Washington, Montana, North Dakota

Oh my!!! Long time no post.
Well, we were in the eastern part of Washington (wine country) for one night and then off to Big Sky Montana. OMG! What a place. Most of the state is open and beautiful, farms and pastures. Glacier National Park is one of the most beautiful places we have been. It was an interesting drive, however.
Backing up… We left Olympic National Park and drove about eight hours to our favorite Washington winery, Terra Blanca. We spent an awesome afternoon there tasting and taking in the sights of the rolling hills and grapevines. The area is also in a drought, as is most of the west, but the grape vines like the stress- at least the stress makes good grapes. We had an opportunity to talk with Keith, the wine maker we met when he was in VA, as he poured a couple tastings for us. He also likes to travel in his fifth wheel pulled by his personal semi. Wow. Anyway, he told us more about the area and the geology. What a cool guy! The winery is as beautiful as it looks online and we LOVE the wine.
Our RV park had the word beach in the title; there was no water. Ha! The good thing about Beach RV Park is the location in the middle of a ton of wineries and with views of a little pasture with cows and horses. Sitting out the night we were there we watched a fabulous sunset. Great little pull through spot.

imageViews from Terra Blanca

imageWild growing grapes we picked on a hike next to the Yakama River

imageAnimal bridge over the highway

From there we headed east late in the day, purposely took a road to a state park, couldn’t park, made the scariest u-turn in an RV with a tow car, ever, and headed further east to a regular rest stop! Longer version of this is we wanted to see the scab lands. Andrew thought he had it all planned out so off we went! It should have been in the eastern area of Washington (and it is, just not where we were!) and it was something Andrew wanted to see on our way to Glacier. We ended up on a very narrow and no cross street road for a very long time. No wide areas to pull off to park, no homes, no businesses. I could not even tell you the name of the street. Anyway, in the dark, we decided we should turn around at the first cross street (or tiny dirt road) and we did. Andrew swung as wide as he could to the right,  down the cross street, looped around, and was not able to cut back onto the road… So, he went all the way around the outside of the street sign, onto the grass shoulder area and squeaked through with the RV and tow car. OMG! We then got back on the highway and stopped in a rest stop in Idaho. What a night.

First day Glacier National Park views:

imageAlong a stream from glacier melt

imageSmoke from the current fire in the park

imageWe saw five goats, a grizzly bear and three rams right along road in Glacier National

imageBurned forest area in the park. It was so recent for safety reasons we were prohibited from stopping in this area of the park.

The next morning we were back to the drive and drove about 9 hours to go 6 hours distance. Fires, road restrictions, road closures and construction made the trip eventful. As I’ve said a few times in my posts there is a terrible drought and a lot of fires in the west. Montana is the same. We were diverted because of a fire burning in Glacier National Park and we are lucky we made it through when we did because it is the only RV friendly road from west to east in or anywhere near the park. The second day we were in the park the winds picked up and the road had to be shut down.

Second Day Glacier National Park Views:

imageMountain layers

imageThose are clouds, the winds blew the smoke away!

imageThat is snow on the windshield. The day before the high was 80 degrees. Wow!

imageSnow capped mountains from a snow fall in August

Once at Johnson’s of St. Mary RV park we had the best view ever at an RV park (so far). We lucked out with a pull through spot facing the mountains and one of the lakes. The views, even with all the smoke from the fire, were fabulous. We drove through the park a couple times, did a couple short hikes, ate well at the restaurant in the RV park as well as a pizza shop right out of the east entrance to the park. Glacier National Park also has very cool old Fords that were fixed up for sight seeing. We didn’t take a tour, but the cool old convertibles would be a nice way to see the park. Anyway, such a fabulous place. We will be back!!

imageGood morning Glacier National Park and goodbye for now!

After three nights here we were back to the drive. The rest of the drive is about getting home more than anything. That said, I’m always looking for small towns to check out and sights to see along the way. Yesterday we stopped at a state park in the very eastern area of Montana.

imageMontana does have big skies!!

We drove US 2 for many hours out of Glacier and it was rolling hills, big sky beautiful. Then we hopped onto Montana 13 and found a Badlands/Dinosaur State Park. We were too late to see the dinosaur info in the visor center but not too late for the most interesting sunset I’ve ever seen. From the top of a butte on our hike in the park we could see east, and the sunset. The eastern skies were the true beauty though. Fluffy clouds lined the sky, they were the colors of a really bad bruise. Black, navy blue, royal blue, pinks and red. Stunning!

imageSunset in the west

imageThe eastern skies as the sun set... This photo is only a fraction of the colors we saw

imageOur hike back after the sunset

My camera would not capture the actual colors my eyes could see, but the photos are pretty anyway. It was a great hike! From here we drove into North Dakota where we parked at a rest stop in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Cool rest area! We couldn’t see much in the dark when we parked, but the view this morning was great. It is a park full of badlands and really pretty. Badlands are created as the rains slowly break apart the soil into house sized pieces and cause them to slowly slide down… Eventually, the whole area will be flat.

imageRest area views

Currently, I have intermittent access to ATT signals and so I’ve decided to post!! We had no signal at all at Glacier (which was awesome) so I am a little late in posing. More later as we continue our drive east on Interstate 94!!