We haven't been to Montana for a few years. The main difference is that Montana now has speed limits on its highways; on our previous visit drivers were allowed to go as fast as they wanted, as long as it was "reasonable and prudent."  


When Lewis & Clark were looking for a passage to the Northwest part of the country in 1803-05 they were told that there were great falls on the Missouri that they would have to portage. When they later came to a fork in the river, they explored both arms and could tell that they were on the real Missouri when they reached the falls.


The city of Great Falls later became home to one of America's best known artists, Charles M. Russell, the "Cowboy Painter." Today a museum stands beside Russell's original home and log studio.




Outside of town is the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center, a museum and demonstration center relating to the Corps of Discovery. This museum was one of the most interesting and best organized of all the ones we have visited, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Great Falls.


Now, the falls also supply electricity; the addition of power dams changes the appearance considerably from what Merriwether Clark fist saw when he explored the river.


About 35 miles from Great Falls is the town of Fort Benton, a major trading area in the 1800s. Fort Benton was as far up the Missouri as cargo boats could navigate, from there trade goods traveled overland further west and into western Canada.




Everywhere we went we saw statues by a Montana sculptor named Robert Scriver, who apparently sculpted all of the statues in the state until his death in 1999. There are no known statues of Robert Scriver.


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