A Travellerspoint blog

Completed:- Los Angeles-Great Forks-Great Falls

And we beat the bad weather in the process!

semi-overcast 16 °C

Saturday, 17th May 2014: Room 405, Hilton Garden Inn, Great Falls, Montana, USA

One of our songs from The Highway XM to get you in the mood:

We have now completed 3,052 miles in our trusty GMC Yukon XL and tomorrow will be reluctantly returning it to Hertz.

Last night we found there was a limited choice of places for dinner. We had to time it to get back to see someone win $1m on Jeopardy. Bob's "hairstylist" - he got his hair cut for $CAN21! - recommended the "Swiss Chalet" which was neither Swiss nor a chalet. We allowed ourselves a couple of hours, but after a 45 minute wait, we were beginning to wonder if we'd make it.


But eventually our meals arrived (everyone had got to the restaurant just before us!):-

Bob's Pork Cutlet with Baked Potato


and John's delicious Cajun Chicken Salad (with Caesars dressing)


Rain was forecast for today so we did not hold out much hope for our drive alongside Waterton Park, then across the border, and on skirting Glacier Park. In between getting up and getting dressed there was quite a downpour


Down for our "free breakfast" we found the two Mounties whose vehicle we showed you yesterday. Arthur wanted to know where their horse, red tunics and big hats were?


Although not raining, it did not look great when we left


but, encouragingly, there was some sun on the snowy Rockies peaks.


Every time we stopped for a picture or "other reason" (too much coffee!), the cloud would catch us up.


That last peak is "Chief Mountain" after which the border crossing was named. This extremely remote point only opened after the Winter on Thursday and then only from 9-8. We had no idea how busy it would be, given it's a holiday weekend in Canada, we thought there may be masses of campers going to Glacier NP. But the road was all but empty and we got to the border 5 minutes before it opened, with two cars (both Albertans) waiting in front of us.


A very pleasant and chatty female US border official checked us out and after a few pleasantries about our trip, waved us through, entering the USA at 9.04am! We even learned that she had been brought up in Germany....

We found the recently opened road to be piled high at the sides with snow, and we encountered zero traffic until we got away from the wonderful, marvellous, fabulous, Glacier Park.


We hit a "town" which seemed vaguely familiar. Then we realised that there was plastic strewn everywhere and much of it caught up in the fences. Aaah, just like home! As coffee withdrawal symptoms had set in, we stopped at the local gas station and general store. We then realised the reason for the mess (so sorry to have to acknowledge this, but we have seen it so often before) this town is home to a Blackfoot indian tribe. Arthur said they were very dangerous and were having a pow-wow about doing some scalpings. Stan ensured the doors were locked. However, Bob emerged unscathed from the shop bearing 2 cups of very good coffee!


We have seen election posters all over the US, but here, it also seems to involve elections to the tribal council and it looked as if every brave, and his squaw, were standing:-


The drive down US89 to Great Falls was pretty uneventful, all the time, accompanied by the Rockies on our right, including the Grand Tetons, which Arthur kindly translated from the French for an embarrassed Stan.


Bob often gets the short straw when he takes over the driving. This time, the road was being rebuilt and he had 8 miles of gravel road to deal with.


We arrived in Great Falls without further ado. A strange, larger-than-expected city which we doubt we will have time to get to grips with. An early start in the morning to catch the 7am Alaska Airways shuttle flight to Seattle, then our American Airlines flight to Chicago for the next exciting leg of our trip.

At the moment, Bob is forensically packing while John bashes this out, Bob also having completed another load in the guest laundry.

Thanks for sticking with us Bloggers!


Posted by Johnash 16:39 Archived in USA

Table of contents


Thank you for ALL of your comments.

No, Anthea, no sign of Canada being finished yet.

Yes, IanT, we spotted T#ber on the map but could not divert via it much as we would have liked to photograph the signs for you!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIN! Raise your glasses to Lin and her @@years!

No Bob has not shrunk, Vivienne. Neither has John as you may have guessed.

MC, yes had Canadian bacon but it's not as we remember it. We thought it was more like English back bacon but none of what we had was like that.

Yes, S&G, there was some bacon in there. Not quite as tough and tasteless as the USA variety.

Bad storms now hitting US89 we just drove down. Phew!

by Johnash

Yet more splendid mountain scenery finishing this leg of your adventures! Thankfully, we don't have a glut of election posters (for May 22) littering our highways. Enjoy your criss-cross of the Rockies today (in Great Falls, aren't you already 1/3 of the way to Chicago?) - & enjoy the 'Windy City'! Cheers from Don'n'me in warm, sunny, blue-skies Bournemouth...

by IanT

Beautiful scenery...what a great leg of the trip!

by Cherry and Chris

Well despite the weather the scenery was still fantastic. Think the snow made it look even better (never thought we'd say that about snow!!) Glad you managed to outrun the storms.

by Sue and Gordy

You did well to get into Glacier NP on 17 May - when we visited in 1996 it was still closed at the end of May! Don't know what his (or her) politics are, but I'd vote for Sooney Little Plume! Thanks for raising a toast to my 70th (Lin)a good time was had by all at the Cat and Custard Pot. Hope part 2 of your trip goes well!

by Lin & Norma

We think we have one up on you two, we have seen a Mountie in full red uniform.
Pity about the weather, glad to say we are having a spell of lovely weather.

by Brien

Amazing scenery.
Nice to see you let Bob have a drive!!

by Trez

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