2021 Montana Day 03 West Side Drive

Thursday, September 30, 2021

This morning we are both tired and we sleep in for an extra hour and arise at 7AM. We have another wonderful breakfast and pack up and head out to see the West Side of Glacier NP. We’re not in California anymore as we find the windshield of the car frozen and a frost on the ground!

We drive again to the West Entrance only today we turn left and drive along Camas Road heading towards the Outside North Fork Road. A brief delay for road construction and we are on our way.

We drive along the North Fork Road, which turns out to be a smooth dirt road for the most part, stopping occasionally for photos ops until we arrive in Polebridge. Then we turn right and head a half mile to the tiny town. We come to a “T” in the road where if we were to drive straight, we would run into the Polebridge Mercantile.

We stop at the Mercantile and pick up some unique items, such as Huckleberry BBQ Sauce and I try some delicious Potato-Bacon Soup. After a brief stop, we embark on a very rough dirt road to try to see Kintla Lake. Luckily for us, the rough road only goes for a mile and a half. Then we turn left onto the “Inner Road” and drive 15 miles to get to the Lake. A very pretty lake surrounded by stunning mountain vistas and we hike around the area for a half hour or so.

We have decided we want to get back on the North Fork Road and try to get to the Canadian Border which isn’t far away. So we head back to Polebridge where we can get back to the Fork Road. A half mile from Polebridge, the tire pressure indicator on the dash signals a low tire. We get back to the Mercantile and stop. Our right rear tire has gone somewhat flat. The Mercantile has a pump that we use in vain to pump up the tire. We find a tire repair kit in on van that not only inflates the tire, but sprays a tire sealant in to insure the fix.

Alas, the tire turns out to be beyond repair. So we attempt to call Alamo to get assistance with our Rental Car. When we call, the call goes through to a switchboard in Maryland where they have no clue of the locations or terrain in Montana. They promise to come get us in 15 minutes! Now we know we are a minimum of 45 minutes from any civilization so we say, “yeah, right!”

After an hour and a half with no relief, we attempt to call them again. Oh, did I mention that we have no cell service? But the wonderful people in the Mercantile let us use there phone! Makenzie, you were so kind and helpful!

Another nightmare of calls that last almost 45 minutes and we are not convinced that we are going to be rescued! There also is no spare tire included with the rental car! The wonderful people working in the Mercantile try to help us, but the bottom line is we need to get back to Whitefish and Kalispell (Airport where the Rental Company is). So we also chat with some other friendly visitors to Polebridge. And at least there’s a saloon here, LOL!

But I have to digress here and think that, “Everything Happens For A Reason!” For after a couple hours of being stranded, someone walks up and says, “Hey, there’s a Grizzly over there!”. We all look, and sure enough, there’s a Grizzly Bear across the Meadow! My first thought? RUN!!!… Nope! My first thought (you guessed it!) “Get the damn Camera!” So I did and you can see what I saw! So maybe getting stranded here was for a reason, after all!

The lovely ladies in the mercantile offer to give us a lift, but it appears they need to close the store at 6PM first (It is now just after 5PM). So we wait, but we talk to almost everyone that comes and goes. In a little while, a wonderful lady whom we’ll call “Sue” (because that is her name!) offers to give us a lift as she claims to live in Whitefish. We are quickly learning that the people of Montana live to help each other!

So we happily accept Sue’s offer of a ride and we join her with her four friendly dogs! The oldest dog, Rambo, an 11 year old Chocolate Lab, loves to sit in the back seat with us and is totally happy to lay his head in your lap and loves to be petted! Rambo’s best friend, Gunner, is the youngest and loves to sit in your lap! Then there are Sue’s two Healers, Trigger and Zip whom pretty much stayed up front with their Master but were curious and appreciative of back and head scratches!

Sue gives us a ride back to Kalispell Airport where we confronted the Rental Car Company and they took amazing care of us. Too bad their Corporate Headquarters is so blind to their locations needs!

All in All, we now have another Van and we have vowed to not drive it on a dirt road as we are informed there aren’t spare tires included in rental cars! But we have seen Glacier NP and we now have other local exploring to do.

We arrive at our planned function, a Pre-Wedding BBQ for all the people that have flown in for the big affair. Only 2 hours late but there was still food and people to mingle with! We catch up with some people we know and meet some new for the first time! A great time is had by all! But alas, is that the Bride-To-Be trying to clean up??? Don’t let her! So Elee takes her by the arm and we lead her to the bar, and gets her away from working!

When we get back to the BBQ, it is all cleaned up and taken care of. So we drive back to our Lodge and here I am getting this Blog written!

Good night everyone and on to tomorrow’s Adventures!