People of Montana, People of North Dakota, Somewhere


Montana and North Dakota are huge ranching and farming States both presently and historically.

Teddy Roosevelt came to North Dakota after the death of his wife and mother on the same day.


A man not to stand still, but who was overcome with grief made the decision to become a rancher long before he was a Rough Rider and a President.

Charles M. Russells amazing paintings of Ranchers, Cowboys, and Native American cultures give great insight on what it must of been like a long time ago. Iconic and amazing glimpses into history.


The first rancher I met was in Montana. Actually it was his daughter on July 4th. Zeusy and I were looking for a spot to eat and sleep when two young ladies in a tandem kayak came down river. I had not seen people in well over a week.

Melissa Turnbull took an instant liking to the handsome one of our party, Zeusy.  It just so happened Melissa had a German Shepherd and well once you are partnered with one everyone you see becomes special.

When I inquired if she knew whose land I had plopped myself on and if they would mind an overnight camper, she responded with a big “Oh yea, this is my parents ranch, and they would not mind.”

Melissa pointed further down river and a group of people gathered around a couple of boats. She said to come on over because her family and friends were celebrating the 4th of July as she and her kayak partner began paddling that direction.

I secured the canoe, an got into some dry clothes.

Soon a gentleman showed up on a quad runner. It was Melissa’s father, Mr. Elliot Turnbull.

We introduced ourselves and I soon learned that he had been originally ranching/farming in Taylorville, Illinois and he and his wife had moved here in the early 80’s to start the life of a Montana ranchers. He also said he had been to St. Louis often to watch baseball games he enjoyed.

I hopped on the back of the quad and he drove me over to the celebration. I was introduced to everyone, who showed interest in my journey. Little did they know I had a keen interest in learning about them.

I learned that they had been working hard collecting the hay so needed for their cattle in winter.
At this latitude the agriculture season is short with the first freeze of the season around September 15th.

I also learned that the Missouri river freezes solid around December 1st. The frozen river is then used as an alternative roadway due so few bridges that cross the Missouri in this part of Montana. Can you imagine?

He also spoke of the flood of 2011, and how it reshaped cutbanks, sandbars, and beaches.
Some losing land, others gaining many acres by the torrent of a flooding Missouri river.

Soon they were off to celebrate the 4th even further someplace else.  I then retired to a stormy night with Zeusy on the Turnball ranch.

The next rancher was in North Dakota. The unfortunate event of Zeusy getting impaled led to my introduction to Mr. Herb Grenz on the Grenz Ranch.

Herb was one of the fine men waiting for us in the dark of the night as I landed on his ramp into the Missouri river used for pumps and pipelines for water so necessary to grow any living thing.You see a lot of these contraptions as you paddle this part of the Missouri.

Herb guided us into a safe landing using a flashlight. The area was full of dead trees and driftwood.

While riding out of the area I asked Herb how long he had been ranching. He chuckled a little as he said ” About 80 years.” He was not putting me on.

While Zeusy was recovering Herb moved the canoe weighed down with all our gear out of the water. The winds were high and Lake Oahe’s infamous waves could play havoc on the boat.

He even took the time to call Don’s motel to tell me not to come out because it was unsafe to paddle.

When Game Warden Erik Schmidt returned us to our canoe we met Herb again. A fun, firey conversation about politics and life in general was struck up.

Herb then described how he had fed a herd of 40 deer during North Dakotas serious winter. He also spoke of having to put down two fawns near a barn. The Winter had done them in. To weak and dying of starvation it was the humane thing to do.

But I sensed Herb’s dislike at euthanizing the fawns. An unpleasant experience I am sure.

I retrieved my canoe and gear but not after a friendly handshake goodbye.

I got the sense from these two men that little has changed since the time of Charlie Russell. The quad runner has replaced the horse but the honorable profession is still dictated by the angle of the sun. The change of the seasons, and the mood of the planet as they do the necessary work that feeds America.

And thank you both Gentlemen!

People I meet, People of Montana, People of North Dakota, Rivers, Somewhere

Great people and cheeseburger breakfast!


While Zeusy and I were eating a fantastic breakfast of grilled cheeseburgers I reflected on how this fortunate event came to be.

Yesterday I was one day away from resupply and around 1pm I had long past smoked my last one and was down to one potato and one small can of green beans.

This is when a gentleman named Barry showed up looking at the confluence.

He asked how I faired in the storm the night before. I told him we did well. A little more discussion and it turns out Barry for the last 15 years has been chasing hardcore whitewater rivers to paddle his kayak down.

Even more so he spent 8 months circumnavigating New Zealand paddling a bicycle.


In no time Barry was giving me a lift into Fairview, Mt. to buy smokes and a pepsi.  If you know me well those are my vices.

As we drove he shared with me some great stories of his adventures while also saying that he is a Musher near Yellowstone (park) during the Winter.

Born and raised in ND Barry now lives in Bozeman, Mt.

He said his whitewater days may be coming to an end. He has lost a few friends to such extreme adventures and may be getting into something like long distance paddling.

A great guy to talk to and I am sure whatever he is into next will be thrilling. (Did not get a pic, crap)

So later in the evening when I had drank the Pepsi and smoked almost all of smokes of the pack I bought earlier I was sitting there contemplating a few things.

Should we go to bed now and why did I need to use up a lot of my water after flushing my eyes out.
Why I kept my eyes open when spraying insect repellent on my head I have no silly idea.

So two more guys show up to check out the confluence. Shortly after they came over to talk canoes. Renting mine.

There was a Girl Scout troop at the other end of the campground that had six canoes on it. He wondered if those were for rent first. They wanted to paddle around in the confluence.

I told him I had no idea about the other group and was initially negative about mine. I really thought he was just messing with me !

So after talking for a few minutes I realized they really wanted to paddle around in the confluence.

After they reassured me they wouldn’t sink it and were very good swimmers we dumped out the mess of rainwater and mud and in they went.

They paddled accross the Missouri into the fast current of the Yellowstone. They looked like pros.

Soon they paddled back in returned the canoe and we talked for a bit.

Jake and Waylon work over at the Casino in Trenton, ND. and were just out sight seeing. (Pic above)

The both hale from Belcourt, ND which is the Turtle Mountain reservation. Their people own the casino in Trenton.

We talked further about geographical locations of the places they mentioned and Waylon said he likes the very cold Winters because of Ice fishing on his local Lakes. That is sounds like a ton of fun!

Jake says he is going to go to Lewis and Clark State park in ND and do a 13 mile canoe paddle they have there.

We exchanged names and such and they got ready to leave but not before they hooked me up with more smokes and a warm coke with the name Jessica on it as Cokes ad Campaign. I told Waylon all the Jessicas I know are hot so I will take it.

Off they went.

So I sat for awhile enjoying the sunset and they fact my eyes no longer burned and found Waylon on Facebook.

In no time I had a FB message that said they were bringing me food and asked if I needed anything else.

A short time later they returned with their friend Blake with bread,cheese, raw hamburger, a bunch of Mountan Dews. Many large cans of beef stew and chicken. Topped off with a small bag of charcoal to cook the burgers !

Wow!  I was floored ! They didn’t have to take the time to do that for us!  But so grateful I am they did.

The mosquitos made any more socializing an impossibility and off the went to kick around in Fairview.

I went to bed excited. These four guys truly made my day with their kindness to this complete stranger. And for that I thank each and everyone of you !!!!

By the way, Zeusy loved his cheeseburger breakfast too!


People of Montana, Somewhere

The Fishers



A little way back in time I had the pleasure of meeting the Fishers and their awesome family.

I had been portaged the night before around Ft. Peck lake and was just West of the dam where the Missouri begins flowing its course again.

My happy little self decided to hike with Zeusy to find smokes. A seven mile roundtrip past Ft Peck and back brought me to my humble home for the evening.

I was approached by the Fisher’s son-in law who was carrying a large plate of taco salad, a bottle of water and a kind heart as he offered me the food. The food was fantastic!

I was I invited to join the Fishers for a bit. Norina told me how her grandmother would feed those that appear hungry. Norina inherited her grandmothers altruism.

Somehow the flowing conversation went to her people the Assiniboine.

She talked about clans and told me about how the “Red Bottom” clan got their name because the bottoms of their tipis would be dyed red from the red clay they frequently pitched them in. “Not because they had red butts! ” she said.

Roger, a veteran of our fine military and working in  administration for local hospitals was great to talk with about just anything, laughing while using his quick wit and easy style of conversation.

The next day the grandchildren kept me entertained with a thousand questions as the swam and I re-packed the canoe. But not before Roger drove me to the water spigot so I could fill my water containers. Much more distance than I expected to the water and I was going to need it!

The kids saw me off as I paddled away I thought how lucky I am to meet such great people along the way!

By the way the lil’ one in the walker is named “Echo” what a doll!

People of Montana, Rivers, Upper Mo. River Breaks

While waiting to portage Ft Peck Lake

A big thank you to Fred and Carol for assisting me while waiting and working so hard on the portage. Did not realize how hard it would be.

Thanks for the freindship and huge effort just to find cell service.

You two are super awesome people and I will be talking to you soon!

PS the pics didn’t turn out. To dark!

People of Montana, Somewhere

While at James Kipp. Waiting for portage

(While waiting the week to get around Ft Peck lake )


Roy, Montana ! What a town !

Roy, Montana is about 28 miles in a southerly direction from the James Kipp Recreation Area and if you are serious about great little towns in America then this a place to experience !

A kindly gentleman took pity on this water logged river traveler and drove me into Roy. For that I am grateful to grab a few things, and had cell service to text and check in. It had been 10 days and I took the opportunity to call or text those wondring where on Earth I could be.


As we drove into Roy, we were in the Charles M. Russel National Wildlife Refuge. The Charlie Russell my new freind called it. Finally after years of dreaming I made it here is what I called. Over a million acres of refuge. Home to every wild thing Montana has to offer. Pronghorn Antelope, Elk, geese, pelicans, cranes, prairie dogs and so much more. I have read about the “Charlie Russell” for ages, finally I am here.

As we pulled into Roy’s main street I was instantly impressed the the street was no longer than the city block I had called home for nine years. But Roy had something the 5000 block of of Oleatha did not. And that is character. Roy had its own distinct one of a kind personality.

Our first stop was Roy’s grocery. As we puled up I noticed something that was a working part of history. A working telephone booth. Once the only way to call home when out and about. Taken over by cellular technology. But there it was. The blue colors was a bit faded and it was missing a few panes of glass. But I giggled happily at setting my eyes upon it. Roys grocery had everything I needed and then some ! Everything you can imagine is sold here. Sandwiches to plumbing, what a great place!

Next stop “The Legion” Bar and restaurant. Tammy took care of us at the bar with a fine burger and fries. Met Steve who advised against paddling Ft. Peck lake. As the diner hour drew near, a couple of parents with their children came in for dinner. One gentlemen came in to discuss with Steve about getting concrete work done for the local preacher. You see the preacher was in the hospital after having a stroke. They were going to get the concrete work done for no charge. No sense in burdening a man in the hospital.

Fantastic talking with everyone.

Roy is one of those places I neber forget. Like Lone Pine, Ca, Cloudcroft, Nm and many others.
Very special are these amazing places

Roy, Montana is one of those special places in America because last years graduating high school class of five is an example of how small Roy is. But Roy has more character than most big cities I have been in. Much more!

A place I won’t forget, some places just do that !