Sunset in PV

Sunset in PV

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 1 - 7, 2012 "Glacier National Park"

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We have been so busy since our last blog, it’s hard to remember everything, but here we go.

We left Deer Park and moved our home to Wallace RV Park in, you guessed it, Wallace, ID. We only intended to stay the night, but the park manager told us of a few interesting things to see in Wallace, so we decided to stay an extra day. 

The Oasis Bordello Museum is housed in a former brothel which was still in business as recently as 1988. The final occupants left in a hurry, leaving the upper rooms with their belongings as though they were going to come back. A local entrepreneur purchased the building in 1993, opening the doors once again as a reminder of Wallace's colorful past. Although the guided tour through the second floor brothel is the main attraction, the Oasis Bordello Museum has several other displays of interest: a still and an old wine press in the basement. Inside there are several “No Pictures Allowed” signs posted, so……Both CC and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, and it was well worth the $5 entrance fee. (As usual, click on any image to enlarge)

All of downtown Wallace is on the National Historic Register, and the architecture is amazing. We also visited the Mining Museum, and they claim Wallace to be the wealthiest mining district in the US, having produced metals worth over $ 6.9 Billion. Who would have known such a quaint little town existed, had we not stopped and taken the time to look around.

The following morning, we moved along I-90, in route to Polson, MT. CC had been trying to find us a new home close to Glacier National Park, but this is the summer vacation season, and the closest she could find was Polson, on the shores of Flathead Lake, which is about 80 miles from the park. The trip was uneventful, which is just the way we like it. It was mid-afternoon by the time we got set up, so decided a trip to the pool / hot tub was in order at our home for two nights; Eagle’s Nest RV Park.

Thursday morning, we left “home” at 6 am, in order to catch the Red Jammer Bus Tour of Glacier NP. Our first stop was lake McDonald, which is one of the most scenic lakes in the park and is also the longest and deepest. Immense glaciers carved out the 10-mile-long, 464-foot-deep lake. The Kootenai Indians called it “Sacred Dancing Lake” and performed ceremonies on the shores.

Red Jammers are buses used at Glacier National Park in the United States to transport park visitors. While the buses are called reds, the bus drivers are called jammers because of the sound the gears made when shifting on the steep roads of the park. The "jamming" sound came from the unsynchronized transmissions, where double-clutching was a must.
Originally tested at Yosemite National Park in California in 1935, they were manufactured as the Model 706 by the White Motor Company from 1936-1939. The distinctive vehicles, with roll-back canvas convertible tops, were the product of noted industrial designer Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, and originally operated in seven National Parks. Glacier National Park still operates 33 of their original buses today on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana, where they are referred to as Red Jammers. Glacier's "missing" buses still survive to this day. The park kept one in its original condition at their headquarters in West Glacier, while the other operates in Anaconda, MT giving tourists a ride around the town. Yellowstone National Park runs 7 of their original 98 and also keeps one in its original condition. Glacier's were restored from 2000-2002 by Ford Motor Company, at a cost of $4.5 million, to run on propane or gas to lessen their environmental impact. The bodies were removed from their original chassis and built upon modern Ford E-Series van chassis. The original standard transmissions were also replaced in 1989 with newer automatics, removing the trademark "jamming" sound. 

Glacial horns, or pyramidal peaks, are formed when cirques, that are adjacent to one another, carve back into the headwall of the mountainside and form steep arétes. These peaks take on a pyramid shape. Probably one of the best known horns is the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, and the main reason Glacier NP was originally nicknamed “The American Alps”.

There are 25 glaciers in the park today. A glacier is defined as an ice field at least 100 feet deep covering at least 25 acres, and moving at least 4 inches per year.

Goose Island in St. Mary’s Lake was formed when the top of a nearby mountain peak collapsed into the lake thousands of years ago. The local Indians tell of a time when two young lovers from opposing tribes would swim to the island for a clandestine rendezvous, and is the basis for this Johnny Preston hit from 1959.
On the bank of the river
Stood Running Bear
Young Indian brave
On the other side of the river
Stood his lovely Indian maid
Little White Dove was her name
Such a lovely sight to see
But their tribes fought with each other
So their love could never be

Running Bear loved Little White Dove

With a love big as the sky
Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love that couldn't die

He couldn't swim the raging river

'Cause the river was too wide
He couldn't reach the Little White Dove
Waiting on the other side
In the moonlight he could see her
Throwing kisses 'cross the waves
Her little heart was beating faster
Waiting for her Indian brave
Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love big as the sky
Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love that couldn't die
Running Bear dove in the water
Little White Dove did the same
And they swam out to each other
Through the swirling stream they came
As their hands touched and their lips met
The raging river pulled them down
Now they'll always be together
In their happy hunting ground
Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love big as the sky
Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love that couldn't die

Many Glacier Hotel is located along the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake inside Glacier National Park. The great northern railroad built this historic hotel in 1915 to accommodate the many tourists passing through Glacier National Park. Many Glacier Hotel is built in the Swiss Chalet style and the Swiss theme is carried through the interior of the hotel as well.

Glacier NP is home to many wildlife species. We saw a black bear, deer, elk, marmots, big horn sheep and mountain goats. We had hoped to see moose, but they proved too elusive for us.

Up early Friday morning we moved to Glacier Meadows RV Park in Essex, MT, to meet our Winter Texan friends Carl “Cool Whip” and Carla, who traveled north from their home in MO to watch their grandson play ball in a regional tournament. We arrived within minutes of each other, and after we both got set up, we finally managed to catch up on each other’s lives / travel since we departed Texas the end of March.

Since we had already taken the tour of Glacier, the following day we played tour guide, and once again entered Glacier NP. Driving the narrow, steep, winding roads gave me a new perspective on what the “jammers” do every day. It also gave us opportunities to take pictures from different locations throughout the park. Carl and Carla, pictured below, with Goose Island in the background.

The next morning Carl decided he wanted to see more of Glacier, so off we were to Polebridge, MT, located 15 miles south of the Canadian border on the west side of the park. The surrounding area is magnificent, and the small town operates on solar and generator energy to the two business in town; the Mercantile with an awesome bakery, and the Northern Lights Saloon where we “sampled” a few of their micro-brews.

Carl, ever the “eager beaver”, in more ways than one, convinced us we needed to see Bowman Lake, north of Polebridge. Once again we entered Glacier NP, and were told by the ranger the drive to Bowman was about 12 miles, and would take us a little over an hour to get there, as the road was single lane unimproved; basically a glorified Jeep trail. I think the picture below speaks for itself when people ask me if the drive was worth it. What do you think?

Well, that pretty much sums up our week; hope yours was as good as ours. Thanks for taking the time to stop by. Until next time from Cascade, MT, take care and stay well……………..


  1. I am glad to see you had a great time visiting Glacier. We are volunteering as camp hosts in Apgar Campground until the end of September. It would have been fun to "connect" - perhaps next time somewhere else along the road.

    1. Rick, We had a great time at Glacier and drove by the Apgar Campground at least 4 times. Too bad we couldn't get together, but we will have opportunities in the future.