Glacier National Park

July 16, 2022

We arrived near East Glacier Montana at a KOA Campground; a busy place that is hard to get around in. Its like cattle here… they come in and they go out every day. A “base camp” for visiting Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park is a 1,583-sq.-mi. wilderness area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, with glacier-carved knife edge peaks and lush valleys running to the Canadian border which is only about 25 miles North. It’s crossed by the mountainous 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun road (east-west road), an engineering marvel.  However, the road was closed until Wednesday; they were still plowing snow from storms and avalanches; normally the Going-to-the-Sun Road is open by now.  Not only do you need a National Parks Pass you also need a vehicle pass to get in the park (they are trying to manage the crowds).  Our pass was for Tues/Wed/Thur so we were able to hit the “road” Thursday.  We went as far as Logans Pass.  The road is sketchy, narrow, and instead of a shoulder there are steep drop offs, made me sweat, so we turned around, haha.  Click here for a video of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.  Other activities within the park include hiking (700 miles worth), backpacking, cycling and camping. Diverse wildlife ranges from mountain goats to grizzly bears but we did not see any wildlife.

Click here for some photos…

Click here for a video of Running Eagle Falls near East Glacier Village…

Well we had more camper suspension issues.  As we pulled into our campsite, making a sharp turn, I heard squeal from the drivers rear tire.  Getting tired of this I pursued some help getting this fixed.  Don’t be deceived, I knew this would probably happen at some point (axles, spindles, bearings can be trouble) and have brought grease, bearings, jacks, etc to deal with this.  On Monday I removed both wheels and the rear axle (not that hard, only four u-bolts).  On Tuesday I took the wheels and the new tires that arrived at the campground to a tire shop.  On Wednesday I took the axle to a RV Spring/Axle shop in Great Falls; they aligned the axle and repacked the bearings.  They said that with the smaller 6-stud hub the outer bearings seem to fail more.  May upgrade to an 8-lug hub later on (larger outer bearing).  Thursday morning I reinstalled everything.  The work was not hard but getting organized and getting the services you need in this part of the Country took some time.  Montana is a very rural State and if you are in need of something you may have to drive 30-60 miles to a small town to get it.  Billings is the largest at 109,000, then Missoula at 75,000 (Bowling Green KY size), and then Great Falls at 57,000.  In comparison Louisville KY is 625,000 and Lexington KY at 325,000.

So far, we have hit three 6-10 mile stretches of two-lane highway in Montana where they are doing road construction. In Ky when there is road construction at least you usually have a one-lane paved area at min to drive on. Not so here. They tear up the entire road then let you drive on a pot-hole stuffed dirt road at 5mph that just jars your teeth out. And when you pass a backhoe, plow, dirt hauler, they all stop until you are by… not sure how they get any work done. May have been partially responsible for our suspension troubles.

From here we were to headed East across Montana and North Dakota on a leisurely route.  The big parks are over for now but still lots of country to see.  I keep saying I could live in South Dakota if it weren’t for the winters.  Instead, we are heading to Great Falls MT staying at a Military base so I can take the other axle in to get it aligned and bearings repacked.  From there we pick up our route again at Rapid City SD.

Until next week, take care.