Thursday, September 12, 2013

From Helena to Salmon Lake State Park, and Kalispell, Montana

Tonight we are perched near Glacier National Park in a little town called Kalispell, Montana. In the morning we plan to drive the 30 miles to the park, spend the entire day driving around Glacier and then come back to Kalispell for another night.  We want to be prepared while we're in an area where there are lots of tourists, so this time we made reservations!

Shocking as that might seem, for us, we learned the hard way in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 2007 when, without reservations,  we got the very last available hotel room, after dark, with full bladders.  Never again.  This morning we booked for tonight at the Comfort Inn, and while we were walking around town before dinner, we discovered the Historic Kalispell Grand Hotel right downtown in the middle of everything, where we are expected tomorrow evening, when we drag ourselves out of the park.  We like to stay in at least one historic hotel per trip, if we can find one and get the room. (See September 2012, Deadwood, South Dakota for last year's hotel.) Here's a picture of where we'll be tomorrow night.

I started the day with my 30-minute walk.  I took off in the direction of that state capitol dome I showed you yesterday, and it took me exactly 35 minutes to walk to the capitol building and back to the Comfort Inn.  I learned a little about Helena, Montana while I was on my walk.  It's safe.  In many cities we've been to, I would no more go by myself on a walk in the city than I would fly.  I walked through neighborhoods, shopping areas, on a sidewalk of a main artery, and never felt that I needed to look over my shoulder. Helena is a friendly city, too,  judging by the people who wished me a good morning.

We left our motel in late morning and started north again.  We had a plan to get near to Glacier National Park for the night, and it was only 195 miles, so we took our time.  Gas became an issue, as the gas stations are few and far between.  We had thrown a few cans of sardines into the "food box" before leaving home, and today they came in handy when we didn't see any place to eat and no place to buy lunch ingredients.  We picnicked at a rest area at an intersection of two roads, and that is, literally, all that was there. We haven't starved yet, and we didn't run out of gas, either.

We drove up a mountain or two, and we stopped to enjoy them. Randy helped a couple who had a flat tire, and we followed them to the next crossroad town to be sure they got there. We finished  our audio book, and then we sang along to the Sons of the San Joaquin, singing about Montana. We stopped at every single "hysterical marker" to become familiar with local history.


We passed several lakes, and then came to Salmon Lake State Park.  It was beautiful enough to stop t for a photo, and before we knew it we had taken out our folding lawn chairs and gone down to the side of this lake.  We sat in the sunshine and listened to the quiet and the waves lapping the shore. We watched canoe paddlers silently go by, and a pontoon boat floated around in the lake for awhile. Two women sat on the shore not far from us, but we basically had the beach to ourselves.  What a delightful way to spend an hour!

No bars on the phone!

Kalispell finally appeared. We have not driven far today.  We rested.  Dinner was a grilled flank steak at the North Bay Grille downtown, after we walked the entire length of Main Street, up and back, to check out the lay of the land.

A few pictures can finish up today's post.  "When there's nothing to say, stop talking," was good advice I got years ago.  Still working on that one........................


Copyright: KP Gillenwater 2013