Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Freda's Bar

It's easy to make things happen. What's hard is making them turn out the way you'd wish. Once the first shot is fired there is no telling what will pass. It will certainly be interesting, however.

As soon as we got back from our outing I was getting ready, shower, shave, and so forth, for another evening out. It was about seven when I headed out for the Dew Drop Inn. That place being about as dead as a doornail I went to town and lighted at the West Glacier Bar also known as Freda's. It was not busy at that hour but I had no trouble finding people to talk to. Everyone in sight was younger than me by far. I ordered a scotch and soda. Arthur, the bartender, was friendly. There were only a couple of people at the bar. Arthur was in his 30s I guess and said he had bartended all over the world. He specifically mentioned Okinawa and Sudan, but that is about all the details I got from him. He charged me $2.50 for the drink. I told him that was a good deal. I was looking around, checking people and things out, getting my game going. I read the labels on the tap beer pulls. One of them was organic. I laughed at this and asked if they had any in-organic beer. The guy to my right chuckled and said all beer was organic as far as he was concerned. I laughed and toasted him with here's to in-organic beer! He responded to my toast it was all star dust anyhow, no kidding, which gained him a rousing affirmative from me.

Right away I noticed that there was more going on on the front porch of the bar than inside so after this little exchange I moved to the bench just outside the door. The porch was small with the bench being just outside the door on the left. It might hold three people comfortably. There was a guy sitting there on the end away from the door. I took the position next to the door which pleased me because there were two very lovely young ladies sitting on the other side of the door on the floor of the porch. They were facing each other and speaking in some European language, I could not quite make it out. I knew it wasn't German, Spanish, French, or Dutch. About this time my companion on the bench started talking on the phone. I didn't know what he was speaking either. After he got off the phone I asked him if it was Czech. He said no, Russian. Introducing myself I said, well, welcome to my country. He smiled and said he was American. I said he sounded fluent in his Russian. He said he had been an interpreter for the U.S. Army, had gone to their language school. His name was Kurt and we discussed European and Russian geo-politics for a moment. About this time I also struck up a conversation with another patron. Her name slips my mind but she was from New Zealand. You can see her standing in the door in this picture.















During this small stretch of time I met several people. One young fellow was from San Angelo, Texas where I went to high school. His family were ranchers, had a 2300 acre spread out there. He and I talked about the drought plaguing Texas at the time and how it was causing people in the cattle business to sell off their herds. The couple in the foreground with the girl leaning against the post were early arrivals. I was sitting on the bench with Kurt when they showed up. He shook hands with all the guys in our little group and she got hugs from everyone, so I knew everybody here knew everybody else, just about. I was one of the few outsiders. Turns out all these people were either employees of the park service, the businesses hereabouts, or tourists that were staying for weeks or months instead of days like me. It was a most interesting group of people. Just a bunch of well to do twenty somethings enjoying the good times that go with being young and attractive and far away from home.

The lady from New Zealand. I asked her to sit and Kurt and I made room for her between us. Turns out she was a chemical engineer and ran her own company. She had about seven employees and was traveling on holiday with some neutered guy. I met him and shaking hands was like grabbing hold of a dead fish. Yuck! Someone told me, probably Kurt, that he thought he might be gay which prompted me to ask New Zealand girl whether she liked men. This question was put at the end of the evening, of course, and she didn't like it, so that ended our contact. Meanwhile we had talked at length about pest problems in NZ from rabbits to deer, and how to deal with them. You see there are no natural predators there so when the King of England brought some deer so he would have something to hunt he created a huge problem for subsequent generations since, I guess, hunting is now not politically correct there.

After a bit I turned to the two girls sitting on the floor on the other side of the door and asked them what language they were speaking. It was Norwegian. As we exchanged names, Tina Marie and Heidi, I slid to the floor beside them. They asked New Zealand lady to join us but she went inside the bar. Tina Marie and Heidi were working on their masters thesis with the park service on some kind of exchange program but were having trouble with their "supervisor". Improper touching. They were considering quitting which I encouraged them not to do. Tina Marie had, she proclaimed loudly, hitchhiked all over south America. Both girls were quite drunk but just in the best of moods imaginable. Just before I sat down another guy had joined them. He introduced himself as Sean but he left within a few minutes. I think I scared him off. Or, he wanted to play this field himself without competition. I talked to these most delightful girls for an hour or so. It was the highlight of my trip. I have seldom run across people like these. Eventually, drunk as a skunk, I invited myself to take them back to their place. We all three climbed on the K bike, Heidi on the luggage rack, Tina Marie right between us. Of course I got some pictures. New Zealand girlfriend took these.

There was some trepidation on their part, and mine too, about the safety of this operation. They asked me if it was safe. I said, well, let's sit on the bike and see how it feels, OK? It felt fine and no sooner had we maneuvered out of the parking area onto the highway than Tina Marie tightened her arms around me and yelled at the top of her considerable lungs "Pedal-to-the-Metal". I obliged, leaning as far forward as I could to compensate for Heidi being so far back on the bike. I was afraid of doing a "wheely" under that condition but both wheels gratefully stayed on the ground. This is a very powerful bike and they got the ride of their life. I rapidly overshot the turn and had to cross a bridge and make turnaround at which point Tina Marie louder than the first time, gripping me for all she was worth, shouted "PEDAL-TO-THE-METAL", in her Norwegian accent. I don't know whether Heidi chimed in or not it was so loud, but I could hear both of them screaming, hooting, hollering with peals of laughter and joy. What a ride it was turning out to be. This time I made the turn, and the drama was repeated. All of this was in sight and ear-shot of Freda's, so we were putting on a show for the patrons which I am sure they enjoyed. I gave the engine full throttle and it screamed louder than all of us together as I redlined the tachometer at 8,000 RPM. Very quickly, way too soon for me, I could have done this all night, we came to their driveway. I couldn't get invited in because there were other people there, they said. Would I come see them tomorrow in another town to which their duties would take them? No, but I have much enjoyed being friends with you for this all too brief period, I told them. We embraced, kissed, exchanged email addresses, and spoke of the profound meaning of life. I used the Star of David meme for this, me sitting on the bike, them huddled close in the gloaming night to see the diagram I made on a matchbook using the bikes fuel tank for a table. Tina Marie Nagel. Heidi. I will love you forever. I am your knight in shining armour and whenever I sit astride my steed of steel my mind goes to your hearts and pulls them back into orbit around mine.

Going to the Sun Highway

video

Monday August 18, 2009
The three of us headed out about nine a.m. The trip lasted all day seeing us back at the camp about four p.m. and included lunch of hamburgers in Babbs, MT. The Going to the Sun road is 50 miles long and stretches from West Glacier to St. Mary, Montana reaching an elevation of just under 7000 feet at Logan's pass. This is Lake McDonald being one of the first attractions on the route. The video above is McDonald falls and is just at the East end of the lake. Pat took this picture and the video.














Pat was really taken with the pretty rocks. This is her picture too. Gary and I were skipping rocks across the lake meanwhile but we got no pictures of that.














The fee per vehicle to take this ride is $25. Pretty steep, I thought, but it was very crowded. Too crowded in my opinion; not that they should raise the fee more. I think they should not charge fees at all. It is public land after all.

I took these two pictures the first being a glaciated valley and the second is what is left of some old glaciers. You can click on these images of mine to get a much larger view.