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I was there on a smoky day.  I’m planning on a return trip some clear day.  The scenery was breathtaking even under a gray pall.  I had never heard of Gates of the Mountain until I was talking with the manager of some radio stations in Helena.  He had just given me a tour of his studios at the airport.  Show hosts and guests get to look at planes taking off and landing.  As I was leaving, he asked if I had ever been to Gates of the Mountains.  Been there?  I had never heard of the place.

Half an hour later I arrived at the boat ramp.  There is a restaurant (it’s affordable!) and two tour boats.  One is enclosed.  The other is open.  The tour cost me 15 bucks, which I thought was a bargain.

Lewis and Clark traveled this route as they looked for the source of the Missouri River.  Their campground has never been excavated.  It was common medical advice to ingest mercury to control Diarrhea.  The latrines the expedition used are considered toxic.  We should also take a lesson about settled science when it comes to health advice from their era.

The river was higher in those times before dams were constructed.  There’s evidence indigenous people camped in some of the higher caves a millennia ago.

You’ll want to set aside a good couple of hours for the boat ride.  And bring a good camera.  You can spot bald eagles and other wildlife along the river.

Aside from visiting Crater Lake, I believe Gates of the Mountains was the most jaw-dropping experience of my life.   Tours are open year-round.

Best Looking State Patrol Cars In (Almost) Every State

For the past 10 years, the American Association of State Troopers has held a contest to determine which state has the best looking patrol cruiser. Nearly every state police agency submits their best photo of their sharpest patrol vehicle a chance to win the coveted cover photo on the association's annual calendar. From cop cars rushing through blizzards to vehicles on the Grand Ole Opry stage, here are this year's nominees.


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