We are fortunate that my uncle lives in the heart of one of the most beautiful areas of Montana, just outside Missoula. Getting there should have been easy, just zip down I-90, in May, easy, right? Well wind, rain and even a little falling snow made the Montana mountain passes Mister Toad’s wild ride with beautiful scenery. We arrived at Rock Creek and left the coach at the Rock Creek Lodge, home of the annual Testy Festy, and drove the 10 miles down the road to Barney’s place. By the way, I’ve never been to Testicle Festival, but I did win a free drink at the bar by rolling a full house. This festival is certainly on the to do list….take a moment and watch the video to educate yourself about this important Montana cultural tradition.
So…back to our tale on this trail. Barney lives quite a ways down the road, which at some points is nearly one lane and hugs the creek all the way, the creek at this point being swollen from a melting snow pack. After being shamed and my man card being called into question, we drove back up to the lodge and drove the 36′ beast down that little road to park it next to Barney’s shop. It really wasn’t that bad a drive, but it did help to have someone in front of you clearing the turns and warning people at the narrow points that I was coming.
Barney runs a fabrication shop called Custom Street Stuff and is well known by the entire community. We couldn’t go anywhere without having a conversation with somebody. Rock Creek is a world class fly fishing river. The locals live in a place the wealthy pay top dollar to visit and the cost they pay is remote living (which may be a plus) and brutal winters. We visited in mid May and 3″ fell days before we arrived. Barney can fabricate anything, he drives the snow plow, and makes famous raft frames. While exploring Rock Creek by jeep we read many historical markers and thumbed through history books detailing the settler and rough and tumble folk who built this place. I have no doubt that after he’s spent 30 years there already and has no plans to leave, someday he will be another colorful Rock Creek character.
We tucked the motor home next to the shop and settled in for an exciting week. Our next blog is about the wildlife we encountered, hope you choose to read it! In the pictures below you will see a deer crossing Rock Creek, the road we describe earlier is just feet from him. The deer in the last picture….well, they were tasty I am sure.