Polebridge Mercantile

On a recent trip to Glacier National Park I took a day to explore one of the endless back roads.  I knew of the destination having been there before.  Plus I enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the way.

Should I mention the fresh made pastries?  They were one of the objectives of the trip.  My favorite, the Huckleberry Bear Claws, and a cup of fresh brewed coffee.  If the scenery along the drive doesn’t entice you, the pastries certainly will.

The Polebridge Mercantile was built back in 1914, just 4 years after Glacier Park became a National Park.  It was originally known as “Adairs”.  William Adair and his wife lived in a homestead house next door.  That old homestead house in today’s time, is the Northern Lights Saloon.  Adair’s ran the Merc until just after World War II.

The bakery was started in 1994 and has become an attraction of its own.  Sip a cup of coffee and browse through all the unique items hanging on the walls and from the ceiling.  I am sure every piece has its own story.

You still have to walk out the back across the yard to take care of “business”.  The outhouse is back there and still where you have to “go”.  But this is high class…..pink carpeting on the floor.  Don’t expect anything else.  It is still basic.  This is pretty much how “things” were taken care of a 100 years ago.

Finding Polebridge, Montana is locating the North Fork Rd (RT 486) out of Columbia Falls, Montana.  Or if you are in Glacier NP (West side) find Camas Rd and take that north to North Fork Rd.  This can be 25 to 35 miles depending on your route or starting point.  Much of it is gravel, but well traveled.  I have hit years the road is decent and you can go 45 mph without trouble.  Other years it is rough going.

Either point you start at will provide you incredible views along the North Fork of the Flathead River.  Distant mountains with snow covered tops, open vista’s created by a forest fire sometime in the past.  Mother nature replacing the burn with new growth that has been replenishing the landscape for years.  Watch for animals.  Deer, Moose, and the elusive wolf that has been seen along the road at times.

Watch the river too.  Often there are animals along its edge, down for a drink.  Or colorful rafts floating by.  Rafting the river is a popular sport that you can enjoy on your own or by hiring an outfitter.

Regardless of your passions, this is one stop you will not want to pass by if you are visiting the general area.

Also visit the Polebridge Mercantile’s Facebook Page.



Article & Photography by: Rick Beach

Today I stumbled into information related to Old Route 66.  Often referred to as the “Mother Road”

Have you ever gotten to a page on the internet you have no idea how it happened?  Suddenly into some obscure website that piques your interest?  Subject related to something you would have never thought to go searching for?  Ah, the pleasures of modern technology.  It allows you to travel the world in micro-seconds.

I have traveled sections of Route 66 over the years.  I know I have been on parts of it across the U.S.  Though at this stage most of my recollection is isolated to some Arizona sections.

On the the subject I really wish to share.  I stumbled into a blog an artist (Willem Bor) created to show his craft of model making.  Oddly he did not live in USA.  But fell in love with the buildings along Old Route 66 during a visit.  Then set off to recreate them in miniature form.

One building in particular is currently still standing and called “Hackberry’s General Store”.  I have actually been there on numerous occasions, and have done my own photography.

Check out his blog link below.  I will let you find this very building built in model size, and showing on his blog.  Then you judge how cool these model buildings are.  I also love the history that is provided with each piece.

Sadly, in researching and going to his Facebook page I believe he is no longer with us since January 2017?  His work and website lives on, at least for now.  We can only hope he is traveling along Route 66 and comparing his work.

See some of his work at the below link:




Seligman is on the original Route 66.  In recent years Interstate 40 bypassed the town a few miles away.  Traffic for the most part no longer passes through town.

The town still vies for tourist dollars to exist.  Now a small town of about 500 people.  If you stop and take some time, photo ops abound in every direction.  Old vehicles, Elvis, Burger joints, Frozen Custard, Road Kill Cafe, Gas stations, and a KOA Campground on the east end of town.

If you are traveling from the east on old Rt 66.  On your way to Peach Springs or Kingman, Arizona.  You will pass through Seligman.   You can also continue traveling west through Peach Springs and eventually hit  Kingman Arizona.  On old RT 66. Beyond Peach Springs you will pass by Hackberry’s General Store.  Talk about another photo op.  Be sure to stop!



What wonderful weather for mid-March today (March 18, 2017).  Temps hit 90°F with clear blue skies in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I was happy to come away with a first place win in the “Main Dish” category.  Serving up BBQ Pulled Pork, to take home a trophy Plaque and a free annual pass to Nevada State Parks for the year.  That pass will certainly have some mileage put on it.

A group of us have competed in this annual cook-off for 3 or 4 years now.  We saw attendance go way up this year.  I came with 144 sandwich buns to serve the pulled pork on.  (12lbs of Pulled Pork).  I remember buying the buns and thinking I was practicing “over kill”.  When I saw the eating line start to form I started cutting buns in half.  Right before show time I started changing to 1/4 bun per serving.  I as well as many of the other cooks were wiped out.

The unofficial report I got this evening from someone connected with the fort put the headcount at 300.  A far cry from the 25-50 we had seen in previous years.

The 10lbs of coleslaw that never made it to the end.  It was just a bonus side dish to go with the BBQ.  Gone before the line finished passing the first time.

I also entered the dessert category with a double batch Cherry Chocolate Cake.  It didn’t even place with all the competition and great cooks.  Though it too was wiped out and only crumbs left.

Hopefully others that attended email me their photos for use on this site.  Also the winners for each category and the dish they served up.  Its tough when you cook, to find the time to take some photos or even sample all the great food.

I didn’t even have the time to enjoy the live music and fiddle players that were just out of ear shot.  Below is a portion of the cook set-ups.

Thanks goes out to Kathleen & Dave LeBlanc for serving up a Mountain Man breakfast for us early birds that were setting up at 7:30am.

Also thanks to those at the Fort that put this all together, then their task to get their park back to normal for the next business day.    There is lots of behind the scenes work and effort going into this event people never see.



February 24-26, 2017

A great event to get out of the house this coming weekend.  Pahrump, Nevada is about 75 miles west of Las Vegas, Nevada.  If you live in the area, or are just visiting, this is a great opportunity to enjoy Nevada’s small town hospitality.

We are posting this as a public service. This event is Sponsored by the Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce. Please check their Facebook event and page for further info.

Their Facebook Event Page https://www.facebook.com/events/1657376944562157/permalink/1657378411228677/

Their Official Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/PahrumpValleyChamber/



Do you want an off the beaten path road trip? Take a section of old RT 66 that takes you up a 2 lane mountain road, to the old mining town of Oatman, Arizona.

This old town is in the Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona, USA. It began as a small mining camp soon after two prospectors struck a $10 Million gold find in 1915.

During the warm months of the year this is a tourist destination complete with people from all parts of the world unloading off tour buses.

I was here just after Thanksgiving and the weather was chilly enough at lower elevations. Up the mountain east of Bullhead City, Arizona and about half way to Kingman, Arizona, it was down right cold.

Though the shops were open the town was kind of dead. Nothing like the stories I had heard of hoards of tourists. I think I was greeted by more burros than humans. On this chilly morning I thought someone should definitely open up a highly visible coffee shop. No Starbucks to be found up here. No real indication a hot cup of brew could be found.

I had a blast with my camera and actually appreciated the fact the cold was probably keeping people away. The whole town is a photographers dream.

The are the old buildings, hotel, etc. Now a bar, eatery, antique shops, and the typical place to see wind spinners, hanging crystals, and tie dyed shirts.

To me, the main attraction was the overly friendly burro’s that seem to own the town. Persistent adult burro’s that walk right up. To the more timid baby’s that have stickers on their foreheads stating “Don’t feed me I am still nursing’. They were incredibly cute.

There is old iron, vehicles, bottles, and signs. Many places look run down. Over on a hill in the distance you can see broken down mining structures. Off on another hill a huge rusting steel tank that appears to have held water at one time.

Don’t expect cell service most of the time. But the drive up the western slope of the mountain was beautiful in the early morning light.

I didn’t stay long since I was in shorts and a sweat shirt. I will definitely be making a return trip in the coming year. This trip was more of a recon mission to find where Oatman was. To get the lay of the land to return and do more photography. I can see I need to dedicate a whole day to this location.


Full Moon Photography Camp-out


When: Feb 10-12, 2017
Where: Boulder Beach Campground-Lake Mead, Boulder City, Nevada.

This is a family friendly weekend.  While we do partake in adult beverages, if you are not well behaved around other people, kids, and our grandmothers, please seek out another event.   🙂   We don’t tolerate rowdy or loud  types that may bring other camper complaints, ranger visits, and situations that will result in being asked to leave.

This is a no cost involved meet up.  Other than your own travel expenses, National Park entrance fee’s and National Park campground fee’s.  We collect no money.

Saturday Potluck attendance is optional but if you attend we please ask you brings some type of food to be shared.  Anything such as a main dish, side dish, appetizers, chips, salad, etc.

Also be sure to bring firewood.

Disclaimer: We hope we have the moon timing correctly plotted for the area 🙂

Map to Campground

Are you a photography buff wanting to photograph the moon rise?  Want to camp?  Enjoy a potluck meal?  Or sit around a campfire?

Secure your own camping site in the dry camping area of Boulder Beach Campground inside Lake Mead NP, near Las Vegas, Nevada.  These dry camping sites are not open to be reserved in advance.  But this time of year there should not be a problem with availability.

RV sites with full hook-ups are available in an area adjacent to the dry camping sites and I believe you can reserve these in advance..

Dry camping sites are first come first served and all attending must make their own arrangements to secure their site and pay directly to the park.  This is in the Lake Mead National Park.  There are entrances fee’s at the Park main gate even if you come in for the day.  Annual, senior, and other passes may reduce your entrance and camping fees.  The group meet up does not charge any additional fee’s.

Link to NPS Website Fee’s Page

Some will be in trailers, camping out of their vehicles, in tents, and RV’s.  RV’s can set up in the dry camping sites if you don’t need full hook ups and want to be closer to the group.

There is a Full moon, moon rise timed with sunset Friday evening.  We are combining this photo op with Camping all weekend.  We will be on the western shore of the lake.  There is an open area that offers full view of the lake and distance mountain peaks across the lake to the east.

We are putting together a very informal group Photography, Moon viewing, Dutch Oven Potluck, & Die Hard Camping Event for this February 2017 Weekend.  You can interact or not, as much as you wish with others attending.  On Saturday afternoon we will have a Potluck meal get together in the dry camping area.

Camp with us for the weekend or come out for some photography.  If you can’t camp all weekend, at least bring a chair and your hot chocolate or favorite hot beverage to share the evening campfire.  At a minimum don’t miss the potluck.  We are close enough to Boulder City, Henderson, and Las Vegas that some may just want to drive out during the day or evening?  Since this is one of the cooler months I expect this group to be rather small.

Contact me if you want an invite, or view the details. The event is set to private in Facebook. I will have to send you an invite.  Email to:  info@toponautic.com   (In the subject line type: ATTN Rick I want in on Shoot the Moon)  If you don’t hear back within 24 hrs please attempt another contact.

Some of our regular member campers and Dutch Oven Cookers are already invited.  This is camping, Potluck Dutch Oven Cooking (other cooking techniques gladly accepted).

This time of year in the Las Vegas, Nevada area, the weather can be nice or on the cool side.  Prepare accordingly.  Bring firewood for evening campfires.

For a personal invite and access to more details on our Facebook event please email:   info@toponautic.com   In the Subject line of your email type ATTN Rick:Add me on Facebook/Shoot the Moon .   I will have to send you a FB friend request.  Once you approve it I will add you to the event.  If you don’t see it happen please send me another email and let me know.

We charge no fee’s to attend this group event. This is just an informal gathering of like minds taking care of their own arrangements.  (you do have to make your camping reservations, pay that to the park, as well as park access fee’s)