Week 3 of 16 ~ Sunday, June 14 to Saturday, June 20, 2015

Day 12 ~ Sunday, June 14 - Hello Sunday! We are in Fish Creek Campground in Glacier National Park, Montana. Today will be our third day here. We found out that there are no church services in the amphitheater until next month. Bummer. The non-denom services are conducted by the Christian Ministries in the National Park. But, later in the day we found out that they had services at 5:00pm and we showed up about 5:45pm after our park excursions and just had a bit of time to talk to the two young christian college kids that were running the show. He was from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and she was from Georgia. We wished them well.

Sunday was spent in heaven, well close to it. We drove up past Lake McDonald and up the "Going to the Sun" road to Logan's Pass. There's a visitors center up at the pass which was not open for the season yet; next week. Rats! The two-mile long hiking trail out to most beautiful spot in the world (my opinion, of course) was impassable for us. It was pretty much buried in snow. Rats, again! We were all looking forward to the hike to visit Hidden Lake.

Of course, the 20-mile drive up and then back was the highlight of our stay here. Absolutely breathtaking around every bend in the road and there are a lot of bends in the road. Enjoy our pictures.

Near the start of our trip up "Going to the Sun" road, we stopped by Lake McDonald. This is a perfect setting. We just love this park. It's our favorite.
float pix
This river runs along side the road for quite a ways. Lots of pullouts for picture taking.
On the right - A waterfall that feeds the river. One of the red limos from McDonald Lodge.
Oh, the view! This is not the desert. Nor is it Alaska. Ah, Glacier National Park!
...and Gregg shot it, too many times to count.
God made this just for us. I have no idea why we are driving all the way up to Alaska.
Many, many waterfalls along the way. Where did they get the name from?
Way down in the valley, the valley so low... Who would have guessed, another river.
Around each bend is a new view. Don't miss the turn! This is driving on the edge.
Here we are at the Hidden Lake Trailhead at Logan's Pass in back of the visitors center.
Just a bit of snow ahead. Oh, January in the mountains.
We were turned back by the snow. We saw idiots out here wearing sandals. The snow was melting fast and was wet, packed down and slippery. There were some skiers out there. I don't think they were wearing sandals.
float pix
Just a small river up at the top close to Logan's Pass. Love those red limos.
...and another breathtaking view. Nope, not Alaska, yet.
I don't know why we took so many pictures like this. It was so boring. Are we there yet?
What the heck! A traffic light and construction. They were repairing holes in the short wall on the left caused by avalanches, rock slides and kids on skateboards.
There are a lot of waterfalls along the road. Snow melts, turns to water, flows downhill.
Just another wonderful view in Glacier National Park. Our favorite park.
Watch your driving or over this huge wall you go into the valley below. Actually, the wall is very well built and nicely maintained and the height is low so the visibility from the autos is pretty unobstructed. Just drive slow and enjoy the view.
We just had to stop by McDonald Lodge for a visit. It is such a cool place with a great patio area on the back side with beautiful gardens, a boat dock and a very nice lake surounded by mountains. Of course there is a resturant with a bar. And ice cream for us old folks.
We love this place!
Staying with lodge traditions, there are a bunch of heads of dead animals hanging on the walls and wherever you hang heads. Very cool place. Zombies love this place.

We headed back down to Fish Creek Campground for dinner and a good night's sleep, after a nightcap of course.

Day 12 Summary ~ We drove about 66 miles today which puts us at 2311 total miles into our journey.

Day 13 ~ Monday, June 15 - We just farted around today, enjoying a beautiful sunny morning. I sat in the sun playing Spider on my tablet while Diane worked for Mercury Storage. It took a bit of time to work out different bugs in the computer setup, but all went well for her. Gregg worked on a bad battery issue in the motorhome; I helped and together we determined that the battery needs to be replaced. Gale read a book and tried to stay warm in the sun; I think it worked.

Diane's work was done by mid-afternoon so we traveled all the way to West Glacier, about 3 miles, to mail post cards and leave some money in the local stores. It was time for ice cream, beef jerky and a sit on the bench in front of the store relaxing and killing time, vacation style. This is great!

Just hanging and relaxing in beautiful downtown West Glacier.
This store has deli camping and meat supplies. Or am I reading this wrong?

We visited the train station at the park's entrance and were fortunate to be there when a really long four-engine freight train rolled into the station very quietly and came to a stop. They had to do train things, I guess. A lot of the cars were decorated with graffiti. Cool. I took a lot of pictures because I love trains.

The camera caught the train as it slowly passed over the park entryway. Very quiet.
The train came to a complete stop at Belton Station. Amtrack passengers can debark here and catch a limo ride to McDonald Lodge for a really nice vacation.

Then back to the campground to run the generators again to charge the batteries and most importantly, recharge the coolness in our refrigerator. They allow running generators from 8 to 10am, noon to 2pm and 5 to 7pm. It's a good schedule.

We took a short walk on the road outside our loop to see Fish Creek. Well, they named the campground after it so we better take its picture.

We ate a nice supper, played a couple games of cribbage, drank a nice alcoholic beverage, wrote up this stuff in the log and then quit for the day. Great camping! Good night.

Day 13 Summary ~ We drove about 11 miles today which puts us at 2322 total miles into our journey.
It is 53 degrees outside at 11:00pm mountain time.

Day 14 ~ Tuesday, June 16 - So sorry to leave this place, we headed out of Glacier National Park today, going back east to East Glacier and then north towards Canada. It's north of the border here, not south like in Detroit. Our first stop on US2 was in Essex at Walton RR station and hotel. Really cool place with a nice, real train display. You can rent a train car to sleep in as well as a room in the Walton Hotel or one of the cabins. Pricey, but very cool.

Izaak Walton Hotel in Essex, Montana, just a little south off US2 between West Glacier and East Glacier.
Yes! I got to hang with a train engine. Well, hang on a train engine. Note the short track. This is what happens to old retired train engines.
float pix
We were here not long when a long freight train came cruising thru. We were up on a people bridge that went over the tracks. Love the rumble. Commerce at work. Obama hates this.
Continuing east on US2 toward East Glacier, we are never more than a stones throw away from the tracks.
Around on the east side of Glacier National Park is Two Medicine with rivers, three lakes, some waterfalls, and two campgrounds, all just a short distance west of 49. Highway 49 runs north and south a little bit east of the park. But, no ice cream shoppe.
Here's a view from highway 49 heading north to St. Marys on US-89. We are looking west with the mountains in Glacier National Park in the background.
A ranger gal told us this road should have never been built because it is so dangerous. It was beat up by falling rock in several places and repaired by the lowest bidder; very rough and wavy. Go slow around the curves or kiss your ass goodbye.
We had buffalo burgers here for dinner and some of their famous pie. Pricey, but very good. We filled our gas tanks at the Exxon at $3.09 per gallon. Last chance before Canada. These places opened the first of June and will close for the winter in September. Short 100-day season, hence the high prices. The restrooms were outside around back. Old. Quaint.
Our last night in the US was at an overpriced private campground with pay showers. We should have just checked in at the National Park campground, but we did have electric here, so no generators needed. The refrigerator liked it.

After a pretty good dinner at the Park Cafe, we drove across the highway to Johnson's of St. Mary Campground and RV Park. The office was closed and we had to find our own campsite. No big deal. The campsites were okay, but the restroom facilities were a little questionable. They offered pay showers using their proprietary tokens, which we didn't have because the office was closed. Stupid idea. Why not just use quarters? Well, it's just for one night and we won't be back, ever.

Day 14 Summary ~ We drove about 108 miles today which puts us at 2430 total miles into our journey.
It is a chilly 46 degrees outside at 11:30pm.

Day 15 ~ Wednesday, June 17 - We got an early start today and headed north on US-89 toward Canada. It's all about the journey getting there. We still had to get past Glacier National Park. The weather started out very nice with some blue skies and deteriorated as the day went on. Just a bit of rain here and there with the clouds hanging low, low, low all around the mountains. The visibility was not so good as you can see in the photos.

We hit the road early and the weather was beautiful with blue skies and sunshine.
Driving north along the west side of Glacier National Park. The weather was still great.
The giant Many Glaciers Hotel on the east side of Glacier National Park, Montana. I have a wide angle lens and couldn't get the entire 215-room hotel into the picture. It's a big place!

Heading northward outside the park on US-89, we hung a left onto a smaller road going back into the park. We drove about 12 miles west to Many Glaciers Hotel located on a small lake. The 12 mile stretch of road was rough going most of the way. The trailer was a bouncin' and the motorhome was a swayin' and with no music. The winters here are hard and the roads suffer. We think we have problems in Michigan. The rough ride was well worth it. The hotel is really cool.

This is the inside of Many Glaciers Hotel with its high ceiling. Funny thing is, there were no heads of dead animals hanging on the walls. It's a little more upscale and not so redneck.

We didn't spend a lot of time at Many Glaciers Hotel and hit the road again on our way up to Canada. The weather was not so nice with a drizzly rain. There's really no traffic as we drove east out of the park back to US-89 and headed north to highway 17 which took us back into the park for a short drive to our first Canadian border crossing. We shot a bunch of cool pictures all along the way.

Yes, it was drizzling here. Got sprinkles on my camera. I shot quickly.
The weather got crappier by the minute. Just a drizzle, but oh the clouds...
Around a curve and what the hell? A cow in the road taking a drink of rainwater. We are still in Montana and this is open range. Moo, moo, move it, cow!
This is favorite picture of mine.
The line in front of us going thru customs. The Canadian custom officers asked a bunch of standard questions and we surprisingly went thru very quickly into Canada. We have money to spend and the Canadians want it... and they'll never say thank you.
This is one of two concrete markers at the border. Look how old it is

Well, we are in Alberta, Canada, and off to see the wizard or maybe Waterton Park, our first major stop north of the border. We drove northwest up highway 6 and hung a left onto highway 5 down to Waterton. It was a nice scenic drive in the drizzly rain. We drove thru Waterton Park downtown and straight into the Townsite Campground in Waterton Lakes National Park and secured a campsite for the night. Now we could go site seeing for the rest of the day. The town of Waterton Park and the Prince of Wales Hotel were our closest targets, so off we go.

The Prince of Wales hotel sits atop a hill overlooking a lake and town.
View of the town of Waterton Park below from up on the hill next to the Prince of Wales hotel.
Downtown Waterton Park is really nice and touristy with a whole bunch of restaurants with outdoor seating. We enjoyed a great pizza dinner and a walk around town.
There are a lot of nice benches on which to relax after a good meal.
Some of the benches are quite elaborate wood carvings with bears and old people.
The bears are wood and the people are real. Hi Gregg and Gale!
Here we are side-by-side again. This time in Townsite campground in Waterton Lakes National Park. We have all the amenities here including a weak Wi-Fi. We made it work.

I just have to write more about this Canadian campground. You can't skateboard or roller blade on the roads; they're gravel and pretty smooth. The pads are level; easy to do. The restrooms look simple on the outside, but are large inside and will rival Michigan State Parks newer buildings. The showers and stalls are very spacious and there are four sinks on a nice granite countertop. The whole inside is immaculately clean right to the edges on the floors. The clean-up guys do a great job.

There are several shelters open on one side with picnic tables and a grill. The double stainless steel sinks with matching counters sits close to our site and is waiting for campers with dirty dishes. Outdoor kitchen sinks! Great, and they get used.

This campground sits right on the lake with the mountains in the background. What a view. There is a really nice walking trail/path right off the shoreline for a stroll with the deer that seem to think this campground is theirs. I think they are on site 103 and the coyote is on 102. Yes, there was a coyote here in late afternoon.

Day 15 Summary ~ We drove about 76 miles today which puts us at 2506 total miles into our journey.
It is a 55 degrees outside at 9:30pm.

Day 16 ~ Thursday, June 18 - Here we are in Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada, for the second day. The weather is better this morning with hazy sunshine and in the sixties. A good day for touring the park; and what a lovely park it is. We visited some waterfalls, again, looked at the mountains (can't miss 'em), shot some bears with the cameras. We killed the whole day and came back to town and ate on the patio of a very nice restaurant. Pizza. We walked down the street a hundred meters and had black raspberry and thimbleberry frozen yogurt for dessert. This was truly a good vacation day. Enjoy the pix.

We drove down this really narrow road that goes waaaay back in there to Red Rock Canyon.
We understand this is a good bear viewing trail.
We were so excited to see our first bear about 200 meters off the road. Cool!
Yes, I was doing a lot of zooming with the telephoto lens.
At the end of the road is the parking lot for Red Rock Canyon and a solar-powered outhouse. Only in Canada. Actually, we are so far back in that there is no way they were going to run electric power lines here.
The reason this place is called Red Rock Canyon is made very clear. It's RED, but not much of a canyon at this point. We need to walk.
float pix float pix
At the end of a not-too-long trail are the falls at Red Rock Canyon with lots of wild flowers along the way.
Here we are standing in the sunshine in all our glory or whatever. All this water makes me want to pee.
We kept Gregg and Gale in a cage down by the falls. Gregg was being rowdy again. Gale didn't want him to suffer alone.
Bear! Don't hit it. Just strollin' along and not looking both ways when it crossed the road.
Mom and twins were just a strollin' along - only caught one baby tho. They look so soft and fluffy. Let's go out there and give 'em a big hug. NOT!
Cameron Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada. The far end of the lake and mountains are in the good ole U. S. of A.
Day 16 Summary ~ We drove about 45 miles today which puts us at 2551 total miles into our journey.

Day 17 ~ Friday, June 19 - We woke up to the nicest weather; sunny and close to 70 degrees, but (there's always a but) it got real windy. There were white caps on the lake. We had to take our game of cribbage inside to finish. Diane won, again. She's on a winning streak.

It got so windy in Waterton that there were white caps on the lake at the campground.

We packed everything up and left town. Drove north, bought our first tank of overpriced Canadian gas (115.9 cents per litre), and headed toward Banff, 200 or 300 miles or kilometers or whatever number of football fields (the official US unit of measurement). Anywho, it'll take us the better part of a day to get there. But, once again, it's the journey, not the destination that counts right now. This stretch of highway is absolutely beautiful with a mix of cattle ranches, farms, mountains on the left (west) and small rivers. We were looking for wild animals and only saw cattle and horses. This is big business up here. Americans don't think about all the cattle that is raised in Canada. We just eat it and hope it didn't come from China.

We thoroughly enjoyed the changing landscape on this wonderful road trip from Waterton to Banff. Lots of cattle ranches. Road signs warn of open range and elk crossings, but we saw no bears, no elk, buffalo or kangaroos, just a few small rodents and birds - still a gorgeous drive.
Lundbreck Falls in Alberta, Canada. We stopped here because we heard it was beautiful...and it was.
A wild and crazy kind of river wiped out the road and bridge. The short detour was a bit rough. It tried to shake our little 42-year old trailer to pieces. Didn't work. We're still rolling.
The view from this Alberta highway 22 going up to Banff is fantastic, if you like mountains.
Now this is like a creepy horror movie. There's this motorhome following us the whole trip. Can't seem to lose 'em. Oh, wait, that's Gregg and Gale trying to keep up. Climbing the hills is a strain and a real gas sucker for us both, but the downhill side feels like free fall.
The Tunnel Mountain Campground in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada invited us to stay for a couple of nights. So we did. We are on a pull-thru shared site with full hook-ups. We haven't been hooked up to water in 20 years. It was a little strange seeing mud come out of the faucet when the water was first turned on. The water cover cap on the outside has been missing forever and dust has been filling up the inlet. Time for a clean out. And it did.
How exciting! Diane was thrilled. Washing dishes is much easier.
This campground isn't as nice as Townsite in Waterton Park. There's about 600 campsites here. The restrooms are okay; clean and much older looking with only a single shower per building. There are a lot of buildings and many of the trailers have full-hookups going and the campers are probably using their own facilities.

We drove around in circles in downtown Banff. What a tourist town. Lots of stores that looked dangerously expensive, so we stayed in the truck and drove to Bow Falls which is very close to downtown Banff. The locals are so lucky to have this gem in their backyard.

This is the Bow Falls on the Bow River close to downtown Banff, Alberta, Canada.
Day 17 Summary ~ We drove about 258 miles today which puts us at 2809 total miles into our journey.
It is a 53 degrees outside at 10:15pm mountain time.

Day 18 ~ Saturday, June 20 - We stayed in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada, all day. We enjoyed the sunny, warm 53 degree weather first thing in the morning. It's Saturday so my beard got a trimming; a weekly thing ya know. I refilled the 7-day pill container for the upcoming week. Just trying to survive here in the wilderness. At the end of the month we'll all go down to the river to bathe and clean out the cracks.

Two old campers enjoying the early morning sun.
BTW: We are in Tunnel Mountain Campground, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

We drove back to downtown Banff (about a mile) and the ladies visited the Tourist Info place for more better directions to some local attractions that we wanted to see. No waterfalls today, just a stinky hot springs and cave called "Cave and Basin". It's a big Canadian environmental thing with the hot springs. Tiny endangered snails live in the warm water that smells like a nasty fart (sulphur gas). So no one can even touch the water because it will upset the snails feelings and they might croak. Funny, because in the early 1900's, this place was a giant hot tub loaded with tourists soaking their cares away. Times have changed. The snails won.

This is the Hot Spring, home to little snails trying to beat extinction. We don't know those people who are in this picture. Just tourists.
Downtown Banff. If you take Gatlinburg, Mackinaw Island, Jackson Hole and Estes Park and melt them all together, this is what happens. Lots and lots of stores and people.
The Hoodoos. Just a little bit from downtown Banff are these rock formations caused by who knows what. Probably nature, running water, lightning, alien spacecraft or some indians with hammers and chisels long ago. Actually, there is a large sign claiming that the glaciers did it. Yeah, right.

Banff is a really spectacular place where one could spend a bunch of time walking around enjoying the river front, spending big bucks in the stores and restaurants, check out all the local nature stuff and simply relax. We'll be leaving tomorrow, Sunday, and push onward, north to Alaska and all that. But, for now, we head on back to our Tunnel Mountain Campground campsite for dinner and sleepy time.

Day 18 Summary ~ We drove about 10 miles today which puts us at 2819 total miles into our journey.
It is a 46 degrees outside at 11:00pm mountain (Alberta) time.

This is the end of Week 3 ~ Tomorrow is Sunday and start of a new week, so you'll need to Click Here to Go to Week 4