2018: Traveling Full Time - Chapter Two

Updated: Jun 15, 2019

Kathy's ideal travel mode is to make no campground reservations, just find a nice spot and stay there for days. She also likes short driving days, like 100 miles. I am more the exploring type and want to keep moving, unless I can walk from the campsite to a pub in which case staying a couple of extra days sounds great.

On this trip I wanted to see Glacier National Park. I love maps. Kathy won't even look at one. So there we were... rambling through northern Washington State, northern Idaho, inching our way east. Clever, huh? "Hey, look, we're only 200 miles away from Glacier!"

Lucky for us, we hit this high demand area before kids got out of school. In early June it was relatively easy to get a campsite without reservations. Park rangers told us that if we had arrived a week later the Park would be swarming with eager campers. Some campgrounds at Glacier do not take reservations. They are setup with traffic cops of a sort. They know when there are just a few spots left and so they let a few vehicles in to circulate and evaluate whether they will fit and be happy in one of the remaining sites. Everyone else queues up near the entrance, hoping that someone will exit the park without grabbing a spot so the next vehicle can enter. Not all spots will accept all types and lengths of vehicles, and some spots are not level or have some other less desirable trait. We saw all sorts of RVs from all parts of the country. Glacier National Park is like a giant melting pot of camping enthusiasts. Oh, and yes, the mountain scenery is spectacular.

Below is Bandit Brewing and a statue of Sacajawea, both in Darby Montana, and a great paved campsite at Indian Trees National Forest campground.

People that drive Class B vehicles (vans), especially Mercedes Sprinter-based RVs like ours, seem especially friendly and eager to talk about how they make it all work in a tiny space. It is easy to strike up a conversation with complete strangers and compare notes about our rigs. From solar panels to battery technologies, from space utilization ideas to nifty solutions for compact tool storage, everyone has some favorite stories and loves to learn from the innovation of other travelers. New friends are waiting at every campground.

We met such a friend at the KOA campground at Polson, Montana, which overlooks Flathead Lake with a dramatic mountain range in the background. Grant, from Lexington, Kentucky was traveling with a bicycle in the back of his custom Dodge ProMaster van. We started sharing stories of cross-country bicycle adventures (mine was from 1976) over pizza and his wonderful margaritas. We were planning a long trip to New England and he told us of some good roads and areas to see. He invited us to visit him in Kentucky if we ever ended up in the area. Indeed we would.

Stanley in central Idaho

NEXT: 2018: Traveling Full Time - Chapter Three


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