. . . another great meal on the road. Only problem was no vino, beer, or liquor of any type. The lodge is on the reservation and the tribe has a special meeting going on for the weekend. Per their local ordinance, no liquor can be served to tribal or non-tribal members during the event. That included mbbt members too!!!
Yesterday was raining, cold, ugly weather and today we woke to a crisp 46 degrees, clear skies and no rain in the forecast . . . Yippee!!!!!
Mirror like finish on the lake as we headed out on our last day our ‘coup de gras’ . . . the climb over Logan Pass!
Heading back into the mountains from the plains . . .
. . . 17 miles of UPPPPPPP . . .
No traffic at 8:30am, but the traffic would build during the day. At least there would be no trucks allowed. The traffic gets so bad during the day on the west side that bicyclists need to get over the pass and past Lake McDonald by 11:00am. If you don’t make it there by 11:00am, you need to take the shuttle bus out, with your bike on the front or have an alternative was to get out. TommyH is driving today and the plan is for him to meet us at Lake McDonald in case we don’t make the time limit.
The start of our climb . . .
BEAUTIFUL fully lit scenes, corner after corner, as the sun shines over our shoulders . . .
Like Yosemite,in an effort to keep traffic down, Glacier offers a free shuttle service to park users. It runs about a very 20 minutes. Handy, especially for hikers that are starting out down the road. No need to worry about leaving a car.
Most of the valley, and mountain sides we rode through, had been burned several years ago. But as you can see, Mother Nature is making a come back. Nature abhors a vacuum.
I met Sally at one of the pullouts where she was walking Jack and Sasha, two Border Collies. She was having trouble getting them to do their morning business because they were not used to being on leashes. They are used to running free and didn’t like an audience!!!!!
On the Going to the Sun Road, east to west . . .
. . . this was a very interesting area, where the road turned back on itself . . .
You can see the road on the left and the right . . . lots of day hikers.
. . . and lost of water flowing EVERYWHERE!!!!
Here is a touring concept from another era. The Park Service bought the fleet many years ago and the touring cars were recently reconstructed by Ford. Six bench seats and a retractable ‘ ragtop’. Looked like a fun way to tour the park.
After a 17 mile climb, Connie the Clydesdale was winded and we took a break at the pass . . .
. . . looking back over our shoulders we could see what we had climbed up . . .
. . . and looking ahead we could see what was to come . . . YESSSSSSSS an 11 mile downhill. Best and longest downhill I have ever ridden.
Here is part of the route down. Everyone’s hands got sore from the constant braking action needed to keep your bike from running away . . . or hitting cars in front of you on the procession down the mountain.
But . . . the vistas were stunning . . .
Looking back on the way down . . .
. . . on the bottom, we followed the river to Lake McDonald. Crystal clear water . . . you could see every detail on the bottom.
The G was the only one who made it to Lake McDonald within the time period allotted and was able to bike all the way to Whitefish. The rest of us met up with TommyH and, of course being hungry, headed to West Glacier for a little lunchy.
We had a yummy lunch and had a good time with our waitstaff, Diane. She was from Connecticut and, like the rest of the staff we have met, works in the National Parks during the three month summer season. She works in food service back in Connecticut at a University during the school year and has been doing the yin/yan thing for 10 years. She liked TommyH and said he reminded her of Jonathan Winters. When she served dessert, she had changed her mind and thought he resembled Bernie Sanders!!!! She said she had not felt the ‘Bern’. He left her a BIG tip!!!!
We are staying at the Chalet Hotel for two nights. Also staying the first night were the staff of Austin Adventures, based in Billings, MT. They are starting a tour tomorrow through the Park with nine riders . . .
Kera was busy cleaning out the van. Here is the snack tray they have available at every SAG top along with their mascot. Sounded like a great trip with LOTS of pampering. You can read more about their tours here.
We had a great final dinner downtown at Loula’s, a place that Greg had eaten at many times. I had the Crab stuffed Salmon with Hoppin’ John and broiled Brussels Sprouts.
The G had the Chicken Pot Pie. It was so big he planned on saving half of it for the van ride back to Wisconsin . . .
. . . ten minutes later he realized that was not going to happen!!!!
Peanut butter chocolate cake for dessert and a stop at the local ice cream store, for single scoops, all helped bring our trip to a successful finish.
Sunday morning rolled around an it was time to load up the van for the BillyB and the G to head east back to Wisconsin . . .
Hard to believe everything fits in there but Greg, TommyH’s and my carryon’s. We fly out tomorrow.
TommyH, Greg and I had the day to explore Whitefish and Kalispell. We started at the annual Huckleberry Festival where Greg and TommyH had a corn dog followed by more goodies . . .
From there we walked, out to Whitefish Lake, on the city limits. We needed directions, so walked to the beach with Gwen with her two puppies
One last chance to go shopping. Using the TommyH mantra of . . . ‘I see, I need, I buy’ . . .
Greg was very excited over a jersey . . .
. . . and went gaga over it!!!!
I decided to go cowboy and bought a pair of boots and matching jeans (no belt buckle, though) . . .
And TommyH bought a black leather vest to go with his Harley. Here he is ready to practice his best Palladin ‘quick draw’ . . .
. . . but then suddenly broke into his best Fred Astaire impression of . . .
. . . ‘Singing in the Rain’ !!!!
Time for one last dinner in Whitefish . . .
. . . I think we will pass on this place.
We settled on Tupelo’s, Number #1 Trip Adviser recommendation and it was DELICIOUS!!!!!
clockwise: Greg had the ‘Not Quite Famous’ Mac & Cheese, TommyH had the thick cut Pork Loin girts/cornbread, I had the Low Country Shrimp and Grits with Tasso ham. DELICIOUS!!!
We couldn’t leave Montana without one more dessert. Biking miles today = 0. clockwise: Greg had the Sticky Toffee Creme Caramel, TommyH had the Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, I had the Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chantilly Creme. Nice way to end the night!!!!
Plane boards tomorrow at 5:00am so I guess we will leave for the airport at . . . 3:30am?????????
And so ended a great trip, through Jasper National Park, Banff National Park, Kootenay National Park, YoHo National Park, Waterton National Park and in the US, Glacier National Park.
The whole trip would not have happened without the meticulous planning conducted by Greg, whom we all toasted in appreciation.
His great sense of continuity, logistics, pre-planning, dealing with ‘on the road changes’, PLUS putting up with a minimum of four other opinions on how things should be done was commendable and resulted in this being such a wonderful experience for us all. Here in his typical fashion of, ‘taking one for the team’, we searches for the best corner of the room to sleep in during his night on the floor in the triple. May not be on the couch!!!!
ps. I was the only one who never did see a bear. I REALLY felt left out when I even missed the bear found in a cherry tree in Whitefish!!!!!