Tag Archives: montana

Great Western Road Trip, Day 10

Current Location: Richland, Washington

Today’s Song: Nickel Creek – Where Is Love Now?

If I could wait here for you
Without hope or knowing what to do
Watch the light fade away
Without fear or knowing what to say
Cry the tears from my eyes
Leave me here long enough to realize
Where is love now?
Where is love now
Out here in the dark?
Yeah. This covers a lot of my feelings over the last few months.
Day 10 found me driving from Kalispell, Montana to Richland, Washington (part of the Tri-Cities, with Pasco and Kennewick. Paging Mercy Thompson…). It brought quite an interesting range of terrain. I got an early start to the day; the drive through the Flathead River Valley along Flathead Lake was absolutely beautiful.
I stopped for lunch in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I’d had a hankering for grilled cheese so I decided it was time to indulge.
I’ve been having problems with my phone’s battery reading fluctuating wildly and randomly shutting down. In the morning I backed up my computer to my laptop and after lunch I found a spot in a coffee shop and sat down to do a full restore. That whole process took almost 90 minutes, much to my chagrin. Still, it was nice to sit and relax for a bit too.
I got into Richland at around 4 PM, and met up with Tina (aka “crazy Canadian birder friend Tina” for those who follow Ursula Vernon). We had a great time chatting and finally adjourned to a local winery/restaurant that was really, really good.
I had the wild mushroom and herb risotto with grilled chicken and it was very well-done – nice creaminess, and the mushrooms were so meaty and flavorful that the chicken was an unnecessary addition on my part. We each ordered a flight of reds and while some were so-so, we found a couple that were quite good, to Tina picked up a few bottles.
After dinner we retired back to Tina’s hotel room and spent the rest of the evening chatting, catching up, and generally having a nice, low-key time. I enjoyed it immensely.
Today, after I meet Tina for breakfast, I will be making the relatively short (~4 hours) drive to Vancouver, Washington, which is right across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. I look forward to taking my time and finding cool stuff along the way!

Miles Driven Today: 386 miles

Time Driving Today: 6:58

Total Miles Driven: 2,104 miles

Total Time Driving: 44:13

Great Western Road Trip, Day 9

Current Location: Kalispell, Montana

Today’s Song: Spirit of the West – Canadian Skye

A great song from one of my favorite bands, this evokes to me the wide open prairies, the exuberance I observed for Canada Day in Winnipeg and the Calgary Stampede. I listen to this and I think of the miles and miles of fields flying by under the wide Canadian skies.

With this I complete my swing through Canada, and I can reveal a bit of an easter egg – following Canadian content rules, all of the artists posted while I was north of the border were Canadian.

This was a big day – my last day in Canada and my first venture into the mountains. The more I travel the more I realize I am just not made for the flatlands. Mountains make my spirits soar. I drove the entire way through Glacier National Park with a big grin on my face because I was loving the drive so much! I took an enormous number of pictures even before and after Going-To-The-Sun Road through Glacier National Park – it took me almost 3 hours to go 50 miles because I was stopping so often. I have some excerpts below, but you can see all of the photos in this album or on this handy map:

I was up and out of Lindsey and Richard’s place in Chestermere by 7 AM. After a brief stop for coffee, it was straight down Alberta Highway 2. The tiny town of Pincher Creek turned out to have a wonderful little coffee shop that had the best breakfast sandwich (the bright yellow yolk shows how fresh the egg was, and it tasted great too!).

The foothills gradually turned into small mountains as the landscape rose up around me.

There was about a 15 minute wait at the Chief Mountain border crossing, but I just had a brief conversation with the officer and I was on my way.

Following a light lunch at a little cafe in St. Mary, Montana, that made a fantastic strawberry-rhubarb pie, it was off into Glacier National Park!

Going-To-The-Sun Road is a 50-mile road through Glacier National Park. It is an engineering feat, and the views throughout are nothing short of stunning. At the gate to the park I found out there is a $30 fee to use the park for a day, or for $80 you can get an annual pass good 12 months from purchase. Considering I’ll be going to Yosemite National Park next week and knowing the dire financial straits of the National Park Service, I was more than happy to purchase an annual pass. Even if I never use it again I feel it’s money well spent!

I hate to do this but it’s crazy late and I have to be up early in the morning; I will refer you to my Twitter feed for photos (and videos!) inside the park. The trip was incredible and one that I hope to repeat when I have more time (those lakes beg for some quality kayaking time!).

Tomorrow I am off to Richland, Washington. Not much there, but it’s a good stopping point along the way, plus I will be meeting up with a friend for dinner. It should be a great time!

Miles Driven Today: 331 miles

Time Driving Today: 8:26

Total Miles Driven: 1,718 miles

Total Time Driving: 37:15