We had a great plan to camp in Glacier National Park. So what happened? We looked at the weather report a week or so before our arrival date, and it didn’t look good: lots of rain and cold weather. Don’t panic yet, we told ourselves. It’s just a prediction. But every day we rechecked and the forecast continued to worsen. Not only would there be rain and cold but, now, add on very strong winds and possibly hail. What terrible weather to be outdoors in a little tent! We panicked. What should we do now?
Where could we drive to escape the severe weather? We plotted out weather patterns. Staying where we were wouldn’t do it. We eliminated driving north as we’d have to drive too far to escape the rain. We finally discovered a good forecast, if we drove east to the prairies: Great Falls, Montana.
We found a motel online and reserved a room for three nights. Oh, we would miss camping in scenic Glacier, but a hotel room in Great Falls sounded far better than high winds, cold, and hail.
We had dinner with Montana friends, and, when they discovered that we planned to go to Great Falls for three days, they shook their heads. “Great Falls? What will you do?” they asked. That worried us….
The next day we arrived in sunny Great Falls and drove to the hotel. Construction equipment surrounded the hotel and filled the parking lot. We had not escaped bad weather to now pay to stay at a construction site. We quickly found another hotel and cancelled the hotel under construction.
OK, Great Falls, let’s see if you can keep us happily occupied for three days.
We continued walking and ended up passing the O’Haire Motor Inn, home of the famous Sip ‘n Dip Lounge. It was 8pm, the perfect time and perfect night to see why it was so highly recommended.
In Montana, what are the odds of visiting a tiki bar with an 80+ year old singer and mermaids?
Since the weather in Great Falls was fine, we spent most of our time outdoors.
At that same park we met three birdwatchers from Bozeman, Montana. They were in town for the annual Audubon bird gathering and encouraged us to join in. We did. At 5am the next morning, we joined our group for breakfast and carpooled out to state parks where we happily watched birds with the group. That morning we saw three birds new to us!
Meanwhile, the weather report for an area not far from where we would have camped reported hail and winds strong enough to blow a few semi-trailer trucks off the road. Things fell apart for our camping trip, but we have to admit that our three day visit to Great Falls made up for it!