Day 32 (June 26, 2020): Glacier National Park – Riding Going-to-the-Sun Road

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!

Going-to-the-Sun Road
Flathead River
Going-to-the-Sun Road
Tunnel on Going-to-the-Sun Road
Going-to-the-Sun Road
Weeping Wall
Marmots are relatively large ground squirrels. These herbivores are active during the summer when often found in groups, but are not seen during the winter when they hibernate underground.
It was really cold and windy at the Pass. Not much time was spent there!
In for the night at a Big Creek campground in the National Forest outside of Glacier National Park

Day 31 (June 25, 2020): Huckleberry Lookout in Glacier National Park

Visited the small town of Polebridge and picked up some provisions for breakfast and lunch.

Hiked the 6-mile hike (12-miles out-and-back) to the Huckleberry Lookout. I was having a low energy day which made the hike extra challenging.

Huckleberry Trail
View from Huckleberry Trail
Huckleberry Trail
Lookout – Huckleberry Trail
View from the top
View from the top
View from the top
View from the top
Camping at Super-1 Foods I’m Columbia Falls, Montana

Day 30 (June 24, 2020): Wallace, Idaho

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.

Dedicated to the miners and their families worldwide
I think this is where they keep the naughty children
Liking the utilitarian, prison-grade restroom fixtures – who doesn’t like a good shine on their toilet!

Strange Things

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.”

Dirty Ernies (apparently recently renamed Dirty Dog Saloon)

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.”

Center of the Universe Manhole Cover
Standing at 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.

Food truck

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.

Abandoned railroad bed from early 1900’s
Tunnel from early 1900’s
Abandoned railroad bed from early 1900’s

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.

Flathead Lake, Montana
Flathead Lake, Montana

Day 29 (June 23, 2020): Hiawatha Rails-to-Trails

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.

Looking down from the top of a trestle
On a trestle with a second trestle in the distance
Train trestle
Looking through a gap in the trestle boards
View from trestle with two trestles in the background
Long trestle
Riding an old trestle that will be part of the expanded Hiawatha trail
Waterfall at the 1.7 mile-long tunnel
Tunnel to trestle
Long high trestle

Spent the night in the local Walmart parking lot.

Day 27 (June 21, 2020): Yellowstone National Park

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.

Gravel road in Yellowstone – morning bike ride
Yellowstone Bike Route

So much to see in Yellowstone. I never get tired of boiling mud, water and steam rising from the ground.

Day 26.5 June 20, 2020): Yellowstone National

Sulfur Cauldron

Sulfur Cauldron

And because you can never see enough pictures of boiling water and mud . . .

ok . . . enough of boiling water and mud . . . here’s the Yellowstone River Falls . . .

Calling it a day . . . camped inside the park at Grant Village Campground wall-to-wall (tree-to-tree) people. They really pack them in.

Day 24 (June 18, 2020): Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Have you ever woken up in a brewery parking lot? I have.

Snake River Brewing

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.

Jackson, Wyoming

Gros Ventre Road