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Day 1 of 11: Seattle to Glacier National Park

Posted by joeabbott on June 29, 2014

Our first day was really a staging journey: just putting in enough miles to get us ready for the real treat: a day in Glacier National Park. As such, we budgeted 542 miles (an estimated 8.5 hour drive) to take us from our doorstep to the motel we’d be staying at that night.

imageFor the most part, this leg was boring: we’d been over the first part of this trip many times before (we have relatives in central WA) and so we focused on the details around how we traveled: how often do we stop, what do we listen to, is the rented vehicle sound and comfortable? All of the simple questions you don’t ask or answer, but are central to establishing a good traveling rhythm.

While neither Suzy or I dance well, we have great traveling rhythm! Stops always seem welcome or easy to pass by, no one got annoyed when our book-on-CD is stopped so we could share a quick word, and while sitting so long either driving or “passengering” was uncomfortable, there were no squabbles or issues: we just made do. I find it hard to imagine a more companionable traveling partner. But let’s get on with the sights of the tour.

Of the nearly 1400 photos we took on the trip, we only snapped 13 from this day after leaving the house! You can help me with the math, but it looks like less than 1%! Here are my faves:

In the car

These don’t represent great photography, but capture the mood of our travels: a happy Suzy, the ever-present GPS to guide us, and dour me in the driver seat. The drawback to renting a car is that I was the only allowed driver for the vehicle. Suzy and I agreed that, in an emergency, we’d happily make an exception, but we stuck to the letter of our agreement and I ended up driving all of the miles. Suzy offered to drive many times, but I’m something of a stickler in this regard … I didn’t necessarily like driving all the miles, but we’d signed an agreement.

2014-06-17 09.45.162014-06-17 09.44.342014-06-17 09.44.46

On the road

This is another snap that won’t win any awards, but it captures the day nicely: high (and low!) clouds letting in defused light, sprinkles coming down sporadically, and phenomenal landscapes to enjoy. The below picture was taken by the Clark Fork River off Hwy 135 just after you depart I-90 on the way to GNP; there’s a map of the exact location here.

P1060566 Stitch

The night’s stay

The motel was pretty modest: the Columbia Falls Super 8. It was nice in that we were able to park directly outside our door, but the room had a musty\damp smell and was somewhat cramped. As it was our first day of driving, I wasn’t interested in toodling about town in search of a better place to dine, so we found a way across the motel’s very flooded parking lot and ate at the adjacent A&W restaurant. While it was fast food, it was tolerable and a nice contrast to the ham-and cheese sandwiches we’d packed and ate at a rest stop.

In my words

I kept a journal on the trip and I thought I’d capture all the day’s events. Unfortunately, as I was driving most of the time, I had to rely on summarizing the day just before we went to bed … I’d often miss highlights or would just be too tired to do justice to the day. We’d also both brought books and magazines to read (we like to end the day with some light reading) but rarely got to them … too much to see during the day and too little time at the end of the day.

We didn’t stop much and had a lot of rain. Traffic was mostly light but some sections got busy. Would have been gorgeous if the low clouds hadn’t obscured things.

Drove ~150 miles to first rest stop; then another 100 or so to another. Passed into Idaho without any sign. Small sign greeted us into MT. Roads got twisty and more traffic. Less fun. I was getting tired of driving but not tired, per se. Final leg from Somer gas station to West Glacier Super 8 was quick.

Just an excerpt … I won’t bore you with a full recount of the journal but will pull out a few notes in each of these posts as a way of highlighting the journey!

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One Response to “Day 1 of 11: Seattle to Glacier National Park”

  1. momma said

    Oh boy! I just checked in here after returning from Virginia, and was so happy to see that you’re into recording your trip! I’ve been enjoying it – that is, the parts YOU enjoyed…. V.Nice. Thanks. Mom

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