To Yellowstone and Beyond!

Some of you are wondering how long we will be on the road. Some of you are wondering if we will ever end this trip. I’ve been starting to wonder this too…

Well, lucky for you today we’ll actually cover three days in one. And for good reason.

Mr. Chernich and his youngest with former student Rebecca.

Mr. Chernich and his youngest with former student Rebecca.

Our day began well. We visited Rebecca’s high school teacher, Mr. Chernich in Montana. His wife is a primary care physician and the family is planning a major move to Fairbanks, Alaska. As you can imagine, we had much to talk about since we just came from that direction.

It wasn’t until after we left headed for Yellowstone that the day went to pot. It began with a familiar sound: Eerrpppp… We’ve heard this many times before. Matthew was sick. He continued to be sick all the way to Yellowstone and by then Bob also was complaining he did not feel good.

Two sick guys put a crimp on our plans to find a camp site as we decided the smart move would be to stay at the park’s edge in a hotel. Fortunately, by morning both were somewhat better and we headed into Yellowstone. Unfortunately, everybody and his brother now had arrived in the park and all the campgrounds were full. Uh oh.north to alaska 015

Yellowstone National Park is such a unique place. The geysers and paint pots impressed everyone and we loved the amazing blue and orange of the steaming pools that dotted the countryside. We saw lots of bison, including this one, who was just waiting for us to come by for pictures.north to alaska 098

After getting caught in a fast moving rain storm we dried out waiting for Old Faithful to erupt (which it did, right on time, thereby keeping its nickname safe.)north to alaska 126

We planned to stay in another hotel on the edge of the park but it appeared the sudden rain might have changed the plans of campers and by the time we left, all the hotels within 100 miles were filled. I tried to convince Bob that we could actually sleep in the truck but he was determined to find us a room. And good thing too. Just as we were checking in I realized I might not have escaped the germs and joined the ranks of the sick people. For a while Rebecca sat in smugness as she was sure her good hand washing technique had saved her. But it didn’t.

So we spent two days in Blackfoot, Idaho. Rebecca and I felt sorry for ourselves and slept while Bob and Matthew discovered this town had a potato museum.100_1790

There you have it. Three days, two of which didn’t amount to a hill of beans. But tomorrow we are on our way into the beautiful Salt Lake City and will spend a day with Rebecca’s roommate.

Glacier National Park and High Anxiety

Okay, I’m going to chalk this overreaction up to being tired. Today’s drive up the “Going to the Sun Road” was the most stressful thing I have ever done. I tried, no, I begged Bob to turn around or at least slow down to 10 mph but he said he didn’t want to hold up all the traffic. So he said.north to alaska 362

It started out so simple. A drive through the forest to a glacier. Up the mountain and down the other side, then back. Oh, had I only known. The forest with just glimpses of the mountain peaks was deceptive. Just as the road breached the tree I spotted what appeared to be little more than a cow trail, chiseled into the side of the mountain. The road narrowed, though still supposedly wide enough for two mini cars to pass continuing to climb upward, ever upward. As passenger I was sitting on the part of the truck that surely overhung the pavement with only two of our ten-ply tires holding onto the road. The drop was sheer, surely thousands of feet, even miles down to the valley.

It's a gradual climb and you don't realize how high it is until you are above the trees.

It’s a gradual climb and you don’t realize how high it is until you are above the trees.

On second thought…an overreaction? I think not. Even Matthew, sitting in relative safety behind driver Dad, was in fear of his life.

But.

We made it. Eventually, Bob was able to pry my fingers from the death grip I held on his arm.

We survived the “Going to the Sun Road.”

We saw the glacier at the top of the mountain. We experienced the alpine climate. And we headed back down. The other side, of course, and then around the base of the mountain, since there was no way in H E double-toothpicks I was going back.

Yes, I can now cross Glacier National Park off my ‘to do’ list. It’s pretty, green, has beautiful waterfalls that splash down on the road. You should go visit. My memories will last a lifetime.

The Survivors.

The Survivors.

Oh, and have some huckleberry ice cream when you get back to the safety of the valley.

Tomorrow morning we are going to visit one of Rebecca’s high school teachers who now lives near Missoula so we continued south to the big city (I jest, but this is the biggest city we have been in for more than three weeks). Bob wimped out on staying at the Jellystone Campground with Yogi Bear. He said it was too hot. So, with a sad Matthew, we found a motel for the night.

More Sheep and We Return to the US of A

The sun peaked through and shone on one of the mountains just visible between the tall pines this morning. This would be a great campsite to stay a week and just relax. We used our new Thermacell on the mosquitoes but they really weren’t too bad. I think we have moved south of those pests. Will count my bug bites and confirm later.

Here's a shot of Bob helping an older man up to the glacier. He might not have needed help had he worn real shoes.

Here’s a shot of Bob helping an older man up to the glacier. He might not have needed help had he worn real shoes.

The drive into Radium Hot Springs follows the river downstream until we drove between a narrow cut groove in the mountain and emerged on the other side. The hot springs was on our ‘maybe visit’ list and since we ended up on the west side of the Canadian Rockies we were able to head south through this little town. We took advantage again of the hot springs and decided that a ‘hot springs’ tour across the continent would be pretty fun. This hot springs was set up more like a public pool with warm water and it was not as hot as I expected. We decided we liked the more natural setting of Liard better.100_1640

The town of Radium is known for its resident Dall Sheep herd so we were really looking forward to seeing the sheep wander through town. I was disappointed to read at the visitor center the sheep only hung out in Radium during fall and winter so we decided to head onward without searching them out. However, before leaving town, Bob discovered a do-it-yourself carwash and had decided earlier that the radiator screen thing was plugged with bugs, so we stopped there first. Good thing, too, because just as we pulled out we discovered the whole herd of sheep just sitting in the shade waiting for us. Another great photo op scored!

Just sitting there waiting for us.

Just sitting there waiting for us.

We drove down into a green valley following another river further south and eventually found ourselves back at the US border at a tiny crossing in Montana. The border agent didn’t ask once about our guns. Ha ha…

Field of something yellow in Montana.

Field of something yellow in Montana.

We are near our next stop of Glacier National Park. The darn GPS stopped working completely today. I guess I won’t be selling it to anyone except maybe for scrap metal. Do we need to buy a new one tomorrow or can we get by with our maps?

I’ll let you know how lost we get.

kalispell, mt