Friday, July 30, 2010

Good Bye Kalispell Hello Riverfront

We went on a very relaxing Flathead Lake Cruise on Wednesday.
The last activity day in the Flathead Valley. KayCee spent her last day at the PBR Kennels. She has missed spending time with us, so now we're having to give her a little extra spoiling.
The Flathead Lake is beautiful, the shoreline is full of very expensive, large houses.

I really could like it up here in the summer, and although there was one of those for sale, I can't picture being there in the winter! We wrapped up our errands yesterday, tore down camp and got ready to roll this morning. We were on the road by 9:30 and made it here to Riverside Campground in Garrison MT this afternoon about 2:30. There's been some really horrific things happening up here in this part of the country lately. A large Grizzly Bear mauled three people in seperate tents and killed a man in a campground by Cooke City Montana. Tomorrow night we will be a few miles straight north of there. A couple of days ago, a Colorado man fell to his death at a sky jumping festival north of Kalispell when his chute got tangled with another man's and his aux. chute didn't open. It brings back the reality that amid all this beauty is still a harshness that needs to be heeded. Even Jack Hanna, the wildlife specialist, vacationing in Big Fork not far from where we were, was hiking in Glacier Park with his family, and they had a grizzly bear encounter where he had to spray a young male grizzly three times to deter it. Somehow I don't think experiencing the outdoors in a tent in Grizzly country is a very smart move right now! We have thoroughly enjoyed this part of the summer and all this beauty is hard to leave behind, but in all truthfulness, I am ready for flat country, less trees a little open area and some quiet time. Ofcourse, there's still some exploring to do, maybe just not so intensely. Tonight we are having some thunder and clouds are working into sprinkles. I just hope we don't get severe storms. How did the saying go?
Two old goats......

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hungry Horse Dam and Swan Lake

Just a short note this morning. Had to share these pictures from yesterday. It was quite a day. We started out touring Hungry Horse Dam and the forest in the area.
This dam is 564 ft. high,was completed in 1953 and provides enough electricity for 270,000 homes.
We had lunch in Big Fork. Then it was off to the south and down Hwy 83 to visit Swan Lake and the Wildlife and wetlands by Swan Lake.
We came across this bear eating a deer carcus in the road ditch. Good for Eagle Eye Brown. I put the brakes on and turned around, back tracked.
He was really not too concerned with us. Finally got tired of the company. Tried to pull the deer up the bank but it was just too heavy, so he bounded back up the hill into the trees. I can't help but think there was a mom and sibling near by. As we turned into another road, we spotted this deer watching us!
Lots of good stuff and lots of miles yesterday. From up at the dam, clear down to Swan Lake, back up to Hwy 35 and then all the way around Flathead lake. We're headed back down there today and maybe hook up with a ride out on a boat or something. More pics will follow later.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Equestrian Event at Rebecca Farm

It was a beautiful day. We got out to the farm about 10 a.m., and although we didn't know much about what we were seeing and how the scoring went, it was a fun thing to watch. There's only two locations in the United States for this World Cup Qualifying event and one is here in Kalispell.
They flew 18 horses in from the east coast, and some were International horses. We got in on the Cross Country day of the World Class Triathon that was held the last 4 days. This course is about 4 miles around with about 24 jumps. They were working their hearts out, and we just observed in two of the stations.
The other two events were Dressage and Arena Jumping.
I found out that it is very frustrating to shoot pictures of this and I didn't get very good at it in this one setting.
I am always glad to attend things that have to do with animals or wildlife and there was a very large crowd by the time we left, so I am not alone in my thinking! I understand drag racing more, and would be able to sit and watch those for hours. We just spent the morning and moved on. It was a short day as I am getting some things ready to mail for the grandkids birthdays coming up and need a couple days to catch up on laundry and house stuff.
People are really on the go....coming and going from this campground. As I write this a new rig pulled in next to us. They have two King Charles Spaniels. Great looking little dogs...I think I need to meet them before they leave.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Days Run Together!

Wednesday the weather looked rainy and I decided instead of going back into the park, we would go North about 75 miles into Canada. We have had passports since our son was in Iraq and I have never used mine, DH only using his this spring in Mexico. We set out and got through the Border Crossing with no problem. Pretty similar to the Patrol Check Points in western AZ and CA.
Right away I noticed that the highway signs were different! It took me a little bit to get used to that! I can say I drove 100 that day! We headed east on the first highway,stopping at a Goat Lick to see luck. We went into the quaint Ski Resort town of Fernie and had lunch at Rip N Richard's Eatery.
On the return trip, we ran across this Dowel Sheep standing on the side of the road.
Back across the border, we stopped in Eureka at a rather famous eatery for Ice Cream.
The Cutting Board has a chef/owner that created a "Big Bubba" Burger and was on the "Regis and Kelly" show in the best burger competition. They are a combination restaurant, having antiques, furniture and a Yarn shop in the same quarters. Interesting! Yesterday we drove Hwy 2 around the south side of the Glacier and around to the East Entrance at St. Marys.
The day started out really foggy because of the rain the night before but we weren't skunked in wildlife department and great pictures yesterday either. Just before lunch, on a hillside in the far distance, we saw a HUGE Grizzly bear.
He was way far away, you could see him pretty good with the binoculars and if ya zoom my picture up you see his big shape in the center of the grassy knoll! We had lunch looking over the hills around St. Mary's and then decided the day was getting away from us and we should go across the "Going to the Sun Road" again to save time. I drove it! Not a bad drive at all and this time DH got to have fun with the camera!
Every day I am amazed at the awesome Turquoise color of the waters here, and the vivid bright colors of the flowers.
Even this garter snake that he caught coming out of a rock had bright orange spots! He was pretty big too!
The fun continues today as we go to an Equestrian Competition at a famous horse arena. I was told that there's only two of these world cup competition locations in the US. The Rebecca Farms is one. They have flown in 18 of the horses for the 4 day competition. There's several catagories and the admission is free. I loved the horses and catagories at the Stock Show in Denver, so this will be a bonus. There's dressage and jump competition, kinda like watching agility for dogs, only bigger! Should be a good time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Glacier National Park - Going to the Sun Road

We have had a great time here in Northwestern Montana so far. We have been exploring the area, sampling the great food and drinking in the sights. I found a great Kennel/Day Care for KayCee, so we can run around and not worry about her.
This is a Canola Field in full bloom that is on the way to the Kennels.
After dropping off the House Frau yesterday we walked on the beach and docks of Whitefish Lake, stopped for Huckleberry pie, coffee and souveniers at the Hucleberry Patch in Hungry Horse on the way up to the National Park. We browsed through The Montana Fur Traders gift shop which had beautiful Indian Crafts and artifacts for sale. We continued on into Glacier National Park and had a picnic lunch overlooking McDonald Lake by the Apgar Village.
After lunch we caught a shuttle bus from the village and rode to the top Summit of the "Going to the Sun Road." It was a little hazy, but the views are awesome and I feel fortunate that the driver invited me to sit up front with him and I got some great pictures at the top!
It really helps them cut down on the traffic through all the road construction of repairing and reconstructing the road. We are going back tomorrow, as we didn't see nearly enough wild life. We have gotten some tips from the locals and those in the park who know where we need to should be an interesting day. I also will try to make it over and around to the east side of the park. Don't know how much we'll get to in one day, I hope to get an earlier start. It's a good thing we've got an annual National Parks Pass. We can go every day if we need to! It's not that far. Today we walked around the mall here in Kalispell, I ran into a good sale and bought a diamond ring.
Montana is special for shopping as they don't have sales tax here! We had lunch at Nickel Charlies, a Restaurant/Casino and now it's time for night night. I'm having a hard time with that, as it stays light til after 10 p.m!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We Made it to Kalispell

Our plans are written in Jello for a reason! This week is one of them! As it turns out, we stayed in Garrison until Friday, driving around having fun and experiencing the attractions in the area.
We spent a good part of Wednesday in Deer Lodge, toured the old Montana State Prison, and Antique Car Museum. DH really enjoyed all that,some areas of the prison kinda spooked me out,
and we didn't get out of there until after 2 p.m. After a bite of lunch we headed up over McDonald Pass on Highway 12 into Helena, the state capital.
After a trip downtown and some pictures around the Capital building, we made a detour into WalMart and while I was looking around, I found the material for my new windshield drape!
That's one more job that I'm tickled to have out of the way. I mailed 12 yards of material to the RV Interiors place in Denver and I will pick up my new drapes when we go back to Colorado this fall. (Big sigh of relief!) In looking around at all the info about Philipsburg Montana, I decided that I couldn't leave without making a trip out to Gem Mountain and experiencing the search for Sapphires.
This mine has been in operation since the late 1800s, and today gem enthusiasts often find sapphires of two to three carats in the rough. Expert jewelry service in the area provides an immediate chance to turn rough stones to fine jewelry. We headed back to P Burg early on Thursday, and after a quick lesson on washing and sorting of gravel, I went to work.
DH helped and we ended up washing a sorting through 2 2 gallon buckets of dirt! I found quite a few sepphires, unfortunately, none were large enough or matching enough to go the whole route and process into jewelry.
It was a fun experience and I'm glad I did it...We wandered around the streets of Philipsburg. That town is very enterprising and has alot going for it with all the artistically painted and restored old buildings on Main Street and great candy store and jewelry/mining operation. We are amazed on how voracious the mosquitoes are here in Montana!
They are plentiful and mighty hungry, which is my first invitation to stay in the house! DH has already had West Nile Virus several years ago and I don't want that experience again, nor do I want it.

We got a good start on the 189 mile trip up here yesterday and got settled into our site a little before 3 p.m. This is a really nice campground, with both wooded sites for small campers and RVs and then another open area for larger rigs that don't enjoy trees and camp fires! We contacted our musician friend Bunky and went south of town to where he had his coach parked. As usual, we had a good visit and he shared his new DVD with us that he's had cut since we talked in Arizona. Today, we ran around and checked out some RV Stores. I contacted some Doggie Day Care people and we will go meet with one lady tomorrow and make arrangements for next week so we can spend some time in Glacier National Park and not worry about our Foofy Dog. I went out and washed some dust off one side of windows while ago and just waiting for the sun to go down so I can do the other side. We are enjoying Big Sky Country!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Philipsburg Montana

We have made our way 3/4 of the way across Montana. Today we stopped at the Riverside Campground by Deer Lodge. After traveling through the mountain passes, really just big hills that were no big deal, we got set up and unhooked the car for another side trip. We took Highway 1, the Pintler Scenic Highway south of Drummond and into Philipsburg.
I did a no no and forgot my camera, so took these with my phone. We had it on good recommendation that there was a Home Made Candy Store that was a "must see" so we stopped, and "How Sweet it Was!" It was really hard, but finally left with a lighter wallet and a couple of sacks. Tonight I discovered that another sweet activity close to Philipsburg is searching for sapphires at Gem Mountain. I've seen that on Travel Channel and really thought I'd like to try it, but unfortunately, we will run out of time on this trip. Got to stop and look at a good waterfall coming right out of a rock wall, and the slabs of rock on the other side of the highway were bolted down so as not to slide into the road!
This area isa rich mining area with a 1700 foot deep Copper mine and a huge coal mine not far from here. The gentleman that runs this park said they recently shut the Copper mine down because you can import copper cheaper than mining it.
Struck out on wildlife again, except for one deer that scrambled across the highway in front of me, close enough that I could see her hooves skiddin and it tested my reflex speeds and braking ability. I lucked out and the deer lived. We'll set out in the morning and tour the Deer Lodge area, a couple of museums and a ranch, then on up across a pass to Helena. At least I have good intentions and a plan. If we don't get to everything, it's an excuse for another trip. I talked to our friend Bunky today and he's already in Kalispell, anxious for us to get there. We will meet up with him on Friday. Not that much farther to go to get up there and it just gets prettier and prettier! I better get some sleep so I can focus tomorrow!

Monday, July 12, 2010

No Wildlife for Us!

About the closest to wildlife we got today on our little drive to Red Lodge was when "Wild Thing" played on the radio! It took well over an hour to get to Red Lodge because of two long stretches of road construction that turned the highway into a rocky dirt road. The views of the mountains were nice but other than horses cows and a couple of deer, we struck out. We had the good fortune to have a clear "Oldies" radio channel out of Red Lodge, so we enjoyed the drive anyway. We hope to get on the road earlier tomorrow than we did today, and will stop in Deer Lodge, unhook and drive to Helena in the Suburban. It got really warm today, high I saw was 93. A little shower showed up on the way back from Laurel, and it has sprinkled a couple times this evening. We have a straight shot tomorrow down 90 and up over a couple of passes. Hope it is uneventful.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Goodbyes are hard. We have really enjoyed it here. Miss Betsy got a rub down yesterday and is all pretty again. The windshield sunshade is off and the windshield got washed. Fluids and tires checked so minus a few details in the morning, we are ready to go down the road.
DH grilled our last supper meal here in honor of the town, we had Buffalo Burgers. We will say goodbye to the turkeys and deer tonight, the beautiful scenery and wildlife of the Big Horn Mountains and the Crazy Woman's legend. Goodbye to our site here, it is so quiet and protected. We have enjoyed the wide open spaces and light traffic in this whole area. We have to go for our last Ice Cream Social tonight. The place where we have listened to other travelers interesting stories from the road and other locations.
We have made new friends here and DH has been able to partake in some of the local recreation. We are heading to another beautiful area. There will be more stories from us when we encounter more road adventures, but tonight we will take this place in one more time......

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's the Weekend!

You know what they say! Make plans and watch God laugh! We've had the greatest weather since we've been here in Buffalo, and with our time winding down, most of the planned tour activities completed, I had planned (there's that word again!) to hang around here and get some work done this weekend in preparation for Monday's departure. DH went up to Big Horn to shoot this morning, and after looking at the map of our route up into Montana and calling up the road for reservations at Mountain Range RV Park in Columbus Montana, our Monday destination, I set out to getting all the cleaning supplies out to give Betsy a rub down.
After surveying the job, I decided that a damp rag, the California duster and polishing cloths should be enough. We just had her washed and waxed before we left Arizona, so she just needs a touch up this time. I have the back and almost the whole driver's side done...and guess what? The thunder, lightening and rain drove me back inside! I put all the supplies away...It's lunch time and I'll stay in until this passes and try it again.
I really wanted to have tomorrow to get things stowed and prepare for travel at my leisure, but if I have to do a quick stow n go I can do that too. I have some pretty good sight seeing plans for the next week...I think even DH will be impressed, now if the wildlife cooperates, it will be the next Adventure! Stay tuned! For Me? Back to watching the clouds.