Saturday, July 6, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 07

We were packed and in our faithful Honda Odyssey, Wilma Lou, by 8:03 am. After a quick stop at The Dollar Tree for some plastic dog food bowls, we headed for gas at Costco (least expensive in Clarkston). At 8:13 we were in search of a Starbucks. By 8:33, skinny mochas in hand, we were on our way to Missoula, Montana and soon on two-lane scenic Highway 12 that followed the Clearwater River, for almost 200 miles.

John spotted an old bridge that was fun to see and photograph. Then we left Hwy 12 at Orofino, ID and took a 6-mile side trip to Dworshak Dam and Reservoir. At 717 feet tall, it is the tallest straight axis concrete gravity dam in the Western Hemisphere. It was finished in 1973 and has three hydropower turbines that can generate hundreds of thousands of kilowatts of electricity for homes and industry. It also provides flood protection. The reservoir is a huge recreation area with its 184 miles of shoreline and a gross water capacity of 3.5 million acre feet.

This was part of the area that Lewis and Clark explored in 1805 on their way to the Pacific Ocean. It is interesting to speculate as to what they would think of all the changes along their trail two-hundred and eight years later. That might make a good premise for a time travel movie or TV series. It would surely beat White House Down or Duck Dynasty.

We got back onto Highway 12, still following the river. There were also railroad tracks following the river across the way. We would have loved the chance to see and photograph a train chugging along above the river with the pine trees behind it.

We stopped in Kooskia to find a city park where we could have lunch. A friendly Native American led us to the park after we asked for directions. It was a lovely 72 degrees and a beautiful green park with shade and lots of picnic benches. We had grapes, turkey sandwiches, cheese sticks and cherry vanilla diet Dr. Peppers.

After lunch, back on Highway 12, we had more of the same beautiful scenery: pine trees, a rapidly flowing river, scenic rocky riversides and pretty blue skies with puffy clouds. John soon became dozy which is not a good thing when driving, especially on continuously winding roads. He pulled over and Linda took the wheel for the first time on this road trip. She was wide awake from the refreshing  Dr. Pepper (not caffeine free) and drove for about an hour and a half until we reached Lolo Pass where John took over at 3:13. The Lolo pass is the highest point of the historic Lolo Trail, between the Bitterroot Valley in Montana and the Weippe Prairie in Idaho. This trail was use by Lewis & Clark as well as the Nez Perce Indians.

We're in Montana....it must be 4:30, or is it 5:30? What time zone am I in anyway?

We crossed the Montana State line at around 4:30. The most dramatic change was the sudden appearance of casinos here and there and everywhere! It certainly looks a lot like Nevada in that way. We noticed several "Lucky Lil" casinos. Must be a franchise? Our destination of Missoula was about 43 miles away so by 5:15 we were checked into our 2nd floor suite at Motel 6. Actually it was 6:15 since we had lost the hour we got back for a while yesterday. That is, we're back in the Mountain Time Zone. Whee! Linda is happy. Another bathtub! That makes 3 tubs out of 4 rooms. The buzzards will be roosting here for two whole nights.

Dinner was across the street at The Cracker Barrel. We had never been to one so it was fun to see the cute old-timey d├ęcor. John had chicken-fried steak, gravy, fried okra, apple slices and biscuits. Linda had broiled spicy catfish, turnip greens, baked sweet potatoes and corn muffins. Both of them had marinated tomato, cucumber and onion salad. Our waitress was very perky and seemed to love her job. That is always refreshing. She had in interesting name. We can only figure that her parents didn't like her. All through her life she'll have to spell it for people.... "No, it's not 'Myra', it's 'Myrrah'. Go figure.

The Song o' the Day is “Home on the Range” by Brewster Higley and Rob Kelly (1873).  It is the state song of Kansas. Today's river and wooded scenery was so lovely and peaceful, with occasional fields with cattle and sheep, that it seemed right at “Home” to play it on the ukelele as we meandered along from Washington, through Idaho and into Montana. And seldom was heard a discouraging word . . .

The photo gallery of 31 images for Day 07 can be viewed by clicking here.

Happy trails!

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