Monday, August 19, 2013

Washington / Montana / Glacier National Park

Once back in the lower 48 from Alaska we moved the rig the next day to Lake Goodwin Resort in Stanwood WA which was only about 3 miles from where we parked it for the trip.  We were in need of some serious down time before moving again.  

For the first few days we were parked next to this unusual camper.  When my girlfriend Karen goes camping she refers to her camper as a cottage, maybe she should trade her camper in on a true cottage complete with a back porch.

For the first few days we just rested, did laundry and unpacked.  The campground was located on the lake so there was lots of activity especially on the weekends.  Adjoining the campground was a state park with a swimming beach that was packed everyday.  So we got out the metal detectors in the mornings and looked for lost treasures.  I did find a small silver ring and Mark found a silver quarter, not bad but we are still looking for a huge gold ring with an even huger diamond!
When we roll into to a new town and know we will be there for a bit we look on craigslist to see if there is anything interesting.  Well we came across this post for help wanted at the Aquafest in Lake Stevens so we checked it out and got hired by Davis Shows Northwest to sell game tickets. 

After four days and all the people we were happy to check off being a Carney.   I really give those folks credit, especially when the show closed on Sunday at 5 pm they immediately started tearing it down as they would be pulling out the next day to do it all over again in another town the following weekend.  It was a cool experience and really gave us an insight to the carnival world.  So after resting up from that gig we started packing things up getting ready to head to Montana.

We have friends that we worked with in Mesa AZ that live in Polson MT and they invited us to stay on their property.  So for now our destination is Polson MT.

The first night on the road we stayed at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake WA.

This was a huge fairground with over 500 sites and very nice, cost was $15 for electric and water.  When you are looking for a short stop over always check the fairgrounds in the area, as you may get lucky like we did.  I have to comment on the amount of agriculture in the western part of WA, it is almost like Iowa with corn fields everywhere.  We have never seen so much hay, hay bails were everywhere with huge storage facilities all along the interstate.

Normally we don’t travel over 200-250 miles a day but we weren't that far from our destination so we pressed on.  We were only in Idaho for a short bit than into Montana.  Once we turned off the interstate we followed the Clark Fork River for a while which made for a beautiful drive.

We arrived at our friends Jim and Linda Hadley’s home in Polson MT that evening.  Got the caravan set up with full hookups next to their garage and then enjoyed a nice meal while we got caught up on what we all had been doing. 

The next day we all went into town for breakfast and then they showed us some local sights.  Polson is located on the southern shore of Flathead Lake which is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River and one of the cleanest in the populated world for its size and type.  It was raised 10 ft by Kerr Dam. 

 A few days later we ventured out to Glacier National Park, which is our nation’s 10th National park.

Known for is glacier-carved jagged peaks, turquoise and emerald lakes, and U-shaped valleys it is a must see.  Established in 1910 with its lowest elevation at 3,150 feet and its highest at 10,466 feet at the summit of Mount Cleveland.  At any national park that you may go to in the summer they are always packed with people so if you plan to camp you better make reservations the year before.  Since we didn't have reservations to camp we spent the day seeing the points of interest on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Our first stop was Lake McDonald being the largest lake in the park at 10 miles long and 1 mile wide.  The water is so clear but oh so cold.

 At the end of the lake is McDonald Falls.  It was calm and pleasant but early spring visitors see a thundering torrent carrying trees and boulders.

Avalanche Creek has beautiful blue colored water caused by glacial silt.

One way you can see the park and leave the driving to someone else is taking a tour on the famous Red Buses considered to the oldest fleet of touring vehicles. 

I was glad Mark was doing the driving, as the road was narrow.

The only switchback on the Going-to-the-Sun road affords a scenic view of Heaven’s Peak at 8,987 feet.

We started our journey down in the valley by the creek.

Haystack Creek Falls cascades its way from mountaintops to the valley floors.  The falls are 492 feet tumbling over hundreds of steps on its way down the hillside, under the road and then down another cliff.

If you look closely you can see the cars hanging onto the steep mountainside as they make their way along the narrow road.  As a matter of fact vehicles over 21 feet long (including bumpers) or over 8 ft wide (including mirrors) are prohibited on some parts of the road due to rock overhangs.

Across the valley, Bird Woman Falls cascades 492 feet from the slope of Mt. Oberlin.

                                                                          Traveling on…

At Big Bend we were able to get great views of Mt. Canon and Mt. Oberlin plus the valley below.

At Oberlin Bend there is a boardwalk that offers views of the valleys and the road as it winds across below the Garden Wall.  We were lucky to see a mountain goat watching the cars go by and posing for pictures.

The continental Divide, also called the Great Divide, is a natural boundary line separating waters that flow into the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico from those that flow into the Pacific Ocean.

Jackson Glacier Overlook offers views of a glacier.

At Sunrift Gorge we took a hike down to Baring Falls.

We there you have it, Glacier National Park through our eyes!


Jim and Linda took us for a boat ride on Flathead Lake to Big Fork showing us the sights along the way.

              There are some huge mansions on the lake that are only weekend retreats, must be nice.

The first one sits high on top of the hill with the caretaker's cottage on the shore. 

Next up is just a small home on the point.

Now there are a lot of famous people that stay on the lake.  One very notable lady is Bette Midler, she doesn't live there anymore but built the home after the movie “Beaches” that she starred in and the song she sang, “The Wind Beneath My Wings”.  There is no other house like it.
OK enough of expensive real estate that the average person can’t afford.  We had lunch then wandered around the quaint downtown area pop in and out of interesting shops. 

Once back on the boat we had a lovely ride back following the shoreline enjoying the sights.  The water is an awesome blue/green color but still to cold for this NC girl to consider jumping in. 

Thank you Jim and Linda for a wonderful day on the lake!

The following day the weather was perfect for a bike ride so we cruised along the lake ending up back at Big Fork.

Our first stop was the Garden Bar for some refreshing adult beverages on the back patio.  It is a really cool bar with revitalizing misters and signs from local businesses all over the outdoor garden area.

Next stop was the…

We enjoyed the beer and the atmosphere; actually during our travels we haven’t had a bad micro brew yet!  On the ride home we stopped at a roadside cherry stand to purchase some wonderful local cherries picked fresh that day.  The east side of the lake is known for cherry production.

The upcoming weekend in Polson was the Classic Car Show Festival.  On Friday night some of the classics cruised down main street.  Mark volunteered to help direct traffic.

                 Saturday was the actual festival but we had made plans to move, sorry we missed it. 

   I want to send out a big thank you to Jim and Linda for a wonderful time and great accommodations. 


We made plans earlier in the year to get solar put on the rig in Billings MT then in October we will be                                                      working the Sugar Beet Harvest in Sydney MT, so on to Billings.

                                                        Thanks for following your travels.


                          Check out my handmade jewelry at my Etsy store Wandering Designs