Montana road trip – day 2

I’d never been so close to a Bison and to be honest, I’d happily not be so close to a bison ever again.

Day 2 began a lot earlier than I’d hoped for. Having parked up in a rest area facing south, around 5.30am the sun announced that the new day was definitely open for business.

Even though it was somewhat of a rude awakening, it was also a wonderful sight. Sunrise was the kind of thing last experienced as teen returning home after a night out. I think age has mellowed me and allowed me to accept the experience as a thing of beauty rather than a sorry reminder of the time of day.

Breakfast was sorely needed, but where? The nearest city was Spokane and at 8am on a Sunday morning, not much is happening. Having failed to locate anything open I tried the ‘burbs and found a coffee shop ready to accept weary visitors in need of caffeine and cake. Not only was the food and coffee excellent, there was WiFi available and I’d soon booked a room for 2 nights in Polson, our staging post before venturing on to Melita Island.

Refreshed, rinsed and caffeinated it was back on to the road, travelling in to Idaho, heading for Montana.
Stops for fuel provided welcome breaks and running across places like the small, historic mining town Wallace added to the sense of adventure and discovery.  Here’s how the Wallace tourist site describes the town’s origins

A true, old west, mining town that still prospers today; the town of Wallace traces its roots back to 1884 when Colonel Wallace (not a real Colonel) purchased 80 acres of land and built his cabin in the area that became the site of the present city.

The  idea of ‘Colonel, but not a real Colonel’ is interesting and maybe adds to a sense of false importance that places like Wallace seem to exude. Often statements such as ‘world famous’ or ‘in the world’ would pop up and there’s a real ownership of those statements too. Maybe I’m not well enough travelled, but I’d never heard of Wallace before. I know it now, and the tourist info office folks were very friendly, so I’m happy to accept that Wallace is indeed one of the most important silver mining town’s in the world.

Idaho became Montana and as the day’s destination neared, I came across a Bison reserve. Having time to spare and a room waiting in Polson, a trip to the reserve was another great diversion.

And it was quite a diversion. These beasts are huge, and despite their lumbering appearance, once up to speed can apparently gallop at horse speeds. Driving the reserve was a fascinating experience. It was a mini ‘safari’ with some pretty steep climbs that were not expected. I’m not driving an SUV or 4 wheeled drive car, it’s a Mazda 5. But it coped admirably. In fact, the only concern was when we managed to get between a mother and calf. Mrs Bison was visibly disgruntled and started to head my way. Fortunately the track was clear and when the calf was back in sight, Mrs Bison’s movement became munching.
I’d never been so close to a Bison and to be honest, I’d happily not be so close to a bison ever again.

What a sight, appearing from nowhere at the other end of the road, the Rockies. Glacier National Park would be a ‘must do’ visit, but that would be on day 3.

Polson, at the south end of Flathead Lake was the end point for day 2. A lakeside view from the room, showers and a good meal closed off a far better day.

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