Our Road Trip Begins: From Bend to Glacier

So we’ve officially started our road trip from Oregon across the U.S. Our first destination is Glacier National Park in the northwest corner of Montana. We’re attempting to break all of our driving up into as manageable chunks as possible so on our first day we stopped just south of Spokane Washington outside the tiny town of Sprague.

We found a free campsite on BLM land that is in the northern section of the Palouse or grassland area of Eastern Washington. There wasn’t much to the campground other than a brand new bathroom that just also happened to be locked.

I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion, but this just confirmed that mine in fact doesn’t stink.

Making Camp for the Night

Upon arrival we immediately rearranged our gear for sleeping in the rear of the Subaru and started on dinner. Dinner was simple fare, bone broth and chicken soup with some tasty canned spinach thrown in.

Had three wisdom teeth taken out 48 hours ago. Mushy is good.

Sunset was beautiful with lots of gold from the grass and pink from some threatening clouds to the north. The temperature quickly dropped about 15 degrees.

Moments later a bit of wind kicked up and we were treated to a taste of what the dust bowl must’ve looked like during the depression. We quickly jumped into the car to avoid the worst of it. After about 20 minutes the wind died down and everything went quiet.

As the campsite offered little in the way of entertainment we prepared for bed. Just as we were drifting off a nearby pack of coyotes began serenading us with the excited sounds of a dinner of their own.

Around 2:30AM we were once again awoken. This time by another car joining us at the campground. They quickly setup their tent by the headlights of their car and dove inside.

We awoke around 6:00AM to find the latecomers were all packed up and just about to depart.

Before leaving we took a few minutes to appreciate our surroundings. Sunrise on the grasslands was quite impressive. The golden color of the grasses in early autumn look to be made of spun gold.

golden-grass-near-sprague-waThe cold air got us moving in short order. We get our gear rearranged and hit the road by 6:45.

A Brief Visit to Spokane Washington

A short drive later and we were in downtown Spokane seeking out coffee. We checked out Atticus Coffee and Grits (later and with glasses on it turns out they decided to change the name to Atticus Coffee and Gifts).

Spokane looks a lot like Bend. Lots of hipsters, lots of coffee. We hit the road again.

After making our way east into Idaho we decided to check out a little town called Wallace. Also known as the “The Silver Capital of the World”, Wallace doesn’t appear to have changed much in the last 50 years. We popped into another coffee shop in an attempt to get some work done.

This ended in failure as we were immediately distracted by a 7 week old chocolate lab puppy named Libby. She seemed only marginally interested in us and much more interested in continuing her nap in the sun.


We ordered our coffees and set out on the town. It took about 5 minutes to walk the whole place. Cool buildings, old signs. That’s Wallace.

Back on the road.

Into Montana

Shortly after crossing into Montana it becomes abundantly clear that huckleberries are a local specialty. Everything from shakes and pies to jams and pastries jump out at you from a hundred billboards.

We stopped to fill up at the restaurant and gas station that, according to their billboards, was said to have the best shakes around. But at $7 for a sample decided to pass.

Just north of this area the scenery begins to take on what you would equate with Glacier National Park. Rivers and mountains everywhere.

Eventually we passed Flathead lake which is a deep, dark blue surrounded by dense green forest. Evidently it’s the largest lake by surface area west of the Mississippi. It looked big and cold.

Shortly after we reach Kalispell which sits on the western edge of Glacier. We couldn’t make it through town without stopping for ice cream at Sweet Peaks. Brown butter pecan peach and huckleberry for myself, mint grasshopper and coconut almond for the misses. Yum.

ice cream in Kalispell MT at Sweet Peaks
Yup that’s huckleberry.

Onwards to Glacier National Park

The approach to Glacier looks a lot like Gatlinburg TN. Zip lines, race tracks, and “general stores” everywhere you look.  These sacred sites were all no doubt left behind by the indians that once inhabited this area.

It’s at times like these when we’re a tad bit relieved we don’t have little ones. I could quite clearly hear a younger version of myself begging my parents to stop and waste money at these strategically placed traps. After all, what better captures the entire Glacier experience than go carts?

We finally got into Glacier and immediately set upon finding a campsite. Apgar campground was the closest so we jumped on it. Located on the Western end of Lake McDonald, it was very scenic and VERY crowded. Full in fact.

Sunrise on Lake McDonald
Lake McDonald near Apgar Campground

We make camp, then eat dinner. Rotisserie chicken and spinach salad. Off to bed.

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