Sunday, September 9, 2012

Beyond Yellowstone to West Glacier, MT.

Farewell Yellowstone.  We had a great time there!  What a luxury to be able to devote so much time (10 days) to such a special place.  So we move on to another great place at a similarly luxurious pace.  We'll be on the west side of Glacier National Park for a week and then a week on the east side.  We don't deserve such a great lifestyle. 

Thursday's drive was 250 miles from West Yellowstone to Missoula, MT.   We spent the night at Jim and Mary's RV Park in Missoula.  The campsite was nice.  But the grounds were something right out of Gardening Magazine (if there is such a publication).  There were abundant, beautifully displayed flowers flourishing in hanging baskets, wheelbarrows, nifty plant racks and endless examples of cleverness throughout the park.

Our site

A fraction of the flowers would have made a nice impression but Jim and Mary clearly knocked this sucker out of the park.  How's that?!

In addition to the floral treat, while in Missoula we went to one of our favorite restaurants. It was Debbie's (I'm whispering now) 60th birthday!  She looks good!!! You may have rightly got the impression that we (maybe mostly I) are normally not very satisfied eating out.  I'm good with a ham sandwich and a pop tart! But we love HuHots!  It's an all you can eat Mongolian BBQ place.  You select your own ingredients and in moments it's cooked while you watch.  Where can I go wrong?  I don't select anything I don't like and did I mention all you can eat.  I must admit the Manager who was waiting on us said he rarely has folks making three trips.  Apparently I'm special.  And by the way, the Missoula location is the site of the first HuHot restaurant. I think he said there are now about 35 locations.  Our first HuHot experience was in Iowa.

Friday we traveled about 150 miles to Coram, MT.  Along the way we drank in the beauty (apparently I'm feeling some sort of creative spirit) of Flathead Lake located south of Kalispell, MT. It really is an impressive body of water with a terrific impact on the area.

We're staying at the North American RV Park and Yurt Village.


Our site (B-1)
Yurt is such a great word.   The campground is located about 5 miles from the Glacier NP entrance. So after we got settled we headed for the park.  We just thought we'd cruise around and start to get our bearings.  We stopped at the Lake McDonald Lodge which sits at the edge of Lake McDonald.  The lodge is another great example of  "parkitecture." 

Eventually we found ourselves headed for the Going-To-The-Sun-Road.

This is a historically scenic highway.  The construction of the road has it kind of hanging onto the side of mountains.  As you enter the mountainous section of the road there are some vehicle size restrictions.  Maximum size is 21 feet long and 8 feet wide. Our dually exceeds both of these dimensions by "mere inches."  But we thought, "how bad can it be?"  The bottom line is that after just a few miles we realized we had made a grave mistake.  Often we felt like we had "mere inches" of clearance on each side of our vehicle.  Our immediate goal was to find a place to turn around.  After many more miles then we were comfortable with we eventually found a wide spot in the road and turned around.  Phew! Such a relieve to safely get off the mountain.  We have very few pictures.  Debbie was not going to release her death grip on the arm rest long enough to grab her camera and take a picture. Here's a few from when we stopped to turn around.

We've have made arrangements to rent a reasonably sized car in a few days to more comfortably make the drive.

Yesterday was a day of hiking.  About mid-day we returned to the park to hike.  We drove to the Avalanche Lake area on the Going to the Sun Road.  This is as far we can "legally" drive on the road from the west side in our truck. We began with the Trail of the Cedars.  In fact it is a wide trail and then a boardwalk  through massive cedars.

Very majestic!  After the .8mile loop we moved on to the Avalanche Lake Trail.  Round trip for the pair was 5.5 miles.  The brochures may tell us that the destination is the main attraction.  It is an alpine lake surrounded by massive mountain peaks.

It was nice but this was clearly an example of "it's not the destination, it's the journey."  The route carries the hiker past a wonderfully dramatic mountain stream producing the most uniquely carved rocks.  Way nice! 

After returning to the camper Debbie produced a delightful meal that included Rena's meatloaf (I love it) and home made cheese biscuits. The biscuits were hot out of the oven brushed with garlic butter! I should be ashamed to admit this but I did eat SIX biscuits.  Too good!

Today we may or may not do another hike.  The weather is looking "iffy".  We'll let you know.  Right now we are posting this blog and that officially makes up "caught up".  A good feeling that doesn't happen often!



  1. We spent two summers volunteering just south of Missoula in Stevensville, and HuHot was one of our favorite places to eat! You guys sure know how to celebrate a birthday night!

  2. I just got caught up on your Yellowstone visit! What a wonderfull trip down memory lane! I love your pictures and your narratives!!! Duane, you have such a wonderful way with words that makes me feel that we are there with you! My heart did start racing on this one with the Going-To-The-Sun road! I am so glad you turned around! Hopefully we will get to Glacier someday. Oh yeah, did you find my camera lens at Yellowstone? :)