After travelling beside the Missouri River all day we camp beside it just below Fort Peck dam, the largest hydraulically filled dam in the US. The lake is 130 miles long and 200 feet deep. It's a lovely spot, we enjoy the Interpretive Centre, and learn about the building of the dam. The day is so still the lake looks like a mirror.
Here we are doing our impersonation of Lewis and Clark.
We drive for a couple more days through the plains spending our nights at Walmart car parks. We've learned that it's not worth spending money to camp when you just want a level spot and an early start the next morning.
Where else but on the back roads of America are you likely to see dinosaurs "in the wild"?
The confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers.
Our first view of the mountains.
We are starting to close on the Rocky Mountains and our near-term destination, Glacier National Park. Mark happens to check the status of the "Going To The Sun" road that winds over the continental divide in the park and discovers that a forest fire has just started on the east side of the park and the only road through the park is closed!
We decide to hang around for a day to see if the fire will be put out, but no luck, the high winds and dry conditions are just making the fire worse. So we skirt around the southern edge of the park and spend 3 days hiking and exploring the West side of the park, probably only about a third of the entire park. We have a great time but now we'll have to return to see the rest of the park another time. Luckily the wind is blowing the smoke away from us so our stay is very pleasant.
On our way out of the park we stop at a roadside stand and buy some huckleberries. The next morning we enjoy some delicious huckleberry pancakes for breakfast.
We stop at Eureka and enjoy the Tobacco Valley Historic Village. Ten old buildings were moved here when the nearby Lake Koocanusa reservoir was created to save them from destruction. Great museum, free, and very informative.
After driving down the scenic lake we stop in at Libby Dam for a tour. Our tourguide, Megan, is great and extremely knowledgable. With only the 2 of us doing the tour we get extra special attention and Mark is surprised to find himself unable to think of a single question Megan can't answer. To quote Mark, "This is the best dam tour we've ever been on!"
These mountain guys are serious about their target practice.
We have read about Yaak, MT, population 248, in one of our travel books. It sounds interesting and fun, so once again, we head off the beaten path and have a beautiful drive to the most northwest town in Montana. We stop in for a beer at the Dirty Shame Saloon and have a great conversation with our bartender and the owner. After slaking our thirst, we return via a different route and enjoy the Yaak Falls. Outstanding!!
On to Kootanai Falls, where the film "River Wild" starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon was filmed. Also great. Although, to be honest, we aren't too thrilled with the swinging bridge.
Ross Creek Giant Cedars is next. What a great sightseeing day this has turned out to be. An old grove of huge western red cedar trees some 175 feet , protected by their inaccessible location from logging and forest fires, is stupendous!
The dry creek bed is covered with rock cairns, also quite a sight.
We have spent the whole day on scenic highways, our favorite way to travel. We reward ourselves by paying half price ($5.00) for a National Forest campsite on a beautiful lake. There we light the last campfire we'll have until we get someplace where the fire risk is less than high, very high, or extreme. It's been a dry summer all over the Northwest.