When the snowplow came back by ( it had passed us coming up the hill from the park entrance ) we knew it wasn't getting any better.
Another part of the problem was my ignorance of the terrain and the highways. We had a brief respite...and false sense of accomplishment..... when the weather appeared to slack off at the junction of 89 & 49. With half a brain, I would have rolled on 89 toward Browning on the low land.....But Nooooooo.
We were fated to see this section of highway again.
When some fellow traveler spun his Subaru around in a loop, the plow driver, who has absolute authority in these matters, closed the road. We had to turn around...go back down the hill and over through Browning like we should have in the first place. The ride was brutal with gusting winds and blowing snow, but we emerged alive and on the now snow-dressed road back to Kalispell and points south.
It was as though the trip had started all over again...life was GOOD.
It seemed an odd place for a miniature Washington Monument so we stopped for a look. Ths was the Marias pass which, at 5216' msl is the lowest crossing from the Mississippi River headwaters to the Pacific coast.
The day had really improved and the fall colors around us confirmed that we were in the right place at the right time. At stop at West Glacier and a bite and we were able to inform some Canadian riders planning to follow 49 across the high country of the weather.
They were happy...we were happy.