A Travellerspoint blog

Mt Rushmore to Denver

This is the end, beautiful friend

The Dead Presidents

As a foreigner, I can say Americans have a really weird relationship with their democracy and their presidents. The democracy they established back in 1788 was pretty unique in the world at that time, but things have moved a long way since then. Now, most of the world has fully functioning and effective democracies that have evolved with the times. In the US though, the whole political system seems to be frozen in time. Americans constantly refer back to “the Constitution” like it was holy rite. Meanwhile, the actual political process has become irredeemably corrupt and sclerotic. No one now looks towards the US as a model for democracy.
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The contradictions within the US political system are no better displayed than the national reverence for their presidents. The president is, after all, just an elected official, but the position is worshipped in a manner more akin to imperial despotism. In this sense, Mount Rushmore is THE monument to presidential idolatry.

The idea was championed by sculptor Gutzon Borglum and commenced in 1927 and wasn’t completed until 1941. The sculptures, carved into a sheer granite rockface, are absolutely massive and are visible for miles. Each bust is 18 metres (60 feet high). Their size and the effort required to build them make them truly awe inspiring.

The original plan included more presidents, with space for future additions. It probably wasn’t long before the magnitude of the task led to a rationalisation of the plan. The choice of Roosevelt for the fourth bust is a little odd. The bio on site explains his claim to fame as ‘the youngest man elected president.’ Hmmm. It transpires that Borglum was currying favour here with the Roosevelt’s.

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From Mt Rushmore we headed to the rival monumental sculpture – Crazy Horse. If Mt Rushmore was a crazy venture, Crazy Horse is utterly bonkers. Here an entire mountain is being carved into the largest sculpture in history. The sculpture was commissioned by the Lakota Indians in 1931. The sculptor, Korzcak Ziolkowski began work, almost alone on the monumental task in 1948. He worked on the project until his death in 1982. His family have since picked up the project and, against the odds, it actually seems to be making progress. But they certainly have a long way to go. Like the great cathedrals of Europe, this will be a multigenerational project.
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We arrived at the site mid-week and one of the volunteers invited us to attend a blasting the next night. We would have loved to attend, but we had to leave. We had a plane to catch in Denver.
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The plan and the reality

High Plains Drifter

It was a long drive from Custer to Denver, where a flight was waiting to take us home. When we picked up the car, so long ago, the hire company had specifically warned us hail damage was not covered in our insurance. We’d brushed that idea aside – Hail? Pah! As if….
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Some three hours north of Denver, on the highway through a flat featureless landscape, I noticed some dark clouds gathering on the horizon. They were very far in the distance so I didn’t worry about it. But as we continued south, the clouds continued to gather. About an hour later, the clouds didn’t look quite so innocuous. They had taken on a distinctly tumultuous aspect. Shelly had been asleep in the car for some hours and when she stirred I pointed to the horizon. “What do you think?” I asked. Shelly looked concerned. “Does that look like it could become a tornado,” I posed? “What should we do?”, Shelly asked. We switched on the radio, assuming we’d hear something on the weather reports. There was nothing so we pushed on.
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The closer we got, the worse the weather looked. About an hour outside Denver I became convinced the storm was about to become a tornado. Then the rain came in, hard lashing rain that windscreen wipers couldn’t cope with even at full tilt. We’d experienced this level of rain a couple of times in the US, most recently on the day we bumped into Bill Macy, so with visibility down to zero we pulled over to the side of the highway. Everyone else had the same idea. A moment later there was the tinkling sound of hail bouncing off the roof. We opened the windows and caught a handful of rice grain sized hail stones. Then, as quickly as it started, it was over.
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As we set off we noticed that the road ahead was white. There was a strange crunching sound under the wheels too. We slowed down and pulled over. The entire road ahead was coated in a thick layer of hail. We picked up hail stones the size of marbles, then the size of golf balls, and then the size of baseballs. Then we noticed up ahead a row of cars and trucks off on the road verge which had been smashed and trashed by the hail. All their windows were punched out and their panels dented as if by a 1000 hammer blows. We shook our heads in amazement at our good fortune. Had we been driving a little faster we’d have been pummeled.
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Our stay in Denver had been somewhat last minute and we’d booked a hotel online that morning. The hotel was part of a chain and described itself as ‘mid central.’ When we arrived we discovered that meant it was about half an hour from downtown in a very industrial area. Fortunately they were quite understanding and transferred our reservation to their mid-town hotel. The hotel was an older style motel with a new addition, but was pretty run down. Upon checking into our room we discovered the toilet did not flush. I opened the cistern and saw there was something blocking the ballcock. I went to reach in to unblock it but suddenly stopped. The cistern was blocked with needles and a plastic wrapped bag. Holy crap! We reported the matter and were moved to a new room, but needless to say we felt a little uncomfortable.

That night we cabbed into town and had some pleasant drinks at a champagne bar. We dined at a late night dinner – our last dinner in the US.
The next morning I dropped Shelly in town for some shopping and I headed to a car museum, then it was off to the airport and we were on our way home again.

Posted by paulymx 21:59 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Deadwood

Deadwood is famous for three things –

1. It was founded as a mining and trading town when gold was discovered in the Black Hills in the 1870s. The US Government had irrevocably and in perpetuity granted the Black Hills to the Lakota Indians, banning white settlement from the area, but with the discovery of gold in the Hills illegal settlers began flooding the area. The Government, of course, reneged on the treaty, sparking another round of Indian Wars. General Custer was killed at the nearby Little Big Horn while attempting to ethnically cleanse the Indians in 1874.

2. It was the town were Wild Bill Hickok, famous gambler and gunslinger, was murdered, shot in the back of the head by Jack McCall. Tradition has it that Hickok always sat facing the door (a good strategy in those time) but joined the card game late and forced sit with his back to the door. Urban myth has it that he held a hand of aces and eights, which became known as “the Dead Man’s Hand.”

3. And the town is now subject of a HBO television series. Well, for three seasons between 2003 and 2006.

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These were all good reasons to visit Deadwood. The city is situated high in the hills and stretches along the Whitewood Creek valley. The valley is very narrow, with steep gorges rising up on each side, which constrains the spread of the city. The original timber built mining town has long disappeared. Fire ravaged the town on dozens of occasions. The city today is composed of elegant turn of the century townhouses, hotels and shopfronts. The mines are also long gone, although one mine has been converted into an impressive hotel. Today the city makes its living from casinos. Almost every building on the main street is a casino these days and rather shabby. Although elegant looking, Deadwood has a definite hang-dog atmosphere as if it was aware that its best days were well behind it. There were a large number of vacant shopfronts on the main street.
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We stayed in a motel at the top of the main road, amongst a street of 19th century wooded mansions. That evening we walked down into the main town, visited the Saloon #10 bar, which has the chair Wild Bill was sitting in when he was shot mounted above the door. Back in 1876, Saloon #10 bar, was not in its current location but further down the street. A plaque marks the location of the original bar (which has long since gone). We had a fairly mediocre Italian meal that night and then wandered the streets. It was quiet. The casinos were all open, but mostly empty, so we called it a night.
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The next day we visited Wild Bill’s grave on Mount Moriah, overlooking the town. Calamity Jane is buried next to him. Their graves remain a major tourist attraction. Afterwards we visited one Deadwood’s many museums, ‘The Spirit of ‘76” museum, but it was a museum celebrating the annual celebration of Deadwood’s founding, which was not what we expected. It did have a good carriage museum in the basement however. We should have visited the Deadwood Historical Museum instead.
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Having walked up and down the main street in both daytime and night, and not being gamblers, we’d quickly exhausted the things to do in Deadwood. We stopped for a browse at the Happy Days Gift Shop on Main Street, which was filled with amusing fifties era souvenirs. We left with a bag full of goodies and hit Highway 385 on the road to Mount Rushmore.
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A couple of miles out of town we came across a little hamlet called ‘The Boondocks” which took the fifties memorabilia theme to extremes. There was a burger joint, diner, 50s cars on display, rides and another Happy Days store. We regretted spending our cash back in town as I’m sure they’d have appreciated a little bit of cash flow out on the road. It’s worth a wander and an ice cream for sure. Your text to link here...We bought Hawaiian shirts.
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Posted by paulymx 06:28 Archived in USA Tagged deadwood Comments (0)

Jackson to Deadwood

From Yellowstone we set off south through the Grand Teton (big t*ts in French) National Park. Driving south the Grand Teton’s form a line of spectacular peeks away to the right and in the right light they do remind me of Eva Green.
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Jackson is not a Hole
Our next destination was Jackson Hole, a pleasant ski and tourist town. We booked into the 4 Winds Motel for one night but booked in for a second after we decided to go white water rafting. That night we visited the Cowboy Bar, a great rustic American bar with saddle bar stools and a country and western band.
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The next day we hit the Snake River. The river was high and definitely not so wild – nothing like the rampaging white water we’d experienced in Queenstown, New Zealand years before. Mind you, we did lose one passenger during the final rapids. He was over the side and yanked back into the boat so fast he barely got wet.
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Jackson to Cody
We left early the next morning for Cody. Unfortunately this meant backtracking through Grand Teton to Yellowstone. This threw us a little so we pulled over and rechecked the GPS, but no, to get to Cody we needed to go back through Yellowstone and turn east.
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At least we got to see Yellowstone Lake.
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East of the lake we drove for hours through an eerie landscape of dead trees. Heightened thermal activity in the subsoil boils the roots of the trees, devastating large swathes of forest. Ironically we were listening to the audio book of “World War Z” by Max Brooks about a zombie apocalypse as we drove through the dead zone.
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We arrived at Cody in the early afternoon. Cody winds along a ridge overlooking the Shoshone River. We drove through the town to get our bearings before pulling into a dinner to grab a late lunch. The food was cheap, the portions enormous and the quality dubious. We then drove back down the highway to find lodgings. Although there was an abundance of motels, most were already full or unreasonably expensive. Eventually we grabbed the last free room at a somewhat dodgy old motel.
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Cody is named after the town’s founder, William “Wild Bill” Cody, the famous bushman. There is a large, modern museum and visitors centre dedicated to his legend. It was informative and worth a visit. We also took in the daily ‘gun fight’, visited an antique store, had ourselves a couple of beers and then went to the rodeo. Cody features a nightly rodeo and it’s no mean, tourist affair either. Rodeo’s are a tough sport and there is a real risk of serious injury to the participants. To put on this sort of show every night of the year is a serious effort.
After an hour or so of watching the rodeo we headed back into town for something to eat. We ended up having Mexican as most of the restaurants were closed.
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The next morning we headed over to Old Cody which comprises an old township of homesteads and buildings salvaged from ghost towns out on the plains. Two buildings were the former homes of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Several important graves were, such as Jeremiah Johnston’s’ were also moved here. It was a great little open air museum.
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From Cody we headed east towards Deadwood. A little outside Cody we came across the little town of Greybull. On the outskirts of the town I spied the glint of metal away in the distance. As we came closer I recognised a row of aircraft and the distinctive shape of their craft’s tails said “World War Two.” As we drove closer I recognised a Boeing Stratocruiser, the post war civilian version of the Second World War Super Fortress bomber. I pulled over into a rest stop to take a closer look. Officially this is called the Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting, but it’s basically just an aircraft graveyard on a disused section of Greybull runway. There was no one around the little office at the rest stop was closed. The Stratocruisers, which I really wanted to see, were parked way across the airfield. A sign said “no trespassing.” I’m sure no one would have stopped us if we decided to drive over to the planes but, this being America, we decided against it. I was forced to admire the aircraft from behind the fence.
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Liberator bombers converted into civilian transports. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/14707

Cody – Greybull - Bighorn (WH Macy) – Deadwood
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From Greybull we drove through the Little Big Horn National Forest. This isn’t the site of the famous battle between General Custer and the armies of the Sioux Nation. The battlefield is some 70 miles north of here in an area of open plain. The landscape of the national park was dramatic with twisting red rock gorges.
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As we wound our way over a mountain pass I saw a scenic look out and pulled over. A lone motorcyclist had also pulled in and was surveying the view. As I drove past I caught his eye and thought. ‘God, I recognise that guy.’ I parked, got out of the car and took a couple of photos of the river winding its way through the gorge below. The motorcyclist was trying to capture the scene in a selfie – always something of a challenge. I got back in the car and was about to pull away but could see the guy still trying to catch ‘the shot’ in my rear view mirror. I said to Shelly, “Doesn’t that guy look familiar?” She looked and said, “Yeah.” I opened the door and called out, “Do you want a hand?” He looked over and said he was alright, then thought a second and said, “Sure.” As I walked up to him I recognised who he was, but being a bit of a moron I couldn’t quite articulate it when it counted. “You’re that actor guy…” I said, sounding every bit an idiot. “I am,” he said. “Bill Macy. William.” We shook hands. He was riding his Harley-Davidson west. It was certainly spectacular country for a ride. I took a couple of photos for him, standing with his bike. We had a short chat about our respective travels, shook hands and bid each other adieu. Maybe I should have asked for a photo, but that would have been weird. It was certainly an unexpected encounter out in the middle of nowhere.
http://trib.com/news/local/casper/actor-william-h-macy-visits-evansville-steakhouse/article_c772f820-b875-56b4-8e1c-a3f6726140a9.html
Bill headed west and we continued east. Not more than half an hour outside the National Forest we saw dark clouds looming ahead. Shortly the heavens opened in a torrential downpour of the type only experienced in the US and tropical Asia. The rain was so heavy we couldn’t see through the windscreen with the wipers on FRENZY. We pulled over until the rain passed. I would not have liked to have been on a motorbike in that weather!
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As we drove on towards the Black Hills of Dakota we decided to take a little detour to visit a site made famous in one of my favourite movies, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, by Steven Spielberg (back when he was good). Devils Tower monument is the larval core of an extinct volcano. The volcano’s cone eroded away eons ago leaving behind the hard, granite larval tube. It’s quite a striking sight and is visible from quite a distance away. Although Devils Tower itself has NOTHING to do with aliens, alien abductions or anal probes, its appearance in Close Encounters has irrevocably associated the monument with all things extra-terrestrial. And by that I mean tacky and illogical souvenirs, almost none associated with Close Encounters itself – undoubtedly for reasons of copy write.
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From Devils Tower is was only a short (relatively) drive up the Black Hills to Deadwood. Possibly to improve road holding in the wet or snow, the roads were grooved and our tyres screeched, rumbled and slipped. I twice got out of the car to check that we hadn’t blown another tyre.

Deadwood is a pleasant little late 19th century silver mining town up in the Black Hills. This was once Indian country. In 1868 the US Government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty with the Lakota, guaranteeing them possession of the sacred Black Hills. Like all US-Indian treaties (and many other besides), it was a worthless sheet of paper as the US government revoked the treaty when gold was discovered in the area in 1874. The government sent in troops to drive the Indians off their land (ethnic cleansing is the modern term) which ultimately led General Custer to his date with destiny.
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Posted by paulymx 21:33 Archived in USA Tagged road trip Comments (0)

Yellowstone National Park

Its 330 miles from Whitefish to the town of Bozeman, Montana on highway 90. Half of the journey is through Flathead National Park, which is a long straight, empty stretch of road through dense, virgin forest. We passed few cars and even fewer settlements. Inevitably, when you spend time alone on a deserted highway, your mind begins to turn to thoughts of break downs and blown tyres. This would not be a good place to be stranded. We had additional insurance cover in the event we broke down but would there even be mobile coverage out here? From the margins of the forest deer’s scattered as we passed. What else lurked out there?

Almost three hours later we exited the forest and re-entered the world of men. We passed the rugged silver mining town of Butte. The mountains around the town looked scarred and barren, as of devastated by war. There seemed not a single blade of greenery to be seen.

We arrived in Bozeman just before dusk. We drove through the town centre to orientate ourselves before finding a motel for the night. We quickly scrubbed up and set out. We walked the length of the main street and checked in at several bars and restaurants. We settled on Bozeman’s upmarket wine bar, Plonk (what a great name) for dinner. After two weeks of drinking beer, it was a pleasure to drink some decent wine. I had the bison tenderloin and Shelly had the airline chicken (with pistachio quinoa) which were without a shadow of doubt the BEST MEAL we’d ever had in the US. Very satisfied!

The next morning we decided to set off early so that we could maximise our time at Yellowstone (getting away before 9am is a real struggle for us these days!). Because we intended to enter Yellowstone from the East we took the highway towards Billings, wound our way across the mountain pass to Livingstone and then …… boof! Thunka, thunka, thunk. One of our rear tyres blew. I pulled the car to the verge near the intersection with highway 91.
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For a moment we both just sat there thinking, okay, what now? It’d been years since I’d changed a tyre (I think in my entire life I’ve only had to do it once). So we pull all the luggage out of the boot to reach the spare tyre and …… no spare tyre. Instead there was a small vacuum sealed box containing an electric pump and puncture sealant. I guess in this age of general mechanical incompetence (have you looked at a modern car engine?) this is an easier solution than replacing a tyre. There is of course one flaw in this solution – if the tyre shreds or has anything more than a pinhole puncture it is completely useless. Our tyre was unsalvageable and the pump did nothing more than send air whistling through the gaping split. We moved to Plan B – phone Alamo Car Hire. Alamo were very helpful and sent a tow truck to pick us up. Fortunately we less than an hour away from Bozeman where Alamo had an office.
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All in all the blow out cost us over three hours. Alamo gave us a new car – a silver Kia Rio to replace our red Hyundai Elantra. Although similarly spec’d cars, I have to say the Hyundai handled better than Kia.

As we’d lost so much time we revised our plans and headed directly south to the township of West Yellowstone. This took us through the park from the north and we quickly realised that travelling through Yellowstone can be quite a slow process. Although we had to be checked in a Yellowstone Under Canvas by 8pm we couldn’t help but stop and take in the stunning scenery. At Mammoth Springs we spent over an hour walking around the hot springs. And there were animals everywhere. In the middle of a roundabout in Mammoth Springs village a deer sat unconcernedly chewing the cud. We made it to Yellowstone Under Canvas as the sun was setting.
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Yellowstone Under Canvas is a collection of ‘glamping’ tents and facilities in a field just outside the National Park. http://www.mtundercanvas.com/ It’s scenic, romantic and very cold. Night-time temperatures were down to zero degrees Celsius. Fortunately our tent had a fire and some very, very warm doonas.
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That evening we drove to the nearby Bar-N-Ranch restaurant for dinner. http://www.bar-n-ranch.com/ The restaurant is decked out like a wood cabin and filled with stuffed animal dioramas that put the Smithsonian Museum to shame. The food was nice but not as good as Plonk.

Later in the evening our sleep was disturbed by rowdy neighbours across the valley. In the still air sound travels far and we could hear the sounds of at least three people sitting around a campfire arguing. Then the shooting began. Starting with a single shot rang that instantly dispelled any notion of sleep, it followed by many more. Two shots and then a long pause. Then another single shot. Voices raised in argument. A whole magazine loosed into the night. Another long pause. More argument. Then another magazine fired deliberately, slowly… one….. two…… three…. and so on. It was quite disconcerting. I stepped out of the tent momentarily to see if I could determine where the shots were coming from – they sounded so close. In the far distance I could see a dot of fire shimmering in the blackness. Our binoculars bought it into sharper focus but I still couldn’t make anything out. It seemed pretty far away. The gun happy idiots finally called it a night about 2am.
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We mentioned this to the staff the next morning and they shrugged. Some people in town don’t like tourists they said. In the daylight I couldn’t see the campfire but was somewhat comforted to note that there was a river running across the valley floor between us and them.

Yellowstone
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Yellowstone National Park was founded in 1872 is the first national park in the world. The park sits in the remains of a collapsed caldera of a gigantic super-volcano. The area is seismically and thermally active and should the volcano ever erupt in the future it has the explosive potential to destroy much of continental North America. Scattered across the park are geysers, like Old Faithful, and bubbling mud pools. We saw one of the three American ‘Old Faithful’ geysers in Calistoga, California a couple of years ago. Sure enough it erupted right on time and was quite impressive, even though it was a relatively small geyser. Old Faithful in Yellowstone was larger by a significant margin. The geyser erupts roughly every 90 minutes and can last between 5 and 15 minutes.
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Beside the geyser (and I mean right beside) is the magnificent Old Faithful Hotel. Built in 1903-04 in the style of a gigantic log cabin, it established its own architectural style which has been copied in other parks, such as Glacier National Park. We stopped at the hotel for a nice buffet lunch.
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The park’s other main attraction is its animals. We’d both hoped to see bison in the park and boy, did we? On several occasions we were stopped by large herds of up to a hundred individuals. The bison seemed unconcerned by cars and wandered right up to us. One herd decided to walk along to the road, bringing traffic to a standstill for over an hour. A large bull walked so close to our car that I could have reached out and touched him – but I didn’t. They are large, wild animals after all, no matter how docile they appear. Even though we saw hundreds of bison we never grew tired of them and we always pulled over to watch them.
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We saw a few grizzly bears and a couple of moose, but nowhere near as many as in Alaska. There were quite a few caribou and deer around and we even saw a beaver once. I thought we would have seen more of them. We didn’t see any wolves, coyotes or black bears, which I thought was odd as black bears are more common than grizzly’s. The abundance of wildlife and awesome scenery meant every drive through the park took way longer than we anticipated. We spent three whole days in the park and were never bored.
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Posted by paulymx 06:09 Archived in USA Tagged yellowstone Comments (0)

East to Glacier National Park

Travelling west
We set off west from Tacoma , quite late after our visit to the Lemay museum, towards the first destination on our road trip - Spokane. The trip would take about 3 hours so we wouldn't likely arrive until after 8pm. Although America is a car nation, little good can said about its roads. The quality of some US highways are very poor, which takes its toll on car tyres. On the highway east we passed five cars stopped on the side of the road with blown tyres. These are modern cars mind you, not some old rattle bangers with worn tyres? Modern cars and new tyres. I can't remember the last time I saw someone with a blown tyre in Australia and I haven't had to change a tyre myself in over twenty years.

The scenery on the road wasn't amazing. Time and the miles slipped past. Nevertheless, without any detours or delays we still arrived later than expected. We pulled into the first dodgy looking motel in downtown Spokane and Shelly jumped out. It was full. We tried another. It was also full. Suddenly something a shop assistant in Seattle said came back to us. This was graduation weekend and every college in the country was putting on a show. Spokane was the home of Washington state university. Everything was going to be full. It was now nearly 9.30 so we decided we'd grab something to eat while we could then, if we had to we'd drive out of town and hope to find something on the highway. We settled into an Irish bar and had a couple of beers with a ruben sandwich and BLT. It was simple food at its best and one of the best meals we'd had to date.

We hit the road, trying a few motels along the way, without any success. A navigational error out us in the car park of an expensive looking hotel so we said what the heck. Fortunately for us they gave us a cheap rate - it was after 10.30 after all - and we checked it. We we less than five minutes drive from the centre of the city.
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The next morning we set off for Spokane's number one tourist attraction - the Spokane cascades. This series of small waterfalls is situated in a park right in the heart of downtown. Pedestrian bridges criss cross the cascades providing good viewing opportunities. There is even a gondola ride that takes you out over the lower reaches. The gondola ride advertises itself with shameless American hyperbole as "voted the best gondola ride in the world.' These sort of ridiculous claims appear everywhere in America without any sense of irony. Local beers, restaurants, motels, tourist attractions, all make outrageously self confident claims to greatness without ever explaining just who 'voted' and in what context.
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The gondola ride is relatively short, starting at the old hydro-electric power station (a great example of turn of the century industrial architecture), crosses the lower reach of the rapids to a point mid-river, beneath Spokane bridge. It's a leisurely (15 minute) ride to nowhere, which we enjoyed in good spirits and then set off to our next destination - Whitefish.
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Whitefish is a small town situated on the western edge of the Glacier National Park. The journey itself was uneventful. The further east we got the more impressive the scenery. It was a long drive though and by the time we arrived in town it was late afternoon and pouring with rain. We stayed at a motel a little way out of the old downtown. For entertainment that evening we visited the local bowling alley. It was very quiet but the food was excellent and the beer very cheap - $2 pints of the local! The place was just beginning to fill up when we stumbled out at 11.30pm.
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Glacier National Park
It was a relatively short drive from Whitefish to Glacier National Park. At the gate however there was notice advising that the main road through the park was closed at about the 25 mile point. I was a little dubious about proceeding, especially at a cost of $25. I mean, how much were we going to see, but the Park Ranger advised that there was still some great scenery. I grudgingly paid and we entered the park. The lakeside village wasn't much to see and I was beginning to regret coming. We shouldn't be wasting our time here when we could be heading towards Yellowstone. But we drove on around the lake, heading north. It was a good thing too. A couple of miles along the lakeside we saw a view point and pulled over. The view was stunning. From this angle the lake was mirrored like glass and the light was just perfect. There wasn't a ripple to be seen. We took a dozen photos and enjoyed the scene in relative quiet (there was hardly anyone around). We only moved on after another group of tourists arrived and decided throwing rocks into the lake was the thing to do.
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We drove on to the Glacier Park Lodge, a magnificent old hotel built in the late 1800s. We got out and wandered around through the lodge and admired the scene. Around the lodge were parked dozens of the Park's distinctive tour coaches. Specially built in the 1930s, these old buses had had been servicing the Park for decades. They had all recently been completely overhauled and given new diesel electric engines and modern chassis' and suspension. They looked just the part.
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The road was closed north of the Lodge so we turned around and headed south. It was only a short visit, but a very pleasant one. The scenery was lovely and it was worth the price of admission, but now Yellowstone was calling.
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Posted by paulymx 22:05 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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