A. Leaving Home
We pulled out of the driveway Saturday, May 9th at about 6:00 pm – later than we had planned, but it was still light.
B. Family in Ephrata
First stop was in Ephrata; we got in about 9:00 pm. We were there to visit niece Thonna and her husband, Mike. We parked on the street across from their house, where it was quiet and level (both very good things). We stayed there two nights, giving us plenty of time to visit and enjoy a wonderful barbeque in their beautiful back yard. We were enjoying ourselves so much we didn’t take any pictures!
Well, we weren’t actually planning on staying in Spokane but … stuff happens. About 8 miles before Spokane the bus overheated and lost power steering. Jere pulled over to the side of the road to check the damage – we had broken BOTH serpentine belts (that go to the power steering and water cooling pump). We called All Weather mobile Repair and Service mobile repair service. Albert showed up and started the repair.
He could only find one belt that (supposedly) fit so we went forward with that … for about 2 miles, when it broke. Again at the side of the road, we called Albert back. He returned with another belt and offered to let us park in front of his house in residential Spokane for the night until the correct belts could be purchased the next morning. Albert went and got it and we were good to go!
After finally getting out of Spokane, we drove through Coeur d’Alene and across the top of Idaho, and then into the spectacular Kaniksu and Lolo National Forests, finally settling for the night in St. Regis, MT.
And we got to add a new sticker to our map; one more state visited!
D. St. Regis, MT
In St. Regis we stayed in a dirt lot across from the Travel Center. Very boring and uneventful (but safe, which is a good thing).
The next morning we headed out on our way to Glacier National Park, up to the north. More spectacular country. Beautiful hills/mountains interspersed with gentle valleys. Just north of Poulson is Flathead Lake – very large, quite scenic.
After getting through Kalispell, we finally got to Glacier National Park.
E. Glacier National Park
We made it … honestly, it was a little bit of a let-down. The park was open – but the Visitor’s Center and the Road to the Sun were not. It really was too early in the season; apparently things don’t get going there until mid-June. Road to the Sun wasn’t open because they are still plowing the 40 – 60 feet of snow off the road!
So, in order to enjoy the mountains and see some of the park, we took Route 2 around the bottom of the park, from the West Entrance to the East Entrance. The mountains were striking; coming around a corner there they’d be.
Going around Glacier put us up over the continental divide a Maria’s Pass – actually the lowest of all the passes over the continental divide at just 5,216 feet. There was a rest area with a SPECTACULAR view.
Coming down from the mountains, we got into the flatland and made our way south.
F. Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area, Fairfield, MT
We finally stopped for the night at Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area just outside of Fairfield, MT. Beautiful and quiet for dry camping (no hookups, self contained in our bus). About a gazillion mosquitoes, though. We could see them hovering around the windshield. So we stayed inside, only opened windows with screens and generally enjoyed from safety.