Monday, June 21, 2010

Photos from Montana - Glacier National Park

Most of you will remember that we had a blowout on the interstate as we were driving from Utah into Great Falls, Montana.  This is a picture of what little was left of the tire once we got it off.  Needless to say, we have 4 new tires on the trailer and 2 spare tires now.

Here you can see some of the damage done by the blowout - It took a hunk out of the fender and crinkled some of the body behind the rear tire (it was the rear that blew out, pictured is the spare).  It also did some damage to the underneath of the slide that we had repaired in Great Falls.
We were so tired that we pulled off to sleep just to the South of Great Falls.  It was dark when we pulled in, so imagine our surprise when we woke in this beautiful setting the next morning.  This was a brand new RV lot that we stayed in since the rest area we planned on staying in was closed due to road construction.
Glacier National Park - St Mary Campground - Beautiful camping spot!
Glacier National Park - Baring Falls - Matt captured this during one of our hikes in the rain.

Glacier National Park - St. Mary's Falls - Matt also captured this one on our rainy day hike.  Notice the beautiful reddish rock everywhere.
Glacier National Park - Goose Island sunset by Matt
Glacier National Park - Shaggy mountain goats
Glacier National Park - Another view of St. Mary's Falls
Glacier National Park - Virginia Falls
East Glacier - "Jammers" - Refurbished tour cars used to tour Glacier National Park

June 19 to June 21, 2010 - Driving North!!

If you haven't looked at the actual blog in some time (i.e. you receive this via email), you might want to take a look at it as I have updated our location on the map on the blog    As you can see, we have made significant progress North, but we still have quite a ways to go.  We've been working with Pinkie to see if she can share some of the driving responsibility and so far she hasn't said a word of rejection (see below).

I thought I’d continue the blog where I left off on Saturday at the coffee shop in Jasper.

Saturday – June 19, 2010 – Jasper National Park (Canada) - Continued
Once Matt finished working and we left the coffee shop, we drove over to Malinge Canyon where we did a quick hike from the 5th bridge across the narrow limestone canyon up to the 1st bridge across it.  It was beautiful to see all the narrow waterfalls and slots that the river had carved.  We next decided to do a drive out to Malinge Lake again to look for wildlife.  We were definitely rewarded with wildlife this evening.  We saw 3 black bears, 2 hoary marmots, an osprey and 2 harlequin ducks along with countless elk and deer (sorry, but we really don’t count them as wildlife anymore, how silly is that!!).  We had a very European timed dinner (i.e. very late in the evening) at Jasper Pizza (great pizza) and then home to the RV to finish up our packing for the trip on Sunday.
Malinge Canyon (this is actually a very wide spot in the canyon).

Isn't he adorable????

Our first wildlife sighting of the night - 2 hoary marmots near Medicine Lake
Black bear about 20 feet off the road.

Same black bear as above
Osprey in the center of the photo - He was fishing - We would watch him dive into Maligne Lake twice to catch a fish.
 Sunday – June 20, 2010 – Drive from Jasper Nat’l Park  to Dawson Creek, BC (Canada)
We set out about 8am to make the 6+ hour drive from Jasper to the town of Dawson Creek, BC, which is the official start of the Alaska Highway (YEAH!!!).  The Alaska Highway is 1422 miles long and despite its name, 2/3 of it is actually in Canada (British Columbia & the Yukon).  The roads were in decent shape and generally got much better once we had passed Grand Cache.  We did see quite a bit of wildlife along the road today, a black wolf, black bear, and of course more deer and elk.  We almost had an elk as a hood ornament as she decided to leave the side of the road and walk out to stand right in the middle of our lane.  Slowing down that much weight takes a bit of time and thankfully she decided the big red and white thing coming at her was probably not the best so she scampered off the road.  The weather was actually hot (high 70’s) for us when we arrived in Dawson Creek (shows how chilly it has been if 79 actually feels hot).  We took the evening to relax after the drive.
Monday – June 21, 2010 – Dawson Creek, British Columbia (Canada)
We woke to nice weather again with the temperature reaching into the 70’s again (shorts weather, yeah!!).  Matt worked for the bulk of the day while I worked on grocery lists and making restocking runs since this is the largest town that we will see until we hit Fairbanks, Alaska in mid July.  We also managed to get the truck oil changed (just barely).  We took it to the Wal-Mart in town (the smallest I have ever been in) and first of all they were not sure they had enough oil to do the oil change.  Then Matt was paged over the intercom and he had to go to Canadian Tire to purchase the oil filter because Wal-Mart was out of them.  In all fairness to them, this town of about 12,000 inhabitants gets invaded by an estimated 1,000 vehicles DAILY traveling through to Alaska.  I managed to find two great scrapbooking stores in town so I spent quite a while browsing (and buying).  It started to rain in the early evening so we hung out at the RV with plans to explore the town tomorrow.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Photos - Moab Utah - May 23 to May 28 - 2010

We are finally at a campground that has WIFI so I'm going to try to catch us up on photos as many of you have requested.  It looks like the last photos that I posted were from May 22 so I'll get us get caught up with our days around Moab, Utah. 
May 23 - Landscape Arch in Arches National Park where we hiked into.

May 25 - Matt hiked into Delicate Arch and this is a shot through the arch to view the LaSal Mountains in the background.

May 25 - Sun flair as the sun was setting over Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

May 25 - The view of Delicate Arch in Arches National Park that became the unofficial emblem of Utah.

May 25 - We drove from Canyonlands National Park back to Moab via the Shaffer Road - A little intimidating looking down from the top!!!!

We shared the Shaffer trail with this little guy as he munched on the wildflowers.

May 25 - Matt sitting on the edge (as usual) at a viewpoint along the Shaffer Canyon road.
May 26 - We took a ranger led walk through the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park - Here Matt scrambles up the face to get ready to stuff himself into the window of the rock.

May 26 - Yep, this is the window (opening) that he is stuffing himself into.

May 26 - Fiery Furnace - We finally found our way back into the maze of rocks on our own

May 27 - Our drive down to the 4 corners to photograph some of the ruins - This one is known as Flame House.
May 28 - Another wonderful ruin - This one know as Fallen Roof
May 27 - We visited National Bridges National Monument.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

June 14 to June 19, 2010 - Jasper National Park (Canada)

Monday – June 14, 2010 – Jasper National Park (Canada)
We started off the day by backtracking from our campground at Wilcox Creek to pick up a few items that we were too tired to stop at on Sunday night.  We drove back the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) to the Weeping Wall overlook and then on to Bridal Veil Falls overlook.  Matt almost became bear food at Bridal Veil Falls.  He was walking to the end of the parking lot to get a good picture of the falls when he stopped suddenly about 10 feet from a black bear that was eating just below him on the hill (unseen from the parking lot).  Well, of course, since he was so near the car, no bear spray or anything.   He and the bear were both surprised and jumped.  He backed away very slowly and was glad that the bear was so happy with the plants he was eating.  Of course, armed with bear spray he did go back to photograph it, but it did teach us a very valuable lesson and now bear spray goes EVERYWHERE!!!!  Well, after the excitement of the morning, we picked up the RV and proceeded north on highway 93 towards the town site of Jasper.  We stopped just a mile from the campsite at the Icefield Center.  It’s a great center just across from the Athabasca Glacier.  We boarded the Ice Explorer for the tour out on the icefield as we had missed all the guided walks of the Glacier for the day.  We had just a few minutes to walk around the glacier and sample some glacier water (which was very cold by the way).  On our way into Jasper, we stopped at both Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls, both very beautiful.  We found our campground, Whistlers, in Jasper very easily and were very impressed with the campground.   It’s our first full hookups in a while so we feel a bit spoiled.  The campground has huge spaces and is so treed and green, quite the change from our cramped spaces in Moab.
Tuesday – June 15, 2010 – Jasper National Park (Canada)
We started off the day by paying a visit to the Visitors Center and the bank for some more Canadian cash.  After a quick drive through town, we drove out to Patricia and Pyramid Lakes.  The wind picked up and since the temperatures were only in the 50’s, we decided for a quick picnic lunch in the truck on the shore of Pyramid Lake.  We then drove to the other side of town to visit Malinge Canyon, Lake Edith, Lake Annette and a short stop at the Jasper Park Lodge.  The lodge was very beautiful and its grounds on the lake were beautiful.  We headed back to town to do some shopping and found a great pub offering $6 burgers so in we went for a great burger and cider.
Wednesday – June 16, 2010 – Mount Robson Provincial Park & Jasper National Park (Canada)
We woke to a beautiful day with only light scattered clouds so we decided to go view Mount Robson, Canada’s highest peak at 12,970 feet.  It’s a gorgeous peak located in the Mount Robson Provincial Park.  After stopping in at the visitor’s center there, we drove a bit further out to Rearguard Falls and then back to Overlander Falls.  Both were very beautiful and we were amazed at the volume of water flowing over the falls.  We drove back to Jasper and then rode the Jasper Tramway about 3,000 feet on the Whistlers Mountain.  We then hiked the rest of the way to the top to be rewarded with a gorgeous view of both town and the surrounding mountains.  Our only wildlife sighting for the entire day was a very cute hoary marmot that got so close to us that I thought he was going to crawl into Matt’s lap as he was taking photos of it. 
Thursday – June 17, 2010 – Jasper National Park (Canada)
Now today was a wildlife day…  2 Osprey, Black bear, 3 bighorn sheep, deer & a golden eagle – Sure helps make up for yesterday.  Beautiful weather again today with a high reaching 70 degrees and only high clouds.  Yeah, it’s great not to be cold & wet.  We left the RV a little after 8am to make the drive out to Malinge Lake for our 10am boat ride across the lake.  It was a beautiful and deserted drive.  The boat ride was beautiful, although a bit quick for us.  With only 90 minutes total and 10 minutes at Spirit Island, we wished for a longer stay to photograph the beautiful place.  We had a quick lunch at the lodge there and then went on two short walks around the Mary Schaffer trail and up to Moose Lake before starting back down into Jasper.  We were greeted by the same 3 huge male bighorn sheep that we saw on our way in.  We did stop this time to take some photos.  A quick stop at the grocery store and we were back at the RV for dinner and to make some reservations for our next couple of towns along our route.
Friday – June 18, 2010 – Jasper National Park (Canada)
We doubled back to the Columbia Icefield today so that we could do the glacier walk that we were unable to do on Monday.  We left Jasper about 9am and arrived at the Icefield Centre about 10:30 to sign up for the 11am walk.  We had just 10 minutes to spare to drive over to the other parking lot and to get our gear all ready to go.  It was a great 3.5 hour walk on the glacier, but it was quite chilly as the wind picked up and blew over the ice.  We viewed several deep holes in the ice, the blue color was amazing.  We had a great guide, Peter, who brought along his dog, George.  George was very well behaved and I got to enjoy walking him for part of the trip.  After our glacier walk was done, we had a bowl of soup in the café along with part of our lunch we had brought (a bit of trick to be able to save some money as everything is really expensive up here).  We left the Icefields Center and picked up a couple of sights that we missed as we were pulling the trailer into Jasper.  We stopped at the Tangle Creek Falls which were just gorgeous.  We also were treated to 5 mountain goats at the goat lick viewpoint.  We saw 4 adults and 1 very small kid (who was sooooo adorable).  We are always amazed at how stupid people get when they are around wild animals.  People were boxing in the goats (including mom and baby) and walking up within 10 or so feet of them in an area designated for re-growth.  We were silently hoping for someone to get kicked or fall down the hill to teach them a lesson.  Guess we are getting cranky in our old age!!!!  We decided to take 93A back into Jasper and it was a beautiful (although very bumpy) drive past several small lakes with picture perfect reflections in them.  Dinner at the RV and sleep for us. 
Saturday – June 19, 2010 – Jasper National Park (Canada)
We had to move the RV today into another spot in Whistlers Campground.  All the full hookups were reserved so we had to move across the campground into a no services spot.  Still gorgeous and lots of room, just had to back it in.  Overall, the move took us a little over an hour and will help us be prepared for when we leave Jasper tomorrow morning for the 6+ hour drive to Dawson Creek.  Tomorrow will be a travel day and then we’ll spend 3 nights in Dawson Creek which is the last large city we will be in until we hit Fairbanks, Alaska in mid-July. 
We found a coffee shop with WIFI so we are trying to do a bit of updating and also Matt is finishing up some work.  It’s unbelievable how much we rely on the internet and how much we are limited without easy access to it.  I thought I would give you a quick update on where we think we will be on the trip into Alaska (the dates represent the nights we plan on spending in each area):
Destination Country     Start Date     End Date
Dawson Creek, BC CAN Sunday, June 20, 2010 Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Fort Nelson, BC CAN Wednesday, June 23, 2010 Friday, June 25, 2010
Watson Lake, YT CAN Friday, June 25, 2010 Sunday, June 27, 2010
Whitehorse, YT CAN Sunday, June 27, 2010 Sunday, July 04, 2010
Carmacks, YT CAN Sunday, July 04, 2010 Sunday, July 04, 2010
Dawson City, YT CAN Sunday, July 04, 2010 Thursday, July 08, 2010
Chicken, Alaska USA Thursday, July 08, 2010 Friday, July 09, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 9 to June 13 - Banff National Park (Canada)

We are currently in Jasper National Park in the Whistlers campground in the town of Jasper and still without much internet access.  We have turned our phones on for Canada so we are now reachable by phone, yeah!!  We will be in Jasper until Sunday and then we will head north again.

I thought I would update you on the past week and our adventures in Banff National Park.

June 9, 2010 – Banff, Alberta & Lake Louise, Alberta (Canada)

We woke to weather that matched the forecast for 70% chance of rain and chilly.  The temperatures hovered in the low 40’s to high 30’s depending on our elevation all day and it did rain all day long, good thing we brought our rain gear.  We decided to drive over to Lake Louise for the day.  We had both been there before but there were a couple of new things we wanted to see.  All along the highway, TransCanada 1, there are large fences and periodic overpasses for the animals to migrate across the large highway.  On our way to Lake Louise, we spotted a very large bear sitting patiently at one of the fences and just watching traffic go by.  He was quite cute from the distance sitting on his read end and just watching from behind the fence.  We arrived at Lake Louise and made the drive out to Morraine Lake.  The cloud ceiling was very low so we didn’t have too much of a view of the beautiful half frozen lake.  We then made the drive over to the Chateau Lake Louise.  We’ve been here several times before, but it is still a beautiful hotel complex in a very beautiful spot.  We decided to have lunch in the hotel lounge and enjoyed a great Canadian cheese platter.  A short walk around Lake Louise and then we were headed back to Banff via the Bow Valley Parkway.  We were hoping to spots lots of wildlife along the way home and did manage to spot some deer, elk and a really fast little black bear as he ran out in front of us across the highway.  We explored the town of Banff when we returned.  We always think that it reminds us of a cross between Breckinridge and Vail with its shopping and restaurants.  Since it was still very chilly and rainy, we decided that a soak in the Banff Hot Springs was in order.  What a great place on a chilly night to relax and unwind.

June 10, 2010 – Banff, Alberta (Canada)

We awoke to 45 degrees and NO visibility whatsoever.  We decided that today will be a down day and some catch up on laundry and grocery store runs.  The weather forecast is showing some improvement and sunny skies for Friday through Sunday so we will continue exploring then.  Our friends from Calgary will join us here at the campground on Friday night so we can explore with the “locals”.

June 11, 2010 – Banff, Alberta (Canada)

The weather was a bit better today so we ventured out to explore the Banff Springs Hotel first.  It felt like you stepped back into the 16th Century with its low ceilings, large beams, and open hall décor.  Overall, a very beautiful place.  We next drove over to view the Bow Falls on the river.  We also drove across the river to hike down to the falls and to take a few photos of the hotel from that vantage point.  After exploring town a bit more, we went back to the campground to wait for our friends, Kevin & Amanda.  After they arrived, we toured their airstream and they toured our home as well.  We both joked that it’s the first time we have “RV’d” with anyone else.  We had dinner and enjoyed visiting well into the night.

June 12, 2010 – Banff, Alberta (Canada)

We woke to brilliant blue skies and sunny weather!!!  We headed back over to Lake Louise for today’s adventures.  Kevin & Amanda recommended the Plains of Six hike that began at the Chateau and continued up to wonderful views of Victoria Glacier.  It is one of their favorite hikes and we are really glad they shared it with us.  Once we finished the hike, we drove back over to Morraine Lake.  We were so amazed at the view as when we were there a couple days ago, we could not see anything but the lake.  On the drive home, we saw a Grizzly bear walking through some construction on the main highway.  Kevin & Amanda planned and cooked a fantastic Greek dinner and we ate in the typical Greek fashion (a little on the later side) so it added to the authenticity.  Also, Pinkie was able to meet her cousins, Winky & Blinky (that is once the legal name change goes through – Again, Sorry!! Amanda).

June 13, 2010 – Banff, Alberta to Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park(Canada)

Our last day in Banff and our last day to visit with Kevin & Amanda.  We walked into town from the campground and started off with a visit to the Whyte Museum.  We had a great lunch at the Coyote Grill and then I had to do some hiking boot shopping.  I finally found “the” pair and everyone was so patient to wait for me.  We said our goodbyes at the campground and then Kevin and Amanda headed back to Calgary and we headed up to the Icefields Parkway to our next campsite near the Columbia Icefield.  On our way to Wilcox Creek Campground, we stopped at the Crowfoot Glacier, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake and Mistaya Canyon.  As we arrived at the campsite about 10pm, we were met by a couple of fellow campers that said we would not fit into the campground.  Now if there was ever a challenge that Matt took, it was this one.  He proceeded to back us into a spot that literally left us with a foot to spare behind the trailer to the nearest tree and the back of the RV hanging over the back of the space (we could not use the back jacks as they would not reach).  But we fit and were able to get a very quiet night’s sleep.  Today was a great day for viewing bear as we saw 4 in total (2 black bears and 2 grizzly bears).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Week in Review... June 5 to June 8 (today)

We are now in Banff National Park in Canada and on very limited internet access but I wanted to give you a quick update on the past couple of days.

June 5, 2010 – Glacier National Park, MT – Waterton Lakes National Peace Park (Canada)

We decided to visit Glacier’s Sister Park, Waterton Lakes, in Canada for today’s adventure.  It was a nice hour drive up north across the border and into the park.  It’s an unique park as it has the town of Waterton located within it.  After stopping at the visitor center for some ideas on things to do, we set out on one of the scenic drives in the park.  We drove out Akamina Parkway to find that Cameron Lake was still mostly frozen and only some water actually showing.  We then hiked out to Crandall Lake to find a very picturesque lake nestled amount the trees.  As we were hiking, we met a couple of other hikers that told us that there were several bears around the campground on the lake so we were a bit cautious as some Canadian friends had warned us that the bears were a bit “pissy” right now.  I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to run into not only one but a couple of “pissy” bears.  We then settled in for some lunch at one of the town’s restaurants as we were exploring the town of Waterton.  We then drove out Red Rock Parkway to enjoy the views although no wildlife sightings at all.  The Prince of Wales hotel had not opened for the season (it opened on the 6th) so we were not able to go in, but we did enjoy the outside of the hotel and its wonderful view of the lake.  We drove back to Glacier in the evening and Matt enjoyed doing a sunset shot of St. Mary Lake.

June 6, 2010 – Glacier National Park, MT – St. Mary Entrance

The weather was still a bit iffy so we decided to spend the day doing a few things around this entrance that we had not done yet.  We drove all the way up the Going to the Sun road until we hit the closure due to snow.  After that we drove slowly back down and were treated to a Mom Grizzly Bear and her 2 very small spring cubs.  As children will often do, when Mom ran, one of the cubs ran with her while the other chose the closest tree to scamper up.  Once she and the other cub were a safe distance from us on the road, she slowly went over to the tree to coax the little one down.  We also saw mountain goats, elk & deer.  After reporting our bear sighting to the ranger station, we visited the historic 1913 ranger stations and its barn.  Back to the RV for the evening.  We were suddenly awoken about 4am by a nighttime visitor.  Both Matt and I woke up to hear scratching and pawing on the RV as well as feeling the entire RV being jolted from something bumping into it.  Of course, this is the one night that we don’t have our bear spray on the bedside table with us.  Matt went for the bear spray while I went for all the lights to try to scare it off.  As soon as the lights were on, the sounds were gone.  We had just started to drift off again when we heard the ruckus again.  Again, we sprung up (bear spray in hand this time) for the lights and again it went away.  Neither time did we actually see anything, but you tell me what animal other than a bear can make a 12,000 pound RV sway…..

June 7, 2010 – Glacier National Park, MT – West Glacier Entrance

After a night of little rest since our visitor, we were a bit unsure if we wanted to make the drive all the way to the other side of the park.  We decided that since this was our last day, we should make the 2 hour drive over there.  Normally, the two sides of the park are connected by the Going to the Sun road, but since there are still 20+ foot snow drifts on it, it’s a bit impassable.  The west side of the park, is much more heavily treed than the east side.  It was very beautiful, but not quite the expansive views that we have been used to on the east side.  After stopping by the visitor center to hear that the trail we wanted to do is still closed due to an aggressive black bear, we looked for other alternatives.  We drove the 14 miles to where the Going to the Sun road was closed and proceeded to do a very short nature walk on Trail of the Cedars.  It had just started a downpour as we returned to the truck so we went to the McDonald Lake Lodge and enjoyed a coffee in the lounge there.  What a beautiful historic building.  We then headed out to make the 2 hour drive back home with a couple stops along the way.  First of all we stopped at the Goat Lick area and got a chance to see several white shaggy mountain goats perched high up on their rocky ledges.  We then continued on to a very unique waterfall that stair stepped its way down the hillside for several hundred feet.  Our last stop was at the obelisk memorial along the highway.  Sort of a conglomeration of memorials, but neat all the same.

June 8, 2010 – Glacier National Park, MT to Banff, AB (Canada)

We officially crossed the border and started our great Northern trek today.  We had a very quick (and very easy) border crossing into Canada this morning.  We decided to stop along our route at Cardston, Alberta (AB) to visit the Remington Carriage Museum.  It was incredible with over 200 carriages from the 1800’s to the 1900’s.  The museum had great displays and documentation on the carriages as well as great staff.  I even received a prairie diamond ring from one of the carriage repairmen (I guess I should say that it was a square headed nail formed in a ring).  We then made the drive through Calgary and then into our campground (Tunnel Mountain II) in Banff.  The town of Banff actually sits in the National Park so we are surrounded by beautiful peaks and Pinkie is enjoying being dry!!!  We finally got the RV all setup as the campsite is a bit strange with their sites and where they have place the electric hookups.  Dinner, showers and rest made for a relaxing evening.

We will be in Banff for 5 nights and then onto the Columbia Ice Field and Jasper for the next 4 nights.  I’ll try to post again before we leave Banff.  We are really limited with internet and phone access so it will be a bit difficult to get ahold of us until we cross back into Alaska around July 4th.



Friday, June 4, 2010

Catching Up…. May 23, 2010 to June 4, 2010

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve done a blog post, but they will be getting fewer and further between now since we have started our journey north.  I think the last detailed post that I did was for May 22 so I’ll catch us up from there.
May 23, 2010 – Arches National Park – Moab, UT
We made the short drive up to Arches National Park from Moab.  We drove to the Devils Garden Trailhead to make the 2.6 mile hike out to Landscape Arch, Pine Tree Arch, & Tunnel Arch.  It was a beautiful arch, however the trail under it is now closed as a very large portion of the arch fell a couple years ago.  We had a picnic lunch at the overlook at Fiery Furnace.  We then left Arches and made the drive out to Fisher Towers.  As we turned off the main highway, we saw lots of 18-wheelers with Paramount Pictures on the side and we discovered that they were shooting a movie there.  There was no shooting going on today as the wind was gusting up to over 50 mph and there was dust all in the air and not much in the way of views.  After a good Mexican dinner in Moab, we took advantage of the hot tub at our campground for a nice relaxing evening.
May 24, 2010 – Gemini Bridges – Moab, UT
The weather was better today with temperatures in the 50’s and lighter winds.  We drove north on Highway 191 to the Gemini Bridges trailhead.  We then road up the trail to the overlook of the bridges.   It was almost 15 miles round trip and we were both tired and sore from the ride as it was a bit more elevation gain than we had counted for.  We drove back into Moab and had dinner at Eddie McStiffs.  A very quiet night at the RV for us.
May 25, 2010 – Canyonlands National Park – Moab, UT
We decided to drive to Canyonlands to drive the 4 wheel drive road of Shafer Road down to White Rim Road and on to Potash Road for the return to Moab.  It was very bumpy and slow going but beautiful at almost every turn.   After the drive, Matt went into Arches National Park for a sunset shot of Delicate Arch while I stayed in the RV to scrapbook.
May 26, 2010 – Arches National Park – Moab, UT
We had signed up over the weekend for a ranger led hike through the Fiery Furnace.  This is an area that we have not explored before so we were looking forward to seeing a new section of the park.  It was a great hike with many times where we were squeezing through crevices and climbing through very close quarters to hike through the area.  We had also decided to get a permit to return to the Fiery Furnace on our own; however, we had difficulty even getting back into the maze of beautiful fins.
May 27, 2010 – 4 Corners Region - Blanding, UT
We decided to make the drive down to the 4 corners region of Utah to explore some ancient ruins.  We decided to leave the RV in Moab and just get a hotel for the night in Blanding, Utah.  Our first stop was a ruin called “House on Fire”.  It was an easy hike with an amazing structure.  We then drove a large circle and toured the Natural Bridges National Monument and then on through the Mokey Dugway and then finally a stop at Gooseneck State Park. 
May 28, 2010 – 4 Corners Region – Blanding, UT
Since the wind had been so high and the visibility so low yesterday we decided to make the drive from yesterday in reverse.  We added the Valley of the Gods to the front of our trip.  It was a beautiful drive through huge rock structures.  We revisited the Goosenecks State Park again and marveled at the four 360 degree turns that the river made through the park.  We then hiked out to the Fallen Roof Ruin.  This one was a bit tougher to find and we almost gave up until I spotted it on the next ridge.  We then returned to Blanding and visited the Edge of Cedars Museum.  It was a very good small museum with lots of artifacts from the Indians who had settled the area.
May 29, 2010 – Moab, UT
This is our last full day in Moab so we spent it working on the RV, doing laundry and in general getting everything ready to start our trip north.
May 30, 2010 – Utah to Montana
We started the 14+ hour drive from Moab to Montana.  It was an easy drive up interstate 15 once we got to Salt Lake City.  We made a stop at the Salt Lake City Camping World store to pick up a few RV supplies such as filters and water treatment.  The drive was going well until we had a blow out on the trailer somewhere on interstate 15.  I tried to call for emergency road service but of course, we had NO cell service where we were.  Matt was going to have to change the tire.  It took us two tries to get the trailer jacked up enough to get the old shredded tire off and to get the spare on.  The blowout did do quite a bit of damage to the underside of the kitchen slide; thank goodness we already have an appointment for RV work on Tuesday in Great Falls, MT.  We had planned on staying in a rest area for the night, but as we got there, it was closed due to road construction.  I immediately pulled out our “Exit Now” book that has a listing of all services at each exit and found a campground at the next exit.  It was brand new and was only a fee station so it was perfect for a quick pull in and sleep.
May 31, 2010 – Great Falls, MT
We drove the last 40 miles at a slower speed into Great Falls due to the spare on the trailer.  Great Falls is a great town with just about every service available.  Of course, it was Memorial Day so we were a bit limited.  We did manage to find a Firestone open that could put 4 new tires on the trailer for us.  While the trailer was getting its tires, we explore the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.  It was a great center on the Lewis & Clark Expedition right on the Missouri River.  A great lunch at Fuddruckers and then on to Wal-Mart to stock up.  Back to the RV lot to unpack our purchases and then off to the movies to see Ironman 2 (pretty cute but do think the first one was better).  Back to the RV lot to sleep.
June 1, 2010 – Great Falls, MT to Glacier National Park
So what are the odds that our RV Service area was immediately next to the Dodge dealership?  We were able to walk between the two as both the trailer and the truck went into the shop for service.  They both finished up and then we were able to go pick up a new wheel as we had decided that we needed 2 spares instead of just one for the trailer.  All was finished by 1:30 so off we went to make the 3+ hour drive to Glacier National Park.  It was an easy drive with the exception of the very narrow and windy road the last 20 or so miles.  We got settled into our campsite and of course it is wonderful.  We have the whole end of the loop to ourselves, quite the change from our Moab campground.  After getting all setup, we decided to do a walk over towards the river and the visitor center to see the Beaver that the ranger had told us about.  We also made the drive up the Going to the Sun road here at the St. Mary entrance.  As we were driving back, my quote of the day was…  “Ummm… Bear…  On the Road”.  And sure enough, there was a very large brown bear running down the road away from us.  Other wildlife sightings of the day included Pronghorns, Elk, Deer, Coyote & Bald Eagle.
June 2, 2010 – Glacier National Park, MT – St. Mary Entrance
We woke to weather in the 50’s with mist and light rain that would stay with us all day.  We walked over to the visitor’s center to get some ideas on hikes and things to do.  We are so early in the season that we can’t hike very high at all due to snow levels.  It’s amazing how much snow there still is in the park (combined with the 7+ inches that they received last week).  We decided to hike from the Sunrift Gorge trailhead and to Baring Falls, St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls.  It was a bit longer than we expected, but it was so beautifully green, it was wonderful.  It lightly rained or misted on us the whole time, but since we were so far in the trees, it wasn’t too bad.  We then decided to drive into the town of St. Mary to find showers since our campground has no hookups and no facilities.  We saw a KOA sign and were gouged for $20 for two showers.  Oh well, unlimited hot water was pretty nice.  Wildlife sightings for today were limited to the Osprey at the visitor’s center and to deer in the creek beside our campsite (if I was them, I’d be hiding out also).
June 3, 2010 – Glacier National Park, MT – Two Medicine Entrance
We woke sometime in the middle of the night and wondered if we were going to be blown away.  The wind was gusting up to 50mph and it was raining sideways.  Needless to say, we were not too eager to go outside.  We finally did venture out and started off by visiting the visitor’s center again to watch the Glacier films (seemed like a good thing to do).  The weather was so bad that we actually drove there instead of hiking the ¼ mile over the river.  As we glanced out at St. Mary lake, it had huge rolling waves on it from the wind.  We decided to drive down to the Two Medicine entrance south of us and have a look around the park and then on to the town of East Glacier for a look at the hotel and railroad depot.  We visited the Two Medicine Campstore and decided that the wind did not make for a very good look around the lake and almost ran to and from the car.  We did make a very short hike to Running Eagle falls.  It is an unique falls as it changes depending on water level.  Since we are at the height of run off, it was cascading down both levels.  We then continued to drive south to the town of East Glacier which was the original destination for the Great Northern Railway and the home of the Glacier Park Lodge.  Our plan was to eat lunch at the hotel while exploring.  We noticed things looked a bit dark as we entered and found out that they had been without power since 10am.  We settled for cold wraps and hot soup in the beautiful central gallery of the hotel.  The timber sizes were amazing in the structure.  It was still very windy and pretty chilly with highs only in the 50’s so we drove back to our campground and warm RV.  Wildlife for today was the Osprey (visitor’s center), Horrey marmot, & deer.
June 4, 2010 – Glacier National Park, MT – Many Glacier Entrance
The forecast for today called for 100% chance of rain.  Well, they just about hit it on the head.  It hasn’t been raining all day, but most of it.  We decided to head North and explore the Many Glacier entrance of the park.  We had learned yesterday that the hotel was opening and that was a must see on our list.  We had a couple of hikes planned as long as the weather wasn’t too bad, but we only managed to squeeze in one.  It was a beautiful 3.6 mile hike from the Swiftcurrent Trailhead to the Redrock Falls.  After the hike, we went back to the Many Glacier Hotel.  We were soaked by the time we got into the hotel so we headed straight for the huge round fireplace in the beautiful lobby to warm up.  We waited for the heavy rain to letup but since it didn’t we made one more drive on the road to look for wildlife.  Wildlife sightings for the day include coyote, moose and mountain goats.  Back to the RV for dinner & for Matt to work and me to do this monster post.
Wow, sorry for such a marathon long blog post.  I’ll try to keep a bit more current but it will depend on WIFI availability as we cross the Canadian border on the 8th.  We will meet up with some friends in Banff and then head on into Jasper to explore before starting to long drive north to Alaska on June 17.