Week 8 – Missoula, MT

Happy 4th of July all! Oh emm gee what a week this was! As we sit here getting ready to write this, we are just shocked at everything this week had in store, it’s going to be another photo heavy post so…sorry not sorry.

20160628_085933Alright so last time we left you, we were departing the beautiful Coeur d’Alene for a restful night of sleep in Bayview, ID. If you recall, we had pulled into town after dark so we couldn’t see much of what was around us, we just knew there was a lake out there somewhere. As it turned out, we woke up the next morning with stunning views of the water. We decided to have a quick breakfast and take our coffees out with us for a stroll around the lake. It was such a magical morning walk…we strolled around to the docks and walked through the rows of sailboats, dreaming of what it would be like to own one ourselves. You can see what the views were like from20160628_091102 the photo above, just beautiful blue water and sky with mountains in every direction. It was a warm and cloudless morning and we were up early enough (weird) that the morning coolness was still in the air. As we walked back to Bertha, a kind stranger stopped us to let us know that we had just walked past a cherry tree with fresh cherries growing like mad. Neither of us had actually seen a cherry tree before so we stopped to enjoy some of nature’s candy and they were glorious. Anything fresh off the tree or out of the ground just reminds you of how flavorful fruits and veggies actually should be.

20160628_115215After our morning walk, we decided to load up and head for Sandpoint (Bayview was beautiful but there wasn’t really much to do, plus we couldn’t get any signal on our phones – gasp!). We were happy about the decision to move along because we quickly learned that Sandpoint is AWESOME! Like for real, so super awesome! Jim needed to get some work done so we sought out a coffee shop…we pulled Bertha onto a side street and discovered we had found the best coffee shop in town, maybe the state, maybe the country! It was such a cute place and the coffee really was incredible! Outside of the coffee shop, they have a few community food trucks set up so we grabbed20160628_131119 fish tacos from a converted school bus turned food truck. The guy making the tacos gave us some insight into the local goings-on, he explained that this area is designed to really bring the community together. We just loved it, such a great vibe and great food and coffee. After a few hours we decided to head down to the lake to get in a swim (it’s Lake Pend Orielle, the same lake as in Bayview but the towns are 26 miles apart, it’s a big lake!). We got super lucky and were able to pull Bertha through into a boat parking spot right on the edge of the water. As per the normal routine, we got our wetsuits out for the swim but realized that was unnecessary, it was an extremely warm/hot day and people were out in the water in droves. So we jumped in and did just IMG_20160628_194518over a mile in laps from one end of the log buoys to the other and back. After the swim, we lay in the sun and soaked up the warmth before heading to Bertha to grab the quadcopter, the area was too pretty not to get some sweet aerial shots. You can see from the photo just how amazing it is, if you look suuuupppeerrr close you might even be able to see Bertha parked there. It was such a great parking spot that we decided just to stay there for the evening…we may or may not have even found a place to plug in and have free shore power. We were so surprised there were no signs saying we couldn’t park there but it ended up being a perfect spot with a quiet night of rest.

The next morning, we figured we should get out of the golden spot before someone finally said something to us. We intended to head to a friend’s parents’ driveway (they have a home there but live in San Diego full time now) and spend a little more time exploring the area. But as we pulled up to the house, we noticed we had no internet service, which isn’t good for Jim getting his work done. Sadly, we started on a journey to find somewhere nearby with service but there was nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Before we knew it, a few hours had passed and we crossed the border into Montana (no jumping photo at the border, they had a very small sign and no shoulder to pull Bertha over onto). We stopped for a few hours in Libby, MT to do some work (not a noteable town worth spending any real time in) before pressing on20160629_212513 to Kalispell. Kalispell is a really great little town, we wandered around it a bit before searching out a place to go for a run. We had another really lucky streak with parking and found a great spot near the lake that was nice and secluded to spend the evening. After a 6 mile run along the lake and into the sunset, we settled into for a nice quiet evening.

Nice and quiet until the next morning anyway. We had a knock on the door at 6am letting us know that overnight parking wasn’t allowed in that spot. Thinking it was now morning and why couldn’t we stay, we decided not to argue with him and left the spot nice and early (too early for our taste). After some deliberating and errand running, we IMG_20160630_185733decided to try our luck at finding a spot inside Glacier National Park for the 4th of July weekend. Yeah, good luck with that. Ideally, we hoped to get a campsite but as it turned out, they were all full already! It was only Thursday! We did, however, find an RV park that had only one spot available and we jumped on it. After paying for a two night stay, we set up our home; out came the hammock and the awning (we were thrilled to learn that the awning actually works!).

Friday we headed out for a day of sightseeing GOPR8729-0002Glacier National Park…well, after getting in our training ride and run – we actually rode our stationary bike trainers in an RV park, what a sight we must be to see. It seemed that taking the motorcycle was the best way to get around, it was a wonderfully warm day to be on the bike and we were able to cover a lot of ground – we actually drove more than 120 miles around the park. It’s funny having seen pictures of various national parks over our lifetime, seeing them in real life is a different thing entirely. We knew it was going to be beautiful but we were not expecting just how 20160701_230350breathtaking every turn was. We started the trek in West Glacier, driving along a river, stopping at Lake McDonald (the water was SO crystal clear) before starting the elevation climb. We were on Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is the touristy thing to do. This just meant having to take the uphill climb very slowly, which was great because from the road we could see waterfalls, glaciers, weeping walls, and mountain goats. Truly, it was stunning. We stopped a few times along the way, even enough to walk through the snow in shorts and 90 degree warmth, talk about a strange dichotomy.

It’s hard to decide what pictures to include but we’ll just put a couple here before continuing on – as you can imagine, these pictures don’t even come close to doing the park justice.

We pulled back up to Bertha as the sun had just set, which is about 10pm in Montana, and crashed hard from a very full day!

Saturday we enjoyed a nice, leisurely morning in the RV park, complete with extra long RV showers, before heading south and away from Glacier. Just from looking at the map, we decided that Flathead Lake looked like a great place to call home for the night. We pulled up to the lake around 4pm and decided to stop at what turned out to be a really great brewery. After filling ourselves with 20160702_190616burgers and Double IPA’s (impressive even compared to San Diego beers!), we continued our week of great parking luck…well with one caveat. We’re learning to find better parking spots in an effort to sleep in fewer Walmart parking lots, but sometimes, the attempt to find the right spot can lead us down some pretty questionable roads. After entering a one way, dirt road with Private Property signs posted, Jim had to pull off a very impressive many-point turn in order to get us out of there. We decided to actually get this one on video, it’s entertaining to watch him work his magic. He’s become quite the pro at handling Bertha in tricky situations. Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/Hc3cX5jPUJ0

20160703_143209Sunday, after waking up in one of our favorite lake view spots yet, we drove down to Polson, MT (which, let’s hope they realize looks like Poison on all the maps). We found a spot to spend the day, Jim working and Heather taking some time for journaling, reading, and yoga. As the day came to a close, we headed out for a long bike ride before settling into a Walmart parking lot for the evening (hey, can’t win ‘em all and this was maybe the nicest Walmart we’ve slept in yet!)

IMG_20160704_194155Today, we made the drive through the beautiful plains of Montana toward Missoula, which we hear is an awesome place. It seemed like a very American thing to be doing on the 4th, driving through the Midwest listening to an American music playlist (think: Bruce Springsteen). We ended up spending the day working, grocery shopping, doing laundry, and cleaning – preparing for another week of life on the road. Maybe not the most festive of 4th’s, but we were lucky to see fireworks from our window both of the past two nights. We’re excited to see what treasures Missoula holds for us!

As always, thanks for following along with us – stay tuned as next week takes us to Yellowstone and Old Faithful! Happy 4th of July everyone!

Total RV Trip Miles: 3,743

 

                                        

 

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