Our departure goal was 9 am for Tuesday, July 23rd. I was up early to dump the black tank, wipe the dew off the windshield, and clean some of the side windows. I did all that, but in addition I wiped off the awnings, and the part of the roof above the awnings all around the coach. Okay, maybe.....as TLE says on occasion.....I am a little OC at times, but it makes me happy to see the coach looking almost as good as it did the day we brought her home for the first time on March 1, 2008. By the time I finished TLE was just arising for the day.....what a life, huh?
I think in a previous post I said we were about 10 miles from the U.S./Canada border, but it was really about 16 miles, but it's all good.....we only had about 35 miles to travel in total. We actually departed Lee Creek RV Park around 8:45 am and turned right on to PH-2 to head south to the U.S. border. As we climbed out of the town of Cardston we were blown away by the beauty of the mountains to the west of us. The skies were clear with temps in the 60's. We arrived at the U.S. Customs office around 9:30......it appeared as if we were the first customers of the day......no line of cars like we experienced entering Canada on the I-15 entrance going north 22 days earlier. We were instructed by the agent to pull forward into the parking area and open the trailer for inspection after we handed him our Passports. Someone would be out shortly he said. We parked, and I got out and opened the trailer prepared to remove the 'Bird, and open up every nook and cranny to inspection. While we waited we chatted with Forest and Cindy who made the mistake of saying they were "with us" and had to wait with us while we were inspected. In a short time Agent Ware, just arrived from the Huston, TX area, came out. He handed our Passports back and just asked us about our travels in Canada. He was a good natured guy, maybe in his early 30's. When he said he was originally from Beaumont, TX, which he referred to as "occupied Louisiana", that got a big laugh from all of us, especially Forest and Cindy. Within a few minutes he bid us safe travels and sent us on our way with nary a question about the trailer, any food items we had purchased, guns, alcohol.....all we talked about was the Columbia Icefields, Lake Louise, how much drier it was here than Houston, etc. One of the easiest border crossings back into the U.S. I have ever had.
From the border it was a scant 10 miles to Babb, MT where we had hoped to fill up with Diesel.....we were down to 1/4 tank....as we pulled into the Sinclair station Forest and Cindy continued on south toward Shelby, MT where they would fuel up on their way into Great Falls. Within a few seconds I realized this station did not sell diesel......hmmmm. I walked into the cafe next door and asked a nice young lady at the cash register where the nearest station was that sold diesel....she quickly replied "St. Mary.....just 8 miles south".....well, okay, that was our destination for the day anyway so we continued on south another 8 miles into St. Mary and right on the northern edge of town was an Exxon station which sold diesel at $4.39/gallon.....WOW....that is the most I have ever paid for diesel on this journey. We decided amongst ourselves to only put in $200 worth, which purchased us around 45 gallons, give or take a few ounces, and put us back to 1/2 full.
From there we drove another block to the local supermarket which had a large parking area to one side. We got out the car and drove over to the St. Mary Visitor's Center, the entrance to Glacier National Park. We went inside to inquire about parking in their parking lot for the day while we drove into the Park (by the way, we used our Golden Age Passes to enter for FREE!). A nice young lady inside the Visitor's Center advised us we could park all day. I then asked if they allowed people to stay the night in self contained RV's. She replied that under special circumstances they did. So, I asked, of course......"what are the special circumstances?" She paused, then pulled out some sort of log book, and replied "I'm not sure, but let me take your name, phone number and license plate number so the Rangers will know you have permission to stay here"......how cool is that? Asking never hurts, and we felt a little more at ease leaving our home in a secure parking lot.
We headed back into town and then turned back north on US-89 to an RV park we had seen coming into town to see what their rates were. There is a minor heat wave coming in the next few days, and if we are still in the area we may want to be able to plug in and run the A/C. They charge $41 for water, and 30 amps.......a little high, but if we need it we will spend the money.
Next we headed back to the store to do some shopping......nice to be able to buy beer for less than $15 a six pack! TLE picked out a few bottles of wine and I picked three six packs of some interesting beer......my supplies have been severely depleted since we entered Canada.
TLE then followed me over to the Visitor's Center where we found a parking spot and settled in for the day/night. I did some insurance work, and then we took the top off the 'Bird and headed into Glacier National Park. I have dreamed about coming here since the early 90's when my boss, at the time, had taken a vacation and just raved about his experience.....well here I am all these years later driving into that park.
We began our drive around 1 pm with no idea how long we would be gone, but looking forward to what the day would bring.
We took a few pictures....TLE took the panorama above, and the self portrait below.