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Showing posts from 2023

Annual Praise for Canyon/Badlands

I don't post much about the weather but there are exceptions.  Right now I am experiencing a miracle: no horizontal gravity (aka, no desert wind), lows in the 30s F, highs in the 60s F, and p lenty of sun for charging the battery.  That means it is unnecessary to use heat.  Good sleeping weather. And no bugs! Many snowbirds are dissatisfied here because it is not warm enough for them.  They want it warm enough to sit around in chairs, in a conversational circle, while wearing shorts.  I try to remember where they are coming from.  Still, warm weather is not necessary to make me happy. Every year I stop in at this canyon/badlands area in southeastern Nevada and praise it. (The land, not the snowbird neighbors.)  Many people are attracted to topographies with weird, eroded features. Mere prettiness is a bit insipid for my tastes.  A landscape becomes more interesting to me if you add some fear and horribleness to it.  (Recall the old saying that a movie is no better than the villain.

Needed: A Positive Vision of a Post-Imperial America

  Do you remember the fundamental changes that were happening to the world around 1990, when the Soviet Union rode off into the sunset?  President George H.W. Bush used to acknowledge the "vision thing" problem that he had.  (People criticized him for not providing leadership for what America would be like without the Soviet bogeyman.) The same thing seems to be happening now, except that this time it is the American Empire that is falling apart.  Will anyone emerge during the next election who provides real leadership about what post-Imperial America should be like?  I have my doubts: for the most part they will just provide a vision of perpetual war abroad and authoritarianism at home.  For a time I thought RFK Jr. might provide that kind of leadership.  But he has shown himself to be a craven ass-kisser of Israel. America still has the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.  Nobody in the world really has a blue water navy besides us.  So it is not

Finally, a Miracle Technology for Campers!

For the first time in my life I regret being a late adopter of some vaunted new technology. And this is bad news for Bic and all the companies that make those horrible little butane lighters that you use to light your gas stove or start a campfire.  In RV lingo, they are called "flame throwers."  I have used so many of those crappy little things.  I've tried refilling them, buying more expensive ones, or getting by with just the piezo spark.   It has always been a good idea to maintain a cache of wooden matches as a backup. Just recently a friend liberated me from butane lighters by showing me a new-fangled electric lighter. No piezo element.  No butane.  No fumbling with child-proof, Ralph Nader-approved buttons that require three hands. And no buying a new one every six months, just to learn that the price has gone up again. Electric arcs are not a new idea.  They have been around since Benjamin Franklin's kite.  Wikipedia actually has a good article on them, appa

You Mean that Kids Can Be Great?!

As a camper heads south in the winter, they find conditions more and more crowded.  Be that as it may, I have had some nice conversations in my present overcrowded location in southwestern Utah.  It even went further than that. I stopped in at a neighbor who had an unusual trailer.  But what really drew me in was his "Let's Go Brandon!" flag flying over the trailer, combined with his California license plates!  We joked about that for a while.  His wife and son came out and fawned over my little dog.   I have since run into his 11 year-old son several times.  The lad impressed me every time.  One day he was flying a kite!  You mean kids still do things like that?  Without a battery or smartphone app? An RV friend and I turned to each other and said "What a great kid!" after we had talked to him one day.  My friend speculated that the lad had been home-schooled;  it was hard to believe he was a product of the public schools of California. This seemed like it was

The Exquisite Can Be Fragile

Good conversations do happen between travelers, although I have trained myself not to expect too much.  It is better to aim for a few words of pleasantness, declare victory, and then move on.  But the other day a pickup truck driver and I surprised each other, I think.  He had made a wrong turn and was getting turned around.  I was on the bike, with the Little Cute One running beside me.  Therefore we were both pretty approachable. We were both complaining about over-crowdedness in an area that we both loved.  It seemed like the conversation was headed into a dead-end, with the usual complaints about crowds, tourists, etc.  But I redeemed the conversation by saying that, "It's not that I hate the human race or something, and it's not that the other people are doing something illegal, it's just that I love slipping into a certain mood in the outdoors.  And it is hard to get into that mood with hordes of people around." A big smile broke out on his face.  He was th

Are Israel's Neighbors More Potent Than in the Past?

 Some geopolitical commentators emphasize that Israel's Arab and Muslim neighbors are not the countries they were in 1967 or 1973.   They are more populous, certainly.  But are they capable of acting in concert? Crowds of protestors have made their outrage over the slaughter in Gaza known in Mideast Arab and Muslim countries.  That is a start.  But it seems easy for these countries' politicians to alter their speeches a little bit, and then do nothing.  The perfect example is Erdogan in Turkiye: he is the master of duplicity. It is healthy to emphasize what all sides of the conflict share in common, instead of what divides them.  Although it might sound sarcastic at first, it really is true that all sides are united in having politicians that are lying sacks of shit.  Seriously!  That seems to be a fundamental part of the human condition that we all share, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or political creed. Of course the BRICS+ organization is up and running, with Saudi Arab

Reviving an Interest in the Winter Southwest

Years ago I used to like this sort of Southwestern scenery:   But a person's tastes can change over time.  Now I want to see more life and less rock.  I yearn for rich topsoil, green leaves, bunnies disporting across a forest meadow, and maybe even a young shepherdess with long and lustrous hair blowing in a gentle breeze.   Who knows how much of my initial interest was just an imitation of snowbirds who come to Arizona to escape the damp dark icy weather of the north.  They aren't doing anything wrong, considering where they are coming from.  But their needs are different than mine. And yet I might be able to extend an interest in the Southwest by shifting to colder locations.  If nothing else, the camping will be less crowded.  But there might be even more to gain. It takes some effort to go for a walk right at sunrise.  But imagine how heavenly it can be it there is no wind!  Granted, the chilliness seems a little alarming when you start off.  You can imagine a crunchiness

Using Popular Superstitions to Justify Slaughter

It is hard to believe that the world can get any crazier.  There is so much shameful, embarrassing,  and reckless talk about Biblical prophecies today because of the conflict between Israel and Gaza. We live in a world of nuclear energy, microelectronics, and 5G telecommunications.  And yet people invoke ancient superstitions to justify mass-slaughter.  When will the world say, "Enough!  These ancient superstitions are not needed in the world anymore."  I doubt that politicians in the US ever will say that.   What was it that Tocqueville said about America in the 1830s?: 'Religious insanity is everywhere prevalent in America,' or something like that.  By chance I watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation last night that fit in so perfectly with the situation today.  It was season 3, "Who Watches the Watchers?"    Some anthropologists were on a planet, covertly studying proto-Vulcans at a Bronze Age level.  But their technology used to disguise th

Side Canyons

Autumn is over.  Wasn't it just a month ago that I happily announced that summer was over?  Winter seems to hit Utah in late October every year.  But it was a good autumn despite being too short, so I have no complaints. I was camped at the foot of the city of "Stratos" (recall the old Star Trek episode) where I camped last week and posted about.  While the Little Cute One and I mountain biked into canyon country, it was possible to look up at Stratos and remember it.  For some reason this had a surprisingly strong effect on me.   This year I skipped visiting the main canyon -- it has gotten too crowded and touristy.  So I followed the advice of an old RV friend (at  .)  He was a Denver hiker and RVer who found a good way to work around the crowded hiking trails on Colorado "Fourteeners:"  he only went up mountains that were 13,950 feet high.  Doing so resulted in him having the mountain to himself. I have used his advice so many times,

The Judeo-Christian Tradition on Display Under Gaza's Rubble

 From time to time I reread Carl Becker's "The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth Century Philosophers."  It is a short and delightful book, written by a history professor of all things! It always brings a smile to my face to read, "They courageously discussed atheism, but not before the servants." That issue always came up when post-Christians ask whether God actually exists: "...but where would morality come from, if there was no God?" Keep that old trope in mind when you watch videos of Gazan children being pulled out of the rubble left by the Judeo-Christian tradition, acting through its military technology.  Great work, YHWH!  You were always such a charmer.   from

Levitating On the City of "Stratos"

Central Utah.  Several times this summer I have camped at altitudes high enough to feel like I was in that episode in the third season of the original Star Trek ("The Cloud Minders"), about the city that levitated in the clouds.  The city was called Stratos, where people pursued purely intellectual and artistic pursuits.  Down on the surface of the planet the peasants dug away in the mines and did other things that provided the material basis of the civilization. It brings a smile to my face to think of that episode when I am camp at a place like this.  But maybe there is more than a laughable pretentiousness to this experience.  Call it transcendence.  People flying on airplanes might feel that, too.  I even used to feel it when I reroofed my house, once.  You can feel liberated from the grubby details, the infinite clutter of things, and the useless busy-ness of life near the ground. Actually, verticality is not the dominant quality here; 30 or 40 miles away is a continuous

The Backcountry Babushka

It was about a year ago that I noticed laundromat prices rising sharply, especially the dryers.  I got angry enough to find a substitute: washing my clothes by hand.  It helped me get started in this new habit by visualizing a Russian babushka, with a scarf tied over her head, hauling a load of clothes down to the frozen Volga River, and then chopping a hole in the ice. (Something is wrong with the Brave browser.  I can't upload a photo.  I have to run to the Edge browser.) I got a shock the other day when I dunked my hands in the laundry bucket, early one morning.  It is tempting to start laundry earlier in the day now that days are shorter, so that they have time to dry.  But the water is cold!  Perhaps I should put the laundry bucket inside the van overnight.  Still, it was a satisfying experience.  Imagine that you have lived on restaurant food your entire life, and you suddenly got motivated to cook your own food, and that skillets and pans were a mystery to you.  How satisfyi

A Couple Run-aways Return

A man came by my campsite yesterday and asked if I had seen his dogs.  That seemed timely, because a day earlier I had lost my own dog for about an hour.  She was quite the little drama queen about it, but she has settled down now.  I have decided that she will never be allowed off-leash again.   Anyway, the man got his two dogs back, safe and sound.  We talked about getting a GPS tracker that talks to your smartphone.  I think it would work fine but ... he and I had an aversion to a monthly payment, especially if they try to automatically renew your subscription at the end of the year. The subscription model.  Everybody is adopting it on the internet.  Or trying to.  Personally I am getting better dropping out from anything that wants to charge me something on a monthly basis, forever.  It is a real shame that they are scaring me off.  Nothing is free and people deserve to be paid for their work.  But I prefer to make one-time-only donations at my discretion. So I don't know wha

Rolling Out "New" Heating Technology This Morning

It was quite a surprise to find that you can buy an old-fashioned rubber hot water bottle, not much different from what mommie gave you, as a child, for your ear-ache.  I am using it for the first time this morning.  It appears to be a good product.  Because its shape is flattish it slips better into a parka than a round plastic container does. The Little Cute One is wearing her doggie jacket.  She is sleeping under a pile of sleeping bags on my bed. I appreciate the better sleeping that goes along with chilly fall weather.  The Internet tells us that Hypnos was the ancient Greek god of sleep, and that he was only a minor deity.  Well, really!  Their theologians had their priorities all wrong.  Maybe they were just young. When the sun comes up in this part of the world (Utah), it is easy to appreciate the chilliness, because the air and sky are so crystalline and cheerful.  But it takes some work in the dark hours of the morning, assuming you aren't young and can't simply slee

Unanimity Is Not Healthy

The bizarre behavior of the Canadian Parliament of a couple weeks ago certainly got some attention.  As bad as saluting an actual Nazi was, there was something even more disturbing: their apparent unanimity.  That should have gotten more attention. The American Congress is trying to give them competition in the unanimity syndrome.  What is the number for Congress's support of Israel: 95% ? 97% ?  Wasn't there an old quote from some American politician of a few decades ago that went like, "You can't get a 60% majority to support a Mother's Day resolution?" There is something fishy about Congress's nearly unanimous support of Israel.  Something is broken.  But this is supposed to be an example of 'Freedom and Democracy' that we preach to the rest of the world?

Ancient Tribalisms and Superstitions Should be Shut Down

  I just watched videos showing Gazan parents carrying wounded children into the emergency rooms of hospitals.  It is a bit surprising that they even have hospitals in Gaza.  What should your emotional reaction be to visual images like this?  Both sides in the conflict are part of the YHWH cult, as are American Evangelicals, as well as American Jews, who are mostly-secularized!  Even NATO countries are one-sided in their support of Israel despite religion being pretty much dead in Europe. When will the world say finally say, "To hell with YHWH.  It is time to put these ancient superstitions and tribal fanaticisms aside.  They have caused enough suffering." How does the West reconcile their mighty Multiculturalism with one-sided support of Israel? Don't Palestinian Lives Matter?  If we are supposed to 'Celebrate Diversity' and all cultures are equally valid, then what is evil about Palestinian culture?  What hypocrisy! That is my reaction to these disturbing images

Palestine Rescues NATO

The various regimes of NATO including the Democrat party in the US must be feeling tremendous relief this weekend.  They were headed into a US election season owning a military debacle in Ukraine, inflation, and energy shortages.  They were going to have to explain to their peasants why they lied to them for years about the war in Ukraine. But now they have a chance to escape, thanks to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  The Ukraine War can be allowed to fall "beneath the fold", to use an old newspaper metaphor.  The Israeli destruction of Gaza will become the "above the fold" story. All NATO will support Israel against the 'unprovoked' attack by Hamas, for 'as long as it takes.'  It will make NATO peasants feel 10 feet tall to look at their Asian-made television screens and see Israeli jets obliterating 'suspected terrorist' facilities in Gaza.  Americans will once again feel they are the 'indispensable' nation and are blessed with the 'g

A Few Stickers and Thorns are Worth It

The Little Cute One has made me pick her up a couple times, now that we are back in Utah and stickers.  At least there aren't a lot of thorns in this part of northeastern Utah.   Actually we are both being good sports about the stickers, because it is so good to enjoy autumn coolness, the absence of flying insects and rattlesnakes, and walking in arroyos again.   Walking in arroyos is something you don't do in the more northern states in the summer: water flows in the creeks up there!  So I missed these Utah arroyos. People who don't have dogs may not know what they are missing with cool dry air and walkable arroyos.  I never go to arroyos that are big brand names of the tourist industry.  I just use what is immediately available, right from my campsite.  More times than not, there are pleasant surprises to be found. The best times come from going with human friends and their animals.  Here is a photo from a Utah arroyo last year. Dogs are chasing scents of course.  But som

Has the Canadian Parliament Done NATO a Favor?

People are still aghast about the behavior of the Canadian Parliament the other day, when they gave a standing ovation to an elderly Nazi from the Ukraine.  Wouldn't it be ironic if something good came out of this?  Sounds impossible at first! I don't follow the regime media of the NATO countries so I could be wrong on this, but haven't they imposed a regime of silence on the history of Nazism in the Ukraine, not just during World War II but also in its aftermath?  Doesn't the regime media of the NATO countries boycott mentioning the neo-Nazis (Banderites) in modern Ukraine? I only know that the "alt" sites I listen to will refrain from using the word, Nazi, so that You Tube doesn't cancel them.  (Typically they are forced to use euphemisms such as 'ultra-nationalists.')  That would seem representative of the censorship regime across the board.  You would think it would be important to the taxpayers and voters of the NATO countries if their governm

Back to Winter Camping and Loving It

Maybe it was just useless speculation and bravado to say that I was going to stay in colder climates this winter in order to avoid the usual overcrowded and known-by-everybody camping locations in the Southwest.   Yesterday I moved into a state that you can easily guess from this photo: It is not a warm state.  And I camped at 8400 feet.  It gets down to freezing at night.  Perfect.  No bugs.  But no snow or ice either.  In the morning, the trailer is at 40 F or so.  About 3 a.m. the Little Cute One decides that it is Snuggle O'Clock:  she leaves her own warm bed and crawls up into mine. Here is the drill: don't get out of bed and then sit down in a chair.  Instead, do a minute of shoulder shrugs.  Why is that so effective?  Put a half inch of closed cell foam on my chair.  The chair itself is just a mesh which is great for summer, but an icebox in winter. Heat up water on the stove and pour it into the right container.  Then stick it in my parka as a body heater.  If you put a

A Better Winter?

Just before autumn officially started we had our first perfect autumn day.  How I love the camper's door facing the morning sun, and then opening that door to the morning chill and bright sun!  There was no wind and no insects. It was enough to make you think this is the best of all worlds.  But it isn't.  "September" is too brief.  Blame that on that damn 23.4 degree tilt in the earth's rotational axis.  Why doesn't Greta Thunberg do something about this?  The internet gave some bizarre examples of the tilt that other planets have.   from Daylight hours disappear so quickly at this time of year.  It is time to think about finding better camping locations this winter.  The weather in the Southwest is delightful in winter, but camping places are so well-known and crowded.   Thinking a way out of that will not be easy.  Should I stay further north to avoid the crowds?  A real heater -- that is, a vented one -- would be necessary for an RV in se

Visual Metaphor for the American Empire

We are sliding into cool weather.   Tomorrow I will move camp down closer to town.  Before leaving I wanted to remember what happened here on the first day.  The Little Cute One and I took a walk along the road we were camped on.  The road was surprisingly smooth and on a near perfect isocline.  Hey wait a minute, what is going on here?  I looked down the slope and sure enough, there was a water diversion ditch paralleling the road.  That is the second such ditch I have encountered this summer.  They actually seem like a good idea, but I'll bet the Forest Service has not built any for years.  There was a forest fire here a couple years ago.  I think I was in town when it happened. Currently camping where I might have seen a forest fire three (?) years ago. I actually like burned forests.  You can see the surrounding landscape without all those damn trees in the way.  (I am a fan of eastern trees with leaves, not western telephone poles with needles.) Forest fires leave some strange

Relentlessly Upward

It takes a carefully maintained sense of balance to enjoy a mountain bike ride.  I am not just talking about what you do with the handlebars and leaning the body. There was a road that headed uphill from camp -- I think.   A little information from maps certainly helps, but you only want enough encouragement to try it.  You don't want somebody spoonfeeding you all the answers in advance.  Much of what I care about is simply not available on any map. I got what I was hoping for: a monotonic climb, without any of those useless and disheartening drops.  Relentless climbing.  It is so easy to slip into a daydream on the way up:  you are true to your calling, your Noble Suffering. The Little Cute One was running along side me.  She wasn't suffering any.  She wondered why good ol' Pops was so slow. Surprisingly, reaching the top is not the most glorious moment on a ride like this.  I love the last minute or two of the climb, when you see blue sky poking through gaps in the trees

Treeing Ten Turkeys

I was surprised by an odd sound outside the trailer door.  It has been awhile since I have seen any wild turkeys.  There seemed to be about six of them, walking around in their clumsy and confused manner. Of course the Little Cute One heard them too.  She came to the screen door and looked out curiously and then frantically.  I couldn't resist: I opened the door so she could give chase.  It was a "target-rich" environment.  She didn't quite know how to choose a target.  There must have been ten of these birds.   It takes all they have, but those silly birds can finally get air-bound and into some low branches of nearby trees.    They seem so unbalanced and awkward when they do land on a tree branch.   How does this species survive?  Just think of all the predator species that would consider turkeys a tasty lunch! In particular, what about grizzly bears?  I was carrying two cans of bear spray this summer on my mountain bike.  I watch scary videos on bear attacks, a

Surprised by What Was in the Ground

Despite my praise of the last campsite I relocated to one that could not have a neighbor.  Getting settled in required some digging, despite the newly built leveling blocks.  Digging beneath your high wheel has the advantage of chocking that wheel -- a nice reassuring thing, since land is seldom flat. I grit my teeth as I started to dig.  It is never easy.  Sometimes you hit your first rock in the first couple whacks.  Imagine my surprise to hit nothing but dirt, and not just any dirt, but lush loose dark almost-black soil.  I didn't believe such a thing was even possible in a Western state, the empire of rubble.  And I was halfway up the mountains rather than in a valley, next to a river. It would have surprised me more if I had struck a large nugget of gold or if oil had spurted out of the ground.  But not by much. I am making a big deal of this because it is so satisfying to get beyond the mindset of a scenery tourist and think about being a pioneer 150 years ago -- someone wh

Strange Contrasts Between Spaciousness and Confinement

  How the world changes when you drive perpendicular to a river!   Utah is a great place to practice that game, because of the Colorado River.  Here in Idaho I drove away from the Salmon River to accomplish the same thing. After climbing 2000 feet where nothing was flat, I was surprised to find a large flat campsite.  It had certainly been used and since it was a Friday I expected to accrete neighbors.  But none came.  Apparently there is a bit of a camping lull between Labor Day and hunting season. What a large and flat campsite it was!  Here was a chance to act out a long term fantasy: pull everything out of the tow vehicle (a van) and organize it.  Normally that is impossible at campsites because the actual work space outside the van is tiny and cramped by rocks, weeds, and steep slopes.  What a strange irony there is to being confined in one sense while looking off 40 miles in most directions to suck in those great panoramic views.   The campsite was as big as a football field, and

A River Runs Through It

I was experiencing a rare delight for me by day-camping next to the Salmon River in Idaho.  The river was flowing so fast for this time of year.  It must be all the rain we've had over the last two weeks.  Better yet, I was taking an afternoon nap to celebrate the last trailer repair problem.  (The welding shop guy had wired the electrical brakes incorrectly, shorting out and damaging the brake controller unit under the dash in my tow vehicle.) I heard some angry yelling and screaming coming from the other side of the river.  But it wasn't the other side -- it was coming from the river itself.  A father and son were floating down the river in flotation jackets and they were trying to make their way to shore, right outside my trailer door.  The father was screaming about hitting his heel against a rock. But they made it out of the river, and he was able to walk.  Once that little excitement was over I thought about what a great idea they had.  They were having a little adventur

Reducing Weight Is The Main Game for a Traveler

There are so many   things to reduce when you are a traveler: complexity, maintenance-intensive junk, stylishness & fripperies, wasteful habits, etc.  One good thing about serious rig problems is that it focuses you on reducing the weight of your rig.  In fact I have reacted to trailer problems in the past by going on a real jihad against unnecessary weight.  (In contrast I have never had a weight-related problem on the tow vehicle, a full-sized van.) So it is trailer "diet" time again.  Progress is being made, but it is slow and humbling.  Most of the discretionary weight in a trailer lies in water, canned goods, and tools.  (Paper books were transferred to electronic storage of information, years ago.)  One can either reduce things or redistribute them to the tow vehicle, assuming that it is not overloaded. I was a bit discouraged because you'd think that many years of experience would make it easier to put the rig on a 'diet'; yet the opposite seems to b

Backcountry Travel Reality Versus Romanticism

This post is aimed at convincing travelers, especially newbies or armchair travelers, that taking heavy motor vehicles or trailers into the backcountry is expensive and troublesome. But it all looks so beautiful on You Tube channels!  Pure escapism.  Why not just accept those videos as part of the entertainment industry, while being more cautious personally?   After nine years of heavy use, my trailer's axle bearing fried in the backcountry.  Fortunately the road was smooth, so my insurance company was finally able to find a towing company willing to come out to me.  I told the insurance company to emphasize, when talking to the towing company, the road smoothness and my location at a junction where the tow truck could turn around. My cellphone amplifier was a real lifesaver.  So many phone calls were necessary to get the job done.  While waiting for the tow truck I called different shops to find trailer axle parts.  The moral of the story is to stay within reach of cellphone conne

Good Car Mechanics Are Impressive

I couldn't believe the repair shop invited me into their work area where my van was up in the air.  That is only the second time in my RV-traveler career when a shop allowed me into their inner sanctum.  The young mechanic showed me that the aftermarket part I had ordered online was not going to fit my van. He was so professional and so young!  How had he even lived enough years on this earth to pick up all his skills and knowledge?  Normally I don't think about being impressed with people's jobs.  Perhaps that is because I think in terms of meaningless office work in giant corporate or government bureaucracies. But guys who actually know how to do things, how to fix things, are so impressive. That repair shop will definitely get my business again when I loop through Grangeville ID next year.   They didn't even charge me anything.  I insisted on paying something, so the manager let me tip the mechanic $20.  Finally the manager had an educational discussion with me about

Loaded for Bear

  At a place where I would have least expected it, a NAPA auto parts store, I saw some survival equipment such as knives, hatchets, and a "survival spear".  Imagine that! It was about 3.5 feet long.  Rather heavy.  No lithium batteries required.  The ultimate in "tactical" equipment!   Just imagine running naked through the forest, jabbing and stabbing prairie dogs, chipmunks, and ... grizzly bears.  The only thing that ruined this primal fantasy was the unwieldiness of this survival spear when carried on a mountain bike. After the rain ends I am headed for "Montanee."  Consider this fair warning to any grizzly that is fool enough to challenge Primitive Man and his miniature poodle.

Time to Conquer Montana?

  I have hardly ever camped in Montana.  What a shame!  A gigantic state ignored.  Of course Montana is not as big as it looks on the map because the eastern half is probably too low and hot in mid-summer. Two summers ago I made a noble effort to correct this oversight.  I ended up on the northern edge of the Yellowstone ecosystem.  I drove past warning signs about grizzly bears and felt uncomfortable camping there.  Ursaphobia is something that one must overcome in order to camp in Montana. Most of the grizzlies are found in or near Glacier and Yellowstone national parks and the corridor between them. I have bear spray, but have considered a handgyun as well.  The handgun project is probably nothing more than a thought experiment.  Target practice is noisy and expensive.  Could I really hit a charging grizzly in the brain with a handgun?  At least with bear spray, you don't have to aim very well.  Of course shooting bear spray upwind will not be pleasant. During the handgun though