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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Sept. trip: SW Montana, Flathead Lake & Glacier NP

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whazoo

Idahome

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Joined: 10/12/2007

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Posted: 11/02/09 08:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey there Brian, Boy Montana looks like a great place to grow up, AND camp. Very nice! And very creative, the ol missing arm trick, I never figured that one out.[emoticon] Nice way to camp with the bikes and all, you folks have it down!

sleepy

Oak Ridge,Tennessee

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Posted: 11/02/09 08:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We saw a lot of that area... and you've still shown us new stuff.

Thanks

sleepy


2003 Lance 1161,/slideout/AGM batteries/255W Solar/propane generator/Sat dish/2 Fantastic Fans/AC/winter pkg
AirFoil, Trimetric, LED lights, Platcat vent heat

2003GMC K3500 LT/Crewcab/duramax diesel/allison/dually/4x4/OnStar/front reciever mounted spare

btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 11/02/09 08:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Stay tuned Whazoo, I've got a picture specifically for you in an upcoming episode. What's weird about the arm photo, is we weren't doing anything on purpose...not sure how we managed to twist each others sleeves around.....

btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 11/02/09 09:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I might as well make a few comments:

Thanks for the wishes on the ankle/fibula. It slowed her down a bit for the first few days especially - but she was still able to do the few more dirt bike rides we did, though they were basically roads. We did going to the sun road, and we did the North Fork Road to the Canadian border. I'll have a few more progression photos of the ankle [emoticon]

DJ - thanks! One of these days when I'm rolling through Boise, I'll make sure and let you know so we can drop by.

BlueStilly - when dad was in his last months, my brother told him that it just didn't seem right to spread all of his ashes in the back woods at home in Indiana...that some should go to Montana which was so close to his heart and so important to my brother and I growing up...he told dad "If someone happened to sneak some of your ashes away and took them there, what peak would be the one where they should go?"....and he got kind of a gleam in his eye and said Cataract Peak, that one you can see from the field station. Which of course is one of the more difficult hikes in terms of vertical feet. My mom flew over in a small plane, and we timed it (and had radios) so that while she flew over and dropped ashes, we were there toasting him with some ccold Olympia beer which is what he always used to drink back in the old days ouit there. We then did our little ceremony on the peak with the ashes we carried.

Sleepy, I've got a long ways to go to show as many spots to people as you have, but glad to contribute.

Thanks for your thoughts too B. I was just wondering today on the way home how your adventures were going.

btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 11/03/09 12:23am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Once you get rolling on these things, it's hard to stop until your done.....

Installment 2.

My wife and I were looking at these, plus some of the ones I didn't put in, and she picked out a couple more from our dirt bike ride she wanted to add. These are from a nice spot on on the ride we did as a group. One is on a new (well relative to how long I've been going here anyway- it might be 20 years old now I suppose.....) ATV bridge over the creek. You used to have a choice of driving over this ancient rickety bridge or through what could be a pretty Boulder-strewn river at times. This old mining road used to be 4WD, now it is 40 inches or narrower (ATV/MC/MTB/Horses/hikers.) I remember following a moose down it one time...and the crazy thing didn't want to go into the tight trees, and it just kept going down the road to the next corner, then it would walk. I'd get to the corner, and it would start running again. I followed it for a long ways. Anyway, I digress. The bridge crosses right where two creeks come together.

[image]

[image]


OK, back to the trip.....

I like the drive north from Missoula to Flathead Lake. The road is often fairly heavy with traffic, but they've been doing a lot of construction the last few years I've been on it. You really start to get that Pacific Northwest sort of feel....deep/tall pine trees, logging trucks etc. Usually this time of year is is cool and wet.

[image]

As you get close to the south end of the lake, you start seeing a lot of fishing shops, and of course, my buddy had to stop at a couple (and I had to stop and get a new tube for my rear wheel on the dirt bike) and I have to admit it was fun listening to all the tips and tricks at the shops. Plus of course we had to buy licenses and all sorts of fishing junk...I mean essentials. One for the indian reservation (they own the south half of the lake) plus a MT license, and I think something extra for the north end of the lake. It added up, but what the hey, it's vacation.

This was a cool fishing shop - all the lures are hand-made:

[image]

Dang those fish are deep! The lake bottoms out at about 380'. But they weren't biting much due to warm waters/weather, and that's why they were so deep.
[image]

First sight of Flathead Lake. It's awesome as you come over a rise and start dropping down towards it. Imagine this as being the last little puddle of a giant glacial lake about the size of Lake Michigan (that would break through an ice-dam and drain in a matter of days, flooding across eastern Washington forming the channelled scablands and all those huge dry waterfalls.....Doh! I digress again....)
[image]

You have the choice of going up the east side of the lake, or the west side. The west side is more popular I think....more people, perhaps more camping, and better views of the wall of the Mission Mountains east of the lake. They essentially rise directly up from the water. The east side is more lush with deep trees and tons of cherry orchards in the space between the lake and the mountains. It's famous for cherries, but we had missed the season; it would be cool to be there when they are all blooming! I normally go up the east side.

Pulling in to one of the units of Flathead Lake State Park. It's pretty cool how there are these little chunks of public land, surrounded by private land - which is dotted with mansions all the way down to some pretty tiny old cottages....

[image]

Our site's picnic table:
[image]

This particular part of the park, has campsites that are just parking spots on the pavement one after another - but what a location. Boat launch and everything. Previous years, we have had it nearly to ourselves...but as we found, the weather was so nice this year in mid-September, that all the locals were out, and it was pretty tight. And it was closing in another week or two.

[image]

Looking southwest:
[image]

[image]

Boy do I love those new windows in the side of the slideout:
[image]

Rear-window with a view:
[image]

Wife getting used to the crutches:
[image]

Finally heading out on the water in the afternoon....looking back at camp:
[image]

Some of the houses around here are crazy - this one has it's own waterslide:
[image]

I guess boats are OK....
[image]

Nice fish! According to others, we did well catching a couple of 23" Mackinaws, trolling. These things got really bloated pulling them up from that deep. We hadn't figured out the downriggers well enough to have the fish pull out of them when they hit, so we lost a lot of the fun pulling them up not even realizing they were there until nearly at the boat.
[image]

Love all the boathouses....all I need is a little boat garage and a place to park my camper:
[image]

Nice eagle! I know, nothing special to you Alaskans out there, but still cool birds no matter what.
[image]

For some reason I found myself digging the little places like this more than the giant ostentatious mansions. This place had a couple of teepees setup.
[image]

[image]

[image]

You know, I've caught fish that were smaller than the lures we were using.....back on those creeks in the last section of photos as a kid.
[image]

[image]

This is actually a big island - Wildhorse Island. You can kayak or canoe out to it and there are some trails. I can't remember the story of the horses getting out there, but I guess there are plenty of them there.

[image]

Wild Horse Island still to the left:
[image]

Back to camp, in time for sunset:
[image]

[image]

[image]

The second day, we went out early to a lot bigger waves and wind, and caught the second Mac....this time we brought it back for eating:
[image]

Then we went back out for the bulk of the day to sightsee. Went all the way up to the north end of the lake - parked the boat at a public dock in Big Fork, and walked into town and had lunch. I've never owned a boat, but I've alway loved the concept of taking a boat somewhere to go eat. Got to do it last year on the swamp in Louisiana, and now this year on Flathead Lake. Anyway, we then went back down along the western shore and did more fishing (no luck that afternoon, or the last chance on the following morning) and saw a pretty big-looking fire on the eastern side of the Swan Mountains. This would be over towards the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. Never did see anythign about it in the paper, or hear anything about it, and it seemed to be gone when we drove back this way at the end of the trip.

[image]

I've had enough fishing - wake me up when we move:
[image]

[image]

Final Flathead sunset:
[image]

Late morning, heading out. This was one of the few remaining veggie stands that was open, but some good stuff still there:
[image]

We could have bypassed Kalispell, but we needed to get to a Pharmacy, so we drove into town right by the S&S plant. It was kind of sad to be driving by in our Lance, after a couple of trips through with our old S&S. Had we had a little more time we would have stopped in to say hello - those guys all treated us well every visit and I sure hope they hang on through the tough times. There was a lot less stock on the lot then previous years, but that is probably good!

If you have an S&S, you ought to make it a point to go by and visit sometime.
[image]

And finally, the Flathead River......and the last little stretch to get to Glacier National Park.
[image]

To be continued.......

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 11/03/09 12:59am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I spent a fair amount of time around that whole area during the mid 1980's. Would love to see it again and take in all the change that has happened over the years. Flathead and Glacier are something.
Thanks for posting.


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JoeChiOhki

Sauvie Island, OR

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Posted: 11/03/09 02:30am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I see the problem right there in yer pictures why yer wife got hurt, yer both wearing the wrong foot wear for a truck. Good heavy duty leather boots that go up well over the ankle and lace up just as far are a requirement to keep from thrashing yer ankle getting in and out on all kinds of terrain.

Tennis shoes are for driving priuses [emoticon].


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weymard

NORMANDY

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Posted: 11/03/09 03:03am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice pictures, thanks for the report.


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sleepy

Oak Ridge,Tennessee

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Posted: 11/03/09 05:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Beautiful pictures.

We know how your are rnjoying the new side windows in your 1191. Janet and I ordered one... then Jack Cole at Lance refused to install those windows... we actually went to see him and beg... nothing doing.

We backed out and kept our 1161. This year we went to the plant again.. looked seriously... they hinted that they would probably add all of the missing windows except the front one in the cabover.

We love what we got....

Now back to pictures and dreaming.

Sleepy

silversand

Montreal

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Posted: 11/03/09 05:48am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

....wow, your Part I slipped right by us! We're having a sort of "Indian Summer" here, and are outdoors early morning to late evening to take advantage...

Nice report of an area we've never seen! Looking forward to more. Glad to read the DW is up and around after that ankle incident !!

Cheers,
Silver-


Silver
2004 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4x4 6.0L Ext/LB Tow Package 4L80E Michelin AT2s| Outfitter Caribou

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