We thought about leaving the kids at McDonalds while we went and played a few slot (hehehe).

Montana is a gambling state that has voted down sales tax every single time, says the gal in the gift shop. They have a small population that supports local needs. Private donations, according to one of the Flat River Rescue Team leaders, are plentiful.

Grizzle Bear’s Grub

Purple huckleberries and Saskatoon berries are in season. The kids are picking Saskatoon, which tasted great added to sun tea and pancake batter.

Driving The Road to the Sun today, we saw a grizzly bear ambling down the road. We took tons of pictures with our Canon, but none I can upload. He stopped at a log laying on the ground and tore it open with his paws looking for grubs. Nothing there, so he went on his way. This was the fourth, yes fourth, sighting we’ve had in twenty-four hours. This guy was the best, the mama and her cub on a hillside was a close second. I now have a bear bell on my hiking backpack and Mike carries bear spray everywhere. As we were driving, he asked the kids “What’s the difference between grizzle and black bear scat? The grizzle’s is full of bells and smells like pepper spray. Hilarious, isn’t he?

Helicopter Rescue

I love the soft adventures of camping. Sitting next to a campfire, drinking my morning coffee, reading one of Stephanie Plum’s adventures in a Janet Evanovich mystery. That’s my kinda day! My two Eagle Scouts are looking for a challenge, an adventure.

Today we had a teachable moment in Red Rock Canyon. Go to the northern boarder of Montana, cross at the summer-only boarder crossing, and head to the very north end of Waterton Peace Park. This parking area has recently been repaved, the restrooms are vault toilets. It’s river water or a bring you own kinda place.

So it’s noon, we’re at the trailhead heading out on a hike, and here come a mountain biker gal busting into view yelling for a satellite phone to call 911. There are 50 people or so who hit their cars looking for a signal, but no one has one. No one has a satellite phone, and there’s no ranger phone at the new restrooms. We are 30 minutes drive from a Ranger station, and she has the only bike. Her biking partner, who fell and can’t mover her legs, is 8 km out in the trail. That’s five US miles. One guy says he’s a doctor, and sounds like he’s Canadian. He headed out on the trail (using her bike) to find the hurt biker. The other gal heads to the ranger station in her car. There wasn’t much we could do but prayer for her. 

One hour into this, we are having lunch and the ranger comes in with the original biker. We hear him tell her there isn’t much we can do but wait. Half an hour later the helicopter flies in the rescuers and drops them on the trail using a long line between the trees. Two and a half hours from the time the biker yelled for 911, we see the injured gal and her bike, dangling from the chopper, fly over the canyon we are in.

They set her down in a field that had a rescue team ambulance. When we left at 3:00 PM, we passed the hospital transport ambulance that would get her the medical attention she needed. What an eye-opener. I had read that this was not the place for family biking, and today we saw why. What an amazing rescue!

The Helicopter Made Numerous Trips To The Crash Site
Rescuing the Injured Bicyclist

Rescuing Her Bike From The Woods

Montana, We Are Here!

After two days of driving, we’ve gone 1,200 miles, the equivalent of MI to Orlando FL. We have crossed two time zones, and Garmin says our elevation is 2400 feet. Nathaniel tried hauling a trailer today, and Madeline spent some time crafting. A great Comfort Inn in Glendive, MT is our home for the evening. The pool and hot tub got some serious use! Seeing the badlands of ND was the highlight of the day. We’re sick of driving, and there is a rodeo in town, but we’ll push on to Glacier tomorrow.

Vehicle Maintenance

Day Two

Our dog sitter (read: Grandma) lives north of our home, and we need to go west.  Lake Michigan was in our way of traveling west, so we came back home and spent the night.  It’s a good thing we did!

Who knows what caused this mark on our driveway before we left? Not something he wanted to wake up to yesterday before getting on the road. 

Here is Mike’s Maintenance Checklist (which had already been done):

Replaced the trailer tires, checked the bearings and the brakes.  The van maintenance: engine belt replacement, oil change and tires. Now the deep cycle battery is screaming “replace me”. Glad to have it done before we leave. Glacier National Park campgrounds do not have electricity, so we’ll be using it every night. Think of us when you turn out your lights!


Day One, Grand Haven

I know, Grand Haven is north, not west. We took a day trip home to see the family. Grandpa Great’s health is changing like the wind. He was very much himself today, with good color and the energy to get out of bed on his own. We enjoyed lunch with mom and dad at Turk’s, and 1/2 baked pizzas from Fricano’s with my nephews. It was a thrill to feel the faintest of kicks from our unborn nephew. Our only regret is that we’ll miss seeing Uncle Rob while he’s visiting from San Francisco. ((Hugs)) to everyone.

Cool Beach Pics From Grand Haven 2014-11-07 042

Hudsonville, MI Man Missing In Glacier National Park

Thoughts and prayers are with the Hudsonville family and rescue teams looking for this 19 year old in GNP.  This hits close to home, as we have a 16 year old son and live very close to this area of Michigan.  I can’t begin to imagine their worry. . .  He’s young and looks to be in good shape, all in his favor.  Facebook updates are located here:

Dreaming of GNP

So many things to see in GNP!  Many Glaciers will be our first stop, then maybe a Red Jammer bus tour.  Who has visited GNP?  Is Going to the Sun road as exciting as it sounds?
Isn’t he crazy looking?!?  There is a mountain rich with salt near Essex that everyone stops at to watch the mountain goats climb for the salt.
Yes, we’ll visit Waterton, Canada for a day.  Who can resist “the Switzerland of North America” when they call it an International Peace Park?  This is the chalet where we’ll be having afternoon tea.  I wonder what it looks like inside.