After a week in Washington, we started our drive to Idaho (400 miles).
We noticed on our drive the stark difference in the terrain after coming out of the mountains. Eastern Washington “Sure feels like Nevada”, Rob said. Unfortunately, we did pass a large brush fire in East Selah. We saw a chopper with a water bag fill up at a small lake along the interstate. After passing the burned brush area we entered an area of farmland where the Crops were labeled along the interstate. We saw corn, sweet corn, onions, wheat, alfalfa, potatoes, and beans. When we stopped for gas there was amazing Native American themed ironwork at the station. Once back on the road we were in the land of rolling hills and crops as far as the eye can see.
We made it to our small campground outside of Coeur d’Alene and enjoyed turkey burgers and Mac n Cheese for dinner before doing some computer work and posting the Washington blog. In the morning we got a late checkout because I had multiple meetings. Our Montana campground was 170 miles away so getting a later start didn’t mean for a late night. Since we didn’t venture out in the Coeur d’Alene area we ended up stopping at a gas station in Mulan to get an Idaho magnet before passing into Montana. As we continued our drive we got back into steep mountain roads but “we got this” because there weren’t any switchbacks. While going over a steep mountain pass I missed the Montana state sign…oh well! We got to see two bald eagles (one was perched on a limb on the side of a creek and the other majestically flew over the interstate.
At our exit, we decided to take advantage of the cheaper gas and I got a delicious Huckleberry milkshake. As we continued North off the 90 we drove along the Flathead River where we saw multiple beautiful train bridges but no trains on them. As we drove through the Flathead Indian Reservation the road signs had the Flathead Indian translation of English words below. As we got closer to the campground it was difficult to see the Mission mountain range because of smoke, which according to the guy at the gas station was off in the east somewhere.
Once at the campground, we questioned if we were in the right place because there was a Motorcoach (the big, expensive bus-looking RVs) Resort in front of the KOA. At check-in, we were informed that we were not to walk through the resort or drive on their roads. Luckily, the campground had a beautiful view of Flathead Lake. Our campsite was near the back near the dog park but it made for a nice view during our morning walks.
Unfortunately, I was not able to click fast enough to get a timed entry ticket to Glacier National Park (GNP) so we had to wait until the after to drive there (73 miles) so we enjoyed a relaxing morning and got some papers graded. After lunch, we drove around Flathead Lake to GNP. The visitor center was inside the park and as previously mentioned we couldn’t go in until after 6. Luckily, I was able to get my National Parks Passport stamped at the Headquarters building outside of the West Entrance. After getting the stamp we had to wait in the West Glacier tourist area for an hour before being put in a car corral for staggered release onto the Going-To-The-Sun (GTTS) road. We drove the full GTTS road and saw bighorn sheep, lots of Glaciers and small waterfalls, a wedding taking place overlooking the mountains, and once again, got to put our toes in the snow! We exited through the St Mary entrance on the East side of the park and drove back via a route that took us around the southern tip of GNP. Though we have seen many signs and drove over many many cattle guards in multiple states on our trip thus far, we experienced our first herd of free-range cows grazing along the road. This route also took us back to the RV on the opposite side of Flathead Lake which we couldn’t see because the sun had gone down.
Once back at the RV we got a good night’s rest before hitting the road for stop #2 in the huge state of Montana, Big Timber (343 miles).