Before I move on, here are a few more pictures of Glacier National Park and the Going to the Sun Road. 🙂
This morning we had a relatively short drive to Coeur d’Alene. There must be some wildfires burning in Montana, though, because it was smoky and hazy a large part of the trip, so much so that my eyes were burning even sitting in the car. Hopefully the fires are under control and not causing any major damage. We saw a couple of staging points for firefighters and their equipment over the past two days, and signs outside some homes thanking the firefighters. It must be scary to live in a place where you know that your home is in danger of burning to the ground.
We stopped once to get gas and use the bathroom, and it just so happened there was a small casino attached to the store so we took that opportunity to lose $20 at video poker. 🙂
Around 12:30 we pulled up at our friend’s home in Coeur d’Alene. Rich’s former boss, Laurie, owns the place but she is still in AK and her mom lives in the house. Along with her mom, Rich’s former cook Paul is staying in the basement apartment and helping out. I had not met Laurie’s mom before but she is very sweet and welcoming. It was good to see Paul, who has a heart of gold and is one of the most thoughtful people you’ll meet. He had some food laid out for us for lunch, which was really nice after the drive. We sat around and chatted most of the afternoon, reminiscing about our days in Unalaska and catching up on news. I took a little nap after I felt the days of travel getting the best of me. Later we all went out to eat at a great Greek restaurant, where we had way too much food AND the obligatory desserts of rice pudding and baklava even though we were stuffed.
I’m doing laundry while everyone else is snoozing; guess that nap did me good! We are staying over again tomorrow; need to do some grocery shopping to take to our rental house in Oregon and we’re going to have lunch at a spot recommended by a friend. Later tomorrow we will see Chris, another former cook of Rich’s who is now a chef nearby. He’s running a beer festival and offered to get us tickets so we will go to that for a little while and hopefully get to visit with him if he’s not too busy.
We got up early this morning and drove to Glacier National Park. Although this was by far our shortest day of driving, we were both worn out by the end! Maybe our road trip is catching up with us. We had a lot of slow driving today, little country roads under fire alerts and reduced speeds, some construction, and a good bit of traffic. Eventually we made it to the park and set out to drive the Going to the Sun Road, something Rich has wanted to do for a long time.
The road spans 50 miles and crosses the Continental Divide, all the while winding around the mountains in a tight space with a ravine on one side and a huge jagged rock wall on the other. It’s pretty spectacular! To add to the fun today, there’s work being done on the road so we had a couple of instances of waiting in line to drive on a single lane. All in all, we had a great time and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. We took a ton of photos with two cameras and our phones but haven’t had a chance to download and edit them, so here are a few from my phone for now.
When we finished at the park, we stopped in Hungry Horse, MT for dinner at a place called the Huckleberry Patch, topped off with huckleberry pie and vanilla ice cream. Yum. We learned that huckleberries still grow wild and there is basically no such thing as a huckleberry farm. Who knew?!
We are spending the night in Kalispell, MT and will head for Coeur d Alene, ID tomorrow to meet up with some friends we knew in Alaska.
We had another long day of driving but it was pleasant, no bad weather, minimal construction, not a huge amount of traffic. Speed limit in WY and MT is 80 so we were cruising along. I remember years ago when we could drive 80 or maybe even 85 in Texas but those days are gone. 🙂 We listened to music and podcasts again and checked in on the latest news online periodically, plus our usual conversations about whatever is on our minds.
Realizing Little Big Horn was just off the highway, we sidetracked to take a look. Thankfully we bought our lifetime senior national park pass awhile ago so we got to drive right in for no fee! 🙂 I have to say I was happy to be in a place where whitey got his ass kicked after all of the white supremacist horror the last few days. I wish Trump and his white nationalist followers would admit that this land was never theirs in the first place. It was sobering to read about the battle and to see the places where Native Americans and US cavalry fell. Rich and I noticed one stone monument that honored the men “clearing out the Indians.” I could hardly believe that it still stands. Clearing out the “Indians” from their own land–white supremacy at its pinnacle. I didn’t know that there is also a national cemetery on the site. George Custer is not buried there, though–he is at West Point.
One section was dedicated to the Native Americans and some of the quotes were heartbreaking, including one from Crazy Horse: “We did not ask you white men to come here. The Great Spirit gave us this country as a home. You had yours. We did not interfere with you. We do not want your civilization!” Honestly, I am ashamed to be a white person a lot of the time. We have such a violent history.
Tomorrow we are off to Glacier National Park.