Drive from Whitefish to Bozeman today.
We woke up early and got the heck out of Whitefish (fancytown). Breakfast was at McDonald’s, a sign of our downward spiral. We drove back up to Glacier, obsessed with the one trail we couldn’t get parking for yesterday. We did today! So we did the Trail of Cedars and Avalanche Lake trail. The hike was pretty good, only a little over 4 miles. Sarah thought it was pretty boring (“this is just like Wisconsin”) and Matt’s back just hurt. The end made up for it – it was amazing – there was a valley with towering mountain cliffs on 3 sides and melting snowpack created multiple waterfalls that fed a blue-green lake with a pebble covered beach. Fine, we don’t have that in Wisconsin. It was stunning. On the trail we met someone who had lived in Madison for 11 years and whose daughter lived in Stoughton.
We hiked back and started the drive back from the west side of Glacier National Park – we drove south through Bigfork and along Flathead Lake (STUNNING), where there were lots of orchards. We had already stopped at a huckleberry stand and purchased huckleberry products (can never have enough) and local cherries. We then drove through Missoula, Butte, and finally onto Bozeman – 337 miles total after our hike. Montana is slightly less boring than North Dakota because of all the mountains – they are just beautiful. In fact, just as we drove past the Sapphire Mountains, a rock came shooting out of nowhere and cracked our windshield. Sarah was hoping it was a sapphire, but no such luck. We argued over whether it was illegal to drive with a cracked windshield, but really just don’t care anymore.
We are staying at the C’mon Inn (there’s a classy looking Marriott next door…sigh) – which actually is pretty nice. Relatively speaking. They have 4 hot tubs in the lobby with a waterfall in the middle. There is also a koi pond. We are not making this up. There was a woman reading a book in one of the hot tubs. Spent some time in the pool (guess the Missoula Starbucks coffee didn’t hold us over as both kids accidentally went under at least once as we were standing in the pool with glazed over eyes falling asleep) and put the kids down. Got pizza from Cosmic Pizza and are embarrassed to admit we paid $15.99 for the privilege of watching American Reunion on Pay Per View. Even more embarrassed to admit it was good, and only Matt was drinking! There is a twist at the end that neither of us expected. We cannot believe we are even writing this.
The counts by this point:
– Blisters on Matt’s feet – 5
– Number of toenails Sarah will have left after a visit to the podiatrist after this trip secondary to her hiking boots – 7 (but she only started with 9)
– Number of episodes of Bubble Guppies viewed: 197
– Number of 10 commandment signs viewed by the road today in MT: 12
– Number of miles we need to drive to Rapid City, SD tomorrow – 500
Bozeman MT to Rapid City: 500 miles today – I-90 the whole way
The C’Mon Inn in Bozeman was the best motel of the trip and probably in a while we have stayed in. Continental breakfast was superb (they had some device where you could make pancakes on a conveyer belt), nice facilities (Matt saw people feeding their conveyor belt pancakes to the fish in the cute koi pond in the lobby), great room. Would highly recommend it if you stay in Bozeman. Bummer we couldn’t stay longer. Just needs a better name. Bozeman looked awesome – kind of actually reminded us of a smaller Madison WI near some mountains.
World’s most painful day in the Wagon Queen Family Truckster (which is covered in so much junk at this point we pray no one can see in the windows). The drive was hideously painful – followed a Nissan from Iowa for like 2 hours until Sarah passed him. Passed some camper from IL with a hideous Bears logo on their spare tire THREE times. The first time was before Billings. Then we stopped in Billings at an Arby’s/gas station/casino. So we passed them again after Billings. Then we stopped at the site of Custer’s last stand at Little Bighorn where Sarah suffered heat stroke. THEN we passed that damn camper again. The speed limit was 75, which meant you could legitimately go 85, and they were doing like 60! Man, Illinois people. They annoy us no matter where we are. We also were passed by two Montana Dept of Corrections vans – the first with bars over the windows and carrying about 10 people in orange jumpsuits and the second with a large metal “cage” in the back – it looked like a gigantic metal box that someone had drilled lots of 2″ holes into and put a small door on, and the driver was talking to someone that must have been in there…we slowed down and let them get WAY ahead of us.
It was so boring that we had to make our own entertainment. Matt now knows all the facts about Wyoming (otherwise known as the “Equality State”) and South Dakota via Sarah reading it to him off Wikipedia. Also about Wisconsin (hey, why not read about our own state?). Reading about the West and Native Americans sure doesn’t make the US Government look all that good. Also, the person who basically founded Rapid City was Dr. McGillycuddy! The question is….is he THE Dr. McGillycuddy? How many can there be?
So to complete our food journaling, we had coffee from City Brew in Bozeman today which Sarah declared the best mocha since living in Tacoma. We had Arby’s from the casino gas station for lunch. Then Culver’s for dinner! That’s how you know you are near home. Well, 12.5 hours from home at any rate. This is also how you know that you are feeling vaguely queasy from eating nothing but garbage 90% of the time for the past 7 days.
We arrived at the Comfort Suites here and hit the pool (NOTE: we have not encountered a heated pool yet here in the “west”. No idea why.). Plans are to relive all of Sarah’s treasured childhood roadtrip memories of South Dakota through the kids now for a couple days. And make sure the kids don’t see the indoor waterpark hotel across the street that we were too cheap to stay at.