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Draplin Design Co., North America



Got up nice and early, checked out of our spacious accomodations and headed over to the Old Montana Prison.

026. “On the inside.”
027. “The start of our self-guided tour.”
028. “Cross this line and get shot.”

There was something about that Visiting Room that freaked me out. Maybe it was the idea of coming in to see an inmate. This was the room only room the public would have seen when the prison was still in operation.

029. “Into the Visiting Room…”
030. “…and feeling very uneasy.”
031. “A wide array of colorful, dangerous contraband.”
032. “A very serious ‘threat letter’ about the warden.”
033. “Tough customers.”
034. “Inside the big house.”
035. “A moment of beauty, amongst so much ruthlessness.”

The old guy at the little junk store downtown told us, “Make sure they let you in “The Hole.”

“The Hole” cells consisted of a door, a slab of cement that might have been some sort of chair, cement walls and ceiling, and no light. No light. Think about that sort of scenario, in the dead of the Montana winter. Yeesh.

036. “Down into the hole.”
037. “The only light in the hole, through this mesh.”
038. “Get right with God.”
039. “The last stop, for eight unlucky cowboys.”

Alongside the mess hall ran a tunnel that was patrolled by armed guards, locked in. This way, if shit got unruly in during mealtime, the guards could react from a safe, barricaded distance. Cold and spooky.

040. “Inside the tunnel, patrolling for troubled meals.”
041. “Imagine eating, with a gun pointed at you, out of this hole.”
042. “The yard.”
043. “Serious time.”

The prison tour was very sobering. There was one story about a guy who spent some 49 years in cell no.01, passing away at 89 years old. He was the only inmate who was granted a funeral on the prison grounds. He went by the name, “Turkey Pete.” He lost his mind, and started “selling turkeys” to other inmates. The guards humored him, passing along his receipts throughout the facility.

Turkey Pete, we were thinking of you this morning.

We hopped back on the road and got the hell out of Deer Lodge. An hour later we passed through Butte, then Bozeman, then Billings. We were gonna turn off to hike the Custer Battlefield but kept going after hearing, “Aw, it’s just a stone marker out in a field. Got was coming to him, if you ask me.” So we kept going. Somewhere past Bozeman, we turned off to explore a little town called, “Big Timber.”

044. “A beautiful watering hole arrow in Big Timber.”

Big Timber is home to a bunch of stars, the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Keaton, Ted Turner and even Tom Brokaw. Not that the locals care. “They drive up our real estate prices,” is what one concerned citizen had to say when I did a quick Google on the invasion.

We got out of Big Timber, without buying any 600 acre celebrity retreats. Fuckers. We drove until it got dark and cold, and made it all the way to Miles City, a hundred miles from the North Dakota border.

Shots from the day:

045. “Accommodations: The Big Sky Motel.”
046. “Long live the hotel key. Down with magnetized cards.”
047. “Cold Montana hills.”
048. “Gary gets in a game of “fetch” in between sightseeing.”
049. “A reason to stop: Teslow grain elevator.”
050. “Golden hour peripherals.”
051. “Motel 8 shut-eye, Miles City, Montana.”

There is One Comment

kudos to the “real deal” hotel key. i always leave my key in my pocket next to my cell phone. and we all know what that does to the magnetic keys.

Posted by: frank zuccini on 02/18/07 at 6:16 AM
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