Finally we made it up to Whitefish, Montana just outside of Glacier National Park. Here is where we will be making some of our last minute repairs, do some shopping and chores before we make the crossing into Canada. Oh yeah, we are now 3 Airstream strong with Kerri (@asolojourner) and Tim (@van_tramp) joining us who have been here for about a week.
We are here for a full week while we do some more preparations which will give us plenty of time to figure everything out. Even though we will be traveling through at least another 1,000 miles through civilization, it is far more convenient for us to take care of things south of the border. We don’t plan to be in Canada for very long since getting reliable phone and Internet connection is very costly and we don’t want to have to exchange more currency than we need or pay for too much foreign transaction fees on our credit cards.
When we met up with Kerri in Joshua Tree Dry Lake bed back in October, we had talked about making this trip to Alaska together. Now that Tim has joined her in her Airstream, we have at least one other trailer going with us. Jeff and Lisa on the other hand are dragging their feet in committing to anything until the very last minute. As we pulled into Whitefish, they still don’t know how far into Canada they will come along before turning around to cross back in.
When we crossed back into the U.S. two years ago from our Banff trip we opted to skip Glacier National Park because of Mila’s birthday. She had enough of hiking and just wanted a nice relaxing time at an indoor water park in Coeur d’Alene. Now that we are back in the area, we are making up for the time we missed to check out this amazing area.
This is Lake McDonald at Glacier National Park. The water was surprisingly not too cold. At least, warm enough for Luka to take a total plunge. This made me reminiscent of that time when I had gifted Luka, a self-proclaimed boater, a little canoe. It didn’t take me long to find the perfect gifts for boaters on the internet.
The water is also amazingly clear. I took the paddle board out for a hour or so and could see clearly to the bottom before the depth went further than 30 ft.
My alone time on the paddle board doesn’t usually last very long. As soon as the kids saw me, they fought over who gets to take a ride with me first.
Kerri and Tim took their kayaks out as well for the afternoon. They didn’t have to deal with nearly as much nagging and fighting over who goes first.
This part of Glacier National Park is on the western side of the Rockies. There is a mountain pass that takes you over the top called the ‘Going-To-The-Sun’ road. Right now the road is closed at about 16 miles in so we were unable to drive too close to the snowline.
We did however drive far enough in for a little hike near Avalanche Lake.
This is Avalanche Gorge.
The hike to the lake is only about 2 miles but can be pretty steep. To avoid dealing with too much complaining, we just walked around the boardwalk at the bottom of the trail.
Let’s see how long these two can deal with us and our kids before they have had enough. I’d give them a couple of weeks.
Already on the boardwalk Mila took a spill after not seeing some uneven boards on the ground. Some daddy hugs fixes that up real quick.
Luka was pretty excited to be allowed to stand in the middle of the road just past the closure sign.
Before we make our drive back down to Whitefish, the kids got to climb down by the river to throw some more rocks.
This underpass of the bridge is perfectly Luka-sized.
Wildlife. There is going to be a lot of wildlife.
It was not a very wet winter so the water flow is actually fairly tame. Even so, there are some serious rapids along parts of the river.
We made it back to the Mish to continue our preparations for the crossing and to catch up on work.
We are all staying at the Moose Lodge in Whitefish, Montana as guests of Tim who is a member. We actually also became members using Tim as our sponsor. Even though we are already members of the Elks Lodge that also has a network of lodges that welcome RVers, the Moose Lodge membership is only $65/year and there have been places like here in Whitefish where only a Moose Lodge exists.
You can never have enough RV overnight options.
Especially since they have events like the $3 burger night.
Camping here is a suggested donation of $10 per night. That comes with water and electric hookups but no dump.
It also comes with two horseshoe pits out in the back that we basically had to ourselves.
Every night we gathered around for happy hour with friends. Kerri is pretty well-stocked with liquor and with our Canadian crossing pending, we are trying to whittle it down in case she is on the hook for the duties. We were joined for one night by Brittany and Nick of @whereverbound who have only been on the road for about a month. They hail from Columbus, Ohio and Nick works as a motion graphic artist and decided to dive into the full-timing lifestyle.
One of the last few things we are doing here also include getting some packages shipped to us from Amazon.
Once we cross into the Canadian border and later into Alaska, it will not be as easy for packages to get to us. The huge influx of shipments we got mean the kids had piles of cardboard to play in.
We spent a good amount of time just walking around the city of Whitefish. It is a very neat little town and we even found a go to pizza joint right next door to an even more awesome second-hand outdoor gear shop.
While we were here we got a decent amount of rain. It seemed that it rained at least a little bit every day. For a couple of moments we even had hail. One morning we woke up to pretty hard rain and had a couple of small leaks that prompted me to get up on the roof for a little inspection.
Of course once you start tearing into the old caulking you will always end up replacing something. This time I decided it was time to rip out the old skylight that has been caulked over at least once and is no longer worth saving.
With possibly more rain pending, Marlene and Luka were sent on a mission to find a replacement skylight at the couple of RV supply shops in Kalispell. It turns out that Airstream uses an unique skylight size that is not stocked by anyone else. With only 2 days left before we cross into Canada, I opted for just a piece of 1/8 inch flexiglass to cover up the skylight so we don’t have a gaping hole in the ceiling. Time will tell how well this holds up.
As we are nearing the end of our stay in Montana, Jeff and Lisa finally committed to making the trip into Alaska with us. That means our journey into the frontier will be at least 3-Airstream strong. Before we all hitch up and leave, we make it back to Glacier National Park once more for the kids to collect their Junior Ranger badges.
As part of Luka’s workbook, he drew his first-ever self portrait.
On our way into Glacier NP we stopped at a gas station for donuts to celebrate National Donut Day.
Badge number 102 is officially in the bag.
At the visitor center, there seems to be a massive caterpillar infestation. The theory is that the winter was not cold enough and more than the normal number of these guys survived.
This place was overrun by caterpillars and I suspect in a couple of weeks, it will be butterflies.
One last dip in Lake McDonald.
We are in the final stretch of our stay here. Only a couple of chores left before we hitch up and go.
A little iron-on patch to fix the rip in one of our cushions to get us through the summer.
And finally some home-made mud flaps as we anticipate lots and lots of gravel roads in our future.
This was Luka’s favorite project as he got to help me tighten the nuts that hold them on.
Not too shabby. Let’s see if these suckers are Alaska worthy.
With one last dusk in the lower 48 states, we will be making our way into Canada first thing tomorrow morning.
over and out,