2014 Great Circle Tour travel blog

Today's route

An air boat

They're serious about traveling in the winter in northern Idaho - big...

Lake Pend Oreille

This is the alternative to the Keystone Pipeline crossing Lake Pend Oreille

They write with rocks in Idaho too

Two story converted bus RV with rear patios

Sides of beef hanging from the ranch entrance

Native American graffiti

Former "barber ship" looks like it's no longer a barber shop

Snow capped mountains along our route today

Windshield shots along US 2

BNSF trains seen today

Winnie stopped for lunch at a snow plow turnaround

Kootenai Falls

Osprey flying over the Kootenai River

A robin carrying some straw to build a nest

Which way to go?

Kootenai Swinging Bridge

Sue resting before the climb back to the parking area

Trail back up to the highway

Winnie at the Kootenai Falls parking lot

Forest canopy at Kootenai Falls

Some of the eagles seen a in several towns, especially Libby, MY

Air Stream trailer being used as a sign for RV park

Giant fishing pole with a trout in Libby, MT

Tulips are blooming in Libby at the Ace hardware

Looks like a Checker on the pole.

Saw sign

One of 4 deer that ran in front of us leaving Libby

Winnie bedded down for the night at McGregor Lake

US 2 construction

Two deer cross the road just after leaving the campground

Sunset on McGregor Lake

Just north of Coeur D’Alene we got on US 2. We’ll be following US 2 for most of the next week until we get to Minnesota. It travels a discontinuous route from coast to coast for 2,115 miles. The Western segment starts in Everett, WA and ends in St. Ignace, MI. US 2 passes into Montana near Troy, MT near the lowest point in Montana, where the Kootenai River leaves the state. It was a pleasant drive until we left Libby, MT. There was major road work going on. The road had been converted from nice asphalt to coarse gravel for several miles. At the beginning of the construction, we had to wait for a pilot car to lead us through the gravel section. We couldn’t go much faster than about 10MPH. I wonder if this road is what it’s like to drive to Alaska.

The other road hazard along US 2 were deer. As we were leaving Libby, four deer ran out in front of Winnie causing me to make an emergency stop. We didn’t hit them, but it was still unnerving. With that alert, both Sue and I kept watching the road side as we drove along the highway. By the time we got to McGregor Lake we must have seen 40 or 50 more. Fortunately none ran out in front of us.

We made a stop at Kootenai Falls, one of the tallest falls in the Northwest. The river is calm upstream, but suddenly gathers momentum when it surges through China Rapids and then over Kootenai Falls, dropping 90 feet in less than a mile. The main falls is 30 feet high. There also a cable bridge across the river. From the middle of the "swinging bridge" you can see the falls. During the Depression, Civilian Conservation Corps crews did a lot of work in the area constructing roads and bridges, including the first swinging bridge, across the Kootenai River.

There’s a half-mile long path that leads down the hill side and crosses the rail road on a bridge before a fork. One path leads to the falls and the other to the bridge. We went to see the falls first. I kind of wandered off to take pictures while Sue waited on a rock near the river. I could see her from where I was photographing the falls. I finished and walked over to where I thought she was. No Sue. I walked back to the fork and had to make a decision to go to the bridge or back up to where Winnie was parked. I met another guy there who was also looking for a woman (isn’t that what guys are always doing?). Neither of us saw the women we were looking for, I decided to go back to the top thinking that Sue gave up instead of going to the bridge. Wrong. So I went back down to the bridge to look for Sue. I finally found her near the bridge. She wasn’t read to jump. We made our way back up to the top, both of us worn out and sore.

We stopped for the day at McGregor Lake RV Park along the lake by the same name. For staying at the park we got coupons for BOGO drinks and 50% off an appetizer. I could pass the offer up so we walked over to the McGregor Lake Restaurant and Bar. It was a good down home place with nice people. I found out the owner is a big Chip Kelly fan and now is a Philadelphia Eagles fan. After dinner we went down to the lake for some picture, but there are homes and cottages all along the shore making access difficult. As we headed back to the camp site, we saw 2 dear nosing around Winnie before crossing the highway.

We didn’t get as far today as I would have liked but the stops at the Kootenai Falls and Lake Pend Oreille were worth it. We should be in West Glacier, MT early tomorrow.

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