Monday, 6 August 2012

Cowboy country. Would you like a handgun?

We stayed at a lovely log cabin Lincoln Hotel which is beside a stream and parkland.

Deer came to visit.

The ribs undid us for dinner so we have packed some away for camp night tomorrow. Dick's baked potato was bigger than his fist.

We were also overwhelmed with the size of the items on the breakfast menu so we had a side of scrambled egg and a side of bacon.
Rolling landscape with golden wheat fields, drought scorched earth, blue skies with puffs of cloud over the occasional hills, black cattle silhouetted on Maniatoto straw-coloured hills against the blue sky.

My driver treated me to many wonderful corners on the winding roads of the Frazier Pass on highway 297. it seemed like a huge movie s for cowboy movies. Rocky outcrops, golden grasslands, small gorges with streams.
Huge fields of wheat, no fences, irrigation channels, occasional huge irrigation beams like those in the MacKenzie country making green circles. Haybales stacked in rows, some forming walls for shelter. All the bales were fenced in. No sign of the green plastic we see in New Zealand.
We stopped for a snack at Martinsdale. I spotted the rows of ammo cases lining the shelves behind the counter. All else was homely crafts including old kitchen equipment and patchwork quilts.
The ammo cases were a portent.

Our next stop at Big Timber gave us all a surprise. I bought a bottle of Coke zero and could just as easily bought a hand gun.
There were racks of guns, semi automatics, pink guns for girls, floral ones for women.

The hand guns were in glass cases- Smith and Wesson, wInchester, Glock, Remington.

I got talking with the handsome fellow.
He said he makes guns and showed me his handiwork. Precision metal work on a business model. What business, I wondered-but didn't ask. The factory is over the road.

I asked about the requirements for buying a gun. A license is not required here.
He said that every household in Montana would have at least one gun. I asked if people carry handguns and he casually popped his out of his jean's pocket. He was fine with me taking a photo with my phone.

Now I am going to look at the back pocket of every man I see in Montana.
I heard this with my very own ears. "Guns aren't the problem."
"You might be thinking of that fellow in Aurora,Colorado. Well, he could have just as easily used a pipe bomb".
When I said we were going to be travelling through Mexico He opened a display case and was very keen for me to handle a handgun.
I backed off!

We are camping tonight in Red Lodge. Once this was a central gathering place for the Crow people. Warfare, tuberculosis and the killing of bison/buffalo altered their lives irrevocably in the 19th century.

The idyllic stream setting provided a relentless background roar- not the gentle sounds of a babbling brook. I slept with earplugs.

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