GOING TO THE SUN ROAD
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Today Dexter and I took a long road trip from East Glacier to the St. Mary’s entrance to Glacier National Park and then we took the “Going To The Sun” highway across Logan Pass to West Glacier. It is about 50 miles from one entry point to the other and goes up to about 7000 feet at the top of Logan Pass.
It was spectacular to say the least. I could see forever it seemed and the road was narrow with very long drop-offs so it was a white knuckle drive, especially when the cars coming my direction were hugging the center line or actually over it a bit.
I stopped at the top of Logan Pass and was walking on an overlook when two mountain goats appeared. One was pretty big and very friendly so I took his picture and some other pictures of the vast area seen from the overlook. Later, down the road, I was checking the camera and it was locked up and the screen told me I had to format the card. Well….I lost the goat pictures and I don’t know what else. I used my back up camera and still got some good pictures that give an idea of the area. I was able to get the Cannon back to working after formatting so not sure what happened.
|Logan Pass taken with the Nikon Coolpix|
|McDonald Lake taken with my Cannon EOS|
The worse part about today’s trip was that there was a lot, and I mean a lot, of road construction going on and there was a lot, again a lot, of visitors in the park. I did not really like it but that’s the way it was and probably will be until after school starts in most places in September. I think I will just stay over on the East Glacier side and do my rides and hikes at Two Medicine and Many Glacier. They are not even crowded compared to the West Glacier area. I finally got my birth certificate and sent it in so I should have a passport soon and I can go to Canada and Waterton.
Polebridge is about twenty five miles north of West Glacier and fifteen of those miles are gravel. I was curious about this place because a friend once sent me an email and some pictures from a friend of his that had moved to the Kallispell area and took a ride up to Polebridge.
|Fifteen miles of dusty gravel road|
|That's all folks!|
Well, there is not a lot in Polebridge, only a few buildings and some cabins, but there is a Mercantile that has been there over one hundred years and still going. It is a beautiful area close to the Canadian border. They are famous locally for their bakery items and hot sandwiches. I bought a pulled pork sandwich encased in their homemade pastry bread and some huckleberry bearclaws to take back to the folks where I am working. The sandwich was great, especially with the local cold micro brew I washed it down with. I am going to have my bear claw for breakfast so I will report on that in the morning but it sure looks good. Huckleberry is the big thing up here in this area and pies are supposed to be really special. I also bought me a cap with the area name on it …. seems I just have to do this when I see an unusual baseball type cap.
I stopped once at the most referred pie shop in this area on my way to Kallispel and I could not bring myself to pay twenty five dollars for a huckleberry pie so I passed. Heck, my cap from Polebridge cost me twenty bucks but I will have that for years! I guess I am going to have to do it just so I can say I did it. Seems pretty steep for a pie but I need to know what all the fuss is about. In Oregon we have Marionberry pies and they are the best, especially with Tillimook Vanilla ice cream so I need to compare the two before I leave this area.
MY FIRST TIRE BLOWOUT EVER!
It may have happened and I have forgotten but I don’t think so. On my way back to East Glacier I had a tire blowout! I could tell something was wrong as the truck was not riding smooth when all of a sudden it happened. Fortunately it was on the rear, not the front that can affect steering going at highway speed.
To top it off, I was stuck in an area on Hwy 2 going through the mountains where there is no cell service. I have two roadside services and couldn’t call either one for help. Not being familiar with the truck since I had just purchased it in April, I got out the manual and read it. I had no choice but to change that tire and get home and worry about what I would do next later. I was going to take a picture of my blow out but forget but you know what a blown tire looks like...depressing!
As I was trying to figure out how to get the spare out from under the rear of the truck another truck pulled up close by. I asked the driver if his phone had cell service and it did not so I explained my problem. He said we will just have to put the spare on so he jumped right in and helped me do it. Actually he did most of the work! What a nice man to help an old man out in the heat when he didn’t have to. He sure wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty either. They were a family from Canada and I was sure the lucky guy to have them stop by because his daughter was car sick. His name was Don and he has my thanks for the help he gave me. I won’t forget that good deed and I will be sure to pass it own when my time comes to help someone else.
Once I got back to my LTR and relaxed I started checking on the price of tires. I knew I would need to replace the truck tires but not this soon. I am a big fan of Les Schwabb so I called the store in Columbia Falls, the nearest town they are in, and got a quote. My BFT has big expensive tires! A set of four Toyo twenty inch load range E tires is going to cost me $1300. I really have no choice but to do it and I have to put on four tires, not one good tire. If that one blew out, the others are going to do the same. I kind of lost confidence in Michelin with this sidewall blowout too since that’s what I have on the truck. I put Toyo tires on my big diesel pusher years ago and I was very pleased so that’s what I am going to do again tomorrow.
When I get to Oregon I am going to have to buy four more tires for the LTR (trailer). I have had the trailer four years in October so the tires are probably over four years old which makes them unstable, regardless of thread wear. I will do some research on line and see what some users think before I do it.
Right now I am hungry and I have a pan of chicken chili warming on the stove and I am going to add some shredded cheese and crushed cheese nachos (I’m out of Frito's) and enjoy it right out of the little pot. Ummm…good! J
OK…tomorrow is today now and I did buy and install new tires on the truck. As much as I needed to keep the money, this was a real justified expense. It feels good to have good rubber between me and the road. I did notice a little vibration when I got above sixty mph coming home but I will give it a few weeks to see if it settles out…if not I have to drive all the way back into Columbia Falls for them to check it out….maybe balancing is off. It is a real pain being so far from routine services. I could never live this far out from things that make my life more comfortable.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Wow….this month flew by and it is almost over. Today was a slow day and only about an hour of work so I helped Bob measure some iron rails he is making for a friend that owns a cabin way up in the woods. I was in the loft and I forgot to duck and hit my head on a very big beam. It sure hurts!
I was hoping to see a bear since this place is back in the woods but no such luck. The folks from Maryland that are staying in the Bunkhouse cabin told us they took a day long trail ride horse trail ride today up in Many Glacier and didn’t see anything but nice scenery and when they got in their car to drive back they saw five bears on the highway coming out of Many Glacier. I have got to spend more time there.
Today is a cool day so I decided to clean up the travel trailer after work. I started with the roof and it was amazing to me how dirty it gets with all the rain that falls on it. I had to scrub it with my long handle brush just like washing the sides and I finally I had to wash the whole trailer too. It looks darn good now but it was a job going up and down the ladder. It isn’t too often I find the opportunity to wash my trailer like I did today while on the road. Most RV parks prohibit washing vehicles or rigs and most dry camping areas don’t have water available so this is a real treat. My goal is to have the trailer and truck waxed before we leave here.
My next job is to go onto the roof and install the new vent fans I bought to help out this winter and next summer. I have one for the bedroom and the bathroom. It is a hard job switching them out and caulking it so there are no leaks etc but it will be worth it. The fan that I am putting in the bedroom is two way and has a remote control…nice. I will probably get one installed Friday when I have the days off. I really do want to go up to Many Glacier Thursday and look for bears!
MY NEW BOOK – “OPEN SEASON” BY C.J. BOX
Roberta, the very nice lady that works with me at the Lodge is the city Librarian and she brought me the first book in a series of ten written by an author named C.J. Box. This book is titled “Open Season” and it is about a new game warden in Wyoming named Joe Pickett. I am really enjoying this book and character. I will read as many as I can while I am here and then order the others from Amazon to my ipad so I can stay in sequence with them. I always enjoy a good book that makes me feel like I am right there with the character.
I finished reading the first book in the series and I am starting on the second one, “Savage Run”. I highly recommend this author if you have the chance. Be sure to read his Joe Pickett series in order or it won’t make as much sense.
Today is a good day to read since it is raining outside and cold. It is only 52 degrees out now and it is after 10am. It is Friday, August 2nd already and my day off. In addition to reading, I am going to wash my laundry and linens and clean up the inside of the trailer.
MANY GLACIER HIKE
Yesterday I treated myself to going out for breakfast. I tried a little place called Luna’s and I tried their biscuits and gravy. This is the second place I have tried biscuits and gravy and these folks up here don’t know how to make either one very good. I think I will just stick to my own that I can make for a lot less in my LTR. I am amazed every time I choose to go out to eat how expensive it is! Of course there are not many choices around here so that makes it easy for me not to go out too often.
After breakfast and checking on Dexter, I drove about 60 miles north to an area of the park called Many Glacier and looked around. This is the area of the park where grizzly bears and big horn sheep are common and I hoped to see some.
I took a good hike up to a waterfall. The map showed it was only a mile to the falls with a 700 foot elevation gain. Seemed pretty good to me until I started and realized pretty quickly that that elevation gain was similar to climbing stairs! It was a strenuous hike but I needed the exercise. Actually it was more difficult coming back down and I was very cautious not to slip and fall. Here is what the view was like from that hike. The timer on the pictures show it took me about 45 minutes to go up.
|Starting up the mountain. That little dark spot in the upper middle is my truck parked on the road.|
|Looking up that is my objective.|
|Looking down to where I started,|
|And the trail goes up, up, up|
|Being from Oregon, this did not really impress me when I got to the top.|
I drove around looking for animals but didn’t see any so I decided to go into the historic Many Glacier Hotel to have lunch and see what it was like. Since it was a cool day, they had the big central fireplace going and people were sitting all around and a fellow was playing the piano. It was real nice but the only thing missing for me was having Pati with me. It would have been so nice to enjoy this with her. Doing things and going places by myself is just not fun and never will be again I guess.
The Many Glacier Hotel is a beautiful old hotel built when the park was first established in the late 1800’s. I had a burger and a beer and sat on the back deck and enjoyed the view and took some pictures. There were old pictures of when the hotel was built on all the walls and I read that over 100 of the 125 glaciers in Glacier Park have disappeared in the past 100 plus years due to global warming. What I thought was snow at this time of the year is actually glaciers. You can see them in these pictures.
|The Historic Many Glacier Hotel|
|Looking from the deck of the hotel you can see the glaciers.|
|More views of the glaciers|
Well, it is still raining outside and Dexter refuses to go out and do his business. I left my gore-tex parka in the truck yesterday so I am going to get wet if I try to go to the laundry mat or, as they are called in Texas, the washateria. I wonder who thought of that name.
I think I will just download my pictures and upload and publish this blog and hope it will quit raining after a while. If not, this is going to be a long day. It’s a good thing I have a warm trailer, a good pal, a good book and lots of good dvd movies to keep me entertained. Right now I really miss having a Costco or a mall close by to go kill time at.
Oh well….less than two months left before we leave here for Portland and I will be complaining about all the traffic and people and rain and cold. I best enjoy what I have while I have it.