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First Woman Jammer | Glacier National Park, Montana

Local Artist, Musician, or Craftsperson
Enjoy a learning vacation while helping protect the environment on a red jammer bus in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. – Donnie Sexton

I was hired as a "Jammer" back in 1981, during the summer of my college years. I had been driving a school bus in San Diego when I decide to do something fun and exciting so I headed out to the wilds of Montana. I became the first woman jammer in the history of Glacier National Park.

Jack Annis was my supervisor at that time and he did not appreciate lady drivers but I won him over as I could handle double clutching the old # 79 around winding roads like any man. All I brought with me was a hooded sweatshirt and comfortable shoes for the job thinking, well it's summer there and like summers in San Diego it should be pretty nice....Wrong! When it would rain the water would leak down from the tarp roof onto my legs and feet and I would shiver throughout the tour. My passengers had wool blankets I would pass out to them for their comfort, while I just became tougher.

I was awe-struck by the beauty and it has been my favorite park ever sense. I visit each summer and will have my ashes sprinkled there, too.

When the old White buses were first used, they had standard transmissions, and the drivers could be heard "jammin" the gears up and down the mountain roads and across the cliff face of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It was not a job for the faint of heart, and it created a strong solidarity among the gearjammers, who often look back on their Glacier days with great fondness. The jammers have created an alumni association and attract large numbers to their reunions.

The White Motor Company between 1936 and 1938 built Glacier’s red-with-black trim vehicles. This fleet of Red Buses is considered the oldest intact fleet of passenger carrying vehicles anywhere. These 17 passenger convertible touring sedans are more than a mere means of transportation for locals and visitors - they are cherished, elegant icons of Glacier National Park.

With their multiple doors and rollback canvas tops, the Reds are as much a part of Glacier National Park as the Going-to-the-Sun Road. While on a tour of the Park, you will marvel at the views from Logan Pass - 6664 feet high on the Continental Divide - the highest point on the breathtaking Going-to-the-Sun Road. B

In 1999, it became clear that the historic red buses were suffering from so much wear and tear that they were no longer safe. Enter the Ford Motor Company, which created a partnership with Glacier National Park and the Glacier Park Inc. company that owned the historic buses. Ford did a great job refurbishing the buses while maintaining their historic character. The buses fleet returned to the road in 2002. Today, by taking a Red Bus Tour, you can enjoy a learning vacation while also helping the environment as they run on propane which run 93% cleaner than gasoline

From half-day to full day tours, a Red Bus excursion of Glacier National Park is just what a relaxing vacation needs. Daily tours had historically also been available to Glacier's sister park in Alberta, Waterton Lakes National Park. Private Red Bus Tours are also available.

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