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The Long Drive

As we loaded up the truck and headed down south to Montana we decided the best route would be to go through Waterton National Park. The views were known to be breath-taking and once we crossed the border we would not be that far from Whitefish.

We turned off the GPS because Maggie insisted on sending us in the wrong direction as we drove down along the way admiring the windmills, the views of the open plains, while my husband attempted  to steer  our trailer from blowing off the side of the road.

Once we reached Waterton we headed down a narrow road and on the sign pointing to the US Border in big orange letters was written “CLOSED.”

“Ugh. I can’t believe it.”

My husband was annoyed because there was nowhere to turn but to keep t driving up the mountain to the closed US Border.

It eventually led us to this lookout where we could seep in the full view of Waterton National Park.

view from the closed us border

We then turned our trailer around  at the look-out and plugged in the GPS to the next border opening. It was only an hour away. We both sighed with relief!  I advised  this time we should stop to ask someone if that border would be opened.

We drove into the nearest campground and the man advised us “Yup. It is open. But remember if you go pass Duck Lake and drive into St. Mary’s you have gone too far.”

I had no idea what he was talking about and we just nodded on our way.  As we went across the US border and drove past the turn-off to Duck Lake I looked at my husband “Didn’t that man tell us to go that way?”

It was by this time we had our map and GPS telling us to go in a different direction towards St. Mary’s and we turned to enter the Sun Road there was a sign “Road Closed.”

“You have got to be kidding me!”

My husband looked at me exhausted and defeated, “What do we do now?”

The place looked like a ghost town as the tumbleweed blew across the roadway “I think that store is open.”

We wandered in and asked the store clerk “We are going to Whitefish and the road is closed. Is there another way to get there?”

The cashier clerk was friendly, “Just stay on this road and turn right once you reach Browning.”

My husband and I were ecstatic that there was another way to reach our final destination without too much of a detour. It was until we started driving

I remembered the warning of the man of the campground “If you go past St. Mary’s you have gone too far.”

It was too late as we tried to keep the travel trailer on the windy, narrow road, that every curb and bend had a cliff drop-off that was vomit-inducing. We crawled along the road as I held onto the holy shit handle of the truck. I had a brief moment were my life flashed before my eyes and restrained hollering out to my family “I love you guys! You mean the world to me!”

I looked at the signs of the road warning of sharp turns, traffic fatalities, and speed limit reductions full of bullet holes. I began to wonder where the hell we were going! My only hope was we were finally going in the right direction.

Only brave enough to let go once of the rail to take this picture because the hazardous views were breath-taking.

mild of no where montana

It was not until we reached the open road from Browning did I let go of the truck rail and began to breathe a sigh of relief. I learned an important lesson that day if a fellow traveler gives you a warning take heed, clarify their cryptic message  because they are telling you this for a reason. Sometimes a road map or GPS is not enough to warn you of the bumpy and narrow roads that are waiting for you.

Do you take advice from fellow travelers? Or, do you stick to your trusted road map and GPS?

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Darcie Cameron is a RYT 200 who believes Yoga is a gift that is accessible to everyone with proper modifications, a patient smile and just taking the time to breathe. One of the greatest presents you will ever unwrap is when you connect your mind, body and spirit in perfect sync with your own breath. Connect with Darcie on Facebook

25 replies

    1. Thank you! If I only questioned him a little more before driving off into the sunset. It would have saved us a couple of hours of driving. But we made it in one piece and the drive was breath-taking in many ways.

  1. If they’re a local, definitely take the advice. Locals know what even the most updated GPS cannot possibly know.
    Though I probably would have turned around and run home to hide under my bed at the first sight of a road sign full of bullet holes.

    1. LOLOLOL! Come to Texas, land of the road-sign-as-target-practice. It doesn’t mean a thing, except that a bunch of kids couldn’t contain themselves on a Saturday night. 😉

  2. I just have to tell you about the time we followed the GPS to the campground in Door County. It took us to someone’s home! And we have to unhitch to turn around. As you know… you can’t do a 3 point turn with a camper hauling a car or a truck hauling a camper! OMG you so make me smile 🙂 And remind me of how many times we unhitch. That would be at least once per camping expedition! 🙂

    1. Karen, I remember you mentioning that was it in a blog post? or a comment? This was our first week driving with the thing and we were tempted to unhitch. The wind was unbelievable.

      We ended up talking with a woman in the tourist center in Whitefish and she told us she grew up in the area we drove from because of the wind. I guess they use to walk side ways because of the wind. It was a very long drive.

  3. Been there done that with a trailer on behind and with no warning at all from maps or GPS – SCARY!!! The hard part is not being able to just turn back around when you have a trailer on behind. Living around and going over the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range is ALWAYS an interesting adventure. I am glad you made it safe and sound:) Have a Great One

  4. How bizarre. I named my GPS unit Maggie, too. It just seemed fitting. Once my mom was arguing with Maggie when we were driving through an unfamiliar city in California for a wedding. Stupidly, I chose to listen to my mom, which took us hopelessly out of the way while Maggie’s directions were correct all along.

    Lesson learned. Maggie rules! No offense to my mom, of course.

  5. I’ve used a GPS once in my life, trying to find a cemetery hidden in the middle of Kansas. It was dead on with the location. It didn’t know a thing about the washed out bridge. However, the couple in their 1970s farm truck knew all about that bridge, and knew how to get around it to get to the cemetery.

    It was suspicions confirmed. I’ve made it for 66 years with maps and talking to people – it’s the only way to go.

    Once upon a time, I left Liberia, traveled overland through West Africa, and managed to meet a friend weeks later under the big clock at Victoria Station in London. No maps, no watch, no cell phone – but lots of asking questions and having them answered by lovely, helpful people. It was a great trip – and it sounds like yours is, too!

  6. What a beautiful part of the world! You made me laugh because we did almost exactly this when travelling to the South of France a few years ago. Our directions took us along the Route Napoleon, a terrifying but aw-inspiring route through the mountains. Needless to say we did NOT trust the Satnav on the return journey!

  7. My home turf. There is a road (not in the satnav apparently) that is a straight road into Browning popular with the locals. It’s called “Duck Lake Road.” The man had tried to steer you onto it but something was lost in translation… yes, lovely country and I miss it a lot (particularly my favorite swimming hole at West Glacier, my hometown)

    1. If I had only listened to him but the views were beautiful. Needless, to say we stuck to the main road on the way back home. We camped in Whitefish and had a wonderful time!

      It was too cold to swim but the hiking in West Glacier was wonderful! So much land to explore and not enough time.

  8. Back in Japan, taking advice from fellow travelers, whether commuter or tourist, WAS my GPS. Now I am a little more cautious, and a little more likely to have a lineup of plans should Plan A g awry . . . which it does always seem to, in my case!

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