Saturday, August 12, 2006

If You're Going To Hell, Go Thru Glacier Natl Park First

Day 11 August 12 Saturday – 265 miles
(will try to get pic up when Blogger will let me)
Because if you do, your eternity in damnation will be bearable. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I ran the Harley into the Big Sky Harley shop in Great Falls to see if they could fit me in for a quick check on fluid and to make other minor adjustments. They were able to accommodate me (all was fine) and I was on the road a little after 10.

I went north on I-15 and then west on Hwy 44. 44 took me to Hwy 89 that ran into Glacier National Park. The temp was about 70 when I started and kept dropping as I went north and west. Since the elevation was higher in Grand Falls, the sky was closer. At one point, the road ran up through a cut in a ridgeline, and the section up the hill was shiny and glimmered from the mirage effect. The sky was blue and partly cloudy. So, the road, as it disappeared into the mirage and up into the cut, looked as though it was heading straight into the clouds! I felt my wheels would grow wings and I would just continue going up after the road dropped. Sorry, but I couldn’t get that picture.

The land is what is called "high desert." Again, hay is the major crop.
I passed into the Blackfeet Indian reservation and while the Indians were relegated to junk land in many instances, the Blackfeet must have had connections or just been lucky because it was good land for cattle and horses. And the horses were everywhere. I saw them running along ridge tops and flowing in a brown-black-white stream down into the lower areas. Makes me want to get a horse!

After a quick lunch at St. Mary’s (I missed the fantastic dessert), it was up and into the clouds for real.
The temperature kept dropping and I kept putting clothes on. Then, near the top, I hit the rain. It was 45 degrees, windy, and rainy. So, this part of paradise was less than ideal.

It was something like 60 miles through Glacier National Park. The road was nervously narrow, but scenic pull outs were everywhere. Sadly, there was much more I wanted to stop and see but, again, time is a factor.
The rain cleared up, thank god, and I would have loved to have been able to spend more time, maybe even camp some. But I’ve got a long way to go. I figure that I’ve covered about half of the miles I’ll do on this trip, but I will have shorter mileage days coming up as I go to the scenic two-lane routes in the Pacific Northwest.

Speaking of which, as I came down the west side of Glacier National Park, I was on the west side of the Continental Divide, the rainy side, the large-ferns-under-trees side. So far, this is absolutely the prettiest country I’ve seen. I’m back in the mountains, but they are not as dry as those in Colorado and are completely covered by pines. While the altitude here is lower, the height difference between lower areas and mountains is still measured in thousands of feet.

I tried to find a hotel in Whitefish, MT, but they were having a Huckleberry Festival and all rooms were taken. So, down the road to Kalispell I went. Hello, Super-8. And not too soon because about 30 min. after I checked in the Harleys started thundering in, looking for a place to bed down.

Now, all the bikes are lined up in front of the office (the desk attendant said to park them out front so they could be watched) and if anybody wants to make a haul, they’re all gathered in one place.

Tomorrow is Sunday and I have a long way to go…much of the drive will be on gorgeous two-lane roads through the mountains and along side lakes and rivers. And this is just the start of the Pacific Northwest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like heaven! I have really enjoyed following your trip! Keep up the good work! PBJ