of water also per day. How stupid I felt when I almost thought, well I honestly did, so much saving on fuel! And lets not forget the shoes…

ron dakota  
ron dakota-2  

I am so excited about seeing him again tomorrow as he is taking a two day break not too far from here. Might even camp with him! Much to talk about I know, much. My only sadness amongst all this is not having the ability and time to stay in touch as Joe we met last year who roller bladed cross country, Geoff on his Penny Farthing around the World, so many others, so many we never met but have written, always read however. I need 48 hour days because this reality Show of ours is the real deal and reruns cannot be played at the push of a button.

old faithful  

So turn off that television, make your own show… there is never a strike, the picture quality is always outstanding, it will sharpen your senses and you will never be off season or on a schedule.

Be well… always.

Merchandise on Smugmug, Photos and Free “e-card” on my new Zen  Gallery

Your support will help us continue these endless chapters you read. It will be more than greatly appreciated.

Ara & Spirit

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7 Responses to “My own Reality Show… MT”

  1. Max Cactus Says:

    I have read your blog for a couple of years now, and today’s essay is about your best. Well done.

  2. Dee Says:

    I too read you every day,as i sit here in my little retirement home at the beach. I travel through you and Miz tioga and George. I would love to have a Rv and just go,but dont think i can afford it. Stay in a happy mood Ara and enjoy life for us. Dee

  3. mq01 Says:

    the picture show that we are privileged to, of gods country, as we ride, is compared to none. wonderful reminder. thank you Ara & Spirit.

  4. Jo Says:

    This Friend of yours probably has no life and prefers someone elses reality to hers. (lol) You always meet the most colorful and coolest people. Enjoy your time with Mr. Dakota. He sounds most flavorful.

  5. James NomadRip Says:

    That car is gorgeous! (As is the driver!!)

    Your blog is far more entertaining than anything I’ve seen on tv. I’d much rather being out there seeing it, but it’s still better than any crummy show.

    They did those statue things out here all painted up a few years ago, but of course using manatees instead of Buffalo, for the region. They had artsy Space Shuttles over near Kennedy painted colors NASA would never use too.

    Dakotah sounds like an interesting character, too!

  6. Chessie Says:

    Ara, amazing. I dreamed for many years of riding a horse on the trails of the free spirited adventurers of our fore-fathers. I wanted to ride along the Oregon Trail, The Trail of Tears, I wanted to camp along the by ways of our country with my horse…and just experience life on the “trail” with a companion as large as my horse… It never came to be…Common sense? I doubt it…just couldn’t get the real gumption to do it…I envy you more than ever now…meeting this man, with his travel companions…

    And the above statements by the other readers are true…this is an entry that has taken off with happiness…we can read it your words, see it in your compositions…

    And Ara…thank you for your help earlier this week. I’m at home now…and without your advice…well, I don’t want to think of how disappointed I would be.

  7. texascindy Says:

    Ara, This is, I think, your best entry yet. I admire your ability to truly appreciate things you come across that probably go totally unnoticed by others. You have a gift and thankkyou for sharing it with me.

    Safe travels as always,

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