ACROSS THE TOP
Route 20 turns into Route 2 in Idaho. Light traffic makes the ride pleasing, while winding through rolling hills, staying about 25 miles south of Canada. We find a motel in Bonners Ferry, Idaho for only $50 and crash after eating Bison burgers. Our waitress advises us to stop at Kootenai Falls along the way. This town sounds like it should be more appealing, but the river flows pretty much ignored, void of bars, restaurants and motels along its shores.
Kootenai Falls blows us away. This location for the movie, “The River Wild” with Kevin Bacon and Meryl Streep, offers staggering views of white water and short hikes take us down, as well as over, the raging rapids. We hear the roar while cool mist covers our bodies. The scene brings tears to Mare’s eyes. Jack freaks-out trying to walk the bridge to the river and refuses to attempt the swinging bridge. Hey, why force him?
Glacier National Park in Montana treats us to narrow, twisty drives through the heart of Glacier gorges. Home to about 27 glaciers (only two can be seen from the road) and 762 lakes, this 50 mile drive called “Going to the Sun” can only inspire those who see it. The Triple divide, thinly cut, high sharp peaks, determine whether a raindrop will become part of the Columbia, or Mississippi, or Saskatchewan River systems. These waters flow to the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay. Grizzly bears and wolves thrive here. This is where we love delays from road construction, which enable us to sit and gawk at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The rest of Montana teaches us why the state earned the name of “Big Sky.” They could have called it “Big Field” as well. At a farmers market in Harve, (not pronounced like Brett Farve, but Hav-er) we breakfast on fresh cherries, pig on a stick, nectarines and peas. The long straight road through the plains occasionally interrupts some small towns. In Malta, Jack runs loose in a ball field before we notice the sign “No Dogs Allowed.” Many of the towns appear ghostly, as we see no people. We hope this means they all have jobs and are working, unlike when we drove the highways of Morocco and unemployed men crowded the streets.
Crossing into North Dakota, we are surprised to find a changing terrain. Our plan to blow across the state gets blown as the scenery lures us south off of Rt. 2 and through the Badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and the Little Missouri National Grasslands.
The bumpy hills of the Badlands and grassy fields of the Grasslands give way to rolling hills and fields with small lakes. The cool temperature of an overcast day, the scent of fresh sage, and the colorful crops of corn, sunflower and hay make us happy not to be on the Interstate. Deer and antelope appear periodically and a herd of Buffalo meander through a field. We expect to see Kevin Costner pop up anytime to dance with the wolves.
We land in Carrington, and take the lesser evil of the only two motels in town. A smoking room becomes pet friendly. Most businesses are closed on Sunday. We order a pizza from one of the three restaurants in town, and watch the Steelers get hammered by the Broncos.
Yaah…you betcha’…, tomorrow we’ll roll through Fargo and Brainerd. Maybe I will fix Mare some eggs and hopefully we will not run into any “funny looking fellers,” with wood chippers.