Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back in the Lower 48

060(Jan) With stops in Valleyview & Lethbridge, Alberta, Butte & Broadus, Montana and Box Elder & Beresford, South Dakota we are nearly back to Carroll, Iowa.

We made a couple of interesting stops along the way. Edmonton, Alberta is home to North America’s Largest Mall. There is an Ice Skating Palace,the Galaxyland amusement park and a005 large water park with wave pool all indoors. We spend a couple of hours there browsing the shops and having lunch at one of the food courts. We shared Arabic and Thai food and enjoyed them both.

We were in contact with our friends Ron & Bernita and Dean & Judy as we traveled through Canada and we all managed to meet in Lethbridge, Alberta. It was great to share one final visit, talking about our Alaska adventures and sharing dinner at the nearby casino. The following day we were all off in different directions.

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002(Chuck) Our stop in Butte, Montana took us to the Berkeley Pit. The Berkley Pit is a former copper mine that is a mile long and a half mile wide. It is seventeen hundred feet deep. For nearly one hundred years this mine fed America’s industrial might. This mine and its sister underground mines produced enough copper to pave a four-lane highway two inches thick from Chicago to New York City. 48 billion dollars of copper, gold and silver were removed. In 1983 the mine was no longer profitable and the pumps located 3,800 feet below the surface were turned off. As the water slowly travels through the rock it dissolves pyrite and sulfide minerals and releases acid which contaminates the water.  At present, the water in the pit is heavily acidic with a pH of 2.5. That is about the acidity of cola or lemon juice. Steps are being taken to prevent the water from rising to contaminate the water table of the surrounding area, but it is a massive effort. The Berkeley Pit is one of the largest Superfund sites in the USA.  Millions of your tax dollars are dedicated to cleaning this site after Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), closed the mine in 1983.

001The tunnel leading to the Berkeley Pit, above, and Chuck exiting into the pit area, right. 027We saw many other interesting things pertaining to Butte’s mining history around town.  Such as… 017A stamp mill used to crush rocks to release the gold or copper.
040Head Frames, (above) Interesting storyboards, historic buildings, Victorian gardens(below) & a touching memorial. 023This Memorial is dedicated to the 168 men who lost their lives in hard rock mining’s greatest disaster. 022The Granite Mountain-Speculator Fire June 8, 1917.
Click to enlarge any of the photos.

031036(Jan) Our stop in Rapid City gave us a chance to see our good friends Betty & Duane. I didn’t get a photo this time but we had a good visit and wonderful dinner! And all too soon it was time to get back on the road. Tonight we are at the Beresford, South Dakota city park. Tomorrow we will be back in Carroll, Iowa where my mom lives and closer to our sons & families.

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