Friday, July 30, 2010

Location, location, location!

Okay... so I may have been wrong.  As soon as I really start thinking about this, I find that there are a lot of things to do and to research.  Which is kind of a godsend as work has been extremely slow these last couple of days.

Last time out to the GNP/Whitefish, MT area, we stayed at a ski resort (in the summer), that boasted mountain biking and hiking... and a couple of other less-known activities.  One of which was called A Walk in the Treetops - platforms in the treetops on which you can walk, and the views are said to be phenomenal. Sadly, the day we did this was very foggy and overcast, and we saw nothing.  It was eerie and creepy, but yet still kind of neat to do.  The thought this time is to make a second attempt at this, but only if the weather cooperates with us.  I already know what fog looks like from 150 feet off the ground.

The resort also has a couple of Zipline Tours which might be fun... and also something called an Alpine Slide.  Both of which would be something to look into if we decide to spend part of the day on the mountain.

We're looking at taking some the forest service roads in and around Hungry Horse Reservoir, which is near the southwest part of Glacier National Park.

Down near the MT/WY border are a couple of other places that I've been advised to check out... a couple of those look doable.  We can pair Beartooth Highway near Cooke City, MT with the rough road up to Hellroaring Plateau.  The road to the plateau is said to be jeep-trail worthy... so of course it's an automatic must-do in my book.

Aside from all of that, I'm still getting feedback daily about forest and other roads in various areas that we should look into.  All this makes me wish we had more than just the week or so to play... but then again, we'll have something new for which to return.  That works for me.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Less than 30-days, and counting...

I'm under 30 days until this trek... and I feel like I should be doing more to prepare.

There's not really much to do, when I think about it.

With no real destination in mind once we get to Montana, there are no real plans to be made.  I haven't traveled this way very much... you know, by winging it.  Yeah, sure... for a weekend at the most... but this is 10-days. This is kind of a big deal.

I'm nervous and excited all at the same time.  In the end, I know that it's trips like this one that will better prepare for what lies ahead.  Leading, eventually, to 3-4 weeks in Alaska... or possibly more. 

In reality, the only things that have to be done (outside of normal packing and such) is that I do need to purchase a better, more rugged tent.  The one I have now is a cheap Walmart special that really won't stand up to much weather at all.  Currently looking at something similar to the Coleman Hooligan 4.

Coleman Hooligan 4 Tent

To prep the jeep, I still need to do a transmission fluid/filter change, and a coolant change.  And I'm sure there will be an oil change and tire rotation in there before the trip as well.  Outside of those things, the Jeep is  ready.

I'm so used to having to make/confirm reservations somewhere and print/plan route maps.  I don't have that to do... not really.  Mapping to a degree, but not to the extent that I'm accustomed to.

Let this trip be as freeing as I hope it will be...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To route-plan or not to route-plan...

The boy wants to plan routes and waypoints for this trip on his DeLorme map program that he has installed on his netbook.  I get that he wants to have a pre-determined route as to not get lost, and make most efficient use of fuel.

I agree with his efficient use of fuel idea.  But, outside of that, I am of the mindset that a pre-determined map will limit our ability to explore, to wander, to adventure. It will also be another distraction away from why we are going to Montana in the first place.  It's my intent to not bring (my) netbook at all, and go based on the old-fashioned paper map if we get too uncomfortably lost. 

In other news... we went camping with some friends over the weekend, and I've decided that we need a better tent before the Montana expedition.  The cheap one we have now doesn't have much for a rainfly, and it already leaks (yes, I have sealed it) - I've had it about a year now.

Off to ebay, craigslist, etc...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Missouri Breaks National Backcountry Byway

A major point of interest is going to be the Missouri Breaks National Backcountry Byway.  It's a 80 mile loop off of Highway 191 between Malta and Lewistown.  The book boasts about the spectacular scenery along the Missouri River... and also warns about the need for a 4 wheel drive and/or high-clearance vehicle. 

To date, this sounds like one of the better roads to travel.  A good place to kill an afternoon.

Outside of the information in the book, I'm finding little to no real good information about this route online.  Mostly just what the BLM sites have available... which isn't a whole lot.

Missouri Breaks Backcountry Byway

I'm still trying to find out also whether or not the road that goes to Kintla Lake... North Fork Road, I believe it's called... continues on into Canada.  Which also makes me wonder if there are gates or manned posts at the border.  It'd be cool if we could cross into Canada... just to say I've been in Canada before.  :oP

Monday, July 12, 2010

Montana Update

I received the Scenic Drive - Montana book months ago, commenced reading it for about a week or two, and then kind of forgot about it. I assumed that most of the routes listed were all paved road, 2-lane highway routes... I didn't see anything on unpaved roads or otherwise.

Shame on me.

I went back to the book a couple of weeks ago (out of lack of anything else to do that day), and found that there actually ARE a handful of routes that specifically states '4x4 vehicles are highly advisable.' Thank goodness! These routes are now on the itinerary for the week.

In giving a couple of my other road maps a closer, second look, I also found that one of the maps lists roads that are gravel or "check with the local municipality to find road composition." That sounds promising too.

If I play my cards right, I'm hoping stay off of the pavement for most of the travel-time in Montana.

I'm anticipating this trip moreso now... leave in 7 weeks!