Before we embarked on this journey Kevin communicated the fact that he did not want to stay in any one place for more than one week. His reasoning was that after a week of sitting still there is an increased risk of porches being added to the RV, the wheels being replaced with blocks and us staying in that one spot for the rest of eternity. He made a sound argument so we agreed on a one week limit before we hit the road.
What we didn’t realize, however, is that apparently there is also the risk of a carport being built over the top of our mobile home. We saw this yesterday on our way through Seeley Lake, Montana and the image is probably burned into Kevin’s mind. Chances are he will soon be negotiating for a one or two day limit, rather than a full week.
We came very close to exceeding our own one week limit in Columbia Falls, Montana. When we arrived last Monday we had no idea how easy it would be to settle in at the Columbia Falls RV Park. Karla and Larry have created a beautiful RV park, complete with wifi, full hook-ups and immaculate grounds. There was even a dog area for Molly and Wylie and a coffee shop right across the street. Why would we ever need to leave?
In addition to Karla and Larry’s hospitality, we also stuck around because of the rain. We didn’t want to move on from that area until we had a chance to explore Glacier National Park. The rain finally gave in to one beautiful day and another decent afternoon and so we were able to do some hiking.
We checked out Lake McDonald and Bowman Lake and the charming town of Polebridge, which sits on the park’s western boundary and is just 22 miles from the Canadian border. But our favorite place we visited was Avalanche Lake. It’s an easy 5-mile out-and-back hike and we agreed that it is one of the most beautiful places either of us has ever been.
We saw a moose, we saw a fox and we saw lots and lots of deer. We didn’t see any grizzlies, but we did see one family that was definitely prepared for them. Every member of the family had a bell in his or her hand that they were actively ringing while hiking and the dad was holding his can of bear spray at the ready. This scene made us think of a joke that Suzanne’s dad forwarded us before our Tahoe Rim Trail hiking adventure last summer: “How can you tell the difference between black bear dung and grizzly bear dung? Black bear dung is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear dung has little bells in it and smells like pepper.”
On Saturday morning we both knew that it was time to leave Columbia Falls. At that point we hadn’t planned on leaving until the following morning, but we took the RV to Les Schwab to have the tire pressure and the lug nuts checked and agreed that since we were packed up anyway we should just keep moving down the road. We called Karla and Larry to say good-bye and to tell them that we wouldn’t be returning to space #27. It was a good home and treated us well but we need to keep on, keepin’ on.
We left Columbia Falls and headed south towards Highway 83, ending up at Lake Alva for the night. We had to back in to our parking spot but that wasn’t a problem since that’s one of the exercises we practiced during RV Basic Training. With Suzanne at the wheel and Kevin giving instructions via the walkie talkies we were quickly nestled amongst the trees.
We settled in, went for a run and otherwise enjoyed a relaxing Saturday afternoon. We were up early this morning and back on the road heading towards Bozeman. We covered a lot of ground today in less than ideal weather, including going up and over the Continental Divide. We’re both getting more comfortable behind the wheel as we log more miles and Suzanne actually got the speedometer up and over 60mph on the freeway today, multiple times! That’s a new record. And even though we’ve both been driving for many years, we’ve both experienced a new phenomenon during this trip: getting passed on the left by a semi on a two-lane road. (Kevin claims not to remember it happening to him, but Suzanne snapped a photo, as any good wife would do).
We’ve set up for the night at a quiet state park just outside of Bozeman, Montana and have been reminiscing about where we’ve been so far on this trip. Kevin actually developed an App for his phone that tracks our progress and automatically logs a point every few hours and then integrates with Google Maps. Below is a screenshot of the current map so you can see where we’ve been so far. That’s all for now. See you on down the road!