Canada 41, 18th September 2006

After leaving the half dozen fishermen who arrived in the morning I reached Kalispel and my cousin Gary's office. Gary is a staid insurance agent by day, a serious whitewater kayaker by vacations, (yes, that photo is the right way round)

and with his wife Connie a country rock guitarist at weekends. I took a quick look at the museum, but I only had a few minutes, unfortunately it was due to be closed tomorrow.

I parked in Gary's garden for the night (Connie cooked a delicious dinner) and next day left with Gary, in Connie's Mustang, for the museum at Polson. And wow! what a museum. I think there was more stuff in that museum than any other museum I have ever seen. There were old tractors, cars, a hovercraft. There were a couple of jet aircraft, boats, traction engines, all sorts of things. There were things we didn't know what they were. There were tanks, motor sleds, steam engines, stock cars and stuffed wildlife. In the blacksmith section there were more blacksmiths tongs than I have ever seen in one place before. There was display box after display box with different small artefacts. There was a sheep powered treadmill. There were kitchen things, musical instruments, toys, a shed full of old washing machines. That list barely scratches the surface.

And all this had been collected, and displayed, by one man, Gil Mangels, and his wife Joanne, with limited volunteer help.

Of course, the whole lot is in a muddle, but what can you expect? There is too much to see in one visit, after two or three hours your mind is reeling by the amount and variety of things you have seen, you need a pause before you can restart.

I rushed off to see Paul Fifield. We went for a Chinese dinner - his wife Marlene was working - and although it was my turn to pay Paul lifted the bill. I planned to make a return trip through Glacier Park the next day. Paul said he wasn't doing anything, the weather was too bad to make some passenger flights, he said he hadn't seen the park for a while, so we left in his car, an Audi Quattro, to view the park.

Here are some views.

There has to be a couple of waterfalls.

You can't see the road but it climbs the valley near the river.

Frozen trees.

Trees with snow.

A lake.

Ah. We saw a black bear and her two cubs.

She was kind enough to stand up for a photo shoot.

back to the drive.

This is Lake MacDonald as we were leaving.

Isn't that pretty?

Now I had to rush back to Connie and Gary, I had arranged to stay there for the night, in my van. Connie made another delicious dinner.

I have to remark on the hospitality of Kalispel people. Gary, my cousin, feeds me, and takes me off to a great Museum in a Ford Mustang, no less. Paul Fifield, entirely unconnected with Gary, grabs the restaurant bill, then drives me around Glacier Park in an Audi Quattro. I was astounded to find we had driven about 230 miles around the park. If I had driven that myself I wouldn't have got back. Not to mention how pleasant it was to be driven, so that I had time to look at the view. Thank you Gary and Paul, not forgetting Connie and Marlene.

Next morning I headed off round the south edge of the Glacier Park, and spotted another black bear. It's sensible to stay a good distance away and in close touch with your car, although they will rarely make an unprovoked attack.

The museum of the plains Indians had some excellent displays of late 19th century clothing but little else.

The models did have heads but photography was prohibited, that was the best I could do with the camera in my pocket.

I reached Havre and parked up in the K-Mart car park for the night, after checking it was OK.

I wanted to see Underground Havre, I arrived at 9 am to find they opened at 10 in the winter. Around the turn of the century the town centre burnt down, the townspeople utilised the old basements while the city was being rebuilt. Later the Chinese used the underground to live, it gave some security since in common with most parts of North America they were not popular with the locals,mostly because they would work for far lower wages. But yes, it was worth the visit.

I picked up a couple of hitch hikers then after only a few hours threw them out to look for a new lift while I explored the superbly well organised museum at Malta.

I wasn't surprised to find the 2 hitchhikers down the road. They had told me that had been waiting 26 hours before I picked them up the first time. Eventually we reached Wolf Point which had, to me some strange signs by picnic areas, only overnight parking after 10 pm. Most signs say, no overnight parking. I dropped the hitchers off at the end of town, by some clumps of trees where they could hide with their tent, and parked in another parking spot just opposite which also had a sign, only overnight parking.

I didn't take any worthwhile photos today. I guess I ought to try to get something to show you how the prairies just goes on, and on, and on. I must have driven close to 200 miles today.

Best regards

David Barker
On the road in Montana

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