Some of my favorite pictures:
This morning, we were at the Interpretive Center at 9:30 AM for our 10:00 AM Powerhouse Tour. At 9:55, our tour guide, Dan, came to collect us. Since no one else signed up, we had a personal tour - and it was AWESOME!
The only downside is that we could not bring any camera inside - .
We started the tour with time in their museum on the history of the dam and Fort Peck. From there we went inside Powerhouse One, Then Powerhouse Two, and then a tour of the outside and the tunnels.
The four tunnels were started in 1934; completed in 1937; and initially used as diversion tunnels as the dam was built. Each tunnel is over one mile long, steel lined, and over 24 feet in diameter. All the steel tubing used for the tunnels was bolted and welded together and a 3-foot concrete lining placed outside of them. Each tunnel has an intake tower and is capable of carrying the normal flow of the river without help from the other three. Each tunnel has an emergency control shaft and a main control shaft. Control gates are located near the axis of the dam, housed in reinforced concrete shafts that extend upwards to the ground surface. Concrete structures house the electrically operated control machinery. In 1941, Powerhouse one construction began. It was completed in 1951 and contains 3 turbines. Powerhouse two construction started in 1958; completed in 1959 and contains two turbines. The total average annual power generation is 1.1 billion kWh - WOW! And all hydro generated.
More information can be found here: http://www.fortpeckdam.com/
After our tour, we drove to a few of the overlooks. This one was the Lewis and Clark overlook:
View of the dam and the four intake towers for the tunnels:
The road over the dam:
Fort Peck Lake:
The spillway for the lake is located three miles from the dam. The spillway is more than 800 feet wide with 16 steel gates. The concrete chute is a mile long and it tapers to a width of 120 feet at the bottom. Each of the gates are 25 feet by 40 feet and weigh 80 tons each.
The bottom of the Spillway:
The spillway is only used during extremely high water levels, and has been used just five times in its history: 1975, 1976, 1979, 1997. and 2011.
Check out the motorhome in the middle of the picture - what a view!
Another beautiful day - blue skies and sunny and warm.
Here is our site:
The Fort Peck Interpretive Center and Museum is one half mile away via the nature trail so off we went:
We entered the center and this is who greeted us - Yikees!
Some of the most complete T. Rex fossils were found in this area. In 1988, ranch Kathy Wankel discovered one such fossil when she spotted a bone in the sediment around Fort Peck Lake. This fossil is now known as Wankel T. Rex. In 1997, another fossil was found approximately 20 miles southeast of the Interpretive Center. It is known as Peck’s rex and as of last week will be on loan to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History for their upcoming Dinosaur display.
More T. rex facts:
Think about the above - small brain, lots of head space and long teeth - Yikees.
And only found in this area of the world - must have had some good eats here - .
T. rex attacking another dinosaur...
Many fossils of dinosaurs have been found in this area of Montana and they are still being found. For a fee, anyone can participate in a dig. Someday we may check into participating for a few weeks.
There was a lot of information on the fossils found in the area and many dinosaur skeletons (replicas). Fascinating!
Surrounding the lake is the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, the second largest National Wildlife Refuge in the lower 48. The Interpretive Center had a nice diorama on the animals within the refuge.
One day, I am going to see and take pictures of one of these animals - aren’t they just magnificent!
The circle of life:
The center also had three movies that we watched: The Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge; The Building of the Fort Peck City and Dam; and The Lewis and Clark Expedition (through this area). All were wonderful.
The museum also contains a section on the building of the dam.
The Fort Peck Dam is the largest hydraulically filled dam in the world; the largest earthen dam in the U.S.; the 2nd largest dam of any type in the U.S.; the 3rd largest earthen dam in the world; and the 8th largest dam of any type in the world.
The dam creates Fort Peck Lake which is the fifth largest man made lake in the U.S.
There is some great information at this site: http://www.fortpeckdam.com/
Life Magazine’s first ever cover was on the Fort Peck Dam:
More pictures tomorrow.
The dam powerhouse (left) and Interpretive Center (right):
What a wonderful place to visit - if you are in this area, plan on a few hours at the center.
Late afternoon, we went to the Glasgow Elks for dinner. I always love going to the local places - we find out a lot of information on the area.
We found out that there is a local buffalo herd that just added three babies. So on the way back home we made a side trip to that area to see what we could see.
Past the fish hatchery:
Past the river:
YEA! We found part of the herd but they were far away - and did not see the babies. But further down the road, we did see this guy - .
What a treat!
We left our little spot this morning and headed east on US-2. This route is called the Hi-Line Route because it is the most northern US east to west route. We have traveled sections of this road and loved it. It is two lanes through farms, ranches, small towns; it follows the railroad and there is usually a river nearby. In this stretch it is the Missouri and the Milk Rivers.
But in 1919, motorists called US-2 the Theodore Roosevelt International Highway. It was promoted as “the most wonderful Highway in all America”. However the road in Montana was a series of interconnected rutted country roads that became gumbo mud when wet. Despite the hazards, the route was a popular one with motorists in the early days of the automobile travel.
Some sites along the way:
As we got close to Glasgow, we saw these wonderful creatures along the hills - I have to find out that story :
Wonder how this happened:
We arrived at the Downstream Campground by the Fort Peck Dam. Once we set up, we checked out the rest of the campground and decided to take a little ride around the area.
Many farms and pastures:
Fort Peck Dam:
What a treat to see this gal:
We purchased some firewood and tried to enjoy a nice campfire. However, this area is loaded with gnats and mosquitos - Yikees. So once we cooked supper, we stayed in the rest of the evening .
Tomorrow we are headed to the Interpretive Center so stay tuned and enjoy today.
Miles Traveled: 181 Miles
Montana: US-2; SR-24; SR-117; Yellowstone Road