Tuesday, June 30—Browning, MT to Libby, MT
The wind was blowing early this morning as I set off for Glacier National Park (see also Wikipedia for park history, geology, etc.). This is the Montana I love with rolling foothills leading into the Rocky Mountains. (In this part of the state, the sub-ranges are the Lewis and Livingston Mountains.) I started off the morning listening to Bob Seger. After a photo stop, as the road climbed and wound to the left and right, my music system automatically played America by Simon and Garfunkel, America by L.C. Greenwood, and then American Pie by Don McLean. I knew it was going to be a great day!
The park is an ever-changing demonstration of the majesty of God’s creation. It’s difficult to imagine the area as it once was, covered in 2,000 feet of ice and water. We are so concerned with the recession of many of the glaciers over the past 60 years. Yet it’s clear when you look out on the landscape that degree of change is relatively insignificant.
I entered the park from the east at St. Mary. This was the quickest way in given the direction in which I’d been traveling. It also had the advantages of direct sunlight on the mountains, and minimal traffic as most enter the park from West Glacier. Going To The Sun Road is under repair from Rising Sun to Siyeh Bend, so a few of the key roadside stops were inaccessible. Other than that deterrent, I stopped at most every turnout to take pictures.
I spent a fair amount of time at the visitor center at Logan Pass. Everyone wanted to have their picture taken in front of the sign marking the elevation. I was the volunteer photographer for about eight groups of people. I met Glen & Barb there. They just moved from San Rafael, CA, a town just south of where we live, to Auburn, CA. I found that so interesting as Lisa and I were looking at homes in Auburn before we bought ours in Novato.
I met a group of riders from Atlanta. Kent told me they rode 950+/- miles two straight days. I thought I was covering ground when I averaged 468 miles/day over the past three. My riding friend, Dave, thinks Kent is a certified nut.
As I made my way down the mountain towards West Glacier, the road was somewhat steep. There was a turnout on the right that was headed back uphill. I did my best to turn into it gently, but the slope and narrowness of the turnout didn’t give me much room to maneuver. Before I could get my feet down, I had to brake and the bike tipped over. That’s how I met Dave. He was driving a yellow, convertible Corvette uphill towards me. Dave pulled in to the turnout, as did the car coming down the mountain behind me. Dave and another chap helped pick up my Harley.
Dave and Chantal (riding with him but not pictured) are from Toronto. He’s 48 and this trip to Glacier checks an item off his bucket list. I think he was a little surprised to find out that I’m 61. Then I told him about Bruce, the 88 year-old from Richmond who rode 6,000 miles earlier this summer. Dave was amazed.
The landscape surrounding the ride from West Glacier to Libby is gorgeous. I hit the 10,000-mile mark of the trip on this stretch of road!
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Route: 464N, Starr School Rd, 89N, Going To The Sun Rd, 2W
Miles Today: 209
Time Today: 8:40
Total Trip Miles: 10,114
Weather: Sunny in low 60s to mid 90s
Lunch: Jammer Joe’s Grill & Pizzeria
Lodging: Country Inn
Fantastic narrative over the course of a great adventure!