Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Buck Stopped Here

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bus Drivers Bug Ya

We got up at 2am to make it to the Greyhound bus terminal by 3am. We bought our tickets online and they told us to arrive 1 hour before hand. In addition, MeAsWe spent considerable time on the phone arranging for a lift for the bus. Why we had to arrive an hour before departure is beyond me, however there were more people at the station than I expected. I think there was a total of 4 or 5 others.

Bus arrives 15 minutes late. The inside guy tells the driver that MeAsWe would need assistance, to which she responded I can't help, I hurt myself. The Greyhound employee informed me I was the assistance. To make things worse, all of the seats were pretty much full with sleeping passengers and feet blocking the aisle. MeAsWe had to wake these passengers up to ask them to move their feet so she could hobble her way to the back in search of an empty seat. However one person at the very back offered MeAsWe a seat so that her leg could be propped up and out in front of her.

I had to move to the very front of the bus and sit. Right next to me was 2 bags occupying the very front seat. I asked the driver if anyone was sitting there and she told me that is my stuff and my right to have those seats. I then reminded her of MeAsWe, to which she replied she has a seat in the back, to which I told her that this would be a better seat. She did not budge and told me that this was her seat.

I decided not to make an issue about it there, because it probably would have done no good. My thoughts if Greyhound intended this to be for the driver they should put up a closet of some sort for them to store their gear. It is my guess a seat is here for a customer and not for the convenience for the driver.

In Butte, we switched buses. All of the riders insured we got the front seat for MeAsWe comfort. Again there was no help from the driver. He did not even acknowledge MeAsWe condition.

In one more location we switched buses again. This guy wore a I Love Boobies bracelet so I knew there would be no help here. Ladies does this bracelet make you want to give it up. If so boy did I miss the boat on this one. It is beyond me that a grown man would were such a bracelet.

The riders again made sure we got the front seat for MeAsWe. Note I said the riders, again the driver did nothing. I was arranging our stuff and put a pillow I had bought for propping up MeAsWe leg on the sit behind the driver. Once again the driver said that this is his space and would I kindly move my stuff. There must be an unwritten thing about a seat of the drivers choosing. This was with Salt Lake Express.

While the bus ride was good, the arrogance and attitude of the drivers, 3 of them, is beyond belief. We shall see what the attitude of the home office is for these companies are because I plan to call and see what they have to say.

In the pamphlet it contains the following wording:
"Zero Tolerance" Policy in Effect for Violations of any Laws, Rule, Regulation or Company Policy,Including:

Rude, aggressive, or abusive behavior or language is prohibited on these premises or on the bus.

I guess this does not apply to the employees.

Post publishing remark:
I have found out the braclet the driver was wearing is a breast cancer awareness braclet. I could have removed that remark, however I will let it stand and update my lack of knowledge on the braclet this way. Thanks to my son and Runner for informing me of this.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Icing on the Glacier

Out of Kalispell and off to the east entrance of Glacier National Park. While we were going to skip the west entrance, it was just too close not to stop off and get a stamp for the book.

Once we were in the park, we find that Logan Pass is closed due to snow. Some of the most dramatic parts of the roads will not be seen this trip from either direction. I decided it would be dumb not to travel up the west side as far as we could. I think we could get 14 miles in before we had to turn around. There is nothing special about the road from a motorcycle perspective, yet there is something magical about this place, at least to me. The road was completed in 1932 and is closed during the wiinter due to snow. In the spring the plows attack up to 80 feet of snow gathered over the winter. It takes the park about 10 weeks to clear the road.

From the West Side

The turnaround point comes way to fast and we are headed to the east entrance via US 2 and US 89. 89 is where we got hit on the bike, but much further south. One reason we turned off on 89 a week and half ago was for the scenic value of the road. It showed thru with 5 stars here. Many switchbacks, however the road is a bit choppy in places.

The East Entrance

From a riding and visual perspective the East side is more interesting. The park has these red cars you can take a tour in called jammers. They have gone green running on propane.

Some views

The end of the road for us. We confirmed the closing to Logan Pass due to snow. It really didn't look that bad.

St Mary's Waterfall. I can not tell if this is a good picture or what. Small computer screen with not alot of color clarity

More pics on the way back down

Out here the cattle roam freely to graze the land. How the owners get all their cattle back is a wonder, but I can't help think they have RFID tags attached to their ears to take advantage of today's technology. Here's one of our close encounters. They seem to stick to the side of the road, but you never know if one will be in the middle of the road coming around that bend.

Out of the park we head for Great Falls, MT for the night. The stop at Glacier essentially completes our vacation out west. The rest of the journey will be simply getting back to Bozeman, hop a bus for Salt Lake City and wait for our plane to take us back home. I wish we could have completed our journeys on the bike, but by no means do I consider this vacation a washout. We got to see some awesome sites. I plan to do the entire route next year, with experience. MeAsWe has been a real trooper with the broken leg as she hobbles around from place to place.

Some of the experience gathered is DON'T ride at night out here. I also hear that early morning is just as bad, I just don't know how early is early. Weather is unpredictable with temperature changes from 80 to 40 back to 80,. Do not expect to ride a constant set of twisties or sweepers, the roads are pretty darn straight. Caution signs that indicate the road is twisty for the next mile, has you scratching your head wondering where were the curves. Get gas often, it can be along way before the next gas stop. Mountains that seem close take a while to get to. There are alot of pine trees out here. The landscape changes over each set of mountains. Signs indicate deer crossings, falling rocks, windy sections and wild game crossing. Almost like a video game. This place is big. The mountains seem to rise out of now where. I suspect if we stripped all the trees off our New England hills, it might look the same. I think we should keep the vegetation. It is not usual to travel at the elevation of Mt Washington. We saw deer, elk, antelope, and moose. MeAsWe wanted to see a bear. It is really hard to capture thru the lens what you are seeing.

We'll be back.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Killing time in Kalispell

As we pulled in last night into the Kalispell Econo Lodge, hobbling to the motel check-in , this couple informed me that the Going to the Sun Road had been closed on Sunday. They were one of the last ones to ride the road from start to finish. My heart sank. This was the whole reason for the trip, the coup de grace, the cat's meow, numero uno for coming west. I finished checking in, got us situated in the room, yanked out the pute and pulled up the NPS website.

"Starting at midnight on Sunday, September 19th, the Going-to-the-Sun Road between Avalanche and Logan Pass will be closed to vehicles to allow for accelerated road rehabilitation. The road will still be open between St. Mary and Logan Pass on the east side of the park. Fall is spectacular on the east side of Glacier, so make sure you take a drive!"

So it is confirmed, We will not be able to ride the road from one end to the other. Pull up MapSource and figure out a new route. In addition to the road being closed, I have figured out we are close to 1400 miles that comes with our car rental. We have a 100 miles to spare.

Morning comes and we have time to kill before our flight out of SLC, so we decide to spend an extra day in Kalispell. The room is nice, so we relax this day (Monday) and we will hit Glacier on Tuesday. The weather is kind of ucky anyways and hopefully Tuesday will bring those Big Sky we keep reading about it.

Nickel Charlies is recommended for lunch so we head out to the west side of town for a bit to eat. Inside Charlie's the ceiling was adorned with these things, which I had when I was a little kid.

Had some kewl neon as well

For lunch I ordered one of their giant 1/2 lb hamburgers, MeAsWe ordered a cup of chili and BLT. I took a bit of MeAsWe's chili and order a bowl. The waitress questioned my sanity, but I insisted. This chili was not authentic when it came to what would be expected in a Chili Cook Off, but it was really really really good.

Grabbed a couple more pictures and we called it a day and headed back to the room for some pute time, tv and plain ole kick up feet day.

Splittin Spokane, Knockin on Kalispell's Door

It's Sunday and we decide to head out for Glacier NP today, well to get within strikin distance. We are growing way to comfortable at the Econo and don't want to end up like the patrons of the Peppin Motel in VT. Not much on the agenda in the way of sites to visit.

This was parked right out side the lobby. While I doubt I would go back to a cruiser, I still appreciate an old one, especially with the SU carb. My TR-3 had 2 of em.

We stopped at Knights Diner on the other side of Spokane. When I told them I eat at their competitor, she simply stated we have no competition. I got a chuckle out of that statement. Breakfast was very good.

It was pouring out for most of our trip to Montana. Since we got into Idaho at night picked this one up on the way back out of Washington. Turned around to get the Washington

The rain. While riding in the rain is to be expected, I am not missing the bike right now.

Passed this place, maybe I can use it in a theme tag. Oh no bike..sigh

Hittn some mountains in Idaho


Sun starting to peak out of the clouds

I am a sucker for cars on pedestals. I don't have a clue what kind this is

Another pedestal thing. Libby MT

The State of Montana memorializes those killed along their highways. The American Legion has been placing these markers since 1953 as a reminder to us drivers it can be dangerous out there.

Clearing skies finally

Really straight roads


Whenever a deer comes up in conversation, MeAsWe has this reaction...

We will hang here for a day and then head to Glacier. We are only 33 miles from the west entrance.