Currently half of Glacier National Park is closed due to COVID-19 concerns with adjacent Indian reservations. Shuttles are not running and roads are being closed as the number of parking spaces are filled. There is still plenty of opportunity to see the wonders of the park.
Had the great opportunity to ride the Going-to-the-Sun Road for 22 miles with few and then no cars. The total ride (out-and-back) was 42-miles with 3,600 feet of elevation gain. Total time – 6 hours. It was quite the grind up the mountain on a fat bike. A very enjoyable day!
Woke up in Smelterville, Idaho in a Walmart parking lot. It’s really nice that Walmart, in general, supports over-night parking.
Points of Interest
Idaho’s Silver Valley: Standing in the silver capital of the world, looking at historic machinery used in the mining process.
Drove through the small town of Kellogg, Idaho. They have a very nice high school ball field downtown – right next to Dirty Ernies. “Hey kids . . . let’s go watch some high school baseball and then we can walk next door to Dirty Ernies for some beverages and ice cream.”
Standing in the center of the universe:
ON THE CORNER OF BANK Street and Sixth Street in the quaint mining town of Wallace, Idaho, you will find a manhole. Initially, it may seem like an unremarkable sewer cover, but step a bit closer and you’ll realize it is much, much more: It is the Center of the Universe.
The town of Wallace is four by nine blocks and has a current population of 784 citizens. But in 2004, the mayor made a proclamation: “I, Ron Garitone, Mayor of Wallace, Idaho, and all of its subjects, and being of sound body and mind, do hereby solemnly declare and proclaim Wallace to be the Center of the Universe.”
Other oddities in Wallace include an old bus used as a food truck and a couple of amusement park rides from years gone by.
Rails to Trails
Rode the route of an old abandoned railway from Lookout Mountain in Montana to the site of the town of Taft and then up the hill to the St. Paul Tunnel at the East Portal. The ride was an out-and-back, a total of 20 miles. The ride started with 8-miles of downhill, followed by 2-miles uphill. On the return trip, the 8-miles uphill was kind of a grind.
Moving On: Drove from the Idaho/Montana border to Kalispell, Montana. Camped for the might at the local Walmart. The drive was beautiful. There was a thunderstorm and and some double rainbows.
The Route of the Hiawatha mountain bike or hike trail is 15 miles long (one way) with 10 train tunnels and 7 sky-high trestles. The ride starts with a trip through the 1.661 mile long St. Paul Pass Tunnel, also known as the Taft Tunnel. It is a highlight of the trail that follows the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains near Lookout Pass Ski Area. Rode the trail both ways and added an extra 20-miles continuing on the trail. Rounded out the day with 50-miles of riding.
Another marvelous day in Yellowstone. Started the day with an 8-mile bike ride on a gravel road inside the park. I did have one small mishap with a bison that I accidentally startled. I swear he was hiding behind a tree. He gave me a snort and I backed up quickly. He would not move off the trail, so had to go around.
So much to see in Yellowstone. I never get tired of boiling mud, water and steam rising from the ground.
Have you ever woken up in a brewery parking lot? I have.
Stopping in to sample the local brew and asked the manager if I could park overnight in the brewery parking lot. While she couldn’t say yes, she didn’t say no. So, after a cold beverage and a snack, Vanna called the parking lot home for the night.
After grabbing a couple of bagels at Pearl Street Bagels, and snapping a couple of pictures of downtown Jackson Hole, I headed to Gros Ventre Road. Drove through the small town of Kelley, Wyoming.