One Hike, Three Waterfalls

Glacier National Park

We find a space for our car at the Sunrift Gorge parking area and head across the Going-to-the-Sun Road to start the 5.4 mile out and back hike to Baring, St. Mary, and Virginia Falls. Actually, we find out later, we didn’t have to cross the street. A set of stairs leads down to the trail from the southern side of the road.

But I’m glad we did because we encounter the rushing waters of Baring Creek plunging down the steep and narrow canyon of Sunrift Gorge.

The gorge flattens out into shallow waters that polish the rocks with a brilliant shine.

Meanwhile, above the creek, gray clouds and the scorched remains of once-green trees dominate the landscape, the yellow-greens of the forest floor adding a welcome contrast.

Another sign reminds us that we are encroaching upon grizzly territory. This is no walk in the park.

Baring Creek guides us along the trail.

We arrive at the junction of Sun Point and Baring Falls Trails and veer to the right toward the falls.

Almost 1/3 mile later, we arrive at the footbridge crossing Baring Creek. Can you find it in the picture below?

We cross the narrow bridge over Baring Creek…

…And behold Baring Falls, a 25 foot high waterfall.

Baring Creek flows another 100 yards or so before spilling into St. Mary Lake.

We pass the small boat dock used by Glacier Park Boat Tours, a company that’s been running lake excursions on their wooden boats since 1938.

We continue walking along the southwestern bank of St. Mary Lake.

There has been a fire in Glacier National Park almost every year of its existence. The year with the most fires was 1936 with a total of 64. So far the only year with no fire on record was 1964. The summer of 2003 was the most significant fire season in the history of the park. Approximately 136,000 acres burned. (nps.gov)

It’s cloudy and gray but the colors surrounding us from the mountains, lake, and vegetation along the trail do not disappoint.

At the junction with the St. Mary Falls Shuttle Stop we keep left.

This plant with the spiky serrated leaves and cluster of blue berries looks like Oregon Grape.

Fire has painted this picture on a tree trunk. It reminds me of the surrealist style of Salvador Dali.

As we reach the St. Mary River, we hear the thunderous roar of water crashing down rocks.

The footbridge crosses the river where we stop for a view of St. Mary Falls in all directions.

St. Mary Falls drops a total of 35 feet in 3 separate tiers.

Once past the bridge, the trail continues for another 1.8 miles to Virginia Falls.

We follow Virginia Creek and encounter 2 more series of cascades. After hiking 1.2 miles from St. Mary Falls we reach the first series and discover 4 tiers of falling waters.

Back on the trail…

…We stop again after another .25 miles to enjoy the second series of cascades.

Ten minutes later we come to a side spur leading to a viewpoint for Virginia Falls. We decide to take the spur later, after heading up another 1/10th mile to the footbridge leading to the base of the 50 foot main fall.

Here’s a view looking down at the secondary chute that leads to a short cascade at the bottom…

…And a view of the landscape on top of Virginia Falls…

We cross the footbridge again and descend back down the trail to the side spur we missed before.

It’s time to retrace our steps and head back to our car tucked in the Sunrift Gorge parking area.

The trail in this direction offers more photo opts.

Do you see the tiny white streak in the middle of the picture below? That’s Virginia Falls!

I cannot identify this flower.

Aspen tree berries?…

My photo doesn’t capture the silver color of this tree trunk. I kid you not, these trunks look like they have been spray painted with silver!

An up-close look at charred trees, silver trunks, and scatters of slate rock shards…

A very yellow caterpillar…


Back at the car, we decide to continue east to St. Mary and take a different route back to Coram where our RV awaits us.

We take 89 South and 2 West along the southern boundaries of Glacier National Park.

Gray clouds crown the mountains overlooking the conifer forest as we drive away.

But then the traffic stops for 20 minutes for street rebuilding. After the construction area we travel unpaved roads for miles. Whose bright idea was it to take a different route home?

Johns Lake Loop Trail

Glacier National Park

The Johns Lake Loop is about 2 miles long but it is surrounded by a network of other trails.

We are lucky to find a spot to park as the parking area is quite small and only has room for 7-8 cars.

We learn from the plaque at the trailhead that Johns Lake is actually a pond encircled by a forest of western red cedar and hemlock.

It’s an overcast  day when we set out in a counterclockwise direction through the old growth forest. We are the only people on the trail and the only noise we hear comes from our own haunting footsteps. The trees tower over us like gaunt skeletal creatures warning us to beware of unpleasant surprises ahead.

About 1/3 of a mile in we come to a junction that is marked with a confusing sign. If we go left we will hike toward McDonald Lake. If we choose right we will be on our way to Avalanche Creek. And of course we have no map to guide us, it’s just a short loop  trail.

So, we decide to take the left route as we already know that Lake McDonald is on the opposite end of the trailhead. Off we go, for awhile, until we realize that we are on a horse path that is rutted and not very interesting. As we turn back, we notice another couple behind us, so the 4 of us collectively decide that we need to take the trail leading right. The woman even has a booklet describing all the hikes in the Park, and she was still confused!

Later we find out that the horse path has a name, the McDonald Creek Cutoff. I still manage to find redeeming qualities on our detour though. A very unique tree sculpture…

And a slate rock gathering moss…

About 1/3 of a mile later, we catch a glimpse of shimmering light through the trees. And there is Johns Lake. A side trail leads down to the boggy shore but we prefer to stay on higher ground to enjoy the lake sprinkled with water lilies and wetland grasses.

Stanton Mountain and Mount Vought tower over Johns Lake. I’m not sure which one is in the picture below.


Trees bulldozed by avalanches look like a pile of “pick-up-sticks”, a game I used to play when I was a child.

etsy.com


Soon we are heading out of the forest and across the Going-to-the- Sun Road. Look closely to the left of the slanted slate rock touching the trail on the lower left of the picture below. You can see the trail descending into a grove of trees. The gray light peeking through is the road.


Johns Lake Loop Trail leads down onto a crosswalk that takes us to the other side of the road where we encounter what we think is McDonald Falls.

A footbridge crosses the creek of the same name.

These are the pictures I take, but I think this is really Sacred Dancing Cascade.

After gazing into and enjoying the water sliding down the rocks, we come to another junction on the other side of the creek. The rest of Johns Lake Loop Trail heads left along McDonald Creek, to the right an unmarked trail runs parallel to the creek in the other direction.

We choose to detour away from the Loop Trail in search of another waterfall and footbridge.

Here are the highlights from our out and back detour:

After hiking for 15-20 minutes, we lose the creek and head away from it.

So, we decide to turn back.

And we are now back on the Johns Lake Loop Trail.

Woodpeckers have tagged their graffiti on this tree trunk.

The tunnel across the creek is part of an old horse trail.

This stretch of the forest is exactly how I pictured the one from the Hansel and Gretel fairytale. I imagine I am throwing breadcrumbs along the path.

Old McDonald had a creek e-i-e-i-o… And on that creek there was some whitewater e-i-e-i-o… With a swoosh-swoosh here, and a swoosh-swoosh there, here a swoosh, there a swoosh, everywhere a swoosh-swoosh… Old McDonald had a creek e-i-e-i-o…


Speaking of fairytales, these trees remind me of a game of Pick-Up-Sticks played by the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk…

Maybe these are the McDonald Falls?…

How do you explain this?

We reach a gravel path escorting us out of the forest…

The forest leads to McDonald Road where the ghost beard hang from the trees like tinsel at Christmas.

A footbridge crosses the creek as it empties into Lake McDonald.


The wildflowers along McDonald Road make up for the lack of forest trail.

Scouler’s Woollyweed or Hairy Arnica maybe?…

Wandering Fleabane or Howell’s Fleabane maybe?…

White Campion and Woolly Mullein

White Campion

McDonald Road leads into a side trail that runs parallel to the Going-to-the-Sun Road and we take this back to the trailhead.

Indian Pipe

We return to our car and head to Sacred Dancers Cascades. We think… It looks suspiciously like the Falls we crossed further downstream on McDonald Creek.

Except for the confusion with the trail markers and the names of the waterfalls, this was a lovely hike!

A Haiku Through the Forest

Glacier National Park

We get up early and head to the Park before 8:30 so that we can get a place to park for 2 popular trails that link together.


The Trail of the Cedars is a 1 mile loop on the eastern edge of the Pacific Northwest oceanic climate. This means, if you arrived here blindfolded and looked at your surroundings after you removed the blindfold, you would think you were on the northern Pacific Coast where lush green ferns and velvety mosses grow along the forest floor.

It also marks the extreme  eastern limits for western hemlocks and red cedars. The humidity in the Lake McDonald valley allows the cedars to grow up to 100 feet tall with diameters of 4-7 feet. Some of these trees are estimated to be more than 500 years old.

But another unique feature of the Trail of the Cedars is the poetry written on the plaques describing the boardwalk section of the trail…

Five-Seven-and-Five

Write a short syllabic poem

Count the beats with me                                                                                                                                             

That’s right, this part of the trail is lined in Haiku verse!

Except for this one…

You are among the ancients here. Some of these trees were young when Peter the Great ruled Russia, Mozart dazzled the courts of Europe, Thomas Jefferson crafted the Declaration of Independence, Sacagawea helped guide Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, the United States fought its civil war, and the Wright brothers took to the air above Kitty Hawk.

Throughout time the Kootenai and Salish peoples have revered this as a sacred place with special qualities, qualities that still remain for you to discover, as you walk among these silent titans. What stories these trees could tell. (plaque on Trail of the Cedars)

The Trail of the Cedars crosses Avalanche Creek from the road.

We decide to head out in a counterclockwise direction so we proceed through the edge of the Avalanche Creek Campground.

Suddenly, a snow shoe hare hops by with those long narrow feet. I take his picture when he lands, but unfortunately his feet are hidden.

Tree sculptures adorn this area of open forest.

We take a short spur to the creek bed.

And we arrive at the junction to the Avalanche Lake Trail, an out and back hike of roughly 4 miles.

We interrupt our Trail of the Cedars hike here and take a detour to Avalanche.


Avalanche Lake Trail… Out

We turn right, exit the Trail of the Cedars, and immediately encounter a short, but steep climb into a dense forest on one side and a narrow gorge of rushing glacial waters.

The trail delights us as it runs along Avalanche Creek.

Eventually the trail departs from the Creek but the sound of cascading water lets us know we are still following its course.

Downed trees are the result of recent avalanches.

Right before reaching Avalanche Lake we share the trail with a whitetail deer.


Avalanche Lake Trail… Arriving at the Lake

The lake is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and borders Bearhat Mountain and Sperry Glacier (not pictured here).

Several cascading waterfalls, meltwater from Sperry Glacier, flow into the lake.

Hikers can continue along the trail as it follows along the western shoreline to the head of the lake.

The next 2 photos are of the eastern cliffs above the lake…

According to hikingglacier.com, this area of Glacier National Park was named by Dr. Lyman Sperry. In June of 1895, while he was exploring the basin, he saw and heard several avalanches thundering down the surrounding mountains. He and his hiking party agreed that Avalanche Basin would be a suitable name for this place. Later that same summer Sperry discovered the glacier that now shares his name.


Avalanche Lake Trail… Back

We ascend up from the beach…

…and back on the trail…

I capture new perspectives in this direction.

Another deer… This one doesn’t flinch as we walk by. He or she is too busy munching on a tasty green leaf.

Lots of new views I missed before…

Some kind of red berries among Devil’s Club


Trail of the Cedars… Resumed

We descend the trail and finish the Trail of the Cedars loop.

A footbridge leads over the creek and provides spectacular views of the lower Avalanche Gorge.

We arrive at the boardwalk portion of the trail and cross another stream. The clear glacier waters appear as a shiny coating of shellac covering a mosaic of colorful rocks.

We hike along reading the rest of the haikus that take us back to where we started.


It’s all up to us

Step lightly on precious ground

Save our Mother Earth

…and Back Again

Returning from the Sun

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is well worth experiencing in both directions as the view going east is different from the view going west. And, since it’s later in the day, we are able to stop and get out of the car to take pictures of what we missed before.


We pull in to the turnout for Goose Island and I notice these clusters of pink flowers on long loose stems with narrow leaves.

Fireweed… from the Evening-Primrose Family

Wild Goose Island sits in the middle of St. Mary Lake surrounded by mountain peaks almost 4,000 feet high. (plaque at viewpoint)


A Montana Legend, retold by S.E. Schlosser, tells the story of 2 tribes living on either side of the lake who simply avoided each other.

But all that changed one day when a handsome warrior on the near shore saw a lovely maiden from the other tribe swimming toward the small island in the middle of the lake. He was so taken by her beauty that he leapt into the lake and swam to the island where they met and fell in love. After promising to meet at the island on the morrow, the maiden and warrior returned home to their individual tribes.

Neither tribe was happy about their meeting and all were determined to keep the 2 lovers apart. So in the early hours of the morning the warrior and the maiden swam back out to the little island and made plans to leave together for a new land where they could be together.

As soon as they were discovered missing, however, both tribes set out to bring them back.  But the Great Spirit was watching over the young couple and approved of their love for each other. He transformed them into geese, which mate for life, so they could fly away and be together forever.

When the 2 tribes reached the island they only found 2 geese who stroked their necks together and flew away, never to return again. (americanfolklore.net)



We continue driving west…

The next turnout we stop at provides a view of Jackson Glacier. But first we are greeted by these lovely lavender Asters.

Most of the glaciers in the Park are not visible from the road, but Jackson Glacier is easily seen at this overlook. At 10,052 feet, Mount Jackson is the 4th highest peak in the Park. (plaque at viewpoint)


According to the Glacier National Park Official Summer 2019 Newspaper

In 1966 the Park had 35 named glaciers. By 2015, 9 of those were already inactive. Snow avalanches, ice flow dynamics, and variations in ice thickness cause some glaciers to shrink faster than others, but one thing is consistent — all the glaciers have receded since 1966.


We continue west toward the setting sun…

Absolutely gorgeous!


Logan Pass is the highest elevation reachable by car at 6,646 feet. Clements Mountain, at 8,760 feet, hovers above the Visitor Center where the parking lot is always full. Logan Pass crosses the Continental Divide. (Glacier National Park Official Summer 2019 Newspaper)


I wish I could be more specific about what we see… There’s a hiking trail and the rest of the Going-to-the-Sun Road down below.

The alpine valleys are dramatic…

The Weeping Wall…

Haystack Falls…

This may be a preview of Heavens Peak…

The road narrows and hugs the rocky slopes…

Heavens Peak at 8,987 feet…

What a contrast of landscapes…


The second tunnel, West Tunnel…

Somehow I missed the East Tunnel which, traveling in this direction, is before Logan Pass. This 408-foot tunnel passes through Piegan Mountain. (A week before we visited Glacier National Park, a young girl was killed by falling rocks as her family’s car approached the entrance to the East Tunnel from the west.) Yikes! How awful and devastating!


We head toward Avalanche Creek…

Mc Donald Creek as it approaches its namesake lake…

And we’re back at the Western Entrance to the Park after a very full day of exploring!


Some notes I took…

Two mountain ranges, the Livingston Range and the Lewis Range, run through Glacier National Park from the northwest to southeast. The Continental Divide follows the crest of the Lewis Range.

Elevation varies from a low of 3,150 feet in the Lake McDonald valley to a high of 10,466 feet on Mount Cleveland. There are 6 peaks over 10,000 feet and 32 peaks over 9,100 feet. (nps.gov)


And 2 postscripts…

 

Beyond the Sun

Many Glacier…

This area of the National Park is north of the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the eastern side of the park. To get there we take Highway 89 North out of St. Mary to Babb and travel 9 miles parallel to the Lower Saint Mary Lake. At Babb we turn East on Highway 464 which leads into the Many Glacier Entrance to the National Park. Twelve miles of intermittent rough road, loose gravel, and potholes pass the largest hotel within the park and dead ends into the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, an Italian style restaurant, and a campstore/gift shop.

As we bump along  Swiftcurrent Creek and Lake Sherburne, I take pictures, of course.

Some kind of pink Thistle, maybe…

The official boundary into Glacier National Park…

Lake Sherburne…

We lose the lake and continue to the parking area at the end of the road where the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, built in 1933, loops back around.

Grinnell Point looms ahead…

Luckily we find a space just big enough to park our tiny car.

We walk back along the road to catch the Swiftcurrent Lake Trail at the Many Glacier picnic area. The trailhead to Grinnell Glacier is also accessed here.

Wildflowers show off their colorful blooms.

Indian Paint Brush and some kind of Aster

Alpine Leafybract Aster

Baneberry?…

We take a footbridge across Swiftcurrent Creek. Mount Wilbur, at 9321 feet, rises to the west.

Wynn Mountain looms overhead to the east.

Tree sculptures adorn the forest trail lined with aspens and pines.

Swiftcurrent Lake…

Another footbridge crosses a channel between Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine before looping back toward the Many Glacier Hotel in one direction or continuing beyond to Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Glacier.

Today, however, we are reminded that we are indeed in Grizzly country. The trails heading to the lake and glacier are closed due to increased grizzly bear sightings by park rangers. Later we learn that the bears are displaying signs of agitated behaviors. I guess they don’t like the crowds either.

We walk past a cabin for park personnel that tapers onto the shore of the lake just beyond the trail. The colorful scenery is a perfect photo op.

The tallest mountain rising on the left of this photo is Mt. Gould.

Cinquefoil

Can you find Mt. Gould?

We walk past the boat landing and hotel.

Northern Sweetvetch?…

We cross a stream connecting Lake Sherburne with Swiftcurrent Lake.

Here are 2 views of the Many Glacier Hotel seen from across the lake.

The Great Northern Railway completed construction of the Many Glacier Hotel in just 1 year. Considered the “Gem of the West”, the Swiss chalet-themed hotel opened in 1915  to promote this area as the “American Alps” and a posh tourist destination for the rich and famous. Rustic backcountry chalets were within an easy horse ride or day hike from the hotel to encourage visitors to experience nature. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

As we loop back around again to the Many Glacier picnic area where we began, I spy this brightly blooming beauty.

Pineywoods Geranium?…

I wish we could stay longer and hike more of the many trails radiating out in all directions.  Massive mountains, active glaciers, sparkling waters, a paradise of hiking trails, and abundant wildlife make this area of the Park a destination to explore by car, foot, boat, or horseback. (nps.gov)

Going-to-the-Sun

Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Road is a 50 mile scenic drive that bisects Glacier National Park east and west.

It is significant as a unique engineering accomplishment of the early 20th century, and as the first product of a 1925 cooperative agreement between the National Park Service and the Bureau of Public Roads. (Library of Congress, loc.gov)

This paved 2-lane highway was completed in 1932. Spanning the width of the park, the road passes through a glacial lake and cedar forests in the lower valleys, crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, and descends the alpine meadows of summer wildflowers into water-carved gorges, forested valleys, another glacial lake, and a native grassland community. (visitmt.com and Glacier National Park Official Summer 2019 Newspaper)

Picturesque viewpoints, overlooks, turnouts, trailheads, 2 tunnels, shuttle stops, and restrooms line the highway to the sun.

letsgetdealstoday.com

We get an early start. All of these pictures are taken from the car while we drive from west to east. Not expecting great pictures, I am pleasantly surprised at how well I have managed to capture the flavor of the iconic Going-to-the-Sun drive. So, buckle up and enjoy…


After driving past Lake McDonald and Avalanche Creek, we pass through the West Tunnel. In 1926, technology, manpower, and time bored through 192 feet of mountain. (Glacier National Park Official Summer 2019 Newspaper)

The only switchback on this road affords this view of a hanging valley. (Unlike rivers, glaciers erode into steep-sided, wide-bottomed, U-shaped valleys.) Hanging valleys remain where a small mountain glacier once joined a larger valley glacier. (National Park brochure)


Let’s stop and talk about how earth history formed Waterton-Glacier National Park. The Park is the result of 1.6 billion years of 3 geological forces happening in the following sequence:

  1. Sedimentation of rock
  2. Uplift of mountains
  3. Glaciation that carved out mountain valleys.

It all started some 150 million years ago when tectonic plates of the earth’s crust collided on the western edge of North America. This collision began a process of mountain building that continued for another 90 million years. Then, about 75 million years ago, the Lewis Overthrust Fault cracked and lifted over 60 miles of rock. The Overthrust Fault explains the sudden mountain-to-plains transition and the narrow width of the Rocky Mountains here at barely 35 miles. (I had no idea that over 1800 square miles of the Rockies lie within the boundaries of Waterton-Glacier National Park.) (nps.gov)

Meanwhile, as the newly formed mountains trapped clouds, draining rain and snowmelt became streams that fed into 3 river systems. Over time, the mountains collected so much moisture that snowfields became glaciers that grew and spread and carved out the landscape of the Park today. About 12,000 years ago the last of the great glaciers melted back, leaving today’s younger glacier ice surviving in only the highest, coldest places. (National Park brochure)

To this day, some of the oldest rocks in North America, still retaining their sedimentary characteristics, are found in Waterton-Glacier National Park.

Below, the Triple Arches Bridge, is a 3-span, 65 foot long half-bridge designed in 1927 as a less expensive and less imposing solid masonry retaining wall. Known locally as the Garden Wall, it is constructed of reinforced concrete and was built to span the deep rifts in the mountainside where the road traverses the Continental Divide. (Parkitecture in Western National Parks, nps.gov)

Did I mention, it’s crowded all day here? And the turnouts are usually full? That’s why I have to snap my pictures fast when we’re on the go.

Glaciers that lie against mountains erode ever-steeper cliffs by repeatedly freezing and thawing and prying rocks loose. Where glaciers surround the peak, they may eventually erode it into a tooth-like horn. (National Park brochure)

Bighorn sheep resting in an alpine meadow…

Weeping walls…

A water-carved gorge…

St. Mary Lake, like Lake McDonald, is a vivid blue glacial lake that fills the bottom of a large glacial valley.

I discover a UFO hovering over the mountain peaks…

Clouds are cool!

We arrive at St. Mary and exit the park.

Glacier National Park

Let’s Talk…

I have to be honest. I was expecting to be mesmerized with spectacular views of glaciers. Instead we found crowds, congestion, and parking areas already full by 9:00 AM. Even the shuttle service is too crowded to be useful and efficient. Six people wait and when the shuttle finally pulls up, there are only 2 seats available. But I am getting ahead of myself…

Maybe we are just tired out. After all, this is the 3rd national park we are visiting this month. Perhaps if we had started out with Glacier, my reaction would be totally different.

We are spending 7 nights at the North American RV Park &Yurt Village in Coram, 5 miles from the West Entrance to Glacier National Park. So… I have more than enough time to explore, experience, and change my first impression .

northamericanrvpark.com


Glacier National Park shares a border with Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. In 1932 the governments of Canada and the United States linked these 2 parks and created the world’s first International Peace Park. Waterton-Glacier is a place for all peoples to set aside their differences to work collectively in the interest of all life for all time.

In the late 1970s Glacier and Waterton Lakes were named Biosphere Reserves. And in 1995 the International Peace Park was designated as a World Heritage Site. (national park brochure)


A Sneak Peek

Since we arrive in Coram in the early afternoon, we get settled and head to the Apgar Visitor Center just inside the West Entrance. Unfortunately the parking lot is full and cars are parked along the road. After circling through the lot a couple of times, we head east on the Going-to-the-Sun Road and follow Lake McDonald before turning around and heading back to the RV.

We park in a couple of pull-outs and walk down to the lakeshore. Lake McDonald is a crystal clear glacial lake. And I have to be honest… It IS beautiful!

Have a look…

Woolly Mullein…

And this ends our short preview of Glacier National Park. We go back home and do our homework and plan our visits for the rest of the week.

The Oregon Trail… Westward Ho’

image 2,000 miles to go…

From Saturday through Friday we travel from Minneapolis to Remote, Oregon.

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We encounter rain, snow, sleet, and warm sun-filled days, ever- changing landscapes, and 2 misadventures.

Our first misadventure happens on Saturday before we cross over to South Dakota. We hear banging noises of shifting storage contents coming from somewhere. I inspect all of the cabinets and closets. Jeff suspects his guitar is banging against his closet door, but that does not seem to be the case. Fellow RV drivers pass us and start pointing up to the roof so we pull into a rest area and Jeff climbs up onto the roof to inspect it. The only thing he notices is the awning over the main slide is crumpled and loose. We continue on our way but the banging and warnings from truckers and RVers continues. I look for the nearest RV service along our route, and that happens to be in Sioux Falls, SD. Unfortunately the  Service Department is closed. Fortunately the General Manager is available. The only solution is to cut off the awning material that unrolls with the slide to protect its roof. The GM informs us that the awning is unnecessary, especially with high winds. And we have experienced many a day and night with high winds! We are forever grateful to Spader’s RV Center!!!!!

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We continue to Plankinton, South Dakota to spend the night, wondering what happened to the beautiful weather in Minneapolis.

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And baby, it’s cold outside! The next day we enter Wyoming and slush accumulates on the windshield.

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And then the skies slowly blossom into blue…

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The next day, however, brings more icy Wyoming weather…

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until blue skies start peeking through the clouds in Montana.

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We wake up in Bozeman and the scenery just keeps getting better…

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all the way into and almost through northern Idaho!

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