I had decided that today would be a “transition” day. Although I loved hiking in the Grand Tetons the weather forecast was not good for the next 2-3 days so I decided to head north. I spent much of the morning in a Starbucks in Jackson uploading pictures, blogging and making a video via Skype with the leader (Jon) of the missions trip I took to Indonesia last month. I left Starbucks around noon and after filling the ole’ Jeep with gas and grabbing a quick bite I headed northwest on Rt. 22 with my sights set on Bozeman, MT about 4:30 hours away.
Within 20 minutes or so I crossed over into Idaho (my 11th state on this trip). A good friend of mine, Jennifer, has a sister who lives in Driggs, ID. She works at the Grand Targhee Resort and had very generously arranged a free ticket for me to take the lift to the top of the mountain for (what I was told) great views of the Teton range. I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately the weather had other plans. With the low clouds you couldn’t see halfway up the mountains so taking a lift to the top for a great view was pretty much pointless today as I would have only had a “great view” of the clouds two feet in front of me. 🙁
But I did make one stop in the area. At the recommendation of my friend Walt I stopped at the Grand Teton Brewing Company (website) in Victor ID and sampled one of their tasty ales and had a good conversation with a couple of guys from Colorado. Nice call Walt!
After that I was “laser focused” on Bozeman as I still had 3 or so hours to drive. I drove for a while and entered the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. It was about this time that it began to snow. It snowed pretty hard for about 20-30 miles or so and was still snowing when I rolled into the small town of West Yellowstone, MT (Montana made the 12th state on this trip). It wasn’t snowing enough to stick to the highways but it did look pretty on the trees and grass and it was just kinda wild (for a Southern boy) to be driving through a snow storm on the 15th of September. 🙂
From this point on the trip was pretty uneventful as it turned dark soon after leaving West Yellowstone. I passed through a few small towns including Big Sky which is pretty well known if you’re a skier…but it’s a very small town. I arrived in Bozeman and headed straight to La Parrilla to grab a burrito and made it 5 minutes before they closed. It was delicious! After that I scoped out Bozeman a little and made plans for tomorrow.
Day 22 (Sept. 16) of this trip began the same as most others with me making/eating breakfast. It was raining this morning but I found a great covered recreation area that you could drive into (thank you Bozeman!). I met another camping traveler there named Niko with his dog Pippo. We had a great conversation swapping traveling stories and sharing recommendations for places to visit and things to do. He recommended the Bozeman library for internet access and to research good hiking ideas. We talked for a while before he and Pippo took off. We exchanged contact information and said we may do some hiking together in the Cascades in a few weeks. I finished cleaning and packing my gear and headed to the Bozeman library as I planned to use this rain day to blog anyway.
On my way to the library I took some time to tour around Bozeman a little. I have to say, Bozeman seemed like a great town. It’s not too big but big enough to have what you need. And the mountains around Bozeman, with the fresh snow on the tops, were beautiful.
I arrived at the library and I have to say Niko was right, it was very nice. I found a great spot and was able to connect and get right to work uploading pictures and writing. I stayed there for several hours and was working away when a man came up and told me that the library was closing in 10 minutes. I planned to do a few more hours but I didn’t realize it closed early on Saturday….darn. Oh well. I packed up and took a minute to tell the ladies at the front desk what I very nice facility they had. Well done Bozeman!
Now my original plans were to travel from Bozeman to Missoula as I made my way to the west entrance of Glacier National Park on the Going to the Sun road (more on the park and road in the next post). Unfortunately however, due to the forest fires in Glacier NP most of the Going to the Sun road was closed (31 of 50 miles closed). For several different reasons Glacier NP, and especially Going to the Sun road, was my #1 destination for this trip. I had never been there but had seen many pictures and know several people who have traveled there recently. So needless to say I was SUPER BUMMED when I found out half the park was closed. Obviously, in the grand scope of things, me missing this was nothing compared to devastation from the fires, but it was disappointing to say the least. So I contemplated what to do I decided to head up to the east side of Glacier and through Helena the state capital of Montana. So after leaving the Bozeman library I headed north for the 1:30 hour drive to Helena.
After arriving at Helena and grabbing some food it was still only 9:30 or so and I wasn’t tired at all. So I looked around Helena for a place to check out some local brew and I found the Lewis & Clark Brewing Company (website). As I got out to walk in I could hear they had a live band….cool. When I got in I was excited to hear the band was playing 80’s music (lovin’ me some 80’s music). They were called the Jiggawatts (as in 3.21 jiggawatts….you can’t get anymore 80’s than that) and they were each wearing 80’s garb……and they were pretty good. I grabbed a pint and headed upstairs to get a birds-eye-view of the stage.
I found this on Youtube…..
Unfortunately I only got to hear 4 or 5 songs before they finished for the evening but it was a good way to end another great day of traveling across this great country.
GREAT SCOTT! (if you know 80s movies you’ll get the connection) 🙂