Missoula, Montana – Day 2

A nice surprise breakfast at the trendiest place in Missoula – Caffe Dolce and then heading north of the town to Holland Lake and a 6km hike to a waterfall.

With temperatures up to around 27°C and plenty of steep climbs, this was very pleasant scenery wise, but had tough sections.

The drive of an hour took us through the now familiar steep mountains with flat river valleys around Missoula and a turn of at Holland Lake Road. Ellis and Don had brought a visitor here a week ago and walked to the waterfalls at the end. Trish and Ellis made it a third of the way before resting.

Don allocates his two cans of bear spray – high powered pepper spray commonly used – or carried and hopefully not used – in this area. Guns are carried by some, but are unlikely to kill an attacking bear immediately – and will likely make the beer ever more angry. Pepper spray is regarded as the best defence.

Despite assurances we will not see a bear on this track, Kerry and I were a little anxious at this strange threat.

The track sometime followed the most clear glacial lake, and sometimes climbed quite high. Eventually at the end of a long climb, we found the waterfall we were seeking. It’s cooling spray was a welcome relief from the warm sun.

Views were WONDERFUL.

Don found us a nice bridge over a lilly covered lake for a late lunch and then another turnoff found us at the abandoned town of Garnite. Trish’s aunt lived in one of these houses in her youth. It was certainly a pretty spot, but given it was over 1800m high, it would have been bitterly cold in winter.

A pleasant day indeed, finished by a welcome Skype call with Jacob.






Missoula Day One

One of the things I was so looking forward to on this trip has been meeting up with Ellis again, and meeting her parents, Don and Trish. No only did I know they’d be lovely hosts and people, but they are also very outdoors people who know lots of cool hikes around their town.

Today, we found two, one east and one west of town.

Don was thrilled to find the big horn sheep had come down from the mountains and found a farm to graze on.

He was also pretty chuffed that we saw a wild moose in the forest. We disturbed it and could hear it crashing through the undergrowth about 20 metres from us. No chance of a photo, and only a glimpse of a big brown animal.

He was also most pleased we found a dipper bird, that is quite special in that it feeds only in the water, swims under the water and has a commitment to foraging that is amazing given the cold river water.


On the way back we saw an older white male driver expressing his opinion. I thought it wise to not take a picture of him.


After a bit of a rest and lunch, we headed east to another hike up a canyon – Kootenai Creek.

A very pleasant day indeed.




Seattle to Missoula

With great excitement we met up with Trish Ellis and Don and loaded our excessive baggage into their van – negotiated the mid morning roads of Seattle and headed west.

Climbing through mountains, the cloud soon parted and a clear day ensured – maximum about 24°C – very pleasant driving.

The mountains made way to rolling plains with the familiar yellow canola and wheat fields.

Around 8 hours later we arrived in Missoula, a city of around 70,000 and the delightful old style house that will be our home for the next few days.



A BBQ was set up for the evening meal and along came a deer, looking for a feed and a bit of company. Such a unique experience.

The famous Gumball the cat on the lookout for food.




Boeing in Seattle

I like watching megafactories on TV and being in Seattle for a couple of days, the home of Boeing manufacturing, a tour seemed like too good a opportunity to miss.

Figuring out how to get there was a learning experience. We didn’t feel like paying a premium of US$50 each just for transport by joining a tour group, despite this being the easiest option. Wifi and google found the public transport option, but not really the best/cheapest way to buy the tickets. Buying an ORCA card for $5 each seemed something to avoid just to add value to it, so a cash fare was considered. We also heard of day passes being cheaper and available on the bus. From driver. So after confirming the pronunciation of the end point destination Mulkiteo from a guy in Starbucks over breakfast coffee – as you do. (He happened to grow up in Mulkiteo too) I confidently explained what I wanted with the driver. He asked me where we were from, then waved us on at no charge – despite me with handfuls of coins and notes!

Our first bus was a bus along the freeway with infrequent stops. We got off at Lynnwood transfer station, and I explained my ticket needs to three people inside that booth. I walked out with an ORCA card loaded with the right amount and instructions to tell each driver this was for TWO adult fares. This was making sense now. Next bus came along and we spent a hour winding the streets of the spread out suburbia of Seattle. It was good to see regular suburban life in action.

The Boeing tour was acceptable. Good value at $20 each, but with none of the details either of us we’re looking for. Apparently that’s on YouTube!!!

Great BIG engines.

Carbon fibre is extensively used in the 787 Dreamliner, and the Lamborghini Aventador

There’s a ‘museum’ and the factory tour. Photos are the museum

This dreamlifter is one of four and carries Dreamliner components from other factories to the assembly plant here.
We did get one shot of the factory floor.

Kerry didn’t like walking up or down this 12% hill, downside of public transport. 

Bus ride back again, and fish and chips at Hard a Rock Cafe for dinner.

Tip, take screen prints of every valuable webpage for reference when there is no wifi.

Oh, an update on my cough/flu/bronchitis   Nearly all better. Medication free for a few days now. 🙂

Moving Monday

Our Air B&B host Jeff offered to drive us the kilometre to the train station, which we were grateful for.

Before this, we had a walk around the area and decided it was quite nice

Bags weighed, passports checked, we loaded our luggage under the coach and found a seat. Immediately they were uncomfortable sliding vinyl seats that meant sitting upright was tedious.  Loud woman, front seat right side, lost her phone. Could the nice young man go check for it in the waiting area. Thirty seconds later, she’s found her phone, one of two. And prior to us pulling out she was already making calling on speakerphone seeking directions from the bus stop from some poor accommodation provider who was doing their best to remain polite – which they do very well.

We DID want a Greyhound experience!

After not long the border crossing was completed with the bus load being processed in an hour.

Our driver was quite uncommunicative. Not rude when spoken to, just announced nothing. Others had attempts at gleaning info, we said nothing.

Noisy woman got off, so Kerry and I took her front seat, and were very pleased we did. Much nicer views.

We chatted to a young couple in the other front seat

Flags were at half mast

Apparently there’d been five people killed at a random shooting at Macy’s, this Macy’s right here, on Friday. Creepy.

Dinner on the waterfront after checking into our funny little hotel again.

Weather was glorious.