Day 12 of My 5000+ Mile, 17 Day Motorcycle Ride

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Ride Map Great Falls to Augusta to Great Falls

Today is day 12 of my 5000+ mile, 17 day motorcycle ride…  Larry T., Larry A. and myself have ridden together for 11 days seeing some of the most scenic parts of the western US. On day 5 we turned onto US-89 just north of Prescott, AZ. We have made our way to Great Falls, Montana. Today is an easy day, a chance to catch our breath from all the riding of past days. Larry A., while in the Air Force, was stationed here at Malmstrom AFB. He will be showing us around Great Falls before we ride to Augusta, MT to visit his old Air Force buddy.

This morning is another beautiful, cloudless day to explore Great Falls. The low this morning was 57 degrees making for some nice riding. It will be warming into the 90’s before day’s end.

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The Falls at Great Falls Montana

Our first stop was an overlook to view the Great Falls on the Missouri River. The city of Great Falls takes its name from five waterfalls along the Missouri River. This is the only one of the waterfalls in its natural state today. Dams were built in the 1880s that submerged the five waterfalls. Today a damn is just above the falls. We can only imagine what the falls would have looked like before in its natural state. The overlook is a good vantage point to take pictures of the falls, the river and the surrounding area.

Our next stop is just a short ride to Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. The area explored by Lewis & Clark is amazing. I may need to plan a Lewis & Clark ride, visiting as many of their sites as possible. On our National Park ride two years ago we rode all the way into Canada. We were continually crossing Lewis and Clark’s paths. The center gives us another chance to learn more about Lewis and Clark’s travels. The Center is a 25,000 square-foot building that includes the exhibit hall, a theater, an education room for hands-on activities and a gift shop. We spent time viewing the many exhibits and taking pictures of the Missouri River from our vantage point at the Center. The center is a great place to learn about the Lewis & Clark exploration. If you are in the area check it out.

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C M Russell Home Great Falls Montana

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C M Russell Art Studio Great Falls Montana

We then followed Larry A. to the C. M. Russell Museum. If you know anything about western art you know C. M. Russell (Charles Marion Russell) also known as Charlie Russell or “Kid”Russell (1864 – 1926). Russell was a colorful character who was known as a historian, Indian advocate, writer, cowboy, philosopher and conservationist, but is best known as a western artist. The C.M. Russell Museum houses the most complete collection of Russell’s art and memorabilia in the world, a collection of thousands of works by other well-known western artists, Browning Firearms and Plains Indian Culture. Located on the museum property are Russell’s log cabin studio, and his two-story wood frame home. The house and log cabin studio are designated a National Historic Landmark. Touring his studio and home was like stepping back in time… I love the architecture of older homes. It always seems like I have come home.  The C. M. Russell Museum is another must see if you are in the area…

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C M Russell Museum

From the Russell Museum it was a short ride (~60 miles) to Augusta to visit Larry A.’s old Air Force buddy. It was a nice ride through more Montana farm and ranch land. It was starting to warm up a bit but still a nice ride. We parked our bikes at Larry’s friend’s house and walked to the Western Bar and grabbed some lunch. We caught up with Larry’s friend at the Augusta Rodeo grounds.

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Locals Chilling in Augusta

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Larry T. & Larry A. chillin’ in the shade

If you have read some of my other posts, you know I like small towns. The best people live in small-town America. They are a special breed of self-sufficient, close knit families, friends and neighbors. Augusta is another one of those towns.

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Augusta Montana Rodeo grounds photo by Larry A.

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Getting the concession stands ready… Photo by Larry A.

The first white explorer to view the beauty of the Augusta area was Captain Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. As I said before, Lewis and Clark seem to turn up everywhere in our travels out west. Lewis and his party traveled through the area and camped near the town of Augusta. Eventually, cattlemen found the prairie grasses and scattered timber of the Augusta area inviting and began the early settlement. Montana has been called the “Last Best Place”…and Augusta, Montana has been called the “Last Original Cow Town in the West”. I would have to agree…

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Augusta Montana Rodeo photo by Larry A.

Tomorrow is the 79th annual Augusta PRCA rodeo. Augusta is the home of the biggest and oldest one-day PRCA rodeo in Montana. The rodeo is sponsored and organized by the Augusta Chapter of the American Legion and is held each year on the last Sunday in June. We will be missing all the rodeo fun tomorrow since we will be heading on down the highway continuing our adventure… We made the best of our time here and spent the afternoon checking out the rodeo grounds, visiting with the locals and taking pictures. Larry T. and I decided to make our way back to our home away from home back in Great Falls and rest up a bit. Larry A. stayed a bit longer to catch up on old times with his old Air Force buddy.

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Rodeo grounds at Augusta Montana Photo by Larry A,

As I have said in previous posts about this ride, we have ridden in an unseasonable heat wave. Temperatures have been around 15 degrees warmer than normal. This afternoon’s ride back to Great Falls is becoming another one of those days, but not as bad as days past. My bike’s temperature gauge read 95 degrees on our ride back. It was nice to get back to our room and some AC…

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Riding back to Great Falls

Tomorrow we will back track a bit to Yellowstone National Park before heading east via US-212 thru Beartooth Pass and on to Billings, MT. Come follow along and enjoy the ride over the next 5 days… I hope we see you down the road somewhere. Ride safe…

If you liked this ride post, you may checkout the other post from this ride below…

Hera are other rides you may like too…

I hope we see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…

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