Book One – 78mph

Our adventures in Eureka were now over, the American money we’d taken with us was all spent, so back in the car we got, all packed up with our suitcases and golf clubs and headed back into Canada. Next stop on this road trip: Cranbrook, B.C.

I’d made a reservation to play golf at Shadow Mountain on Friday, but on Thursday morning, Ruth and I had felt like golfing and re-arranging our plans. So I called the pro shop to see if we could play golf today instead of tomorrow. They said yes!

Shadow Mountain

Tanzine (Food and Special Occasions Manager) and Brenda (Pro Shop Manager) – the welcoming committee at the Shadow Mountain Golf Course.

Were off to the club to have breakfast around 9:30 a.m.  Bacon, sausages and eggs, toast and coffee were very good.

Shadow Mountain

The driving range has REAL greens and a fairway down the middle.

I’ve played Shadow Mountain several times before. It’s one of my favourite courses. In Scoregolf’s latest rankings of public golf courses in Canada, Shadow Mountain comes in 52nd in their top 59. Although I’m glad that it’s on that prestigious list, I’m disappointed that it doesn’t rank better. It’s designed by Graham Cooke and Wayne Carleton, the architects that designed another of my favourite courses, Dakota Dunes just outside of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Cooke and Carleton seem to be able to take the natural surroundings into consideration when they design a course, and that makes playing their courses so delightful. It’s been open since 2010 and I discovered it in July 2011 and have come back to play it at least once a year ever since. One of the reasons I love it so much is because of their excellent practice facilities, which is much more than a driving range. In fact, this is an experience like no other. They have real greens and bunkers — and a fairway right down the middle of the range, so practicing there is much more real than anywhere else I’ve ever been. I remember watching the TV coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup which was held at in at the Medinah Golf & Country Club in Medinah, Illinois. There had been some improvements to the practise facilities in preparation for the tournament. The media was oohing and aahing about how great the practice facilities now were, and I remember shaking my head at their comments and thinking to myself, “Whatever! If they want to see a great practice facility, they should come to Shadow Mountain. Now that’s a facility that’s outstanding!”

Before we played we hit some balls on the range, and were on the first tee at 10:45. As you know, the summer has been very hot and dry in B.C. and the golf course has suffered a bit because of that. In an effort to keep the grass from burning they have (it seemed to me) put quite a lot of water on the course.  In fact, in some places, it was quite spongy and soft. We had a great time with no one behind us but one single player who didn’t seem to want to play with us!  There was a foursome ahead of us on the back nine, and we waited just a few minutes on each hole.  I didn’t have any birdies today but this is the second day in a row that I have played with the same ball!

The famous "Monster" hole with smoke from the fires.

The famous “Monster” hole with smoke from the fires.

We still seem to be finding the bunkers and there is an abundance of them on this course.  One of the par 3’s was playing 135 yards but it is extremely uphill.  There was little fairway and it sloped both right and left with trees on both sides.  I remembered that I used my 5-wood there before, and sometimes that was short.  I decided to use it, though, and hit the ball right and still had a 50 yard shot to clear the bunker, green side.  I knew the green sloped from right to left but I could not see any part of the green, just the flag.  There were three maintenance people working just at the back of the green and they waved us up.  I knew I needed to just catch the hill to the right if I was going to put my ball on the putting surface.  I did just that with my sand wedge. When I drove the golf car up to the green, there my ball was, 4 inches from the cup. I got a (rather amazing) par on that hole, and that would have been my shot of the day. As you can see from the pictures, it was pretty smoky from the forest fires that were still burning in Washington State, Idaho and Montana. The smoke from these fires is making its way north into Canada.

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Monday, August 24th, 2015 (Whitefish, Montana) – We had a great night’s sleep and were up early and down to breakfast at Logan’s in the Grouse Mountain Lodge resort complex.  Before getting there, though, we stopped at the frontdesk to get our $25 food voucher that came with the package. It was a good thing we did that, too! Breakfast for two blew that right out of the pocket!

Whitefish Lake Golf Course

The Whitefish Lake Golf Course – 10th hole, North course.

Our tee time at the Whitefish Lake Golf Club was at 8:44 a.m. on their South course but once we got there, we asked if we could play the North course instead.

They said “Sure!”

We were on the tee in no time. My opinion is that it’s course with a good design, but the fairways needed to be rolled or levelled as there was more up-and-downs than an elevator!

I played okay although it seems like my clubs are playing shorter. Could it be age? Is it me or is it the clubs?  I shot 44 on the back nine (we played it first) and 43 on the front. The North course measured 5640 yards.

All in all, Ruth and I had a good time, with little waiting.

After the golf, we stopped at the clubhouse for lunch which was served to us by Kim. I asked her if I could take a picture of her for my blog and she was super excited about doing that! We had Fish’N Chips and Roasted Turkey Quesadillas and lunch was tasty!

Both of us had talked about getting our hair cut in Whitefish on the way down, and wouldn’t you know it, we found Reecia’s Salon and Spa, an Aveda salon who had back-to-back slots for us – and Wi-Fi too! Not only that, but Reecia’s, owned by Reecia Maxwell, has won Whitefish’s Best Salon for both 2013 and 2014 and I believe the accolades!

I know you’ll be disappointed that you don’t have any pictures of our new hair-do’s – I Facetimed with Colleen from Reecia’s and she saw both of us post-cut and thinks that our cuts are SUPER CUTE – but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s post to see the new Us’s… That’s because I’m going back for a colour as soon as we’re finished our round of golf. I’m trying to convince Ruth to get a colour too, but she thinks no one would recognize her if she did!

Jade at the Buffalo Cafe

Our delightful, georgous waitress Jade

We went to Kalispell for a little shopping and then drove back to Whitefish as we were getting hungry and it was time for supper. We deided on the Buffalo Cafe and Nightly Grill where Jade took really good care of us for the evening.

Wild salmon salad

Wild salmon salad for Ruth

You can tell we had a great time by the pictures and the food was great too. Ruth had the Wild Salmon Salad and I had Mac’n Cheese with Smokies – and we shared a servingof Huckleberry Pie a la mode for desert! Our supper was, as you can see by the pics, beautifully presented and tasty!

Mac 'n Cheese with Smokies

Mac ‘n Cheese with Smokies for Maureen. mm good

Desert! Huckleberry Pie

Huckleberry Pie a la mode

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Road trip begins

The road trip begins

It was a beautiful morning in Calgary for the start of our trip. We set off just after 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, heading west on Highway #8.

The last time that Ruth was in Fernie, B.C. was about 40 years ago and I thought it would be nice for us to take that route to get us from Calgary to Whitefish. I have been down that way many times and have used pretty much all the different routes available to get there, and I like this one the best.

Frank Slide

The Frank Slide

And this route didn’t disappoint! The views of the mountains were spectacular and we saw wildlife too: a moose, a fawn searching for her mom — and at least one hawk.

En route, we stopped in Blairmore, Alberta for a coffee at the Crowsnest Pass Golf & Country Club.  The great weather was reflected by the number of cars in the parking lot; there was a group of six having breakfast in the restaurant. After a quick stop there, we were back in the car, and back on the road again.

On The Road Again

As we neared the border crossing at Roosville, Montana, we could see smoke in the sky as there are, as you probably know, dozens of forest fires burning in the mountains. After the border, we drove past the turnoff to The Wilderness Club (where we’ll be staying and playing golf at on Tuesday) and we started searching for the On the Fly Cafe which I’d found a great write-up about on the Internet and thought we should make a scheduled stop.


Trina Kelly’s On the Fly Cafe

The thing is, our GPS couldn’t find it. I searched for it, but couldn’t find it. So we made a rest stop just off the highway to have a bite to eat – a small picnic that consisted of a sandwich and some water that we had packed. As soon as we started driving again, wouldn’t you know it, perhaps just 100 yards further down the road was the cafe! So we stopped the car, and in we went!

We talked to the owner, Trina Kelly, and had an ice cream cone each. We’re going to make a stop here on our way back to Canada on Wednesday.

Ruth with her daughter at the Bulldog Saloon

Ruth with her daughter Anna at the Bulldog Saloon

Ruth’s daughter, Anna, and Anna’s family are have also been down at Whitefish and we met up with them. Ruth, Anna and her family went for a boat ride and while they were doing that, I went and checked into Grouse Mountain Lodge and discovered they have no Wi-Fi – it has been down for TWO days. But I was able to prove to them the rate we’d been promised — which was different from what they were trying to charge us. As you may recall, we’re in Whitefish because of a flyer we found in the paper last week with a stay and play offer at par for the Canadian dollar. The deal gave us a room at the Grouse Mountain Lodge and a round of golf at our choice of 5 different golf courses for the rate of $175 Canadian per person. I’ll update you on this as soon as it’s resolved.

I’ve found a WiFi connection and I am sitting on the deck at the Harbour Mountain Condos writing this at 5:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

I went back to Harbor Mountain, the resort where Anna and family were staying and sat down by the lake for an hour.  Then Anna, Ruth and I headed downtown to Central Avenue to the Bulldog Saloon for a burger and a Rum and Coke.  We had to pay for the burgers in American dollars, but the drinks were all in Canadian!!!  The burgers cost $8 each and we got three drinks for $9.  Crazy.  The bar was full of patrons but we didn’t make any new friends. There’s always tomorrow!

We have a few new golf courses to meet this week, I’m looking forward to it, it should be fun.

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