Thursday, August 09, 2012

Day 4, Wednesday... no room at the inn

I had mentioned to Cliff along the way that all the information on the Internet warned us to reserve lodging near Glacier National Park at least six months in advance.  Cliff doesn't like being tied to a schedule, and besides, this trip had been on-again, off-again several times.  "Surely there will be something," he said.  
We could see the mountains in the distance long before we got to Glacier National Park.  The closer we got, the more evident it became that we weren't going to be sleeping inside that night.  There is no big city anywhere near this national park.  The nearest Walmart is seventy miles away.  "No vacancy" was the theme of the day.
Thank goodness we took our tent and other camping supplies.  One thing about tent camping, there's always a primitive spot left for you, because most people aren't crazy enough to try camping.  We found a KOA and got a site with no electricity or water for $39.95.  Almost as much as we have been accustomed to paying for a motel.  But beggars can't be choosers.

We did have the option of primitive camping in Glacier National Park for $10 with our Golden Age Pass, but I've seen so many shows about bears attacking people that I was afraid of that option.

I cooked supper and we went to bed almost as soon as the sun went down.  In spite of the fact that the air mattress we bought new last year in Arkansas kept losing air and had to be pumped up three times during the night, we both slept well.  What's with the air mattresses leaking?  Isn't it possible to buy a good one anywhere?

Because our bacon kept trying to take a swim in the melted ice in the cooler, we had bacon, eggs, and toast for breakfast and headed into the park, which is free if you have that Golden Age pass.  If you are 62 or older and plan to visit national parks and memorials, it will save you a bundle.  It got us into the Little Bighorn place free, too.  
Cliff has read about the Going-To-The-Sun road many times in his Gold Wing magazine, and we were finally going to see it.

We had planned to take the shuttle bus over the Going-to-the-sun Road, but when we found out it doesn't pull over to allow time to take in the scenery, Cliff opted to drive.  We took our time, stopped at every pullout, and enjoyed the day, eating our peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches on the opposite side of the park from which we were staying.  We also found a little store that had coffee, so we weren't denied our after-dinner coffee.

There were quite a few stops in the park for road construction, but we were used to that from our journey through the state of Montana.  At least there were pretty sights to see, and one time when we had a half-hour wait, I read from our book.

When we went back to our campsite, Cliff and I together managed to get a campfire going.  We were laughing and enjoying ourselves tremendously until the rain started; for a while I sat under the eave of the tent, my lap covered by a tablecloth to keep the rain off.  It was a light rain at first, but then got heavier, and we retreated to the tent and the cursed air mattress.  The tent did not leak, although when we started getting ready to leave the next morning we found the floor was wet.
I slept rather well on our second night of camping until 3 A.M.  Cliff and I both happened to be awake after blowing up the &*%#@ air mattress again, and I suddenly thought of something.
"Cliff, did you leave our trash outside?"
"Yes, I'm afraid I did."
In bear country, this is a big no-no, and I began to picture a bear out there licking the inside of the discarded cottage cheese carton and the empty pineapple can.  I even began hearing strange noises over the drip-drip-drip sound of rain on our tent.  Far off I heard something that sounded like a donkey braying.  Somewhere in the distance, we heard the unmistakable sound of two gunshots.
After that, I didn't sleep much, although Cliff was soon snoring away.  He did tell me next day that he stayed awake long enough to formulate a plan in case of a bear attack.
We discarded the air mattress when we got up.  Enough is enough, and besides, once we left Glacier, we had no plans to camp again on our trip.  
The biggest problem was that everything was wet:  Cliff's sister's camping chairs, the tent, the tarp we put under the tent... and if we weren't going to erect the tent again, how would this stuff ever dry out?  


Rachel said...

I absolutely LOVE to camp. Unless it rains. At that moment, I absolutely HATE to camp. :)

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I'm at my camper this morning and it is raining. Here it's all nice and dry on the inside. There is a real mattress on my bed too. The thing is this camper never moves. It's sits permanently on a site that I rent. I'd love to be able to have a motor home and travel. That would be the way to go, but it would cost a fortune and that's out of my budget. Glad you had no bear visitors there. You did get to see some beautiful sights though.

Traci said...

Great adventure!

Margaret said...

Camping isn't fun in the rain or the extreme heat. The inside of the tent is like an oven. It's very fortunate that you had it though. One of the benefits of my SUV is that the seats lay down and there is room for sleeping there if necessary.


Now you may have been miserable by the turn of events. But you looked pretty happy in those pictures, in spite of everything. Glad NO bears attacked you. My hubby has had bears in his campsite back in the old days and you're right. You do NOt want to mess with them when they are pilfering food.

Carlene Noggle said...

Wow, those mountains are awesome! That road would have scared me, looks like a drop off on the left side!! I would have gotten very little sleep in the tent for fear of bears and would have probably ended up sleeping in the car!

Lori said...

"What's with the air mattresses leaking? Isn't it possible to buy a good one anywhere?" In my experience, no!

Love the pictures!