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RV Log Page # 0006
Friday July 24, 2009
I rose early this morning after experiencing the best night's sleep of the trip. Our plans had not changed a bit and the second week on the road was to go on as scheduled. UUU RAH!
Although StarDays didn't officially end until tommorrow (Saturday) we, in Chapter 407, had decided to leave today, eliminating the need to rush back home, and do a little sightseeing on the way back. Shirlee and I were heading up to Glacier National Park for the next few days. After a huge breakfast we were off.
We rode with the group as far as Livingston, MT. on I-90 west. We said our goodbyes, and as the group headed south to enter Yellowstone Park, we continued west on I-90 until we reached Three Forks, MT. and headed north on US 287 to Helena. My Dad was in the First Special Service Force (The Black Devils or The Devil's Brigade) during WWII, serving in the Pacific and in Europe and took part in the famed taking of Mt. LaDefensa in Italy. The Force had trained in Helena back in the early Forties and the town never forgot them. This was a place I had wanted to visit all of my life.
Fort William Henry Harrison lies just on the outskirts of the present city limits, although back in the days of WWII it was out of town a ways. The Fort has retained some of the original barracks. One could almost feel the Force's presence. There were a couple of nice monuments honoring the Force. We spent about an hour there as the interior exhibits were not open on that day. Oh well ... I'll just have to come back some day!
We again headed north toward Glacier Park on I-15 out of Helena until we reached US 287 and continued north. We hit Choteau, MT. and drove northeast on US 89. We stayed on US 89 all of the way to St. Mary, MT., located on the east side of Glacier National Park, where we were to stay at the KOA there. The drive on US 89 was, at times, almost frightening, as the road was narrow and there were cattle everywhere and no fences to keep them off the road. We were to discover that was a common problem in that area.
We arrived at the St. Mary KOA late afternoon. After checking in we headed to our assigned spot and set up camp. It was a beautiful area, with mountains all around us. One of the things we wanted to do was to traverse the 'Going To To Sun Road' that bisected Glacier National Park west to east and was popular to motorcyclists as one of the most beautiful rides on earth.
The area around the vicinity of the KOA was very pretty, even though there had been a major forest fire recently, the remains of which were quite evident on some of the hills and mountains surrounding us.
Our camp being all set up, it was time to get something to eat and head for bed. It has been a wonderful trip thus far!
Saturday July 25, 2009
Woke up to another glorious Montana morning here at St. Mary. We had breakfast, then hopped on the bike and headed out of the KOA, turning north for a couple of miles to a junction that would take us to the Many Glacier Lodge. The roads were pretty good, but up in this part of Montana you had to constantly keep on the watch for livestock in the road - free range area.
We came around a curve and ... what a sight! The place is called Many Glacier for a good reason. To the west of the lodge was a wall of mountains that had been divided by at least four huge glaciers. You could look miles up into the gorges created by the individual rivers of ice, as in recent years the glaciers here (and all over the world) had receded so far, in such little time. Still, it was an overwhelming site. We had a bite of lunch there and strolled through the gift shop. I came upon a sign in the gift shop that was a replica of the 'Going To The Sun Road' sign. They wanted way too much money for it tho'. Sure would'a looked good on the back of the toyhauler!
We rode back toward the KOA toward the afternoon and decided to stop at the 'Cowboy Steak Restaraunt we had seen at the road junction earlier that day. Great Food! Properly sated, we headed back to the KOA as the clouds were darkening. After going to bed we were put to sleep by the droning of the rain upon the roof of our little home.
Sunday July 26, 2009
Today we left camp early, in the 4-Runner as it was still drizzling, and headed southwest to the west entrance to Glacier Nat. Park. We had breakfast and did a little shopping. Lo and behold, guess what I found - a 'Going To The Sun Road' sign that was less than one fourth what they were asking at Many Glacier. Made me a happy guy!
We spent the rest of the day driving the 'Going To The Sun Road', stopping frequently to admire the vistas and the animals along the way. I felt that it was prettier that the Beartooth ride back at StarDays, but Shirlee felt otherwise. No matter really - they were both incredible.
We came out the east side of the park fairly close to our KOA kamp. The weather was a bit warmer and drier, so we spent the rest of the early evening talking with our neighbors we had met previously who were from the east coast.
It was our plan to break camp and head for Kalispell, MT the next day so we hit the sack.