August 27-29, 2009

We left Polson Thursday morning and headed South to Missoula and are staying at Jim and Mary’s RV Park just outside of Missoula.

Friday we went to the Missoula Smokejumpers Base and Visitors Center. We took a guided tour through the facility and learned a lot about the smoke jumpers. The jumpers make their own jump suits and all the packs they use and also repair their parachutes. There are around 200 smoke jumpers in the US and 76 are based here – 10% are women.

They have 2 jump planes – this is their DC 5.

We went to Fort Missoula, which was established in 1877 and during WWII was used as an Alien Detention Center for nonmilitary Italian men (merchant seamen, Worlds Fair employees and the crews of Italian luxury liners seized in American Waters). It housed 1,200 Italians and, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 650 Japanese-American men. It was decommissioned in 1947. There were only a few Fort building left. They also had a church, a schoolhouse, a fire lookout tower and a display of forestry machinery.

After lunch we drove South of Missoula to Victor and visited Hidden Legends Winery where we tasted some very good mead and, of course, bought a few bottles. We drove back to Missoula and stopped at Lolo Peak Winery, which has some good fruit wines. We are certainly stocked up on some good wine and mead now.

Saturday afternoon we went downtown to the River City Roots Festival Missoula. This is a street festival with lots of booths selling all kinds of items – like New West Fest in Ft. Collins. There was a big stage at the end of the street where a number of bands played all afternoon. We heard a pretty good bluegrass band from Ashville, NC and had a good time people watching.


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