You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

26 05 2009

I had more trouble getting out of bed than usual this past Saturday morning.  I blame a combination of uncomfortable seats in the Wrangler and really comfortable beds at the Kalispell Holiday Inn Express coupled with an exhausting few days on the road and my seasonal allergies.  But anyway, with most of the day behind us, my dad and I set out to see at least a small part of Glacier National Park.

Scenery.  I was too distracted by the natural splendor to take a lot of pictures.

Scenery. I was too distracted by the natural splendor to take a lot of pictures.

Lake McDonald Lodge is one of several historic lodges in the park, and it seems like the kind of place where arriving in the Packard with a canoe strapped down on top would just feel nautural somehow.  There are vintage White tour bus/truck things parked outside of the lodge, and I believe there are over thirty of them scattered around the park.

They look old, but they were completely refurbished by Ford to run on propane.

They look old, but they were completely refurbished by Ford to run on propane.

I could more or less live out all of my vintage vactioning fantasies on the grounds.  But if I decided to leave ground…



…vintage wooden boat rides are available!  Except we got there just as the last tour was coming in for the night.  Here are more pictures of the area.

Yeah, I had to post a shot of me looking pensive eventually.

Yeah, I had to post a shot of me looking pensive eventually.

Oh, and this is to prove that my dad and I are actually together on this trip, since there’s been no photographic evidence so far:

Father-son bonding.

Father-son bonding.

The sun was going down pretty fast, so we decided to leave Glacier National Park and head back into Kalispell for the night.  But first, we checked out Packer’s Roost, a bar we had driven past a few times.  I’ll admit, I was a bit reluctant to go in because I hate looking like a tourist and I can’t even drink legally, so I was destined to be the designated driver.

But in the end it was a good decision.  How else would I have met Claude?

Claude-Graham bonding time.  He's not freakishly tall, I'm just sitting.

Claude-Graham bonding time. No, he's not freakishly tall, I'm just sitting down. Note the ironic t-shirt.

And I never would have had the opportunity to embarrass myself at the pool table:

This actually happened.

This actually happened.

Everyone was having a good time and seemed to be sincere.  Not a lot of pretension at Packer’s.  To my dad and I, it seemed pretty wild, but the owner, Greg, told us it was quiet for a Saturday.  I’d love to see it when it’s really crazy.  Yet another place for me to revisit next time I’m out west (and of age).

Also, the answer to Claude’s joke?

An Amish Driveby! I never made any promises about quality…




6 responses

26 05 2009

Hooray, a picture of you and your Dad!
Great info. Sounds like an adventure.

26 05 2009

Glacier is an incredible park. Good thing it’s so far away from CA or it would be overrun with surfers in flying suits and juice bars at every summit! Someday go to the Canadian side (aye?!) and see Banff and Lake Louise – more of that wonderful Rocky Mt. high.

Did they have any Toyota Landcruisers there? I owned one of those 1979, vert. split rear door style. An iron goat. Paid $6200 for it new. What convinced me to buy one was the great book by Ed Abbey, “The MoneyWrench Gang” (pretty seditious material so read it with a “don’t try this at home” warning). And my roommate had a CJ-5 so I had to have the professional 4-wheeler just to offer to winch him out of tough places. (They say that when Che’ would steal vehicles in his South American campaign, he’d insist on taking the Landcruiser.) Those folks in MT would likely support the American vehicle, and I admire their loyalty.

As you drive back through WI consider a stop in Ashland – at South Shore Brewery where your dad can try a local craft brewed beer (good food at the restaurant too) – and for you a trip to Prentice Park (ask for the easy directions at the brewery- it’s about a mile from downtown) where you can fill up your canteen with artesian water that the locals say is a fountain of youth- great for your health. Heck, I’d even put it in the radiator. Can’t hurt!?.

Also if you have time (and it’s between 9-4) check out Timeless Timber on HWY #2 on the east side of town. They recover and finish first growth hardwoods from the bottom of Lake Superior. Some of the wood is hundreds of years old and was growing before Columbus got to the Keys – or wherever it really was he landed.

Again – thanks for the very entertaining blog. Happy Jeep hunting.

3 06 2009

I saw a few FJ40’s but nothing much newer than that, although I can’t say I was really looking out for anything other than Wagoneers. I’m sure if there was any place for old Toyotas to go to retire, it would be Montana. The “Jeep Ranch” I visited was purely Jeeps; the owner’s son had a CJ-5 in a barn (his first Jeep, which survived getting stuck in a stream for days, among other adventures and misadventures) and a less beat up CJ-7 that still had the gun rack the ranch hands installed sitting in the back.

I had planned on taking a slightly more leisurely return trip home that would allow me to get a better taste of Minnesota and Wisconsin (and perhaps even visit some of the sites you suggested) but the transmission failure threw a wrench in that. But I’ll definitely be heading back out west as soon as I can, and I’d like to experience the Midwest on my way there and my way back, so thanks for the suggestions…

26 05 2009

Nice Blog Graham, what a great trip. Enjoy it with your dad, what memories and bonding time (to use an over used expression). Hi to Tom, too. Love the vintage vehicle pictures. Tania Pratnicki Young

2 06 2009

Your dad grew a beard?

3 06 2009

Yeah, I think he was worried about looking too much like Hank Paulson.

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