Kalispell to Shelby MT – Sept 19-21

22 Sep

We passed through Whitefish on our way to Glacier National Park.  Today was the last day the absolutely incredible Going To The Sun Road was open – we traveled over the pass in the afternoon. It was spectacular!...during a break in the rain The weather changed from sunny and warm to cold and wet, the sky during magical with the storm clouds.  That evening we camped at the St. Mary campground on the east side of Glacier, the colors having turned to yellow and orange.  The next night we headed up to Many Glacier campground at 5,000′ elevation.  We hiked in the cold, damp wildnerness, ever mindful of bears.  The next morning the ground and trees were covered with snow from an overnight storm.

Not many tourists out, and the quiet, especially in the countryside is welcoming.  We left Many Glacier, choosing not to hike in the snowfall, and headed out for the Great Plains.  First stop, Browning, the center of the Blackfoot Reservation.  There I met Ernest Kicking Woman who allowed me to photograph him for a $2 model fee.  Meanwhile, Joni gave $1 to another woman who needed money to hitchhike out of town.

On to Cut Bank, the “coldest” town in the US . . . every town needs its claim to fame.  We had our first taste of road food, meat loaf-gravy-mashed potatoes-gravy-green beans-gravy, in a diner frozen in time.  I loved it.  We opted for a motel in Shelby, the last major stop for provisions before we head east across the Plains (oh, are we in trouble).  To say the motel sucked would be overrating it.  But it served its purpose.

We went into Shelby to walk around, Joni exercising, me meandering and photographing.  I was approached by Brenda who asked my why I was photographing a bar, and we ended up in a 1/2 hour discussion.  Her friend, Diana, joined us.  I love talking with locals, and getting a flavor of the local culture.  Many people are quite friendly.  Not all, the people in this flea-bag motel look at us like we’re from Mars, or worse, California,  and are curt.  It must be a family run business whose diet is based on Hostess Twinkies.

Joni’s off at the market, and I’m rushing to finish during our one hour check-out grace period.  Off to the east!

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