In Love with Montana
~Tuesday, September 1, 2020~
Nice weather today, but windy. The sun didn't rise over the Rockies until about 8:15 from our vantage point. We spent the better part of our morning planning out our next week, as we had nothing else booked after this Friday. We’re in. An Alpaca Farm in Bellgrade, Montana Friday and Saturday night through Harvest Hosts and Saturday through Wednesday at an RV park in Gallatin, Montana (near Bozeman). Just one more accommodation to set up before heading back to California on September 16th for Jeff’s brother’s wedding.
Definitely feeling better and ready to do some sightseeing. Before heading out for the day, we checked on our fresh, gray and black water tanks to make sure we were still doing good with our capacity. We’re in good shape with barely a dent in either of them. Having easy access to seeing how much we’re using has really helped us be more conservative. It’s right there, not out of sight, out of mind. So it forces you to rethink your usage. I always felt we were pretty conservative with our water use when we owned a home. But owning a trailer with a 6 gallon water heater is a whole different story. Taking quick showers is not that hard, but if hair wash day hits on a boondocking day, look out. Rinsing out the shampoo can take 2 gallons alone with all this hair. Maybe a shorter doo for shorter showers is in order? I must admit, I miss having the warm water hit me while I suds up. Even dishwashing in the trailer has made us more aware of how little water we actually need to do the job. It’s completely doable to bring the water down to a trickle to rinse things well. We’ve also been doing great with only buying what we need in terms of groceries, with very little waste. It’s forced us to be a little more creative with what’s in the fridge, not always defaulting to a recipe. The only thing that frustrates me is the amount of trash we accumulate. What normally would get recycled at home, now gets mostly thrown in regular trash since many campgrounds/RV parks don’t offer recycling. And you’d think things related to the great outdoors would do more to help the environment, with offering more recycling options. Disposing of trash while boondocking can pose a problem. We use large leaf bags to accumulate about 5 days worth of trash, in the hopes we’ll find a dumpster in a park or wait until our next destination has disposal (usually an RV park or state park). I kid you not, as I write this, our host Patty drove up to ask if we had any trash to get rid of, since her friend was heading to the dumps today. Wow, she must have felt my vibe.
Today was a day of touring the Flathead Lake area. We had heard the east side is much more scenic, and it is absolutely jaw dropping, gorgeous!
As far as the eye can see, there is nothing but lush forests and mountains all around and the air is so crisp and clear. Flathead Lake is humungous, and compare it to what I know….Lake Tahoe. Flathead Lake is just slightly larger, but Tahoe is way deeper with its deepest point at 1600 feet, as opposed to Flathead’s depth at 370 feet (I love facts).
We drove up the very wooded, beautiful Highway 35 on the east side of the Lake which took us to Kalispel. We knew we’d circle back here later in the day, so just did a quick drive by before heading to Whitefish. While Jeff drove, I was perusing real estate in the area and found a beautiful cabin-like home in Kalispel. The interior and exterior were very cool. The only downside was it was 14 miles from any city limit, so a bit isolated. And no garage. But I sent an inquiry anyway.
Whitefish is stunning with gorgeous views all around, and a quaint, charming good sized downtown, with a park centered in it. That park was home today to their local Farmers Market. We were really looking forward to checking things out, when a police officer told us dogs were not allowed, even on the sidewalks. Our timing was not great I guess. Even a few of the restaurants that said they were dog friendly, were closed today. We just hit an “off” day for dogs. Any other day would have been o.k. Feeling rejected, we left but found something even better for our furry friend. Hugh Rogers Dog Park. This park is in a beautiful section of Whitefish with Cottonwoods and Quaking Aspen all around. Everywhere you turn, beauty. With 5 acres of play area along with obstacle courses and a clay therapeutic pond (of course she went immediately in there), it was the perfect place.
Sadie was so excited to be off leash. Thank goodness we found a stray ball, which Sadie quickly took ownership of. Sadie is always more interested in her ball than meeting other dogs. But a group of herding dogs definitely wanted to meet her, or herd her, whichever the case may be.
We headed on back to Kalispel to check out the town and neighborhoods before finally finding a place to get a bite. We found the perfect, laid back, funky place
called the DeSoto Grill. They have a great outdoor area too that IS dog friendly. Jeff settled on their slow cooked pork, beans, and potato salad, and me, a salmon cobb salad. Their cornbread was the best I’ve ever had. Delicious! Real friendly staff and fast service. The beer…..You’ve got to try the Huckleberry Blonde brew on tap. Yum!
Decided to take a different way back to our site, via the west side of Flathead Lake, all with a full moon rising. I tell you, the stars have aligned for beautiful, dramatic sunsets, and bright moon rises during our stay in Montana. The west side has the beautiful Salish Mountains. But it’s the east side you can’t beat with the backdrop of the Rockies and Mission Mountains layered in front. It’s like comparing Highway 29 to Silverado Trail back in Napa Valley.
Arriving in the dark back to Patty’s was a little challenging as there are no lights or reflectors marking the driveway. But we made it. Looking forward to a fun day tomorrow at Glacier National Park.