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Latest Update: September 7, 2002 by Ben Marcus


Bozeman is a nice little Montana town about 24 miles east of Three Forks on Highway 90. It's spread out but slowly getting strip-malled. The downtown is all old brick buildings that have been taken good care of, and there are mountains off in every distance.

Montana State University is here and there is a Kinkos right across the street. Hurray for Higher Education.

I came here this morning after French Toast at the Three Fork's CafÚ. I have every intention of following Marty Walker's suggestion to flog the Jefferson from Waterloo to Three Forks with Royal Coachmen later today, but it was foggy this morning so I thought I'd drive into Bozeman and check e-mail and take care of bidness.

I got a little work done last night so I'll probably hang out in Three Forks today and fish and do some more work tonight in that nice bar at the Sacajewa Inn.

I just sent an e-mail to Malcolm Gault-Williams and Gary Lynch requesting info on any stunts Duke Kahanamoku and Tom Blake might have done for Hollywood.

Lynch is a Blake expert and I'm trying to find someone who has seen all the movies Duke made, including Wake of the Red Witch in which Duke Kahanamoku played a Hawaiian chief, next to The Duke.

That's about it. Ike is fine and says hello.

Hope I won the Powerball, then I can buy a ranch which Brandy the Biological Bartendress can turn into an environmentally correct showplace and ya'll can come on up.


This place was closed last summer. Mike Locatelli suggested I drive up here to Three Forks after fishing the Big Hole to have dinner at the Sacajewa Inn. And I also had heard that Fred Van Dyke lived in the area. So I did drive up to Three Forks but the Sacajewa Inn was closed and Fred Van Dyke was in the phone book but not in the area. I ended up having a pretty memorable dinner at the Headwaters Restaurant: cowboy beans, chunky vegetable soup and baked halibut. It was that memorable that I still remember it and I don't remember much these days. That's why I write all down and send it you good people. After 10 years at a magazine, your memory gives up.

So here I am again, and this time the Sacajewa Inn is open, and it's mighty nice. I'm in the bar which kind of reminds me of the Alyeska Prince. It is clean and well-lighted and there is a TV set and some good old boy and the bartendress asked me about my laptop and I told her to buy a Gateway and she said she had graduated from Stanford in 2001 with a degree in biology. Now she does environmental consulting for ranches in Montana. I asked her if Montanans were as sophisticated and progressive as I've been saying and she smiled quietly to herself and said, "Sometimes."

I drove up to Three Forks this morning after waking up at the Burnt Tree Hole Campground on the Madison River along the Madison River valley in foggy rain. I felt better after a long, frustrating day but my voice was still hoarse from uttering oaths. I flogged that piece of river for a little while and then drove up to the Varney Bridge where two guys from Pennsylvania thought it was pretty funny when I backcast into a tree and lost my leader and a big black and yellow fly.

"You can't catch nuthin' up there," the guy from Pennsylvania said.

Good thing I didn't have Mr. Walther.

So then I bathed in the river and felt much better and went into town and sent some e-mails from the office of Ken Hall and then I went to the Laundromat and did my clothes and had conversations with an elderly couple from Washington who were cruising around The West like me, and an elderly lady with her two grandkids who was originally from Ennis but who had lived in New York City during the Woodstock times. She said that Montana needed the rain or hay would go up to $200 a ton and that just wasn't right.

Ike ran around the Laundromat a bit and it was raining and dreary outside and once the clothes were all good and dry, we headed up the road.

While waiting for things to dry I looked at a map and figured out how to go the rest of this trip. Three Forks was the only priority and then when I looked a little bit harder I figured I'd do a reverse of what I did last year: Through Wisdom and the Big Hole, then down through Idaho along the Salmon River through Challis where there is a little girl that is an Ike fan and she'll be glad and maybe more than a little surprised to see him.

Then down through Ketchum/Sun Valley and some poking around in Warm Springs and maybe I'll bump into Bruce Willis and pitch Fin to him.

And then from there the quickest way across Oregon to the head of the Klamath and then to Greg Noll's house.

And after that, back to Santa Cruz I guess. I want to take a look at the Jim Phillips book and make corrections that Jim will not want to do but eventually will. Not all of them, but some of them.

But I'll take my time doing it. I'm in no hurry to get back and I just explained why to bartendress Brandy. She understands. She lived in Portola Valley and Mountain View and liked it well enough. But Montana is the place to be. Do it all, see it all and then come here.

I just pitched the Sports Awards to Brandy the biology bartendress and a guy from Indiana and two guys from Montana. They were talking about Elway and The Play and I happened to have a photo of The Play on my computer which lead to a conversation about the Sports Awards.

It probably wouldn't work in Montana but the guy from Indiana (Jonah Brown?) knows all about Indiana basketball and he thinks the show would work there. Bobby Knight as a Guest Presenter, etc. etc.

So what else. I know where I'm going and about when I'm going to get there but today was a nice drive up from Ennis to Three Forks and now that I think about it I think I did that drive last year. I stopped at a bridge over the Jefferson River and dipped a few as Ike ran between my legs and it was just like last year.

Peace and quiet and the only sound is the sound of growing alfalfa and running water. Nice.

So now it's 18:46 and I've had two beers and Ike is running around outside because I never learn and I'm going to head over to the Headwaters when the sun goes down and maybe eat some more cowboy beans and whatever else looks good.

Fred Van Dyke used to live around here somewhere and I wonder where. Although this is true for most of Montana, this is a very nice part of the world.

20:15 I'm still in the bar at the Sacajewa Inn. The Brandy the biological bartendress talked me into eating something, so I ordered the Crab Mushrooms. I said, "Are those good Montana crabs?" And she laughed and the bar laughed.

Now I just made another funny. I said. "Since these mushrooms come from the pastures and these good Montana crabs come from the river, you should call this Field and Stream." She laughed. Damn, I'm humorous. Guess I'll have to leave a nice tip.

There is a Montana couple sitting nearby and the woman just did what George did the other night in Yellowstone. She was talking to another woman who said she was from Bozeman. The Montana woman said, "But not originally. I can tell." And she was right. The other woman was from Nebraska.

George did that in West Yellowstone. A woman overheard me talking about Tiburon and Belvedere and she said she was from Healdsburg. George said, "But not originally." And he was right. She was from Kansas.

How can you tell if someone isn't from Healdsburg?

Where in the hell is Healdsburg?

The Williams sisters are doing their zulu warrior act in the finals of the US Open, and this is a pleasant night. There is a wedding party here and I'm sitting on a Powerball ticket for the $80 million drawing tonight.

I'll buy half of Montana for that.

This thing is about to run out of juice but I'm afraid to plug it in because that Montana woman tripped over the cord last time.

I'm working on the Fin screenplay. This is nice.

Montanans are kind of like the Texas family in Giant, when they get social. They speak loudly in restaurants and talk about football and kicking butt in high school and poke each other in the butt and say semi-crude things right out loud. Fun stuff.

Just got a faceful of Sarena William's big zulu bootie on the TV. Went outside to check on Ike and the wedding party downstairs were playing "Baby Got Back." Ike went down to the basement to poke around apparently, but now he is hanging outside.

He's a good cat.

And here's another idea. On all the fishing regulation signs at all the fishing holes they say, "Pack it in and Pack it out," referring to trash.

Maybe that Jim Phillips would consider drawing a Pack Your Trash sticker for the State of Montana, with a fisherman instead of a surfer throwing trash over his shoulder, as the trout look on in distaste?

Might work.

What do you know, there are three Montanans talking about football right in front of me. The year the Grizzlies won the National Championship.

22:10 I'm still here. Drinking coffee, cleaning up the files on my computer. Good thing, too, because I almost lost all the interviews I did with Buzzy Kerbox, Brock Little, Mikey Munoz and Rochelle Ballard for the Price of Gas article, and that would have been a bummer.

They're already flogging the 9/11 news on CNN and I'm sure that's going to go on for a few days.

I thought 9/11 was a direct slap in the face of the Bush family, because Desert Storm was very much George Bush's war, and it was my suspicion that crashing planes into the WTC was a way to hound and harass the administration of Bush Jr.

I have since learned otherwise. The WTC crash was an assault on the Jewish business interests centered in New York City.

It could have been a lot of things-like who killed JFK?-but that's what it was. Israel.

22:44 Still here. Watching the college scores. Need a phone line to check e-mail. Oh well. Hope Ike is okay. This is a nice place. As the bar was shutting down I got into a conversation with a "fishin fool" named Marty Walker. I said his name sounded like a country singer and he looked a bit like a country singer but this was a guy who roamed all over the west working on water projects. He filled me in on every secret fishing spot from here to Sun Valley and beyond.

Here are my notes, the highlight of which is the expression, "Happier than a puppy with two peters."

Galen. Take a right. Go up to the bridge. Parking area. Clark Fork.

Pheasant tails and royal coachmen.

Gallatin. Tomorrow. Spanish Creek. Royal Coachmen. Little mayflies. 16 and 18. Throw them out.

Happier than a puppy with two peters.

Four hours. After 10 I quit counting

Big Hole. 45 bends. Everybody floats it.

I 90 take Moose Creek exit. Maiden Rock.

From the bridge. North up the river. Big pool along the railroad tracks.

Turquoise pool.

Fish. Beaverhead. Point Dexter Slough. Past the college. The Old Highway. Cross the bridge. A slough under the bridge. Get in at that point and walk up. South?

Slough winds back into the Beaverhead. Anything you want to put on.

Western Montana.

Maiden Rock either side of the bridge.

Maiden Rock. Go through cottonwoods. Big eddy. Great big huge eddy.

15 pound brown trout. Though I had a beaver.

Made a big splash.

Wakaina Lake. Cherry Creek Road. Melrose. Off Cherry Creek road. The road goes up and dead-ends at a trailhead. Top of that lake. 20 pound lake trout or anything you want. Cutthroats.

Mount Tahipa.

Tobacco Root.

River fishing. Tomorrow. Jefferson River. Waterloo to Three Forks. By far will put the Big Hole to shame. Better fishing than.

Big Horn girl.


Jellystone Tour

September 7, 2002
September 6, 2002
September 5, 2002
September 1, 2002
August 31, 2002

Bores In Alaska

June 22, 2002
June 21, 2002
June 20, 2002
June 19 pt 2, 2002
June 19, 2002


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