We are traveling on two-lane Route 2, a flat to only slightly rolling road that parallels railroad tracks and is lined by grain fields for two full days. The monotony of farmland is punctuated by tiny towns with European names—Inverness, Kremlin, Havre,
It doesn't take too long for field after field of amber waves of grain to get old,
so the least diversion along the road becomes a cause for excitement. We get a kick out of this espresso teepee in the town of
We stop for just about all the historic markers along the highway, and there are many, at least in
We find the massive penguin commemorating Cut Bank,
We stop beside the road in
We stop for the night in
But, it is clear that we have left the land of huckleberry micro-brews, huckleberry pie, and huckleberry ice cream—after a steady daily diet of huckleberries from
As we leave
We stop for a moment to commemorate the 10,000th mile of our great summer odyssey. We are on a dirt road south of Route 2, hunting for the town of
The Museum is another story entirely. Back in the 1960s, Elmer Halvorson saw that downtown was becoming a ghost town, like so many other little dust bowl towns across the state. He decided to turn the abandoned businesses into a museum of the town's lost life,
and put his considerable artistic talent to the task of creating miniature dioramas with exquisite oil painted scenes as their backdrops. He collected artifacts from all the townspeople, as we have seen in so many other local history museums, but he had a special talent for arranging the artifacts in life-like scenes inhabited by characters he sculpted from papier mache. There is a scene of a dentist in his 1950s office operating on a patient who is turning green. We are not sure if the patient's condition is from his forty year old papier mache face becoming moldy, or if Elmer had a grisly vision he wanted to portray in the dentist's chair. We do learn from the scene that dentists stood while doing their work up until the mid-1960s, when "seated dentistry" was taught in schools, and dental supply companies started to make stools for dentists.
Next door to the dental office building, there is a small one-room cabin with a sleeping loft where a local family raised eleven children. Another building has many dioramas of Native American life and practices. We see a General Store filled with stuff pulled out of barns and attics—including a number of items that the curator cannot identify. There is a one-room schoolhouse similar to Chet Huntley's. It is a fascinating little place. But, with a population of just 75 people, and a downtown that consists of a museum and a restaurant that no one would eat at twice, we question the veracity of our tour guide's enthusiastic statement that "Elmer Halvorson saved the town with this museum." It seems to us that Elmer fully chronicled all that died with the town's demise.
As we are driving down the dusty road that takes us back to Route 2, Dick says, "I defy you for the rest of your life to find someone who has ever seen the Buffalo Inn Cafe. And, if they have, ask them if they ever ate there. We have just had an experience no one else you know has had, or ever will."
Well, certainly no one will ever go there on our recommendation.
Back on Route 2, we stop in
and moved across the street to its present location when the highway was widened.
The landscape is truly monotonous. We see no reason to ever return to this part of the country (although, don't get us wrong, we do love our pasta and bread, and appreciate the farmers who toil in their big air conditioned tractors here to give us this day our daily bread).