The small town of Eureka was our destination for breakfast. We'd been informed the night before that there was a "world famous" quilt festival going on and thousands of people came in for the event... thus the sold out motels and campgrounds in the region. Indeed the town was festooned with quilts, hanging on storefronts, posts, churches, rooves and any available wall space anywhere. People were wandering the streets and parking was difficult to find. The small "Cafe Jax" was packed but we waited out the crowd and had a fantastic breakfast on the patio, people watching and just taking it easy. A middle aged couple from Canada and the wife's mom seated themselves next to us and we had a good conversation about Canada and routes to take. It was quickly apparent the mother was suffering from Alzheimer's but we had some fun and it was touching to see the daughter's care and handling. They had brought her down for a weekend out from her home in Fernie and had accidentally timed it right for her to get to see the big show. We wandered the town for a bit seeing more quilts than I ever had a desire to, but it was something different. And now you get to see more quilts than you ever wanted to... Unfortunately, the festival was marred by violence when the "Stitch Bitches" apparently sewed the colors of the "Teakettle Quilt Guild" on a quilt in defiance of local territory. There were reports of patches of blue hair strewn on the floor amidst bloody knitting needles, shattered tea cups and biscuits. But the real goal for the day was to get to Polebridge Mercantile to get a huckleberry bear claw and then south to Kalispell for a reset before hitting Canada. I've been trying unsuccessfully to get a replacement for my aging MacBook Pro to reduce weight, bulk and get a bit more processor speed. Getting anything while traveling has been amazingly difficult, due to lack of time, internet, location or things being out of stock when we find the right store. Also as we have traveled we've deleted some things and added a few. The process of living, cooking and staying organized while traveling has been a challenge. Some things work well as planned, others don't and needs change. As we have traveled, the evolution of gear and clothes has occurred and what once fit perfectly now doesn't. A simple change here and there completely throws off your packing and several times we've done "repacks" but still haven't gotten a perfect system down yet. I guess by the end of the trip we'll still be trying to perfect the kit. But back to the story... Just a few miles south of Eureka lies Grave Creek Road which leads east into the mountains and across to the valley of the North Flathead River, lying on the western border of Glacier National Park. A couple of years ago while at Polebridge I'd met a young guy from Argentina on an F800GS who was riding south from Alaska back to Argentina. We rode a few of the dusty forest roads that day and parted ways in Columbia Falls. I wanted to take The Iron Butterfly across the range to Polebridge for the experience. Luckily the day was cool and overcast, a welcome relief after weeks of 90-100 temps. We've been amazed that in 10 weeks of travel we've had bad weather only a couple of days in Colorado. Clear blue skies and puffy white clouds have spoiled us the entire trip - marred only by the exhaustion of heat and long days. The road started as a narrow blacktop that wound higher into the mountains and the trees on the edge seemed only an arms length away. Just after we'd gotten started I reached over to open the sleeves of my jacket at the wrists and immediately just below my elbow I started feeling painful pin pricks and knew something was up. By the time I got over to the side of the road and was able to beat whatever it was to death in my sleeve, my arm was stinging severely. I shook out either a yellow jacket or hornet, seeing only yellow stripes as it fell down into the engine area, and pulled off my jacket. Whatever it was had stung me several times, counting at least 6 or 8 reddening whelps in about a 1 inch area. We motored on until eventually the blacktop ended and the road narrowed a bit more. It was really a great ride, despite one brief moment where an old white Subaru wagon came rocketing around a blind corner at speeds way higher than he should have. The road was so narrow with so many blind corners it was by the grace of God we were in a wider spot when he came around. The only vehicle we saw in a couple hours of riding and he was out of control. At the junction of Grave Creek and NFS Road 114, we stopped to adjust and double check. As we sat there a 4 wheeler came down the road and the driver waved, stopping briefly to tell us "There's a woman on a bicycle a couple miles up the road who'll gladly pay you $50,000 for your motorcycle. She's about done!" We all laughed and they sped off. The road really narrowed and got a bit rougher, eventually becoming tight and twisted with larger rocks in the roadway. The Butterfly commented that the road and views were superb, and she was glad the larger rocks were embedded as opposed to being loose. It was an awesome road in the high country, replete with bear droppings on the road. Soon enough and at the highest point of the pass we saw the lady pulled to the side of the road and stopped to see if she was okay. She laughed when we told her the $50k story but said she was indeed beat from the climb. She was from Colorado and a few weeks into a ride south from Banff. She was glad to hear that it was all downhill from here and we headed on. A few miles further we came upon an F800GSA and rider talking with two bicyclists on the roadside. We stopped to check and he was from Canada, but didn't seem too interested in talking and went back to his discussions with the two cyclists. The road continued to make us smile and eventually the narrow, twisty way widened signaling a change. After a few more miles we hit the road that turned south for Polebridge and eventually Columbia Falls or Apgar in Glacier. The 15 miles or so south to Polebridge seemed to take forever, as I'd been eating dust from Kim for an hour or two already and the speed increased so did the billowing white dust. By the time we made the turn in, we were both ready for a coffee or some form of caffeine. It was hot outside the old store, and even hotter inside from the bakery but the rows of baked goods hot and fresh were worth the wait in the heat. She grabbed a huge huckleberry bear claw and I a fruit fritter with chocolate lovey chunks baked in. The shade of a tree at the cafe next door was the perfect place to hide the guttural pig-like sounds we made while consuming the little baked beasts, as well as a chance to cool down from the heat. We found a spot to lay in some grass but as the day was late we needed to move on. Getting psyched up to gear up in the heat of the now direct sun was an effort and relishing the thought of another 30 miles or so of dirt roads and fading light was not a good thing. The little yellow bastard that bit me had done his job well, the bites now swollen into a flattened, hard, goose egg that itched like crazy on my forearm. Still, we got going and the stunning views of the North Flathead and the mountains behind them made up for the miles of washboard, fresh gravel and billowing, lingering clouds of dust from the occasional cars racing past the other direction. Having just ridden through an area so devoid of dwellings and especially night life, it was hard to figure out why so many cars and trucks were heading north on the road so late in the day. We'd gotten coffee before leaving Polebridge to boost our energy but it never kicked in and Kim was worn out well before we arrived in Columbia Falls. It was late and once again we needed to find either a campsite or even a motel - never an easy thing to do when traveling during vacation season up north and especially so that night. We made it to Whitefish to find something but hit a brick wall, all hotels being booked due to it being the "100th Anniversary" of Glacier. A hotel manager tried to help is find a spot but said it was a lost cause. Kim found a room in Kalispell but couldn't get it booked online with her phone. The manager who'd helped us offered coffee and a place to rest in the lobby, which we took advantage of until we finally got the Motel 6 in Kalispell on the phone and the room booked. I never thought I'd EVER pay $127 a night for a Motel 6 but it sounded like a bargain after the other motels said the rates were $200 to $300 a night. We headed out of the motel lot and had gone a few blocks when Kim realized she'd left her gloves on the back of her bike. The fatigue was showing both on her face and in her voice as she quickly pulled into a driveway to stop and see if the gloves were still behind her. As she slowed and put the stand down she turned to look and lost her footing just before the bike stopped, dropping it hard in the lot. I swung in just as it happened and tried to get off my bike quickly but snagged my heel on the rear seat duffle, getting caught momentarily. Luckily her leg hadn't gotten pinned but she hurt her shin in the fall. Her adrenaline was pumping and as I got over to the bike she wanted to try to lift it. I told her no since we had it completely loaded and we should take the duffle and cases off. In trying to do so, the first case wouldn't release and as we struggled with it a pickup rolled in and the two guys jumped out, concerned and wanting to help. The three of us lifted it easily and we thanked them for the help. As I struggled to straighten the right side case, having popped off the lower mount and the collapsing BMW case now jammed crookedly, I noticed a young girl parking her lime green Kawasaki Ninja about 30 feet away and walking to us. Her name was Megan and she was a real sweetheart, offering to help and wanting to make sure Kim was okay. She reminded me of a blonde version of Kim's daughter who rides a Ducati. I got a picture of her and we exchanged information. Luckily the ride to Kalispell was easy and we both were beat from the long day and accumulation of long days riding. From Kalispell we hit Glacier National Park the next morning, a return for Kim and I from a couple of years previous, but this time Kim was on her own bike and loving it. The weather was good and clear as we rode into the park, a lone BMW adventure bike right behind us in the entrance queue. The park was as beautiful as remembered, and though busy it wasn't overrun as on my previous trip up. We swung into the small campground we'd been in before just to ride through and were offered a camping spot in the same bicycle site we'd stayed in before. We planned to ride on through to find camping on the eastern side for our entrance into Canada, so we declined and pressed on. As we hit the Highway to the Sun again, we passed the GS that had been behind us parked on the roadside and I honked and waved. Further down the road he passed us at an overlook and honked and did a two-armed wave. A third time we passed him and the next pullover he pulled in next to us. We started talking and Gary said he'd ridden in from Denver and was camping in the KOA on the east side of the park. He said we were welcome to set up a tent on his site as there was nothing available anywhere. We exchanged info and he motored on. As the day passed away we finally wound out and into the eastern entrance where we decided to take Gary up on his offer. We were getting tired and a definite site was a good thing. When we pulled in, Gary was prepping his gear for the next morning's 6 am departure but was happy to see us. We stayed up talking until he finally had to say "Uncle" and head for bed. Gary was a super nice dude and one of those folks you are glad you connected with. Luckily the rains that the eastern side had received the day before didn't return and we slept well that evening.