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Monday, July 27

We headed off this morning towards Troy and then on towards Libby where we stopped to have a look at the dam of the same name, evidently it is also a good fishing centre, but we carried on taking the turn off towards Eureka and then on through the Kootenai National Forest with the River of the same name always on our left, on seeing a sign for waterfalls and a swing bridge we stopped to have a look, the swing bridge was in the process of repair but still made a good photograph as did the waterfall, then it was back on the road once reaching Eureka we then turned South as our destination was Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and whilst we felt it was time to stop all of the RV parks were full, must be something about July, we did a short turn off to the right and went through a very poor village, I think the people in the village would think that people living in trailer parks were well off. Most of the houses looked pretty flimsy and I hate to think what would happen to them the good wind went through, who the bad end up living in them in the winter after a snowfall, I think it might be warmer outside but we carried on ......The GPS took us on a loop back to the main Road and this battery is almost flat once we got to Whitefish and had the same experience we look for the closest Walmart and found it about 11 miles south at Kalispell.

It tells us on our GPS to check with management about staying in the car Park overnight so in I went and stood with all the Walmart customers and the customer service line and the woman that was dealing with the customer service looks like she had a good case of indigestion and sore feet rolled into one, the expression on the face said don't mess with me, when she finished with one customer the next was summoned forward with the command "next in line" eventually it was my turn and as I smiling I saw the glimmer of a smile and she said can I help you? So we had a bit of a chat about me parking overnight and she told me the rules and I made a couple of light comments and we parted good friends!

When are getting the first rain on our trip in the car Park so hopefully it will clear up for tomorrow and the Glacier Park.

Tuesday 28 July

Bright sunny day this morning just the day to be heading up into the mountains to the Glacier Park so we got away early and joined the queue of people winding the way up the mountain and as we got closer we could see clouds hanging over the mountain so was not going to be a bright sunny day after all. We got to the entrance and were only about six in the queue so we paid our $24, were told that Logan's pass was closed, so on up the mountains we went stopping every so often for the magnificent views on the beautiful Lakes with incredible reflections there we got to a location called avalanche falls and we are intending to Park there and go for a walk but every iota of parking space was taken so after doing a circuit we asked the Ranger he says nope everything is full, can we go on we asked nope he said you are too wide and too high, later we found it would not have mattered if we were a smartcar we are still been turned round.

So was back out the way we came we passed through the entrance gates 10 a.m. as a queue to come in that must've been 5 km in length so we were glad we did that at the time we did. We set the GPS to St Mary with the thought of doing the missing bit from the other side so we drove the scenic route around the forest then onto a narrow road with wonderful views over the river and Lakes, he said something about vehicles over 21 feet long but we carried on we got to St Mary, found the entrance to the glacier Park, went through the entrance waving our pass and the warden said you can drive 100 m and then turn round the Road is closed from thereon, so that was the end of that but we had some wonderful Photos during the drive. A little later on a look out we found a notice showing the area of where a forest fire was raging, which was the area around Logan's pass which is probably the real reason for the Road being closed.

We saw a tremendous amount of motorbikes today often travelling and route groups of 12 or 24, most wore helmets but it was interesting the numbers that did not, and we thought of this later this afternoon we passed an accident with a motorcycle and probably a car, emergency services were all around the area so we sought a hoped that motorcycle rider was one that wore a helmet.

I then set the GPS for Shelby knowing they would take us through the closest town of Browning but on the other side are brining we changed our direction and decided to go down 89 which took us through a almost deserted countryside with the odd house and a few cows and very straight roads rising to the horizon, go over that hill on the Road carries on forever. I was well and truly ready to call it quits for the driving for the day went on the outskirts of Dupuyer we found a rest area, very well laid out, so we here we are for the night.
Wednesday, July 29

Reading through the last newsletter after I had sent it out I'd missed out to interesting bits! The first was when Luda was sending the letter off to Russia that had been signed at the consulate, we centred by Fed Ex, the young guy that took $153 off us to send a letter asked what were we doing in Yakima I told him we were visiting a friend and did he know a photographer by the name of Ken Whitmire, he said yes of course, that's the most positive reply I've had from a member of the public when I've asked them about a photographer, so good on you Ken.

Ken has just completed one of his annual wall portrait seminar's with over 60 people attending, some big names, he says large size war portraits are coming back, and to prove the point he presented us with a portrait he had done up in the red forest, as we passed through last year, mounted on McDonald's canvas, a disappearing technique! Now to work out how to get it back on the plane with us but Luda is confident!

Today we drove towards Grand Falls along an almost deserted highway, and it points I wanted why they had a motorway there as there was so little traffic, Montano is called the "Big Sky State " and with the ground meeting the sky in a straight line all around you you certainly get a bigger sky than driving through the mountains or a forest. I was surprised how many oil wells we saw as we drove, every farm seemed to have at least one and we saw one in the middle of a large wheat field.

Our first step upon arriving to town was trying to find a Wi-Fi signal that we could use and eventually I found one in Barnes & Noble once I'd had a Microsoft technician explain what the little shield on the Wi-Fi symbol meant. Thanks to Barnes & Noble I got the last newsletter away, and caught up with all of our emails, then there was a quick trip to the petrol station, dumb station, and grocery shop before we headed off to the Lewis and Clark exhibition Centre on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River between its famous four waterfalls, we went through the centre which laid out in good detail their adventure from Kansas City to the Pacific and back in the early 1800s being the first explorers to have done that, there was done so they could find out exactly what they had purchased in the Louisiana purchase, and in doing so they basically opened up the West to all those who followed.

We then took a small side trip to an area near Ryan's island that was labelled the Great Falls, or they were once before they built a dam called Ryan dam, was an interesting drive down a Road that was obviously not a main Highway so whilst it was on the centres information they handed out not many took the trip.

Then it was back to Walmart for parking for the night.

Thursday, July 30

Before we left the city we went back to the Barnes & Noble site to log onto their Wi-Fi, downloaded our emails and then we were ready for the Road South Interstate 15 which again like yesterday had very little traffic and after a while we stopped at a viewpoint where we could look down on Highway 91 which was built in the 30s and wound its way through the incredible rock formations of the area around the town of Hardy.

After reading the information we decided we would leave the interstate and follow Highway 91 all the way through to Halina so I instructed the GPS to ignore motorways and we came up with the route was 100 km longer are certainly much more interesting. We joined the route at Hardy which was a very small settlement on the banks of the Missouri River and 91 followed the River for quite a long distance until it started being mixed in with the interstate and at that time we did a left turn and took to the hills. We crossed over the Continental divide but before we left the Missouri River we photographed very many people fly fishing in the river mainly from boats one person front and back with a person sitting in the middle rowing, formed the opinion that there were probably more fishermen on the river and perhaps there were fish in the river.

The roads that took us through the countryside were overall very well maintained but then again we saw very little traffic. We saw a little of wildlife as we went through the countryside and on one occasion couple of deer ran away from the roadside deeper into the field which was a rather beautiful sight. There was quite a lot of birdlife on the River and at one junction we saw five pelicans resting and eventually they flew away on up the River and we could see them in the distance for some time.

This evening we downloaded 2000 photographs from Luda's CompactFlash card was a very fast process with the new computer and USB three. I purchased a device that was a make up and was supposed to work with thunderbolt connection and work some 30 times faster but neither the Apple side or the Microsoft side of the computer could see it so obviously more work is required.

We getting to like this extra rental motorhome as it has been very well designed and is very livable and certainly very easy to drive.

We are camped in a free camping ground near Townsend near the Missouri River within earshot of the main railway line and for some reason they had to blow their whistle about 15 to 20 seconds every time they came close to us but apart from that was a nice location


to top right....

Friday, July 31

We carried on South passing close to Three Forks and on South through Harrison and Sterling, both towns if you blink you miss, at Ennis we did a right turn that took us into Virginia city a town either side of Highway 287 that was built during the moments of a gold rush and thanks to the effort of two people it has been kept in its original 1800s splendour. It is rather interesting walking along the boardwalk although the dirt road and horse shit was missing which sort of defeated the purpose of the boardwalk but I guess it is an authentic as it is possible in today's age.

After walking up one side and back down the other was back on the motorhome and back to the turn off at Ennis and then carried on our way towards the west Yellowstone entrance where for $50 we are allowed to drive the motorhome through Yellowstone and Tetons Park for seven days, but don't think about camping in any of the campgrounds because they are all full.

Was interesting as we drove through the countryside to see that the whole area is a massive wheat farm with storages silos everywhere, it was interesting to see large groups of deer grazing in the paddocks as we went past, okay we see this in New Zealand but they have high fences around them where as these deer could hop over the ordinary fence in a way into the mountains in a moment. A little bit later we came across a lot of cars parked on the side of the Road as we went past there was a fully grown female deer standing there posing.

Driving through the Park endeavouring to miss nothing we did a right-hand turn and then saw a sign saying RVs not recommended, or perhaps it was stronger saying not permitted, that they put a sign up like this they should allow for a U-turn but on the narrow road we only had one option and it was to go forward's we drove along this interesting winding one-way narrow road we finally came to a spot where we could turn round but there was a large sign informing us we were on a one-way road, so there was only one way out and that was to carry on, just a little bit further on the must been a swimming pool in the River that people liked because there were parked all along the road for at least a kilometre perhaps two and driving past the car Park that was large enough for perhaps 12 cars it are obviously not been planned that well, we just managed to get through and had to be but two guys standing on a bridge who would had been wiped out with our rear vision mirror as we passed them it was with a great deal of relief that we heard the GPS tell us to do a right turn and a few metres, this was just right on a magnificent waterfall so just round the corner there was a car Park and click went a few more photos.

It almost seems like a large majority of the motorbikes passing us I with guys and dolls not wearing crash helmets we are a course in Montana which is it pretty much of a he-man state with the wild outdoors in all and I wonder if you're a guy in this state and you have adopted all your life a he-man image likes of which we see in Hollywood versions of wargames where the one guy saves the world, now you have that image putting crash helmet on would certainly destroy it! Some of the girls, ladies, women, call them what you like, forget about not messing with the guy if you see her coming towards you with a broken beer bottle in her hand, run a mile.......

We crossed over into Idaho for a few moments and then back into Montana before finally ending up in Wyoming in the Park.

There were three areas of thermal activity and we stopped at each one, finding parking was the most interesting part but that turned out to be reasonably easy and walking through the areas reminded is a lot of Rotorua but probably 10 times bigger. We got to the last area which was near the visitor centre and the geyser called Old Faithful, and we sure's some of the hundreds of people waiting for it to perform had been there for up to 2 hours but after two minutes for us up at went we captured our photos back to the motorhome quickly, and tried to exit the area before everybody else tried to at the same time.

There are quite a few other photo opportunities as we drove South towards the exit all the time looking for somewhere to park for the night and as we went out the exit it showed us all the campgrounds that there were ahead of us with the word full against each one, so once out of the park we pulled into a rest area and hopefully will be okay here for the night.

Saturday, August 1

We had a peaceful night's sleep and as we drove out around the corner down into the Teton Park, just round the corner was a large sign saying no camping at any time, however I guess with all the campgrounds full they did not have many options but to leave us there. We had an early start getting away before we had breakfast whilst the light was still good and drove towards a dam, got some beautiful photos with the reflections on the Lake, then drove on towards Moose and stopped with a magnificent view of these relatively new mountains, so we are told, but they are the sharpest and most dramatic mountains in the world, their silver granite peaks rise over a mile above the lush snake River Valley of Jackson hole and they form a very photographic part of the Rocky Mountains.

We entered the Grand Teflon Park and as we went past the ticket office I was told I had my past upside down, I explained I was from New Zealand so it was the right way up!

Once we reached Moose we took a different Road back towards Yellowstone, I describe this Road is the high Road, and the Road we just come off as the low road, as going back we had magnificent views from a totally different angle of the Grand Tetons, and from the high view we were able to see some of the incredible rapids being navigated by groups of people in their inflatable boats, in fact it almost looked like they were lined up to shoot the rapids.

This whole area was also very much outdoors with lots of tramping trails or horse riding an even bicycle riding. We then exited from the Grand Teflons and were back in the Yellowstone Park where with our seven day pass they welcomed us back.

So we drove back up into Yellowstone Park, very quickly reaching the Yellowstone Lake passing a sign that informed us we just crossed over the Continental divide at about 7500 feet, and at that point we decided that perhaps it was time to move on so when we reached Highway 20 we did a right-hand turn towards Cody and carried on around the edge of the Lake and carried on through some incredible scenery eventually reaching another very high spot, we know it was high because the sign told us there was a 7° slope down for a period of 5 miles reaching the bottom as 6700 feet so summary that was good at maths will be able to tell us at what height we started.

Getting close to Cody we found ourselves driving along side an artificial lake and then there was a viewpoint to some canyons that had magnificent colours while were the of being recorded.

Entering Cody we found on the left-hand side a rodeo stadium that was used for the Cody stampede and every night between June and August they stage a rodeo and even though at home we're probably only 20 miles away from a rodeo that we have never attended we decided to join all of the others at the Cody Rodeo.

All this was decided after we had driven through Cody, filled up with petrol and propane, noted the incredible number of motorbikes in town and were told that they were all on the way to Sturges's motorcycle rally which turns a town of 6000 this year into 1 million+ and we even saw 14 people from Switzerland at the rodeo that were in the area to attend Sturges and probably guessing this three or four bikes we saw earlier on the trip with New Zealand blazoned on it were heading this direction also.

We got to the rodeo as the gates opened found a good position in the stands and then waited for an hour for things to begin, they started proceedings with a prayer asking the riders to be blessed, the people attending to be blessed, all of the American soldiers overseas to be blessed and closed, with a loud applause from the total crowd. The next was a young lady about 18 who stood out in the centre of the ground and then started singing the national anthem, of course everyone stood and we thought we should, all were frightened of what would happen if we didn't being in Wyoming.

Wyoming is obviously a blue state as the funny guy who is trying to keep people amused told a joke about Obama which went down very well.

I found my Samsung SLR not quite responsive enough for this type of photography and also had overestimated the amount of life in the battery so when the camera stopped working I wanted back to the RV, replaced the battery, went back in the grandstand on the other side and found the limitations of the camera. After experiencing this rodeo we may give the Mevhen rodeo at home a chance.

We were parked with other RVs right beside the exit so we are able to leave very easy and headed to the Walmart car Park just down the road for the evening.

Sunday, August 2

We headed east on Highway 14 to we got to Graybull then we went south to Worland and then east again over route 16 that took us through the Bighorn National Forest arriving in Buffalo which was a little bit of a one Buffalo town, so we carried on East to Gillette a town of much larger substance.

Was just a matter are driving through forests and countryside today, and was interesting to note again the oil wells pumping away making somebody some money, again the traffic was extremely light on the roads, a lot of the roads we drove on were extremely scenic with some of the mountains we passed by made from rock they claim was about 3 billion years old, I'm not quite sure how they worked that out, again we were up to about 9600 feet in height and of course if you start off at that height you have a long way to go down and we went through five downhill grades where they warned us to check our brakes and to use a low gear, again we were pleased to be in our current motorhome with how easy it handled the downhill runs.

Again there were motorbikes everywhere, every style, every size, even one three Wheeler that had been converted from a mustang, not exactly a pretty sight, and one had to also include a lot of the people riding their Harley Davison's et cetera, the great majority without crash helmets, they also came in all shapes and sizes, remembering this is the home of the super-size.







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