We did, in fact, leave Glacier this morning, rolling out of Columbia Falls at 9:30am. Our entire travel day — excepting a half-mile of Montana Route 40 and a few surface streets at the very end — was spent on venerable US Route 2.
It follows the southern boundary of the park for almost 60 miles, bobbing and weaving and climbing and plunging. It crosses the Continental Divide and (for anyone who can afford to take their attention off the road) the views are simply spectacular.
That stretch also tested me some. I passed.
Crossing the Two Medicine River in East Glacier, the landscape changes abruptly to rolling grassland. It’s quite remarkable, hard to believe ’til you’ve seen it — there’s almost no transition. As we pushed east on Route 2 the ranges of Glacier receded in Ernie’s mirrors, giving way to the Northern Plains.
We expected some wind when we reached that point, and we got it — 15mph from the North, gusting occasionally to 20mph. It was manageable, although running a two-laner (with little margin for error) in these breezy wide-open spaces kept me on my toes.
To stay as fresh and relaxed as possible, we stopped frequently today. Twice, in the mountains, I pulled off at turnouts to let following traffic by, and a few other times just to take a break. Every time it was what the doctor ordered.
We passed through Browning, the farthest point east where Glacier’s peaks are visible, and continued to Cut Bank. Our destination was near the town of Shelby, where we planted at a hillside campground. Ours is a low-effort camp tonight — we connected only our 50A electric and deployed just the bedroom slide. We didn’t put down the jacks or unhitch Mercy.
About the time we finished getting settled, Deb learned that pretty much all of western and central Montana is looking down the barrel of a “red flag warning.” Beginning midday tomorrow and running through Saturday night, winds are predicted to be 25mph to 35mph, with gusts as high as 60mph.
It’d be colossally stupid to try driving this high-profile rig in those conditions.
We discussed our options. Stay here through Saturday? Push as far as we can tomorrow until the wind machine revs up, then find a place to stop?
In the end, we decided to get up early tomorrow and run 85 miles down the Interstate to Great Falls (which was the route we planned to take anyway). We’ll stop at a campground there, batten down the hatches and wait out the wind, resuming Sunday morning.
Our prudence sets us back a day, but that’s fine — we have the time. Deb had to call ahead and change some reservations she’d made yesterday. It all worked out.
This American Life of ours requires a measure of flexibility. We’re up to the challenge.
No, I don’t get too specific about where Deb and I are staying, at least while we’re camped at a particular place. That’s true here and on social media. To borrow military jargon, Deb and I are committed to giving reasonable attention to PERSEC and OPSEC (without getting terribly precious about it).
Our friends get it. We hope you do, too.
Among our fellow RVers there is, of course, understandable curiosity about where we’ve stayed — good, bad or otherwise. It’s not quite fair of us to rave (or bitch) about this or that campground or restaurant or whatever and not name it.
Once we get settled in Arkansas next month, I intend to devote a couple of posts to our recommendations. I’ll be candid and specific. I’ll name names. Hold me to it.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.