Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Travel Stats and Getting Caught Up

Location: Keyhole State Park (el 4,200 ft); Moorcroft, Wyoming

(click picture to enlarge)
(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)

It's been 5 days since I posted with the last post being the final day at Glacier National Park. I left early that morning and put the Rocky Mountains in the mirror. I've crossed them several times over the last few months and I will miss them. 

I had a long haul to the town of Lewistown, Montana. I stayed there for 3 days, mostly inside because something I ate didn't agree with me. I'm pretty sure it was something healthy that I ate. I just can't seem to learn to avoid those things. I was feeling so poorly, I didn't even take a picture of the campsite. That is the first time I've stayed somewhere without taking a picture. Oh well, I don't think there was a lot to see in that area anyhow.


Hay?
I did get a picture of a reddish colored field right before Lewistown. I wasn't sure what it was but on my way out of town they were cutting it and furrowing it for bailing. I'm guessing some kind of hay. I haven't seen that red color before.  
An American Flag flying
proudly along the side of the
road. The nearest house was
at least 1 to 2 miles away.

After leaving Lewistown, I stayed one night in Hardin, Montana at the same campground I stayed when I visited The Battle of Little Bighorn a few weeks ago. The temperature reached 100 degrees the day I was there and was supposed to get to 101 today. Both record temperatures. I pulled out early to avoid the heat knowing that the place I was going to, Keyhole State Park, was suppose to be 15 degrees closer. 


Keyhole State Park
This is the first state park I've stayed at in a while and I miss them. It is a water/electric sight with a nice lake view. The price per night is the cheapest I've paid in the last couple months. I chose the park because I can use it as a home base to explore the area which includes seeing Devil's Tower. That is the exploration for tomorrow.

I put my travel statistics together while I was layed up in Lewistown. These stats are since April 11, 2014. 

33,311 Total miles traveled
17,131 miles towing
16,180 miles exploring
36 states visited
115 campgrounds 
51 of the campgrounds were state parks
149 miles (average) between campgrounds
4 days (average) stayed in each campground







Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Glacier National Park (part 4 and final)

Location: St. Mary/East Glacier KOA (el.4,500 ft); St. Mary, Montana

(click pictures to enlarge)
(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)


As planned, I took the boat tour of St. Mary Lake. It lasted a little more than one hour and was more peaceful than informative. I got lucky again in that there were only 3 other passengers besides me. The boat could hold about 30 but since it was the last tour of the day, I guess it wasn't as popular. I only have a few pictures to post from the tour, but that's OK, I think there has been more than enough in the last 3 posts about Glacier. 
You can see the Sun Road with a couple cars on it. This was taken from the dock.

Another one taken from the dock while waiting to board the boat.

Looking down the lake.

A nice looking island in the middle, complete with its own trees.

Part of a side valley

Towards the head of the lake and about to turn around.

We were coming about to head back to the dock. It is as close to a sunset as I've gotten around here. 
I'll be heading out tomorrow. Glacier was just about everything I expected it to be. There were a few "wow" moments and those are always good to have. When I pull out tomorrow, the Rocky Mountains will be in my mirrors as I drive east and will be out of sight in less than an hour. I will miss them. I hope I can find a place to pull over to get a picture of them before they fade away totally because I don't know when or if I'll be seeing them again.

Next stop will be Lewistown, Montana. Nothing special to see there, but it should be a nice stop just to rest and think.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Glacier National Park (part 3)(mostly pictures)

Location: St. Mary/East Glacier KOA (el.4,500 ft); St. Mary, Montana

(click pictures to enlarge)
(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)


Yesterday's exploration was in the Many Glacier part of the park. It has it's own entrance and only goes about 10 miles or so into the park. I went to check out the lakes for a possible boat tour and to see a waterfall that I had heard about. I also wanted to see the old Hotel located on the banks of the lake. I was very surprised at the number of people, especially on a weekday. The lakes were pretty, but if I take a boat tour it will be on St. Mary Lake. I'll decide about the tour later today. The streams and rivers are very pretty and crystal clear. It is surprising how fast they are moving because the drop in elevation is sometimes barely noticeable. This water will join the Missouri River which will meet up with the Mississippi River above St. Louis before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. I stood at the junction of the Missouri and Mississippi River last September and it was impressive. 
As with most roads in the park, they generally follow a stream or river. The water is crystal clear as it's coming directly from the mountains. 


The lakes with the mountains in the background are nice.


Same lake, different view

Looking up one of the many side valleys. This valley would have been half filled with snow/ice during the last ice age.

The scrub tree added something to this picture so while sorting through the many pictures, I kept this one.

Notice the bird flying in the center of the picture. Pretty cool, uh?

This is the Many Glacier Lodge. It was built in 1915 by the Great Northern Railway. That was the reason so many people were around this area.

A closer look at the lake with the mountains. 

This is the waterfalls I went to see. I took a nice video and posted it on facebook, but not sure about videos on here yet.

Freedom waiting at the top of the hill

Another view of the falls. 
Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be heading east from here. My plan is to head towards Manitowoc, Wisconsin. There is an informal reunion of the crew from the ship I was on in the Navy planned for July 10th. I have plenty of time to get there but it is not super important that I make it to the reunion so if I get side-tracked along the way, it will be fine. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Glacier National Park (part 2)(mostly pictures)

Location: St. Mary/East Glacier KOA (el.4,500 ft); St. Mary, Montana

(click pictures to enlarge)
(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)

Yesterday I went to Two Medicine Lake to see a double waterfall that a fellow blogger had mentioned in his blog. The bloggers are Shawn and Kim and their blog is at www.ktmissouri.blogspot.com. We first ran into each other a few months ago when we were both camped at Choke Canyon State Park in Texas. They are good people and there are good pictures and good writing over there.


Two Medicine is a small town on the south-eastern side of Glacier. There isn't much there, mainly tourist shops. There is an entrance to the park that goes to Two Medicine Lake and Running Eagle Falls. Those were my first two stops.
My view as I opened my door yesterday morning. Nice.


I passed through the reservation again and of course, loose horses everywhere. This is along a U.S. Highway with the posted speed limit being 70 mph. The adjacent properties have fences but there are several places where it is down and needs repair. I do not plan to pass through this area at night. 

This gives a little idea of the roads leading to some of these places. Around each curve is another spectacular view.

That is the Lower Two Medicine Lake. It is a man-made lake. I planned to take a picture of the dam on my way out, but I forgot.

Entrance to Running Eagle Falls. Running Eagle was supposedly a real person from who lived 400 to 500 years ago. She was a great and respected warrior who, as a teenager, became the head of the family due to her fathers death. Her stories have been passed down over the ages. 

The trail is about 1/2 mile each way. Of course along the way are a couple nice resting benches.

First view of the falls through the trees.

A little closer with an overall view of the falls and background.

In this closer view you can see the double-decker falls. The little one on top and the wider one about half way down. Very pretty and peaceful.

After the falls, I stopped and had my lunch on the shores of Two Medicine Lake. It was a great view while enjoying my healthy lunch :).

After leaving Two Medicine, I went around the southern end of the park on U.S. Highway 2 to reach the Western Entrance of the Going To The Sun Road. The road would take me back to the campground. The Sun Road is 50 miles long and the first 15 miles or so from the western entrance is heavily wooded with few sights to be seen. The eastern end is similar but not as long. The middle part of the makes up for it and is just "wow around every curve". 
This is another example of the road. I had my side mirrors tucked in but there were fools with 2 foot wide trailer mirrors still sticking out. There were a few places where I came to a complete stop to allow the inside truck to creep past me. It was close enough I could have reached out and shook his hand. 

Not a lot of sight distance around the curves. You just hope some crazy isn't coming around. I'm not sure that short stone wall would have stopped Freedom from going over. There were sections of the wall that had been hit. 

And this is what the view is like around some of the curves. 

Some of these landscape shots may be of the same area in the last post. I didn't check, but they are still nice. 

Now that I see it, I think I posted a picture of this before. Oh well, just skip it if you've seen it before.

A distant waterfall. They are everywhere in the park.

Nice view of the glacier rounded valley

All of those "streaks" are created by water flows.

Nice view of the Rockies. I like this one.

A touch of reality just before leaving the Sun Road. A hot-mix paving operation. I had to wait about 15 minutes, but the weather was great and after a long drive it was strangely relaxing.
The trip today will be to Many Glacier and Sherburne Lake. They offer boat tours on that lake as well so I'll be checking it out. I'll decide which lake, St. Mary or Sherburne, to take the boat tour. Heck, I may do both. It will be another picnic lunch again today. I sure am glad I bought enough Bologna before leaving Great Falls. :)  

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Glacier National Park (part 1)(mostly pictures)

Location: St. Mary/East Glacier KOA (el.4,500 ft); St. Mary, Montana

(click pictures to enlarge)
(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)

Well, I made it to Glacier. It has been my "destination point" since Crater Lake. I select a "destination point" that is usually kind of far away and that gives me a general direction of travel. Crater Lake was it when I left Louisiana after Thanksgiving of last year. Once I made it to Crater Lake, I set Glacier as the next point. I haven't decided what my next one will be yet, still thinking it over. 

I got here yesterday around 1:00 pm and after getting set up I decided to drive part of the Going To The Sun Road. I will definitely make the trip at least once or twice more before leaving but wanted to get the feel for it. I've found that places like this take a couple trips to see the good things. The first trip sort of takes your breath away with the big sights and then on the second you can see the smaller, sometimes better, sights without being as distracted by the glorious mountains and valleys.

I won't go into a lot of details now and will just post a few of the better pictures with captions. I wanted to get these posted so I can empty my cell phone of pictures to make room for today. In just a couple of hours yesterday, I took close to 200 pictures. I plan to pack a lunch (premium Bar 'S' bologna) and hit the road today in hopes of finding a nice lunch site like I did in Yellowstone. Sometime before leaving I plan to take a boat tour of St. Mary Lake. If it sounds like I'm in little hurry, I am, because I slept in until 7:30 this morning. It got a little chilly last night with the temperature dropping into the low 40's. Today's high is suppose to be the low 70's. Should be a nice day except some storms due to roll through this evening. 

This is the road between Great Falls and St. Mary. The closer you get to the mountain range the prettier they get. Great Falls is in the rolling hills of Montana, so the sight on this road trip would be similar to what the pioneers would have seen as they were heading west. The Rocky Mountains appear in the far distance.  



I passed through a small section of the Blackfeet Reservation. Even though there are fences, there are some many places that have fallen down and are in need of repair. I guess instead of repairing them, they just put up a sign warning about open range livestock. I saw the carcass of at least one horse that had been hit by a vehicle. Further down the road were cattle grazing between the edge of the road and the fenceline. I've been in other places were there is open livestock but in this case I think it was more laziness than anything else. Some nice looking horses though.

Nothing special, just a nice looking area so I took a picture. I am still surprised how well they turn out shooting through the windshield. It is possible that I may stop to take the windshield pictures, or not. 

This is the last leg of the road before getting into St. Mary. Notice the barricade arms that are used during the winter to close the road during snows. I've seen several of these on this western swing of the states.

I had to pull over for this picture. I wanted to make sure it turned out. Right before this the road is surrounded by trees and then you top a little hill and this is what you see. This was the first real "wow".

This is the campsite for the next 4 days. 


There is still some road construction going on, but to me, the tall boy cones only slightly distract from the picture. They add a slice of reality to the view. That is St. Mary Lake in the middle.

More of St. Mary Lake with the mountains in the background. Sometimes the views are so magnificent that they appear fake, even in real life. It take a while for your brain to wrap around such sights. 

Not much guardrail in this location. You are on your own if you run off the road here. Pretty view.

Sometimes it is easier to go through than around. :). Notice the waterfall on the left. There were about a half dozen in this general area.

Breathtaking view

That rounded shape of the valley is a tell-tale sign of glacier action in the past. The old glacier would have reached as high as the point where there mountain is no longer smooth.

I can't think of another caption except the old one,,,,,A River Runs Through It. Another location of old glacier action.
That's all for this post. I went through my pictures quickly to get some posted since I knew some people would be looking for them this morning. Time now to hit the road to see what I see. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.