Sunday, September 4, 2016

Summer at Bigfork, Montana

Bigfork Village Motorcoach Resort, Bigfork, Montana        We arrived on June 4th and spent June, July and August here. I found the resort online the day before we left Brigham City. I called Peggy Hinkle, the property manager who had one lot available for the entire season if we wanted it. The resort is a small  -- 29 sites, all individually owned. There are no amenities or on site manager but the large lots are quiet and filled with tremendous Ponderosa Pines -- just what we wanted. It was a two day drive in the rig from Brigham City. We overnighted at a truck stop in Butte, arrived the second afternoon and signed on for the first month.

From the roadside on the way into Bigfork. 
Snow capped mountain peaks behind the Swan River
The village of Bigfork is on the northeast shore of Flathead Lake, a spectacular beautiful blue lake, proclaimed to be the cleanest in the country. Our campsite (and the whole resort) is a short walking distance downhill to Bigfork village, a tiny but vibrant place for shopping, strolling and eats. (It's a walk uphill back to the resort though!)  The nearest suburban shopping area is 30 miles north around the northeast of the lake in Kalispel.

Entry to Bigfork Village Motorcoach Resort and our site, behind the sign.
Deer feast on the flowers in the bed here around the old wagon. They ate the flowers I had around the deck too.
It's not terribly uncommon to see bear here. 

A nice large concrete patio and wide driveway.
There's a small storage house in back filled with everything needed to be comfortable here. 
A few weeks after we arrived, Chula Vista friends, Penny and Bob, were scheduled be in Polson Motorcoach Resort, 20 miles south of us. We hoped to see them but I knew they had a hectic schedule and guests. To our surprise, they, with guests in tow, stopped by late in the afternoon of July 4th. It was good to see them but it was a short visit and I didn't get a photo to include here.

Our three months at Bigfork were a mix of good memories and bad experiences because of Lexie's health (described in painful detail in other posts). While we saw countless beautiful rivers, mountains, wildlife and skies, we grew weary of being in such a remote part of the country. Here are some of my favorite scenes from around the area.

A storm was brewing somewhere along the northeast shore of Flathead Lake 

A bright yellow blooming field of canola on the route from the resort to Calm Animal Clinic.

Barns in this area are especially photographic. Also along the route to the vet. 

Roadside view north from Polson to Bigfork 

The long ordeal of getting Lexie's medical diagnosis finally ended in mid July. Two weeks later, Tom and DJ arrived for a two week rendezvous. It's been a long time and it was good to see them. We enjoyed many hours visiting on our patio. 

Tom, Wayne and DJ on the first evening... eating pizza. 

Grilled elk steak, sweet potatoes and cole slaw.

Tom and DJ brought loads of food, as they always do and I tried some of the grilled elk.

From their last fishing trip to Alaska, they also brought a gift of delicious salmon and halibut. We had a night of Tom's fried trout and hush puppies too.

Oh, how good it is. This is the only time we eat from the wild.

Another day, we all strolled the streets of Bigfork, attended a street fair and ate fresh, warm apple bread at a local bakery.

Drat!  DJ got the last apple fritter at Brookstone Bakery. 

DJ and me with the dogs in tow. Yep, this was a hot day. 

Good restaurant luck was with us here as we located several superb Bigfork eateries along with a couple of good places in Kalispell.

Patio dining at Flathead Brewhouse Restaurant

Our view of Flathead Lake from the patio of Flathead Brewhouse

Tom, DJ and Wayne
We enjoyed great shrimp and fish tacos at Flathead Brewhouse

Saddlehorn Patio Restaurant. Also along the lakeshore near Woods Bay. 
A favorite outdoor restaurant for burgers. 

Another view of Flathead Lake from Saddlehorn Restaurant

In Cathedral City last year, neighbor Bob gave me a nice set of ladies graphite shaft golf clubs left behind by a neighbor who no longer played. It was a good full set but I have new ones that I enjoy using. Wayne carried the clubs in the truck until we found someone who wanted them. DJ became the recipient as she plays but didn't have clubs with her this trip.

Going pro. 

We located a 9 hole pasture golf course and DJ tried the new clubs. We had so much fun that DJ and I would go back for a second round.  The local Bigfork course, Eagle Bend, boasted a much higher play rate and their driving range fee was $20 per person.... but that rate is for an entire day with unlimited balls. The course is very near the campground but we only took an afternoon of practice balls there.

DJ, Tom, Wayne and I also spent a day kayaking the Swan River. We rented kayaks at Base Camp Bigfork (highly recommend) and took the 15 mile ride to launch. Unexpectedly, the historically rapidly moving river has dwindled to a trickle and the "float" turned into a half-day work out for us. We had fun, nevertheless.

I took this picture of Tom and DJ ahead of us. Wayne is to my left. 

The Wayner 

DJ. My pictures are awful. DJ has better ones. I'll try to replace someday.
We met just three couples while at Bigfork Motorcoach Resort. Neither developed into real friendships. Several owners seem to take their ownership roles a bit too seriously, I think. I did develop a good friendship though, with the off site property manager, Peggy.

At the end of three months, on September 4th, we left Bigfork Village Motorcoach Resort. We are glad to be pulling out. It's not that we didn't like being here. We enjoyed it as much we could under the circumstances. It's more that the memorable part of our visit will likely be the worrisome experience of Lexie's illness.

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