Thursday, September 26, 2019

Kalispel and South

So thanks to Flanagan Mazda in Missoula, Wayne and Lynn and North American RV Park for rescuing us from a bad day and making it into an exceptional day!

Glacier NP
So what are our first impressions of Glacier National Park?

Seemed like all the turnouts were full, the lodges are supposed to be nice but there was nowhere to park.

Morning mountains
The scenery is spectacular though so when you eventually find somewhere to stop it's very nice.
So still at the lake
It turned rainy the second day and rained for another 3 days on and off. We discovered a local bar just down the road that had good draft beer and a couple of dart boards so between exploring Columbia Falls and Whitefish we managed a little practice for our winter darts nights!
It was relaxing being in the same spot for 7 days and I broke out my paints for a while. We spent a little time cleaning up the rig and restocking the fridge, then sat with the maps and decided where we would go next.
The traditional Glacier tour buses
I have a painting event coming up in October in Bisbee Arizona so we looked at a straight line south from Glacier and there is a single road that goes from Kalispel Montana to Wickenburg Arizona! Hwy 93. We are into roads like this one, no Interstate, scenic. We are in no rush so we decided we'd do it. Besides it's getting cold at night so time to head South!

What a spectacular road 93 turned out to be. From Kalispel it runs down the west side of Flathead Lake and into the mountains passed the National Bison Range near Missoula. From there it follows the Salmon river which is stunningly beautiful and for the most part unspoiled. We stopped in Idaho in the town of Salmon and discovered the birthplace of Sacagewea who was the guide for Lewis and Clarke's expedition.

National Bison Range near Missoula


Although the park is beautiful the treatment of the tribe is terrible
The next day we turned off 93 onto 75 which is marked as scenic on our map. This followed the Salmon into the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and over the Galena Pass and picked up the Big Wood river thru Sun Valley.

In all it was 500 miles of continuous beauty, I don't believe we have ever experienced anything to compare with it.

At the end of all that we stopped near Jerolme Idaho at the Elks Lodge. What a night we picked! They have their own golf course and it was their annual charity golf tournament. Dinner was a roasted pig! We no sooner sat down than we were pulled into a conversation with Dave and Liah who told us what was happening. There were raffles and door prizes. For every drink you bought you got a ticket. Every 15 minutes they pulled a ticket and you got to choose a prize. My ticket was the first one pulled! Then Barbara won a big gift basket in the other raffle, we had a blast.

Dave and Liah arranged to hook up with us the next morning to show us one of the local sights.

One of great things about visiting Elks Lodges is talking to the members and finding out the great places to see and do. Dave and Liah told us about a new National Historic site being developed nearby.
Minidoka guard tower
Minidoka was one of the camps that the US government opened in 1942 to house over 9000 Japanese American who were forcibly moved from the West Coast after Pearl Harbor. The size of the place is mind boggling although little of it remains. When it reached it's peak it was the 7th largest population center in Idaho. Whole families were housed in a single un-insulated tar paper building with no bathing facilities except in a separate communal ablution block and a single pot belly stove for heat in Idaho's bitter winters. Until the camp became self sufficient with its own farm the interns were forced to subsist on poor quality rations brought in by train. They were eventually liberated after winning a major court case but remained uncompensated for their internment.

Raw wood interiors and no insulation
A very thought evoking place and thanks Dave and Liah for showing it to us.
Twin Falls, the Niagara of the West.
We also visited Twin Falls Idaho where surprisingly there are twin waterfalls! The snake river has carved a huge gorge that runs east/west across several rivers and streams which naturally tumble down the walls of the gorge. The big fall is know locally as “The Niagara of the West” as it has a greater drop than Niagara although it is much narrower.

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