Saturday, September 28, 2013

InSPIREd Sunday - Mary Queen of Peace

Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church - Rogers, Minnesota

Linking up late to InSPIREd Sunday. I took a long nap and forgot about doing the link this week.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Skywatch Friday - Morning Drive

Drives to work in the morning are much nicer when your day starts off like this.

Perham, Minnesota Sunrise

Linking to Skywatch Friday. Come join us!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TwoFer Tuesday - Roadside Art

Travel along Minnesota Highway 47 on the southeastern side of Mille Lacs Lake, it is hard to miss the giant fish at Johnson's Portside just outside of the town of Isle. It's a bait, tackle and liquor store all in one. You don't think those fisherman come up with those fish tales on their own, do ya? Nah, it requires a little liquid encouragement.

Massive Muskie

Mean Walleye

In keeping with the fishing theme, I'll add in the water tower painted as a bobber in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Roadside Art - Paul Bunyan

The state of Minnesota has some interesting roadside artwork as I have discovered during my travels around the area.

If you are traveling along Highway 34 between Park Rapids and Walker, Minnesota you will drive through the town of Akeley. It is hard to miss the 25 foot tall statue of Paul Bunyan kneeling next to the roadway. Paul needs a little TLC, like a fresh coat of paint in places.

Paul Bunyan - Akeley, Minnesota

Saturday, September 21, 2013

InSPIREd Sunday - St. Alexius

St. Alexius Catholic Church - West Union, Minnesota

Linking up to InSPIREd Sunday - a collection of churches, temples and other religious-themed architecture.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Glacier National Park - Part 5

There is still plenty to see in the Lake McDonald valley. For one, there is McDonald Creek that flows along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The water was SUPER clear!

The creek flows into, what else, Lake McDonald! This lake is also about ten miles long and nearly 500 feet deep. It is the largest lake in the park. Surprisingly the temperature of the water at the shoreline was warm. I am sure the summer sun heats up the rocks and keeps the shallower depths warm. I would bet the center of the lake is c-o-l-d!

Looking Northeast from the Shore of Lake McDonald

Us at Lake McDonald

We stopped in West Glacier briefly to browse the gift shop before continuing on to our night's stay in Whitefish, Montana.

There you have it! A brief tour of the Going-to-the-Sun Road and some of the sights in Glacier National Park. It is a beautiful place that needs further exploration. We need to take the camper next time so we can spend more time hiking and seeing other areas of the park.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Glacier National Park - Part 4

Leaving Logan Pass is when the Going-to-the-Sun Road got white-knuckle scary. It would be especially true if you are traveling from west to east! Luckily for me, I was not on that outside edge looking down. This section of the the road is why oversize vehicles are not permitted. I hate to think about meeting some big motorhome when trying to navigate a tight turn. The posted speed limit is 25 MPH for a reason!

A brief history:

Going-to-the-Sun Road was the first to carry visitors by the lakes, glaciers, alpine peaks, and meadows of Glacier National Park. The 50-mile route, which connected the east and west sides of the park and crossed the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, was surveyed in 1918, and work began in 1921. Progress was slow, however, due to limited and erratic congressional funding and the difficulties of working under extreme mountainous conditions. The road was completed in the early 1930s. (from the National Park Service website.)

Building the Granite Creek Retaining Wall - From the National Park Service website

Not only would I not have wanted to be on the work crew building the central section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, I simply would not want to be on the snow removal crew either that works to open the road each Spring. Unh-uh. You aren't getting me up there. Period. End of discussion.

Winding, Narrow, Scary, White-Knuckle, You Name It!

Please Don't Fall, Rocks

I think this is referred to as the Garden Wall. Note the Going-to-the-Sun Road near the bottom of the photo.

More of Mother Nature's Beauty

Natural "Amphitheater"


All too soon we were down in the valley where the views were hidden by the trees. Our journey isn't over yet, however...

Such beautiful blue skies deserve to be shared on Skywatch Friday. Come join us!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Glacier National Park - Part 3

Departing Saint Mary Lake, we continued west on the Going-to-the-Sun Road towards Logan Pass. I had a hard time identifying some of the mountains so please feel free to chime in if you know them.



The Going-to-The-Sun Road east of Logan Pass is not too harrowing. At least in my opinion. It felt plenty wide enough. The scenery is simply magnificent.

Tunnel along the Going-to-the-Sun Road

Pollock Mountain (I love the fish-eye effect of looking up towards the mountain top)

Clements Mountain (Near Logan Pass)

Logan Pass is the highest elevation reachable by car in the park at 6,640 feet (2,023 m). We wanted to stop at the visitor center but the small parking lot was packed to the gills. We opted to continue westward through the park.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Glacier National Park - Part 2

As we made the left turn in St. Mary onto the Going-to-the-Sun Road that takes you into Glacier National Park, we were greeted by the historic Red Buses. This guided tour and shuttle service is especially nice if you are in an RV because you will not be able to go very far into the park before oversize vehicles are prohibited. Luckily we were in our car so bus transport was not required. I think they would be fun to take a ride on though.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is almost 50 miles long between the east and west entrances. The road officially received its name, "The Going-to-the-Sun Road," during the 1933 dedication at Logan Pass. The road borrowed its name from nearby Going-to-the-Sun Mountain. Local legend, and a 1933 press release issued by the Department of the Interior, told the story of the deity, Sour Spirit, who came down from the sun to teach Blackfeet braves the rudiments of the hunt. On his way back to the sun, Sour Spirit had his image reproduced on the top of the mountain for inspiration to the Blackfeet. An alternate story suggests a white explorer in the 1880s concocted the name and the legend. No matter which version is accurate, the road named Going-to-the-Sun still inspires all who travel it. (from the National Park Service website.)

Red Buses

We paid our entrance fee - $25 for a seven day pass. Not bad when you think about it. Next time I will make sure to be there for multiple days. Shortly after entering the park, we passed a bear close to the side of the road. On my side of the road, no less. Dang! I didn't have my camera ready. Another missed photo op.

More of the Geologic Layering

A few miles into the park, we found a pull-off and stopped to get an up-close view of Saint Mary Lake. The lake is almost ten miles long and this is just a glimpse of it.

So Serene and Beautiful

There goes a red tour bus - canvas top rolled back!

Our Orange Tour Car ;-)

After 75 years of use, the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road is being rebuilt. There were several places where the road surface was bumpy and gravel-covered. Once they get the re-paving completed, it will be a more enjoyable drive. There were also repairs going on to the retaining walls at this and other pull-outs as evidenced by the pallets of rocks.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Glacier National Park - Part 1

The main reason we drove home to Washington from Minnesota earlier this month was to detour through Glacier National Park in Montana. If you have never been, you need to go!

Glacier National Park was established in 1910 as our nation's tenth national park by President Taft. It was named for the glaciers that carved, sculpted, and formed this landscape millions of years ago. Despite the recession of current glaciers, the park's name will not change when the glaciers are gone. (per the National Park Service)

I truly enjoyed our trip through GNP. As usual, we didn't spend as much time as I would have liked, but it was Labor Day weekend and the park was busy, busy, busy with other visitors. Because I took plenty of pictures, I'll share a few each day this week.

We started on from the east side of the park since that is the direction we were traveling from. Note to fellow travelers - avoid staying in Browning, MT if you can and opt for East Glacier instead. And be sure to have breakfast at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The bacon and cheese omelets were just about the best we have ever had.

After leaving the Whistle Stop, we headed north on Hwy 49. It is a winding and narrow road. Toss in periodic road construction and it made for adventurous traveling.

Looking Towards Glacier National Park from Hwy 49

We joined up with Hwy 89 which took us further north toward the east entrance of GNP. More winding roads but with awesome views. We haven't even entered the park and I am in awe of the beauty surrounding us.

Wild Horses with the Great Plains to the East in the Background

More of GNP with Saint Mary Lake at the Bottom of the Hill

Look at the Layering! Wow!

At this point, I know this is going to be an great trip.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

InSPIREd Sunday - Sacred Heart

One of the great things about two lane highways out in the middle of what seems like nowhere are the various things you see. Like this abandoned church on U.S. Highway 2 (The Hi-Line) in Harlem, Montana, on the Fort Belknap Agency Indian Reservation.  I had a hard time even finding out the name of it - Sacred Heart Catholic Church. I used the satellite view in Google Maps and retraced that part of our route, looking for the red roof.

The mission-style architecture seems so out of place for the Great Plains of Montana. The salmon pink hue of the adobe appears to be withstanding the forces of Mother Nature although the roof could use some work.

Do you think a bell used to hang in the recess?

Nice fan light over the doors

From what little information I could find, the cemetery is still being used as evidenced by the flowers in the lower right corner of this photo.

Sacred Heart Church and Cemetery - Harlem, Montana

Come join us at InSPIREd Sunday and see what interesting architectural religious buildings are inspiring us to share our photos.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Skywatch Friday - Big Sky Country

It's been awhile since I've posted to Skywatch, but driving through Big Sky country inspired me. They don't call it that for nothing!

Eastern Side of the Rocky Mountains in Montana

Come see what others are sharing in SkyWatch!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


All across eastern Montana were fields after fields after fields of hay bales. It was probably the last cutting of the season before Old Man Winter arrives and blankets the fields in snow.

Productive Acreage in Montana

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Glimpse of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

On the Western edge of North Dakota is the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We made a brief stop at a scenic viewpoint on Interstate 94 overlooking the Badlands. I've been fascinated with this area ever since I first saw it in 1999. Do you ever visit a place and immediately feel it touching your soul? This is such a place for me and I don't know why. There is a beauty in the colors of the layered earth. Of course, I love the deceptive barrenness of the desert, too.

I imagine the pioneers as they made their way across this landscape and wonder what they thought upon reaching here. It couldn't have been easy in covered wagons but somehow they made their way further westward.

Panoramic View of the Badlands (worth clicking on to enlarge)

One of these years I would like to explore this area more, not just for 30 minutes.
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