Apgar to Bigfork. Airbnb Disaster! Sailing Saves the Day

Miles driven today:    70           Total miles driven:  2180

The day started brilliantly with blue skies over the lake.  We ate breakfast outside our room and watched as mist rose up from the water, creating a very mysterious effect.  Genuinely sorry to leave Apgar.  It’s been a really lovely stay. Not as dramatic as east Glacier NP but very, very charming.

We drove south through West Glacier to Bigfork at the north end of Flathead Lake.  As Crocodile Dundee would say about Macdonald Lake – “that’s not a lake!  THIS is a lake”!!  It’s massive.  Nearly 28 miles long and 15.5 miles wide.  That’s larger than any lake in the UK by a long way.  Huge, more like an inland sea.  Actually a lot of the Montana statistics are interesting.  Montana is about 1.5 times bigger than the UK but it only has just over a million in population.  The UK has nearly 67 million people.  No wonder Montana appears to be so spacious.

Bigfork is extremely scenic, a really pretty little town centre with lots of attractive old buildings, lots of flowers and sculpture everywhere.  We had a look around some of the shops – several kitchenalia shops – and then stopped for coffee in one of the little cafes.

Drove across the Swan River and parked at the head of the Swan River Nature Trail.  This is a nice and very easy trail that follows the river upstream for several miles.  It was all nicely wooded.  I wouldn’t call it a hike – the trail was really a wide unpaved lane – but it was very pleasant.  There were quite a few dog walkers out and also runners and cyclists.  We did about 3.25 miles and then came back and had a picnic lunch at one of the picnic tables on the trail.

Found a grocery store – it’s all very upmarket here – no national names and bought a few groceries we need.  Tonight we are staying in an Airbnb beside the lake about 5 miles south of Bigfork.  We bought a rotisserie chicken and some veg for dinner.

The Airbnb was pretty hard to find, but we managed.  I’d had an email from the owner telling me it would be available from 3pm and where the key would be.  So.…. when we arrived we were a bit dismayed to find it open as promised but clearly unserviced from the last guests.  Bed unmade, towels on the floor, dishes in the sink, food in the fridge……  We rang and emailed the owner but no response.  Dismaying indeed.  We could manage, we have trekking towels with us but……

Finally got a message from the owner to say the cleaner had some sort of crisis and offering us the cleaning fee back and told us to go to the garage under the property for clean towels and linen.  Went down there, loads of dirty laundry…….  found one fitted sheet but it seemed to have stains on it that looked like blood….. found a flat sheet that was ok and by sifting through (ugh) 2 clean pillowcases (don’t know who’s doing his washing but they need to change detergent), 2 tattered but clean bath towels, 2 face cloths.  Came back up and made the bed up.  The comforter (uncovered) was on the floor and obviously used so we had to discard that.  Found a comforter in the second bedroom that looked ok (it was white so we figured dirt would show).  So, we have a working bed.  Not going to use the shower but we can have a good wash in the morning and move on right away as planned.

We have stayed at quite a few Airbnbs and we also offer our own villa in Cyprus on Airbnb.  I have never had a problem before.  Anyway, we have lodged a complaint and asked for half of our money back.  Had a response from the owner agreeing.  I won’t be nasty and put his link up here, but its a 2 bed modern apartment south of Bigfork on the lake which advertises sumptuous views and has about 158 reviews.

In the meantime I opened a can (omg) of Oregon rose champagne and drank it!!!! Not a good afternoon so far.  Totally corrupt  muppets in the UK parliament have acted like the turkeys who fail to vote for Thanksgiving/Christmas.  Forget hot air about standing on principal, they are in fact trying to retain the gravy train that leads from Westminster to Brussels, especially for mediocre, failing ones.  If you doubt me Google the Kinnock family’s fantastic career courtesy of the EU.

Anyway, feeling terribly cross all round we set off for our evening’s adventure which was a surprise for Bob.  We drove up to the utterly fabulous Flathead Lake Lodge which is a dude ranch and I had a bit of fun teasing Bob we were going horse riding (not his favourite!).  Instead, we boarded one of their two 1928/2 Q class sailing yachts for a sunset cruise on the lake. It’s a long way from Marblehead Massachusetts to Bigfork, Montana but through a series of funny stories, hard work and lots of restoration hours the only two Q-Class Sloops designed by the famous L. Francis Herreshoff call Montana home. Built in 1928 and 1929 the Questa and Nor’Easter V offer a sailing experience unlike any other.  We were on the Questa.  Such beautiful lines… elegance personified.

There was only one other couple aboard, an American couple who have lived in London for the past 20 years.  We were served wine and a plate of fruit and cheese (very nice) as the boat cruised across the mirror calm lake.  It was a credit to the superb design of this elegant yacht that with the sails up we managed a fair old sailing speed with hardly any wind at all.  Bob took the tiller for a goodly spell and enjoyed himself.  We were out for over 2 hours.  It was fantastic and just what we needed tonight.  The sunset was stunning.

Came back to the flat and had the chicken and some cauliflower rice. And more wine….


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