Final thoughts & forgotten moments from Montana.

As we settle into our condo in Wayne, PA (where it’s 90 degrees), we will do our wash, make plans to exercise more/eat less and check on our traveling companions.

There are sparsely covered parts of the trip for which there was not enough bandwidth to show you the photos and some spots like Fort Benton that we just forgot.  Plus, some puzzle progress (even though we left it without finishing) is fun.

Joe Franchini helped to start a bank in NJ some years ago and did the same here. Here’s  a branch of Freedom Bank…it’s in Columbia Falls on the way to Kalispell.  He has part interest in the Nite Owl Restaurant next door, too.img_6678
The puzzle people got busy at the first sign of inclement weather.  We brought a replica of the famous Many Glaciers Lodge…and it is a challenging one.  Mostly ladies’ efforts, but Butch tried his hand by the light of the kerosene lantern…he worked by shape; not by color.  The drinking and toasting was done with Aperol sprizters.

For a man, we all dream of collecting machines….Craig has his cars, Butch a pick-up in CO., Chip has great boats.  But, Joe has accumulated two big shop buildings full of utilitarian equipment.  And, wonder of wonders, he knows how to use & maintain all of them.

Two cats patrol the outside to eliminate small rodents.  They don’t come inside, but at least Xander is glad to find a nice lap waiting on the porch rocker.  Merlin is a bit less drawn to humans, but can be photographed while hiding.

Fort Benton was a real fort on the Missouri River and the furthest place that you could get a boat up the river….so, it was a major town at one point in the 1800’s.  Now, it’s a funky village with one huge, restored building – the Grand Union Hotel.  We traveled 40 minutes there for dinner one night, while we were staying in Great Falls. Lo & behold, we found another rainbow and some amazing light on the river bridge and hills beyond.  And, here we are at the goofy entry to the town.

Here’s the hotel.

Here’s the rainbow, the bridge and the sunlight on the hills.


Reaching way back to our first day in Glacier National Park, here are some mountain shots of real glaciers and waterfalls.  We took a boat ride from the Many Glacier Hotel, but it’s too busy a place in which to stay overnight.  I’m going to try a slideshow in hopes to cover this one.

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At our last meal, we discussed our favorite things from the thirteen days from Rushmore to Glacier.

We loved the Franchini’s hospitality and their place of warmth off the grid.

The other “bests” included the Rushmore day/night program, the vast rides through the Northern Plains, the 50-mile ride on the Going to the Sun Road, the St. Helena’s Cathedral in Helena, the twin museum experiences at Great Falls (Charley Russell and Lewis & Clark).

Meal favorites were Lilac in Billings and Lucca’s in Helena.

Under the category of “pleasant surprises” were the KBarS Hotel near Rushmore, the Arvon Hotel in Great Falls, the McDonald Lake Lodge.

As a last thought, I wanted to praise our driver, Mr. Boyd, again.  And, as a way of demonstrating his skills and calmness-under-fire, I will tell you about the day we left Great Falls.  We had breakfast, checked out and dragged our luggage to the front of the hotel.  Craig went to get the van out of Parking Lot #7, where we had a pass to park.  Well, it seems there was a “swap-meet” in the lot…all of these pseudo-merchants under their little tents, giving him all their “dirty looks” about wanting to move his car.  “Wait ’til one o’clock; you’re not supposed to be parking here.”

See below, the way our gray Kia Sedona was wedged into the lot.  The hotel lady talked us out and helped the merchant ladies move their tables and tent.  Craig made it work by backing out of the lot with care and acted as a total gentleman.  Hats off!


A big “thanks” for those of you who have been following us on the blog…we enjoyed your comments.  Happy travels to all of you.







Lifelong Philadelphia area Realtor. Now a 13-year citizen of Sanibel, Florida. Married to Nancy for 54 years. Three children (2 in Devon; 1 in Steamboat Springs, CO) and 5 grandkids (1 in college/1 working). We are helping with charities involving poverty, kids and education. Helping to lead Captiva's Chapel by the Sea.


  • You 2 have had a grand time seeing the west with your friends. Welcome home. Sandy and Tom

    On Saturday, September 10, 2016, Chip Roachs Journal wrote:

    > chiproach posted: “As we settle into our condo in Wayne, PA (where it’s 90 > degrees), we will do our wash, make plans to exercise more/eat less and > check on our traveling companions. There are sparsely covered parts of the > trip for which there was not enough bandwidth to sh” >


  • Thank you for sharing your trip. (It didn’t cost us much) We had a great time and your pictures and writing was wonderful. No one is more caring and giving than Chip and Nancy Roach


  • Have followed your travels… so enjoyable. Memories for me of many National Parks sights… and other places I’m looking forward to seeing.
    Oh, by the way…Go Cubs! I was at yesterday’s game and celebration. So fun!


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