Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kalispell - Montana 2013

I left St. Ignatius at 5:45 AM and arrived at the Flathead County Fairgrounds, in Kalispell, at 7:30 AM. It was a beautiful drive along Flathead Lake and pine covered mountains.
Most of the group were here already and have the shaded sites. We have electricity, but only 20 Amps. This is not enough to run the air conditioners on the big motorhomes. I could run mine but it is a bit cooler here and we have a light wind blowing.
I located the library and did some shopping. Kalispell is a good sized city and has all the stores we need. At the 4:00 PM circle meeting we discussed what we will be doing this week. Our host and co host did some leg work and if the weather does not change we will have some exciting adventures.

This morning I volunteered to be a shuttle driver for bringing the trucks to where the kayakers will end their trip. Linda and I were the drivers and Doc was bringing us to the place where the trip started and then followed us and picked us up when we were done with the delivery of the trucks.
On the way we had a mishap. We had to stop on the side of the road because the kayaks wanted to do their thing on the road instead on the river. They had to be secured better and then we carried on.

There is some excitement when the kayakers get ready. 

There they go. One of those days I will join them with my own kayak.  

We have our 5:00 PM circle meeting under a weeping willow, and it is weeping. One can feel the tiny drops on bare arms and legs. Besides moisture, small, green bugs come down too. They are harmless.

After yesterdays circle meeting I went to the library and then to Tuesday Music in the Park. It is in a down town park. The music was good, but I would have a hard time describing what kind of music it was.  A few WINs came on their bicycles, which was smart since I had a difficult time finding a space to park my car.

Yesterday, at the circle meeting, we were asked who will drive cars for today’s outing to Glacier National Park. Only Karen and I raised our hands. When the question came up who needs a ride, not many hands were raised. Linda W wanted to ride with me.  This was rare occasion where we did not go as a group. People wanted to do different things at the park. Some wanted to go only half way, up to Logan Pass and the Visitor Center. Others wanted to go there and hike to Hidden Lake. I wanted to go all the way to St. Mary and then go to the Two Medicine Entrance at the south end of the park. I told Linda what I wanted to do and it was fine with her.
A car full of WINs left at 7:30 PM. They wanted to go on a long hike in the park. Linda and I left at 8:30 AM. She had to take care of her dog first.

Our first stop was at Lake McDonald.

Then we stopped at the Lake McDonald Lodge. A small tour bus was just leaving. 

The inside of the lodge is a reminder that this is Indian country. 

A tour boat leaves from this location.

Not very far from the lodge are the McDonald Falls. 

I walked the .8 mile round trip Trail of the Cedars while Linda stayed with the car.

There is also a small waterfall. 

The tour busses from the thirties seem to be very popular. 

There are beautiful valleys in the park. 

Snow is still melting and water is coming down from the higher elevations.

The highway is called: Going to the Sun Road. 

At the Logan Pass Visitor Center I walked part of the Hidden Lake Trail. 

The view from the trail is terrific.

Flowers are all over the place. 

The parking lot is always full. It took us fifteen minutes to get a spot. One has to be patient.  The park wants people to use the free shuttle buses. Some of the WINs were already here. We saw the parked cars. They are hard to miss with the kayaks on top. We ate our lunch and left. 

We stopped at a lake with a small island. 

At the St. Mary Visitor Center we met Dan and Karen. They were not able to find a parking spot at the Logan Pass Visitor Center. Linda and I looked at some of the displays and kept on going.

At Two Medicine Lake we went to the store and bought ice cream. 

The Running Eagle Falls are coming out of the mountain wall. Pictures look different. I believe when there is more water coming down the water comes over the top. Youngsters were jumping in the water from the side of the falls. 

We stopped at the Goat Lick outlook. People tried to show us were the goats were resting. They saw the goats when they were walking around. Now they were resting and we could not see them. There seems to be salt in the soil and the goats come here and lick the side of the hill. 

We came home at about 7:00 PM. It was a 220 mile loop. Pictures do not do justice to the scenery in the park. Only a video camera can capture those magnificent mountains and valleys.

Eight of us decided to do something exciting. We drove to the Whitefish Mountain Resort in Whitefish and signed up for flying on a zip line.

We arrived there at 9:30 AM and since we had no reservation had to wait until 12:45 PM for our adventure. We took the ski lift up the mountain and spent the time up there.

It was hazy and the view in the valley was not that great. 

Maynard came along to take pictures.
At the summit is a little museum. 

We had lunch there.

People bring their bicycles up and ride down the mountain.

When it was time for our appointment we went on the lift again and headed for the resort. 

There we were fitted with a harness and helmet. 

We also were given a trolley which we had to carry to the start station.
The group is ready to go. Six more people were attached to our group. 

Our first zip line was about 500 feet long and was used to familiarize us with the process. We were taught the different positions and how to contact the blanket, which stops us, at the end of the line.
Gene and I are getting ready to fly. We were the only men in the WIN group. The women organized this and they had more courage.

Karen is coming down ready to hit the red blanket. Upon contact it sound like a canon shot. It is really loud but the springs on the top beam take the impact and it does not hurt or it is uncomfortable. 

Here the left person hit the blanket and the right person is still moving. Speed can be controlled by spreading the arms out. 

It is a wonderful feeling flying through the trees at 50 miles per hour. The 2000 foot line is the fastest. 

At every end of the line is a hydration station. There was plenty of water and it was welcome. 

We did seven stations. After a while the trolley got heavy. At every start point we gave the trolley to the guide. He put it on the wire and hooked us to the trolley via our harness. Short people had to be lifted for that. We were tethered to the post. When the line was clear the guide unhooked us and we took off. It took us two and a half hours to finish the seven lines.

Here is Maynard taking pictures and movies at one of the lines.  Walking from one station to the other was the most difficult part in the heat. We had fun though. Nobody complained. 

I started the morning with my daily power walk with Donna B. I stay with her 30 minutes, sometimes 45 minutes. We leave at 6:45 AM. When I leave her and go back to the motorhome she opens her paperback book and reads while she is walking . One of those days she will end up in a ditch or fall in a hole. She goes bicycling with another guy and dances every dance when we go dancing. For a 71 year old person she has a lot of energy.
At 8:00 AM I was at the Laundromat doing two loads of laundry. My next stop was Albertson’s to buy groceries. From there I went to the library. This took care of the morning. In the afternoon I read and just took it easy. Most of the group went kayaking. Some of them ended up in the water. All of them had a good time and at the 4:00 PM circle meeting we heard all about it.

Today was Farmers Market at the Community College. I bought four pounds of cherries. This should keep me regular for a few days. The rest of the day I finished reading a book. There were all kind of fests in the neighboring towns. I treated myself by having lunch at a Chinese Buffet.
Eight of the group went for a long hike in the mountains.
In the evening we went to the Eagles Lodge for dancing. Some of the WINs are members of this organization. A very good western band provided the music. Unfortunately more than twice as many women than men went dancing. I danced almost all dances whether I liked it or not. Phil asked for waltzes and I was perspiring profusely through those. They never seem to end. Linda W tried to help me with posture and hearing the beat.
A local man was celebrating his birthday and his wife had brought a large birthday cake. They were with friends. When they noticed our group they were asking questions. People seem to be fascinated with the WINs lifestyle. People often say:” I wish I could do that”. The man celebrating his birthday and his wife are going on a one year trip with their RV. They had a lot of questions. We all celebrated the birthday and ate cake.
Some of the local men danced with our women. This was really nice.

Our morning walks through the Kalispell neighborhood remind me of Des Plaines. Before the Dutch elm disease killed all the trees, on both sides of the street, Washington Street looked just like this.

This morning I took the motorhome to the water faucets at the fairground and filled the fresh water tank. Then I went across the street to the Exxon station and got gasoline and emptied the holding tanks. I am ready for leaving tomorrow morning. A few people have left already. When I came back I set up the motorhome and got ready to go to Wells Fargo and get some money and go to Home Depot. Peggy and Marvin came back from their long bicycle ride and asked me whether I would go for lunch. I told them that I had other plans. But when I was done with my chores I decided to go to Bigfork and join the group. Bigfork is a tourist town on Flathead Lake. It has many art galleries and knick knack stores. 

When I arrived there I looked for cars with kayaks on top. I asked a person in a gallery for a restaurant on the lake. He gave me two names and told me where they were located. I drove five miles out of town and there were several vehicles with kayaks and WIN decals on the cars. They had already toured the town and were eating lunch now. I ordered two tacos which came with a salad.  

Some of the buildings are built like in Austria or Bavaria.

The weather is almost back to normal

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