Sunday, September 30, 2018


We spent Saturday, September 29, exploring West Glacier National Park. 
Snow at the higher elevations closed the main Going-to-the-Sun Road at Avalanche, so we drove out to there, parked and enjoyed a fine walk on the Trail of the Cedars, a very nicely interpreted brief and easy nature trail. Then we drove where we could, along the Camas Road to the North Fork Road past Polebridge. Rocinante is not made for dirt roads, though it has borne them in two countries. We then came back to Lake McDonald Lodge and walked the Sprague Trail as far as my knees allowed. Tomorrow, East Glacier NP.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Tales of Montana

We entered Montana as we left Yellowstone via the west gate on Thursday, September 27. Neither Sharon nor I have been in the state before so we had no clear idea what to expect. But my first impressions were favorable. Sharon claims that part of the reason I like Texas is because of their barbecue and that Texans drive like I do. My first impression of Montana did come from the highway, specifically highway 287 which led us from Yellowstone through Bozeman and Helena to Glacier National Park where we are today, Friday. The scenery, as I noted in my previous entry, is gorgeous. But one incident will stay with me always.

I drive fast on the highways and I love to drive reasonably fast on curvy mountain roads. 287 has plenty of those, but also plenty of trucks and RVs and they go slow. So, where indicated as being legal and safe, I pass slower vehicles, and the safest way to pass is to do it quickly. That means speed. But I try not to be irresponsible, so when passing a tractor trailer and then an RV, I sped up, a lot, and then slowed back down. And then a white pick up truck came up on me from behind, fast, as a cop would do in pursuit. I waited for the lights, there were none. Instead just a thumbs up from the driver behind me, who then fell back. Strange. Then it all became clear two miles later when I saw a marked patrol truck parked in the opposite direction with his lights flashing. I looked back to see my friend in the white truck cross the highway to park beside his colleague. The Montana State Patrol likes the way I drive. Cool!!

But that’s not the only reason I am fond of the state. A stop in Bozeman later that day netted us a great coffee shop and got me a cool new knife and left us wondering what life might be like there, or if I had accepted the job that I was offered at the University in Missoula in 1985. 

Today the scenery was grand and we had a fine lunch in Choteau, swapping tales of The Doctor (Who) with a cafĂ© owner’s husband, a real nerdfest. Down the road a  after some miles on dirt highway, we stopped  in Browning on the Blackfeet Reservation where we did some curio shopping, and then on to Essex, just outside Glacier, where we will be staying for the next three days.

We loved this sign on such a nondescript building in Choteau

The city hall

About 15 miles of this. We were not amused (much).

This was more amusing.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Yellowstone to Helena

Early on Thursday, September 27 we departed the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone via the West gate bound for Helena, Montana. We really had no expectations for the drive and should have expected spectacular scenery. At least that’s what we got.

Usually on transit days I either do not post or struggle to come up with scenery worth your time and mine. Not today. Today the challenge was not taking up too much time hiking along the roadside. Most of the route was along the Gallatin River and offered notable scenery, a few views of which I share.

Rocinante, the car's nom de road, has now carried us more than 92,000 miles in almost five years, most of it on our various road trips.

Our mid-day break came in Bozeman where we got coffee and a muffin. Across from where we parked was an outdoors shop, Schnee’s, and when I went in seeking a couple of shirts (I packed too lightly for once) I also asked if they had any custom knives. They did, and the model I fixed on was, coincidentally, named the Gallatin. It was made by a twenty year old maker by the name of Maverik Murdock. I’m not quite sure, yet, of the materials, but the steel is high carbon, probably 52100 or 1084 (I have an inquiry in to him). It is a bit large, but I was unable to resist.

Grand Teton: Last Day

We spent our last day here, ranging through the Grand Teton National Park, from Jackson Lake Lodge to Jenny Lake along the Pacific Creek Trail and southward to the southern edge of the park and beyond. 
While I have, throughout, processed all of these images, I want to note that I have not intensified the colors, what you see is what we saw.

 On our way back to our last dinner, a small herd of Mule Deer stood by the roadside to bid us farewell.

Then to dinner and a spectacular sunset that had the staff oohing and ahhing and then back up to Headwaters for our last night before moving on to Helena, Montana and then Glacier National Park.
A grand sunset for Ma and Pa.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


The service station near where we were staying was crowded, so I decided to fill up at our destination, Jackson Lake Lodge.

Good move.

At the end of the station lot sat this, the first Bugatti I have ever seen on the road. This one came from Switzerland for a club meeting in New York, and then drove with six others, ending in Northern California.

Pronghorn Antelope!!

On occasion a geyser will build a dome, like this one

Tuesday, September 25 was another low key day after an intense Monday. Mostly we drove, going north to West Thumb past Old Faithful and on to the Firehole Lake Great Fountain Geyser which features a fairly uncommon dome type geyser. From there we continued north through the Dunraven Pass past Tower Roosevelt and to the Lamar Valley, one of the less heavily visited areas of the park. 

There we had the fine good fortune to experience a Bison Jam (not a flavor, but a traffic incident). 

And on the way back we encountered a herd of Pronghorn Antelope, not commonly seen. Apologies for the quality of antelope images. Throughout the trip I had rather mocked the tourists taking pictures of scenery using what I derisively referred to as “big-ass” lenses. I stand by that, but my 300mm telephoto (digitally enhanced to 1200 mm) and attached to my old camera was not up to this job. I will be getting a second GX8 and a 1000 mm lens soon. I guess we’ll have to come back.