We've been unsuccessfully trying for the past week to locate a spot where the temperatures won't exceed 90+ degrees during the daylight hours. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Eureka, Montana and now Whitefish, Montana have all been unseasonably hot by about 10+ degrees. Lucky us.
While it's true the low humidity of this region of the country helps with high temps compared to, for example, the southeast, and being outside isn't necessarily as oppressive, we still must run our air conditioner during the middle to later portions of the afternoon, if we are inside the van. That means either being plugged into a power source or running our generator. Either is okay, just not necessarily our preference. I'm writing this parked on the street in downtown Whitefish, Montana, generator running, current temp, 92 degrees, humidity 33%, and a heat advisory out.
We had discussed trying to camp in Glacier National Park, but after some cursory research, knew, mostly due to COVID-19 restrictions in place, that was unlikely. Here's the latest on what's happening in Glacier.
After a few days in Eureka, Montana where we traveled to check out a future approach to Canadian and possible future Alaskan adventures, we decided to move south and east towards Glacier. It's beautiful and very remote in Eureka and our drive up Montana Highway 37 from Coeur d'Alene along Lake Koocanusa is not to be missed.
Just an aside, there are Forest Service campgrounds along Highway 37 approaching Eureka, but given they are (mostly) dry camping and again, the weather's hot, we opted not to use them. I'm pretty sure those campgrounds, mostly uninhabited when we drove through, would have been busy this time of year, but for the Canadian Border being closed. As such, we saw very few campers and very few vehicles on the road after Jennings, Montana.
Our approach to seeing Glacier, given COVID-19 restrictions and the day-use crowds we anticipated, was to get up early, leave Eureka, Montana and get there around 7:30-8:00 a.m. It was a good choice. There was a small line of cars in front of us as we arrived, but we were able to access the west-side visitor center easily, get information and a map, and spend a few hours checking out a brief portion of Going-to-the-sun-road at our leisure.
While not optimal, we nevertheless had great fun and look forward to returning when conditions are better.
We've been in Coeur d'Alene for nearly three days. It's beautiful here. We've had good eats, enjoyed the extensive bike trails that connect much of the city and the setting on Lake Coeur d'Alene is amazing. It's worth a visit, but you should know like many red state places there's a large faction of people who fancy themselves "patriots" and there's much freedumb to go around. In the time of pandemic they deny the science and, as a result, put all of us in danger.
To the panhandle's credit, the Kootenai County Health Board passed a mandatory mask ordinance on the 23rd of July resulting in demonstrations around Coeur d'Alene with strong currents of white supremacy. I saw my first confederate flag being driven around in the bed of a pickup with a Trump 2020 flag beside it on my way to dinner this evening.
We happened on a demonstration Saturday past complete with many carrying side arms. Peaceful intimidation.
Since beginning our travels again, we're increasingly finding some great outdoor venues opening where physical distancing is not a problem, Portland's Japanese Garden is no different. The garden landscape is all about colors and shapes and textures, beautifully choreographed.
They've arranged your tour to flow in one direction so everyone can keep the proper distances.
Check it out when you're in Portland.
Steven and Melanie