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2007 Vacation Out West – Day 03

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    Day 03 – 23-Sep-2007

    Today did not go as planned. It rained all night and was sleet by the time I got up at 7am. I had a fairly good sleep considering I went to bed at 8pm and only had to get up twice to go to the bathroom (old age). It was fairly cold last night but I was toasty warm in my British military sleeping bag and poncho liner.

    I packed up the car with my sleeping bag and thermarest. I dragged my tent over to the cooking shelter and disassemble it there. I shook it out as much as possible and just shoved it all into the big rubbermade container I bought for that specific purpose. I had a nice hot breakfast and decided to head up to Cameron Lake. It started to snow a lot on my way there. I did not expect to take any great pictures as there were really low lying clouds blocking out most of the view.

    I met a guy from Montana at Cameron Lake. He told me that the Road to the Sun route was just closed for the winter a month early due to a big snow storm and road damage just a couple days back. There goes my plan A as I was going to spend the entire day there taking pictures. I thought about driving to Yellowstone but it was 1200KM in the wrong direction. I decided that Plan B was to drive to Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington. It just all depended on how much time I had before going to Skook tidal rapids on Thursday. Going to Seattle meant I would have to see my Granma in Princeton on my way out of Vancouver instead of on the way to Vancouver from the Road to the Sun trip.

    I headed off the the US border at Chief Mountain. The customs guy was freezing his ass off in this little shack with no heat working in it. He must have been real lonely as he asked me every possible question you could think of. I guess he doesn’t get many customers going through there in a fricking snow storm. The last thing he said to me was watch out for the cows. He wasn’t kidding. It is bad enough driving up and down snow covered hills and not being able to see and then have to deal with the added fun of dodging big black cows standing in the middle of the road. Talking about playing chicken. I saw some recent evidence of people sliding into the ditch. I don’t think I made it over 40 KPH until I was out of the snow belt.

    I phoned my friend Nancy back home to let her know my travel plans had changed as I was now heading to the pacific coast instead of the Road to the Sun and Princeton plan. I decided at that point to take the tent and fly out of the rubbermade container and dry it out in the car as I had the heat on.

    Montana is really beautiful. It is amazing how much the landscape changes from the east side to the west side. I stopped along the way to take pictures but did not get as many as I had hoped floor compared to what would have been Plan A but I was happy.

    I stopped for a Peanut Parfait thing at DQ in Columbia Falls, Montana. They have free wireless internet there for the customers. I caught up on some emails and posted up my TR/pictures from day 02. I also found out what was causing the random line on some of my pictures. I found a small barely visible fluff on the CCD of my camera. At first I thought it was on my lenses or filters but they were totally clean. I found a setting on the camera to flip the mirror up for cleaning. It took me 15 minutes with a flashlight and tilting the camera various angles to find it. The people at DQ probably thought I was an idiot.

    I continued my journey westward. Darkness was setting in and the rain was starting which is a driving combination I really hate. It is amazing how on a four mile six percent grade hill that people are still driving the posted speed limit of 120KM. I was barely doing 80KM as I did not want to slide off the road.

    I finally made it to the Idaho border at 21:17 MST which then meant 20:17 PST as soon as I crossed the line. I did not see much of Idaho driving through the dark.

    I could not stop to take a picture of the Washington border sign as it was in the middle of the road and I did not feel like getting run over by transport trucks doing 130 KM. I made it to Spokane, Washington which was almost 700KM from Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta. I decided to treat myself and grabbed a room for the night with a really comfy kingsize bed for 79 bucks which includes wireless internet and a huge breakfast buffet.

    I will decide in the morning on where I am going. I would like to see Mount Ranier again and then head up the west coast to do the Mount Olympia loop and head over to Seattle and up to Vancouver from there. It all depends on how much time and what I want to see before Skook.

    Here are some pictures [url:25ohyj7d][/url:25ohyj7d]


    You’ve got some great photos there – especially nice are the dear and barn and the snow berries!


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