A BRIEF BACKTRACK

Interrupting my recent visit to Glacier to talk about my last visit to Glacier. We had two interesting experiences. I looked for pictures and found a couple, but they aren’t worth the trouble of scanning, so I’ll just explain.

1. We had left camp the day before, spent the night in Missoula and on Sunday afternoon made our way north along Flathead Lake. The kids were probably junior high age. Flathead Lake is encompassed by two beautiful scenic drives and is actually the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi (even larger than Lake Tahoe). The area of the lake is 197 square miles and in places it is more than 300 feet deep.

So, anyhow, we were driving along enjoying the absolutely beautiful lake (just south of Glacier) when suddenly we hear a siren and a police car pulls up behind us.

Ken, who had never gotten a ticket before this time, just groaned, not even sure what was happening.

A police woman and a police man got out of the car and walked up to us.

Police People: Hi folks, you having a nice day?

Ken: The lake is beautiful.

PP: It is, isn’t it? (Looking out over the lake.) Do you know you were driving 50 in a 40mph speed zone?

Ken: I really didn’t. I was enjoying your lake.

PP: You’re from Wisconsin?

Ken: Yes. We don’t have mountains like this back there.  That’s why I was paying attention to the scenery and not the speed limit.

PP. Well, sorry, but we need to give you a ticket.

They took his license/registration, etc.  We sat and waited and they came back.

PP: Here you go, sir. You can pay us right now or go into town and contest it in court.

Ken, looking at the ticket: I think I’ll pay it right now.

PP: Ok. Have fun at the park and have a great vacation.

They left and we laughed. Ken always called them Bonnie and Clyde – they were absolutely the friendliest police officers you’d ever want to meet. Ken’s ticket? Five dollars for wasting natural resources.

This from the same state that a couple years later changed the speed limit to “whatever is reasonable,” however that didn’t last long. I guess reasonable for some is actually a little too unreasonable – so they’re back to a speed limit.

Actually, I think I still have that ticket somewhere.

2. So, later that evening we got to Kalispell and as was often the case back then, we didn’t have reservations for motel rooms. Usually this wasn’t a problem, but it seemed like it would be a problem on that particular night. We were on motel row and Ken went into motel after motel with no vacancy. We were beginning to get concerned.  But then he came out of one motel and handed me a map.

The hostess said that everything in town is full, but she had a friend up on Big Mountain who has a lodge she opens in the winter – but sometimes if the motels in town are full, she’ll rent out rooms in the summer. The clerk at the town hotel called and got us a room.

We followed the map and found a road that went straight up a mountain. The tree-lined road got narrower and narrower and no person or building was anywhere in sight. The road kept going and going and we wondered what was going on – was this some sinister plot?

Suddenly we came out of the trees to the top of the mountains and there was the most beautiful lodge you have ever seen – made of thick logs and looking absolutely postcard perfect. Our room was amazing – with a loft for the kids which they loved. The lady only charged us a regular motel rate, so it wasn’t even expensive. We were the only ones there with the exception of an Amway convention, so every time we walked through the lobby we got inspired to sell healthy makeup and stuff.

Just one of those never-to-be repeated experiences.

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