Saturday, September 25 - We're so very grateful to have survived today - what a day.
We left Idaho Falls this morning - beautiful weather. The Black Hills are really black - I've never seen such black dirt. Roads seem to go into infinity - we can see forever in all four directions.
Idaho also has "Open Range" - cows all over the road - and I do mean the highway. Two lane road with speed limit of 70 mph with cows grazing on the right of way and crossing the road whenever it pleases them. To make it really interesting - they are solid black - night driving is a real test of your survival skills. Signs warn you to watch for cattle in highway, deer crossing the road, rock slides, pedestrians and bicyclists! Both of us were on high alert. I know we saw at least 40 black cows beside or on the road.
We drove through Helena, Montana. Beautiful capitol building. All was calm there - no cows in town.
We got behind two mobile homes being pulled down a narrow road - no way to pass - so we followed them slowly for about 20 miles. Lester does not do slowly very well. Tried his patience. We were sitting in the road while they were attempting to make a left turn onto a very narrow road. A lady got out of her car behind us and walked up to my window and asked me if we were lost. I told her I didn't think so, that we were on our way to Glacier National Park. She said she didn't think we could make it around that narrow, curvy road. She thought we were with the mobile homes! Guess she thought we had followed them all the way from North Carolina.
Next, we passes through Blackfeet Indian Reservation - a pretty desolate place.
Finally, we get to Glacier National Park - we intentionally drove to the west entrance so we could cross the "Road to the Sun" going east since that would be on our way to Canada. Guess what? The road into the park was closed halfway and that half only had forest. Sooo...backtrack around the park about 90-100 miles to the East Gate so we could see the beautiful part of the park. We rushed to get there before the sun went down - made it. The park is awesome - pictures just don't do justice to the beauty of the mountains and lake. I've never seen such huge mountains. The Aspen trees are so pretty. We really enjoyed that half of the park.
From Glacier we head to the Canadian Border planning to see Waterton and Fernie, BC. A curvy two lane road about 45-50 miles. Really enjoyable until we got to the Canadian Border about 7:15 PM. We were tired and looking foward to spending the night right across the border. The border was closed!! Not a sign anywhere until you get there. They close at 6:00 PM. We just sat there a few minutes not believing our eyes.
Turn around, back down the curvy, two lane road with a speed limit of 70 and cows everywhere. At one point we literally drove in the center of the road with black cows on both sides. The car begins to "Beep" - warning that we were low on gas! In the middle of nowhere. On down the road praying we would make it to St. Mary's, Montana where we had passed a gas station a few hours ago. The gas was so high, we planned to get gas on up the road...Ha, Ha! It was closed, but the gas pumps were open, so we got gas. Right next door was this beautiful Resort Hotel...yes, in the absolute middle of nowhere. It is 9:00 PM by now and we're so tired. I go in to ask if they have rooms. They do have rooms - you really wouldn't believe the price. I'm ready to pay just about any price for a nice, soft bed. But not my brother - he's saving his money to buy some Elk antlers to hang on the wall! So, back on the road. As unbelievable as it may sound, we had to drive back around Glacier National Park (for the third time today). Drove all the way to Kalispell, Montana to finally find a room. Got in the room at 10:30. Too tired to even think. Fifteen hours is way too long to be on the road - even with some nice stops.
I did forget to mention that we saw a bear - not in Yellowstone or Glacier - but of course, along the two lane road with all the cows. Slammed on the brakes and got out the camera. Lester tried to talk me into getting out of the car to get a close up, but I vetoed that idea. We did get several pictures.
A day to remember!