Da Mystery Road Trip Revealed, Part Ten

On a road trip like the one we were on, you can be just zooming along the highway enjoying the sights. Which is really pretty special when you’re driving through country you’ve never seen before.

You expect certain things, like mountains, and rivers and changing scenery. But then suddenly, the unexpected can hit you just like that, and though it may only last for a few seconds, your heart just leaps up within you. Not necessarily because the unexpected is this ginormous big deal, but because… well… because it’s unexpected.

That’s what happened with Nolemana and I on this next leg of the trip. What we saw was just a normal day’s work to the people we photographed, but to me it was one of those fabulous serendipitous moments that we got to participate in, if only through the lens of our camera. When we took these photos, I was so excited because I knew it would be special to AFK… who’s a pretty special person in my life.

One minute, we saw this beautiful tree.


And the next?

Try look! A Montana paniolo! On a beautiful Palomino! I knew my dear sistah Kikue would love that horse!

Montana paniolo!  Just before Route 271 turn-off

But why is he there? What’s he doing?

Try look now! It’s a pīpī drive! Right next to the freeway!

Montana cattle drive south of Drummond and near Route 271 turn-off

And here are the rest of nā paniolo!

Na paniolo!

Nine seconds. That’s all there was, and we’d whooshed by them. If I’d been able to turn around, I would’ve, so that I could have watched them a lot longer.

Sometimes we have to be content with extremely short moments of serendipity, yeah?

We continued on our way, talking about how great it was that we got to participate in something so special (to us), but probably just hard work to nā paniolo.

This is in Powell County. Big Sky country for sure.

Powell County

Wonderful old barn in Powell County.

Old barn - Powell County

Nolemana really did a great job catching that shot, shooting right past me. Usually the photo-taking went like this:

Me: “Oh, look at that! Quick, can you take a photo?”

Nolemana is silent, because he’s frantically trying to focus in on what I want as we zoom down the freeway at 75 mph. Click!

Me: “Did you get it?”

Nolemana: “I think so; I’ll check”. Then he has to write down where we were and the frame number but before he can finish:

Me: “Oh, look at that! Quick, can you take a photo?”

Nolemana is silent, because he’s frantically trying to focus in on what I want as we zoom down the freeway at 75 mph. Click!

Me: “Did you get it?”

Heh heh.

Some round hay bales.

Hay bales - Gold Creek

This is Milepost 167, makai of Garrison Junction. It’s now about 1:45 p.m.

Milepost 167 makai of Garrison Junction to Helena - 1:41 a.m.

Another little bit of fall color.

Just before Highway 12 turnoff

We’re almost at the turnoff for Helena. Will we take it? Will we continue on I-90?

Turn-off for Helena!

Just before the junction, we see this sign for a car museum. My dad and my brother Kaniela taught me to love cars, and this would’ve been a fun stop.

Sign for Montana Auto Museum - just before Garrison and the turn-off for Helena

Hmmm… which way are we going?

Coming to the Helena junction! I-90 / Hwy 12

We take the turnoff for Helena, Montana’s capital. Try look the snow on the mountains.

Just after the Helena turn-off - try look da snow!

This is just past Garrison Junction on Highway 12.

Just after the Helena turnoff - Junction I-90 / Hwy 12

Oh, wat? U like see on one map? Okay.


Heading East on Highway 12.

Just past Garrison and the Helena junction

We’re now about a mile past the junction.

Road on the right goes to a ranch house.  About a mile or so past the junction.

Mālama pono! No let da pōhaku fall on you!

Just before Beck Hill Road

Near Beck Hill Road, not too far from the junction.

Near Beck Hill Road,  1:50 p.m.

This is just past Dana Lane, and we’re starting to climb into the hills.

Just past Dana Lane

Railroad tracks. Oh? Really?


Now this is something that I really like, and I wonder why more states don’t do it. We used to see them when we lived in Idaho, but we haven’t seen them in any other states but Idaho and Montana. These signs are on the opposite side of the highway, so that they really catch the eye of the driver. I think it’s a great idea.


Remember those huge round hay bales we saw before? Well, we also saw hay like this, just piled loosely and surrounded by a fence. We don’t know why different ranchers or farmers would use one method but not the other.  Edit: This is a haystack made with the beaverslide method. Iʻve watched videos and seen TV programs about this method of stacking hay; itʻs absolutely fascinating!  Thanks to Patti for the info!

Hay bales - Jefferson County

Another old barn along the highway.

Old barn

And some aspen just starting to color up.


It’s really starting to get cold now, a far cry from where we started out this morning. This is near Elliston, Montana. We’re at about 5059′ in elevation.

Temperature is steadily dropping - 3:07 p.m.

This is Mullan Pass, 5932′ up.

Mullan Pass

Near Mullan Pass.

Mullan Pass

Mullan Pass. Now we’re getting snow on the nearby ground.

Mullan Pass

The temperature was still dropping, and it looks really cold outside. Our car windows were cold! Sure was pretty!


Pau Numbah Ten leg of the journey. Sure hope you enjoyed it!



This entry was posted in Da Kine: Sometimes Full-on Pidgin, Holoholo Pacific Northwest. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Da Mystery Road Trip Revealed, Part Ten

  1. Lots of great photos, but my faves were teh cattle drive!

  2. Clare says:

    LOL we always tell da boys “No Passing Zone” means no futs! Love da pics, mahalo for sharing.

  3. AFK says:

    I LOOOOOOOOVE dem pipi! Those pix made me smile from ear to ear – thanks for starting off my day right, Moki-chan!

  4. Lika says:

    Awesome. Big Sky country. I’ve been to Billings, MT. My #2 got invited to Crow Fair in August and they are going to dance.

    Change subject: Ha’come when I write, it doesn’t show on the front page. It use to? Only you now.

  5. Kikue Mugen says:

    The Aspens are so beautiful aren’t they? I especially love the pic of the light green trees against the dark green tree background. Love the rail road.. that was a GREAT shot indeed. And of course I got excited to see horses! That is my kind of day dreaming picture! LOL Palominos are tall horses and when I used to ride them, it felt as though I was way high, as opposed to riding a quarter horse as I was used to doing. Riding palominos made me feel exposed. I know it sounds strange, but that’s how I felt and remember. LOL Oh yes their canter is loooong too. Not short. Long gait. Well, you probably know what I mean LOL. Love the pics!!!

  6. patti says:

    The large hay pile in one of your pictures is made by a piece of equipment called a “beaverslide”. The haystack in your picture is the same one that is at this link that talks about it’s history: http://art.mt.gov/folklife/folklife_beaverslide.asp. And if you click the link at the bottom of that page: http://www.nps.gov/archive/grko/horses.htm, you will see how it works.

  7. Mokihana says:

    Fabulous links, Patti! Thank you SO much!!

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