Have you ever had one of those days where you went with the flow, and everything was amazing? We had one recently. Don’t get me wrong. We’ve had many fabulous days. But every once in a while, one stands out, shimmering a little more brightly than the other days surrounding it.
We had arrived in Kalispell, Montana, staying at the fairgrounds to take advantage of their reasonable nightly price of $25 for electricity – a must during a massive heatwave – and we made our first visit into Glacier National Park after 5:00pm on a June afternoon. It stays light until after 10:00 pm, so we had some high-quality hours in the park. However, the main attraction – the Going-To-The-Sun Road (GTTS for short) – was not yet open all the way through the park. In fact, on the west side, it was open up to the Avalanche campground. There was plenty to see up to that point – Lake McDonald and the Lodge, the river, waterfalls, a few hiking trails, and so on. The part of GTTS that was still closed was open to hikers and bicyclists, so we decided that we’d bring our bikes back the next afternoon and ride a portion of it.
The next morning, Carl checked Glacier NP’s website and discovered that the GTTS was completely open! We had heard three different stories about when it would open, so he decided to check the latest rumor which turned out to be true! Riding our bikes on it was no longer an option, but we knew we would be spending the late afternoon/evening driving GTTS to Logan Pass – a main attraction at the top. This was Exciting Turn # 1.
Exciting Turn # 2 was also discovered by Carl when he walked outside after he ate breakfast. In the fairgrounds track were a couple of the classic Glacier Red Buses. Seven people were being tested that day for their CDL so they could drive Red Bus Tours through Glacier National Park this season. Carl was beside himself with excitement. For most of the morning he talked to David, the man who oversees the training of the Red Bus Tour operators (aka Jammers) for Xanterra (the company that runs the tours) along with a couple of the folks doing the driving test, Mike and Pat friends from NC and PA. As he shared his excitement with me, I could slowly see my plans to go to Alaska changing to spending next summer in Montana so Carl can fulfill his new dream of being a Jammer. He enjoyed watching the training and testing and meeting the trainees, and even asked David if one of the Red Buses could be placed by our Airstream for a photo op, and he agreed!
After the big Airstream/Red Bus photo, we drove toward Glacier NP to visit with our friends, Liz and Paul of the YouTube channel LizAmazing (Exciting Turn # 3). On the way there, we passed a Krispy Kreme shop (Exciting Turn # 4). What are the chances of some North Carolinians seeing one of these in Montana? We saw one in California several months ago, and we did not miss visiting that one either!
As for Liz and Paul … We originally met them last September at an RV park near Newport, Washington, and we saw them again in Palm Springs, California, over the winter. We happened to see them again in Newport, Washington in June and had a wonderful visit with them. One of the best parts of full-time RVing is the people we meet and the friends we make, and then seeing them again as we travel! We learned that Liz and Paul would be staying at a small RV resort just outside of the west entrance to Glacier NP, so we made sure to see them and spend some time with them. We actually drove to Polebridge, to visit the PoleBridge Mercantile, a rural spot on the northwest edge of Glacier NP, with Liz and Paul. The drive is mostly rough, dirt/gravel road to get there.
This Exciting Turn # 5 was a slight change to our plans but well worth the ride to check it out. Polebridge is comprised of a mercantile that has a famous bakery and also makes pizza; a food truck; a saloon that also has a restaurant; and a few cabins for rent. That is Polebridge. Period. We all bought something from the bakery (a recommendation from Karen’s mom who worked at the Lake McDonald Lodge gift shop some 10 years ago). Mine was a huckleberry bear claw. Yum. It is hard to imagine, but true, that this place is open year round.
Exciting Turn # 6 was finally getting into Glacier NP that afternoon and driving the GTTS up to Logan Pass. Wow. An amazing road, beautiful waterfalls, glimpses of glaciers, a small herd of long-horn sheep, and plenty of people to share this inaugural first day open for the season. (From this day forward, we will be known as First Day GTTS people.)
But wait. The day wasn’t over yet. Exciting Turn # 7 happened as we were leaving Glacier. Although it was still light out after 10:00pm, we were driving through some dense forest so it was darker. As we came around a bend, we were confronted with a massive moose in the middle of the road! Carl slammed on the brakes and turned the steering wheel to avoid him. As we came to a stop, the moose looked over his shoulder at us and then sauntered off into the woods. I was startled, so my pictures don’t do this beautiful animal justice, but they are proof nonetheless. This happened at 10:24pm.
SO … We woke up that day with a plan, but we just went with the flow and it was truly a fun-filled, memorable day.
Moral of the story … Go with the flow, and the world is yours.