Hey, there! It’s Analise. For our first out-of-Washington RV trip, we head to Montana! Big Sky Country. The Treasure State. Huckleberry Heaven. (Might’ve made that last one up, but they really do throw huckleberries into everything here.) We parked Rexy in an area called Hungry Horse (yes, that is its real name) but spent most of our time in Kalispell and Whitefish.
Crown of the Continent
The must-see sight in the area is Glacier National Park, our first occasion to use our new America the Beautiful Pass. I wanted to see the park with minimal driving effort, learn about the region through historical anecdotes, and experience the outdoors from an open-top 1930s bus (preferably a red one). Thank goodness for Red Bus Tours, one of the official tour providers in the park. Though the season was getting on and the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road closed for maintenance, we were still able to take the Huckleberry Mountain Tour in one of the historic Jammer buses.
Click the pic for a bigger pic
Full disclosure: I genuinely believed that Glacier National Park was home to one gigantic glacier. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the park is home to 25 distinct glaciers! While impressive, that figure is down from 150 known to exist in the 1850s. The shape of the mountains and valleys are unlike anything I’d seen before, having been carved out by glaciers — as opposed to rivers or wind — during the last ice age. Bear warnings are everywhere, but the only wildlife we saw were deer, squirrels, and Sasquatches (those may have been hikers; it’s hard to tell sometimes).
Working from Kalispell
We chose Kalispell as a destination because Mark’s company has a local office that needed some on-site support before their ribbon-cutting grand opening this week. I split the week working from the RV and from City Brew south of downtown Kalispell. Working remote has its ups and downs depending on where you set up shop. City Brew didn’t have the comforts of the RV, but it had free WiFi for the cost of a cup of coffee. With Mark’s office across the parking lot, we could have lunch together and explore a little of the charming downtown with architecture that harkens back to the area’s turn-of-the-century railroad and trade post roots.
Catch of the day: Whitefish
With weekends taken up by overland travel, big ticket sightseeing, and miscellaneous errands, weekday evenings are becoming our get-out-of-the-house fun nights. After work on Tuesday, we ventured out to the nearby ski resort town of Whitefish in time for the last night of the Downtown Farmer’s Market. After picking up a huckleberry bearclaw (a huckle-bearclaw, if you will), we went toward Whitefish Lake for dinner. Last Chair looks like it was designed by Mumford & Sons after they discovered all their grandparents’ vintage snow-sport gear in the attic — we loved it. The steelhead trout was excellent, but the huckleberry burger was incredible. Throw in a bottle of huckleberry cream soda and you’ve got a meal you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
We wondered why huckleberries were so popular in — no joke — everything around here including baked goods, jerky, soap, and candles. They are undoubtedly delicious; they’re what I imagine a blueberry would taste like if it were interesting. It turns out that huckleberries can’t be grown commercially; every huckleberry product was made with fruit hand-picked from wild plants. Fact credit: our Jammer driver Dan.
This week marks a milestone for us as RV owners: we hit one month for living full-time in the rig. Though Rexy has performed admirably for us, we’ve had to make some minor repairs recently:
- The coolant tank on the engine was giving us intermittent low level alerts. We replaced a potentially leaky cap and have been receiving the alert significantly less. It’s not entirely gone, so we are monitoring and keeping a supply of Cummins coolant on-hand.
- A pocket door came out of its track and a cabinet door came off its hinge. Mark repaired both using the glued toothpick method for repairing stripped screw holes in wood.
- A cord inside one of the day/night shades wore out and snapped. I restrung the shades with a repair kit we got at Camping World.
- Alan the Jeep blew the fuse that powers the tow braking system. I’m pleased to learn that car fuses are clearly labeled and color-coordinated to assist people like me who are not fluent in car.
- Some dinnerware took a tumble when we had to brake hard. The non-stick mats and latched doors were not enough to keep five bowls from obeying the laws of physics and landing between the sink and the pulled-in living room slide. Fun fact: ceramic pieces that get under the slide from the inside can be vacuumed out from the outside using a comically long hose and teamwork. We’re trying out a locking latch designed to keep toddlers out of cabinets as a fix when underway (life hack credit to our engineering friend Tracey).
But it’s not all repairs: we get to improve our RV too!
- We got an Ikea desk that perfectly fits the awkward space between the sofa and the wall. Monitor and task chair are on the to-get list. We’re keen to have distinct work areas so we each have our own space when we both work from the RV.
Idaho! Boise, to be specific, with an overnight in Arco to see Craters of the Moon National Monument. See you from the Gem State!