We ended up staying another night in Missoula and the carousel may be the reason why. No matter how many times she rides the darn thing she wants to get back on again. How many times can you spin around in a circle before hurling? My limit is two (and then don’t feed me anything for a little bit after).
Created by artist Chuck Kaparich as a gift to Missoula it was first offered to the public on May 27, 1994. It is just 75 cents for children and $2.25 for adults (no charge if you are just standing next to your kid). We might have spent over a thousand dollars on tickets. Probably not, but the $50 annual pass (which I laughed at when I bought my first ticket) may have actually been the way to go. Oh, and here’s the fun thing, each time around you are encouraged to grab plastic rings coming out of a dragon’s mouth. The last ring is brass and guarantees the winner a free ride later. This, by the way, was the inspiration for the Lord of the Rings series (Noel’s fake fact of the day).
Reaching for the brass ring
In case you haven’t caught on, Missoula is a pretty cool place. Besides the welcoming family attractions like the park next door to the carousel that is littered with wooden fort like/ easy to get lost in climbing blocks and the nearby children’s museum, the town is set in a truly beautify valley. The locals and tourists both seem to spend a lot of time floating on the river and the college gives the place a decidedly liberal leaning and intellectual air. There also seem to be festivals almost every summer night with the action mostly centered at Caras Park (which is adjacent to the carousel). In fact, everything about the place screams “stay!” a week, a month, a lifetime. But 40 is a big number and I owe it to you, Hennacornoelidays Nation, to move on. Tomorrow we ride. Noel
Note: Almost immediately after writing this Henna lost her lunch. She feels much better now, but maybe nine year olds have a limit too.
And I am not talking about some bar in Lincoln Park. This hot spot is pretty darn hot. Like coming from the molten core of the earth hot. I am referring to, of course, the caldera better known as Yellowstone National Park. Old Faithful, crazy traffic stopped to look at some bison sleeping by the side of the road, and a million or so visitors that hardly ever bother to leave pavement; all of this is made possible by a hot spot trapped deep in the crust of the earth.
That giant caldera known as Yellowstone National Park
Here’s something I bet you did not know about the hot spot. It’s on the move. 11 million years ago it was a few hundred miles west of where it is now. That is about the time it exploded and caused a bunch of prehistoric rhinos, camels, and horses to choke to death on the ash in north west Nebraska (see Ashfall Fossil Fields). I figure in about a billion years it will be under Chicago. I also figure the Cubs will still not have won a world series. Maybe they will have a 13-0 lead in game 7 of the World Series with one out to go and then…boom, super volcano and no one bothers continuing the game.
Nope, they didn’t catch anything
In case you are wondering it has not been all geo-thermal hotspots here. We also had a pleasant drive through the Ruby Valley (between West Yellowstone and Missoula, MT where I am typing this), made a few new friends (hello Carlee and Carrie, sorry if I misspelled either of your names), and ended up having coffee with the backpackers we met on the way to Lake Solitude (the ones who recently quit their jobs). We also managed to score Cub tickets from two cool guys camping next to us and then forwarded them on to our house sitter. To all our family and friends, have a happy 4th of July! Noel
Old train at Nevada City, MT
At one point Henna made 4 baskets in a row!
Did not feel like paying money to go inside old MT prison- in use from late 19th Century until 1979
Taken within the small city/ college town of Missoula, MT (Awesome place)
In Missoula on the 4th of July
Happy 4th of July!