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2019 Vacation to Glacier Nat'l Park and Beyond

We had thought about this vacation for several years. In 2018, Connie saw that a local group was doing a bus tour of Glacier and she wanted to do that. I'm no fan of bus tours, and so over Christmas break in 2018, we planned this trip. At least made most of the hotel reservations. At that time, we couldn't get a room at Many Glacier Lodge. As it turns out, it was the least of the lodges, except for Going To The Sun Motor Lodge (see comments below about the lodges).

Wednesday - Day1 Fly to Kalispel, MT and drive to Glacier National Park, Goin to the Sun Motor Lodge.
Thursday - Day 2- Red Bus tour and drive to Apgar, West Glacier and Lake McDonald Lodge
Friday - Day 3- Drive to Many Glacier Hotel, boat cruise, and then drive to Prince of Wales lodge in Waterton Park, Alberta
Saturday Day 4- Horse back riding then drive to Couer 'd Alene, ID via Kootenai National Forest
Sunday Day 5- Boat brunch cruise on Couer 'd Alene lake, then drive to Spokan, WA. Tour parks.
Monday Day 6- Drive to Missoula, MT. Visit Smoke Jumpers Visitors Center
Tuesday Day 7 - Travel home.

Mark & Connie at Logan Pass on Day 2 while on the Red Buss tour.

Overal all impressions:


I would pick the McDonald Lake lodge as the most quaint. The Prince of Wales lodge as the most impressive (the food was best there). I wish we had at least stopped at the Glacier Park Lodge. It was the first one built, and maybe is the largest. Would have been interesting to see. The cabins at Going To The Sun Motor lodge were suprisingly small and primitive. Our room was clean, but it was hot with no air conditioning and no shade. There are some that are in the shade, and that would have made a big difference. The dining at G-T-S Motor Lodge was decent. Good food and plenty to eat. A little expensive, but what isn't expensive in any national park?

Red Bus tour

I definitely recommend this. Just the half day thing was fine. I'm not sure that more would be better. It was the only way to see Logan Pass, as they had special parking. The lot was full all three times we were there, so we would not have been able to stop had we not taken the bus.

This Blog

This is a lot of work. I'm asking myself why do I do this? It amounts to an online scrap book and I suppose it will practically not be looked at and eventually thrown away as are the vast majority of scrap books.

Rental Car

We were planning to use Hertz point, of which I have many, in order to have a free rental car. We discovered that the Hertz location in Kalispel is a xxx and does not accept points. A lot of shopping around and we settled on a deal via AAA for a Nissan Rogue from Hertz for $600 for the week (ouch!).
When we arrived, we were given a Subaru Outback. It seems that about 25% of the cars on the road in the west are Subaru Outbacks. Ours got 34 mpg overall. Not bad for so much mountainous driving. I doubt the Nissan would have come close to that.
The car also had a driver assist feature where it would slow down behind a slower vehicle and maintane the distance behind it. If you pull into an open left lane it will speed up to the cruise control set speed. It's a nice feature. I think it also had a "keep me in the lane" feature, but that's just a little too much control for my liking.

Montana Speed Limits

There were a couple of places where the speed limit was actually higher than I felt comfortable driving. I've never experienced that before. One was on Rt 37 along Koocanusa Lake. The speed limit was 70. It is a two lane highway at the very edge of the lake. When it got windey, I kept it at 65.
The othe was along I90. The speed limit was 80, which most of the time was fine. But we went into a curvy area and I backed down to 70. I think I could have driven it at 80 mph, but it would have been flogging the Subaru pretty hard.