Good Bye Glacier, Hello Great Falls

August 26 to September 4, 2016

Did you know the absolute world’s best huckleberry bear claw can be obtained at the Polebridge Mercantile – just a 42 mile drive down a scenic gravel road in the remote northwest section of Glacier NP.  Worth the trip and while you’re at it, stop by and see Kintla Lake (wished I had brought an inflatable kayak – note to self).  It was a great way to cap my visit to Kalispell and Glacier although a bear sighting would have been perfect (saw lots of mountain sheep, goats, antelope and deer). O, and some Moose Drool as well.

On to Great Falls, the place that gave Lewis & Clark a tizzy fit.  Always wanted to see those infamous falls but little did I know there’s a whole lot more to take in.  Checked into the strangest RV Park so far…. Dick’s RV (last) Resort (a resort it ain’t). Tucked between a freeway and the Sun River, just a skip and jump from the International Airport, it was NOT a quiet hideaway. Good cross section of gypsy America however…  half million dollar super bus rigs parked next to 20-year-old dilapidated campers. One family was living out of a storage trailer (3 women covering 3 generations with 3 large dogs) towed by a 1960’s El Camino. Life on the road doesn’t get more interesting.

For anyone wanting to spend a day or two in north central Montana…. I put together THE PERFECT DAY IN GREAT FALLS.

  • Start off with a morning visit to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center overlooking the Missouri River. Watch one or more of the movies, walk the exhibits then head out to see one or more of the five falls that stopped L&C in their tracks. Note: they are no longer in their wild state – hydo-electric dams were built above 4 of them (the 5th is now under a lake). Still fun to see them.
  • Next, grab a burger at the Roadhouse Diner (stayed away from the Frank Sinatra burger; topped with egg, bacon ravioli and a meatball).
  • Fat and happy, head over to the Charles Russell Home & Museum for some culture and history. More than anyone he captured the spirit of the cowboy, the power of the bison, and the passing of the golden age of the Plains Indian.
  • Mid-afternoon and it’s time for a hike. Drive a few miles south of town on I-15 to the First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park. Tour the visitor’s center then take the 3 mile loop trail up the hill and to the site where tribes would fool huge herds of buffalo into stampeding off a cliff where they would be served later for dinner. Pretty amazing stuff. I kept thinking what a spectacle 200 falling buffalo would have been.
  • Hungry? Point your pony back into town and have a Guinness and some interesting Irish fare (with a Montana twist) at the Celtic Cowboy. “Yech Mad” as they say!
  • Now for the perfect topper for a perfect day… Drive down the street to the O’Haire Motor Inn and the world famous  Sip ‘n Dip Lounge for a nightcap. Be sure to tip the mermaids swimming behind the bar in a window-walled glass tank. Believe it or not, it was named “The #1 bar on earth worth flying to by GQ Magazine!”

Whew! What a day, what a week in Great Falls.  Next stop, Billings, Casper and then back to Boulder County for a month.  There may be a break in the posts for a bit until I head into New Mexico in early October (before the snow flies).  Yar Ho!

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