All 50 Road Trip-May 31, 2018, Day 20

(click here for today's pictures)

Banff, Alberta, Canada to Browning, Montana

Graham was really coughing last night and so was Reagan. She came down for water, and that seemed to slow her coughing down. Water didn’t help Graham’s cough so I tried medicine. He had already started out on the top bunk. It didn’t have a rail and was a bit shaky so he was quite uneasy about this.

I offered for him to sleep in the bed with Whitman, and both boys were fine with that. Graham was super relieved, but his coughing continued. It was also hot in their room so I tried a fan that was in the condo; it didn’t work. Eventually, Robby put his fine in the room with them, and we moved Whitman to the couch cushions so maybe Graham would cool off. That seemed to help and soon everyone was sound asleep.

We woke up and even though we were spread out over the large condo, it didn’t take too long for us to load up and hit the road. Robby stopped in the little village and bought us some doughnuts for our breakfast. We ate in the car as we left Banff National Park and headed to the town of Banff.

We stopped to take a quick picture by the sign at Banff. Then we drove to the Cave and Basin Historical Site. It was the spot of their first National Park. It is a highly developed a cave area. It all highly smelled of sulfur. We walked all around the exhibits, inside and outside. We were pretty much the only people there that early.

There was a room that had a cartoon. Whitman was highly intrigued by it. After a bit, the language switched to French. He looked at me and said, “They were just speaking Arkansas and now I don’t know what they are saying.”

From the cave area, we drove past the Banff Springs Fairmont. Then it was on to Bow Falls. We didn’t have to hike at all since we could see them from our parking spot. During the summer and fall, you can walk across the stream below the falls. There would have been no walking across it today though.

Soon after we switched, and I started driving. I drove and drove and drove and it rained and rained and rained. It was really the perfect day for a messy rain since we were in the car so much. Robby did some of his work for a bit. Quite a bit of his time was spent making lunches for the kids. Making lunch in a kitchen takes a while but in a moving car where all of the things you need are tucked in bins, drawers and boxes throughout the car.

Afterwards, we played a few rounds of bingo. In the middle of bingo, we did have to take a break to cross into the border. When we crossed over, Whitman shouted, “back in Arkansas!” We corrected him and then he started singing “America” over and over again. 

The weather never improved and just seemed to get colder. We made it to the other side of Glacier National Park (east). We watched the film and headed up the Going to the Sun Road. The clouds were everywhere. It was just sprinkling but gracious, it was cold. There would have been no 5 mile hike today. 

The nasty weather did make for us to have the park pretty much to ourselves. Our first bit of the drive was around Lake St. Mary. As we drove around the lake, Robby played a few podcasts for us as we drove. He played one podcast and then played it right again. I was the only one in the car to realize that it was the same one that we had just listened to. Unfortunately, I realized this at the very end! We did learn something new though.

After driving to the end of the road, the rest is being cleared of snow, we turned around and headed to the part of the park called Many Glacier. The road was crazy bumpy, and we thought that the pay off was going to be minimal. We made it to the end of the road, took a picture of the still closed lodge and turned around to head back.

I passed out drinks as we headed down the road. Then we saw a few people standing out of their cars. We watched. We looked. Then we saw it! A MOOSE! We drove past. Robby jumped out to see if we could see it. Then we lost all sense and broke all kind of rules by getting out of the car. The kids had their ipads snapping away. Hopefully, Robby was able to take a decent picture with his little lens. The people next to us had multi-thousand dollar cameras taking their pictures. It was a great end to the wet, dreary day.

Robby had promised the kids at some point on our trip that he would pay them each 10 dollars if we saw a moose. I am not really sure if the kids were excited about the moose sighting or the windfall of 10 dollars that they will receive. 

Leaving the park, it seemed that there were even more potholes. I asked Robby if he could change a flat tire. He said that it would be hard in this van and then mentioned that he would just call AAA. I looked at the phone and saw that we did have “no service.” Thankfully, we didn’t have to decide what we would do if that happened. Well, I know what I would do-I would stay in the car! 

On the way to Browning, where our hotel is tonight, we chose to drive by the town of East Glacier. The road there was mountainy and cloudy. I was playing on my phone when Robby started shouting, “Bear! Bear!” I threw my phone down and grabbed the camera. By the time I could get my first picture taken, the momma bear had crossed the road and her three cubs were following her. Everyone was soon screaming with excitement.

After seeing the bear, the road went straight uphill. Apparently, these parts of Montana don’t believe in guard rails. It was very nerve-racking! Thankfully, we made it down. It was one of those roads where you don’t see anyone for miles and miles. We were glad to see some sort of civilization.

We ended up eating at a Mexican restaurant called Serrano’s in East Glacier. The food was excellent, and we quickly devoured two fried ice creams. After eating, we walked to a pie shop but they didn’t have huckleberry pie, which I really would like to try. We took a few pictures by the train station, and then headed to the hotel. 

It was a short and straight drive to the hotel. It is nice, and once we arrived the kids immediately started on their showers. Robby and Campbell ran to grocery store to buy some bread and a few snacks for the next few days. This is the first time on a trip that I have almost run out of food. Don’t panic, I have plenty of lunch food and even enough to make a supper if we wouldn’t be able to find a place to eat. Snacks, however, I am running very low of. 

Today was a pretty wet day. I hope that tomorrow will be a bit brighter along with much straighter roads!

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