Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Glorious Glacier NP

This may be our favorite National Park.  If not, it is way up there near the top.  After leaving Spokane, we drove to North American RV Campground in Coram Montana which is about 3 miles from the entrance to Glacier National Park.
I liked the map from the Montana Tourism Office. It shows Glacier NP and the Waterton-Glacier NP in Canada.  We visited both.
At the center near the bottom is the West Entrance and Park HQ.  We started our drive along the Going-To-The-Sun Road which is the main road through the park.  It winds through canyons and rises thousands of feet to the summit at Logan's Pass.
We stopped in Apgar Village and Visitor Center for some info and pictures.  We were on the southern most end of Lake McDonald.

Then we started on the drive around Lake McDonald up the Going-To-The-Sun Road.  It quickly became spectacular.
We were in no rush and moved with the flow of traffic.  It reminded me of Yellowstone, except it was not as busy.
Glaciers, peaks and waterfalls abounding...
The road was built in 1933 and took 3 1/2 years to complete.  It has been a long winter with some late snowfall and the road only opened about a month ago which was about a month late.
 
We did see some interesting animals along the way including this mountain goat.
She was about 1/2 mile from the summit at Logan's Pass and the Visitor's Center.
After the pit stop we drove along Jackson Glacier which was on the other side of Logan's Pass.
St Mary's Lake was on the way to Alberta, Canada and Waterton.
Through the mountains and into the adjacent Waterton-Glacier NP, we saw a whole different landscape.
Waterton was a quaint little tourist town that was in high season.
We also stopped at the historic Prince of Wales Hotel and looked around.
It was built in 1926-1927 and was built by an American (vs a Canadian) Railway Company.  It was designated a Canadian National Historic Site in 1995.

We took the same road back to our campground through Glacier NP and got a photo of a bear.
With all the recent news about tragedies with bears, we were content to keep our distance and pause for a quick telephoto shot.

Glacier NP is one of the highlights of our time on the road.  Next time we will have to take more time here and go on a lot of hikes.  This place is really worth seeing again.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  And thanks again for your comments which we always appreciate.

Until next time...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Roadrunner Research: What's on your iPhone?

I've had my iPhone for almost a year now and have to say that I still love it!  I love the assortment of apps I have on it ~ especially the last one I added:
As we were going to the Pacific coast and traveling through the mountains to get there, I remembered my dad who was always interested in the altitude.  Growing up, we took a lot of trips and a couple of cross country trips and he always wanted to know the altitude.  I did some looking around the AppStore and found this one.  It checks out pretty close to the elevation postings we pass on the highway.

Another one that I use probably more than any other is the map app that comes with the phone:
I do not have a true GPS and find this to be more than satisfactory.  We use this all the time.

Another one I like it this:
Believe it or not, I use this when a flashlight is not in a handy place.  The first time I used it was on a Habitat project to help a fellow worker find some markings on an electrical outlet in dark bathroom that was under construction.

I like to know how my iPhone battery is doing and this app gives me a %.
It is easier to see than the little icon in the top corner of my screen.

Gas prices are of interest since we have been doing so much traveling the last few months.
This app also shows diesel fuel prices and it is pretty handy.

Another fun one is the iHandy level.  I have whipped this out a few times just for grins while I am on top of a roof (like in Santa Fe during our last Habitat build.)
It also has a plumb app.

Another great app is this one from our bank:

I still find it a little unbelievable, but I can take a picture of a check and deposit it into my bank account with my iPhone.  It still boggles my mind…

So how about you?  What apps do you use on your iPhone? or Droid?  or smartphone?

That is it the latest from this edition of Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for joining us today!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Beautiful BC: Vancouver

Even on a somewhat cloudy day, we enjoyed our day trip to Vancouver.
It was a short drive from our campground in Ferndale.  The border crossing to Canada was only 12 miles away.
We stopped in at the Visitor's Center, then drove through downtown Vancouver.
Vancouver is a nice city, with plenty of beautiful sky scrapers and a bustling downtown area.

We drove around for a while and then went over to Stanley Park.  It was the highlight of the city for us.
First we parked and went over to the Totem Poles.
They were on display at Brockton Point near one of the first stops on the tour around the park.  The ones on display are replicas of the original First Nations work that is being preserved.  This work was commissioned between 1986 and 1992.

The park was opened in 1888 and spans 1000 acres adjacent to downtown Vancouver.  It has a lot of great things to do including biking, hiking,  a nice beach and outdoor sports.
We had a picnic lunch and strolled around the area near the Tea House Restaurant at Stanley Point.
It was a nice day and we were not the only ones taking it all in.
We left the park in the early afternoon, went back through town
and returned to Ferndale.

That was our day in Vancouver!  Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Until next time...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beautiful BC - Victoria

After Oregon, we decided to find an RV campground up near the Canadian border for a trip into Vancouver.  Ferndale is (A) on the map below:
We made a good choice with Cedars RV resort.  It was well maintained, had friendly staff and good sized RV spaces.  It cost us $38/night with full hookups.
We knew we weren't too far from Victoria BC, so we plotted a course to go there for our first day trip.  We had to drive down to Anacortes (B on the map), catch the ferry to Sidney BC (D) and then drive into Victoria (E).  It has been a while since we have been on a ferry and was a fun little adventure.

We got up early and left about 6:15 AM and drove the 45 miles to Anacortes.  Once at the ferry terminal, we got in the queue.
We were a little early and some folks got their morning coffee
In this region of the country (Washington, Oregon) there are a lot of coffee kiosks, many of them little drive throughs.

After about 30 minutes, we boarded the ferry and got underway.
Inside the ferry, it looked like most other ferry's:  good seats, plenty of windows, and an expensive cafeteria.
Outside it was pretty foggy, so visibility was down.  But it was still beautiful.
About halfway into our 2 1/2 hour trip, we stopped at Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, to pick up more passengers.
Then before we knew it, we landed at Sidney (D). We left the dock area, found our signs for Victoria and immediately felt like we were in a country with European influences.  The small town of Sidney was very well manicured and the speed limit signs were in km.

Another thing I love in this part of the world is the beautiful flowers.  Some were near manicured shrubs made to look like dolphins.
More flowers behind the mime on the street
They provide a perfect backdrop for tourists…
We went downtown to the harbor and a lot was going on.  By then the sun had come out and it was a very nice day.
We had to stop by the historic Empress Hotel.  It is a landmark and a beautiful place.  

A friend suggested we do 'high tea at the Empress' but we decided not to this time.

We took some time and walked along the water and took in all the sights.
Victoria has one of the largest Chinatown's along the Pacific coast and we wanted to go there for lunch.
We walked around some more and then took a leisurely drive before we went back to Sidney.
 We arrived back at the ferry and the trip back was a nice evening cruise.
Our day was a long one ~ we got back to the RV about 1030 PM but it was a great day.  I highly recommend Victoria.  It is a beautiful city!  

Vancouver is next on the itinerary.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Hope you are having a wonderful summer weekend!  Until next time...