Day 36 – Missoula to Kalispell & Flathead Lake

We left the hotel about 11am after updating out blogs and lounging about. This was also probably the latest I have slept in a while – 8am! Not that it did me any good as I felt rubbish when I woke up; although that may have had something to do with the previous night’s drinking and eating in Missoula’s rather interesting bars!
We headed out on the I-90 for a bit, turning north after a few miles to Kalispell on the US 93, where we encountered more road works another few miles on. We have seen a LOT of road works and spent vast amounts of time waiting around in work zones before being able to carry on driving. Generally you get stopped by a ‘lollipop’ woman, with a stop/go sign – and that is the strange thing – they are female about 90% of the time. In fact, a lot of the road crews we’ve encountered have female members, not something you see too often in Britain!
We took the US 35 up the east side of Flathead Lake after stopping for a pretty awful lunch in Polson – terrible food but great views of the lake! Flathead Lake is huge and is exceptionally beautiful, though you have to stop at one of the pullouts to really appreciate the beauty. We arrived in Kalispell at about 14:30 and checked into the Hilltop Inn which was a very nice surprise. The owner and cleaning lady were in reception when we got there and were very helpful, telling me about places to eat and what to see, and just being generally very friendly. Our room was amongst the best I’ve experienced, spotlessly clean and very tastefully decorated, with really nice bathroom fittings (not the usual chain motel stainless steel), really good fridge and TV, good bedding and fluffy, white towels. At $65 an absolute bargain!
As it was a very hot day (the ladies at reception were complaining bitterly!) we walked through town rather quickly and then stopped off at Moose’s Saloon, which is an old style spit and sawdust saloon – literally. The place is very dimly lit but was quite busy and we took a seat at the bar. I’d read quite a few reviews on Tripadvisor complaining about being ignored if you weren’t a local, but we had no issues with getting served – though as far as I could tell 90% of people there were visitors so business would have been pretty bad if they were ignoring all non-locals! Of course I had to try the pizza that they are famous for, and we stayed for quite a few beers in the end. Kalispell was ok, but not a town you’d want to spend more than a night in as there isn’t really that much to see or do, though the drive along Flathead Lake is definitely recommended!

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