Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Another Reservoir One Night Stand

 

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After a 135 mile drive yesterday we are back in Idaho for one night at Juniper Campground on Ririe Reservoir about 20 miles from Idaho Falls. Full hookups are only $18/night or $16 with the senior pass. We considered spending the night at Walmart in Idaho Falls but the temperatures were predicted to be in the mid 80s so some AC sounded nice. As it turned out we saw this beautiful site with no hookups overlooking the water and with the breeze it didn’t get too hot. Plus it was only $10. We just couldn’t resist.

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While researching this area I thought the campground sounded and looked familiar but there was no record of it in our blog and no photos. When we drove in Jim remembered it immediately and then when he entered the check in Money yesterday he found we made out a check for $18 to the same park in June 2009. I guess I wasn’t keeping track of things as well back then, and we don’t keep a written journal other than the blog. So for those folks who think blogging is just posting pretty photos of places we’ve been, this is the real reason we do it.

Debbie picked a hookup site in another loop, but all of the sites are quite nice although some are not very level. They have good bathrooms and showers, too.

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After getting situated Debbie and I went into town for a few things while Jim stayed home and cleaned bugs off the Lazy Daze and also cleaned the solar panels. We’ll be glad to get back in the southwest for the winter where the bugs aren’t such a problem.

It was the second night in a row we’ve been able to sit outside and enjoy the scenery without bundling up. Although we’ve been doing this for almost six years now, on days like these I still can’t believe we are fortunate enough to live this lifestyle.

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Okay, Sophie, you can come out now.

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Today we move on to the Tetons where we plan to stay put for awhile. Has anyone crossed Teton Pass with their RV? I almost made the mistake of routing us that way but noticed the pass on the map. 8,400’ with 10% grades for 5 miles on both sides. Think we will take the longer route which only adds about 20 miles but reduces the stress considerably.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blodgett Canyon Hike and a Night at Clark Canyon Reservoir

 

Beautiful Blodgett Canyon.

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We wanted to do one more good hike before leaving the Missoula area, so when I read that Blodgett Canyon was Montana’s version of Yosemite, the 35 mile drive to Hamilton to get to the trail didn’t sound so bad.

From the parking lot, just a taste of the scenery to come.

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Although the Blodgett Canyon Trail continues for many more miles and intersects other trails to alpine lakes, we decided to go for 3.5 miles to a waterfall. It was a gradual climb almost the entire way, but the rocky ground made some of the trail a little difficult to walk on.

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Luckily there were lots of distractions, with the towering rock walls.

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And the creek.

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It was definitely worth the drive, and even more so since there is a great brewery in Hamilton, Higher Ground, where we stopped for a post hike beer and pizza. The Hurrah Scotch Ale and Flash Flood Milk Stout were some of the smoothest beers we’ve had. And they make good pizza, too. We also had a pleasant chat with David the bartender, who moved to Hamilton from Kentucky four months ago. He isn’t sure he will be able to handle the winters there.

It’s a good thing we didn’t drink too much, since when we walked out to the parking lot there were three Subaru Foresters the same model and color as ours, and all with bike racks. Only one with a Florida tag, though.

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We left Lolo yesterday and drove 200 miles to Clark Canyon Reservoir, a wonderful spot 20 miles south of Dillon, MT and just a few miles off I-15. There are numerous Bureau of Reclamation campgrounds along the reservoir, all of which are free, and we’re the only ones here at Horse Prairie. Water, clean vault toilets with hand sanitizer, covered picnic shelters and fire pits. Hard to believe they don’t charge anything, especially with the proximity to the water and the beautiful views.

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The cats enjoyed a nice walk, Debbie’s dogs had fun running around, and we went for a little hike.

From the hill behind our site.

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Didn’t realize another campground was on the other side of the hill.

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A very nice stopover on our way to Grand Teton National Park.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Life in Lolo

 

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It’s been a busy though rather unexciting week here in Lolo, Mt.

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A week of household chores and maintenance, one cold rainy day, and a failed attempt at installing a new privacy curtain track, which took up way too much time and will have to be redone at some point. It’s too long and boring to go into detail, but suffice it to say the flexible track we bought is not flexible enough, and once it is curved the hook carriers don’t want to slide nicely through it. I did get the curtains finished and they are up and look fine, but opening and closing them is rather frustrating. Another project for another time. Jim thinks we should just give up on DIY for good.

While I was struggling with curtain tracks, Jim helped Debbie restring a broken window shade, which we had only done once before. He said it was much easier the second time around, but getting the shade remounted and adjusted was still a pain.

The highlight of our week so far was on our second morning when I saw a new post from Suzanne (Take To The Highway). She had been in Glacier National Park without internet, so I assumed she was back in civilization. I emailed to ask her where she was and how she liked Glacier, and much to my surprise she was at Cabela’s in Missoula, just a few miles from us. What a coincidence, since this was not the direction we thought she was heading!

She ended up here due to car issues, which no doubt she will document in her blog, and decided to stay in Missoula another night. We picked her up for dinner at Tamarack Brewing Co and a walk around downtown. A fun evening, and we were happy to be able to give her a diversion from work and car problems.

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After my trying day of sewing and mounting the drapes yesterday I was in need of a hike, and there is no shortage of trails in the Missoula area. Wanting to visit another brewery afterward, we decided to head downtown to Poplar street and the trailhead for Mount Jumbo, also known as the L trail.

You can barely see our destination, the white concrete L on the side of the mountain.

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It was a steep mile climb to the L, and trails continue from there around the saddle or to the top of Mount Jumbo.

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The sprawl of Missoula.

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Kettlehouse Brewing Co. had been recommended by several people, so we stopped to give it a try after the hike. It is strictly a taproom with no food served other than peanuts, but the Cold Smoke Scotch Ale and Double Haul IPA were excellent.

We are leaving here on Sunday and still have some chores like laundry to do, but we should manage to squeeze in another hike and another brewpub before moving on to parts unknown. It was 28 this morning when we got up. Hope to find some warmer temperatures as we head towards Utah.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lolo, Montana, Square Dance Center & Campground

 

We wanted to spend a few days in Missoula, MT but other than Walmart and Cabela’s for an overnight there aren’t many choices for places to stay. Our friend Maureen recommended the Square Dance Center & Campground in Lolo, about 12 miles south of Missoula. Not being fans of square dancing it sounded a bit odd, but we decided to take a chance and spend a week here. A big cold front with rain is moving this way, dropping temps to highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s over the next couple days, so we thought it would be nice to be plugged in. Plus we just wanted to stay in one place for more than a few days.

A very pleasant RV park with grassy sites well spaced and not just lined up side by side like most RV parks.

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Our sites have water and electric but no sewer, but there is a nice dump station that we used on the way in. We paid a very reasonable $154 with tax for the week. The restroom building with showers is old but clean, with plenty of hot water and good water pressure. They also have a few free washing machines but no dryers. And a big hall for square and round dancing, if that’s your thing. (Marial, you would love it!)

Yesterday Jim and I took a little scenic drive and a hike on the North Fork Howard Creek Trail in the Lolo National Forest. I just had to research the unusual name Lolo. The park office lends books about the area and I found this:

“Lawrence “Lolo” Rence was an early 19th century fur trapper who lived in a cabin on Grave Creek, a tributary of Lolo Creek. Lolo shot and wounded a grizzly bear, who charged and mauled him. Lolo died a short time later in his cabin and was buried on a grassy bench above Grave Creek. His grave was recently rediscovered and a large white cross marks the location. Since his death, a Montana town, a historic trail, a hot springs, a 5,235-foot pass, and a national forest have all been named after him.”

The trail was remote and overgrown but we hiked over four miles. It seemed like a good place to see moose or bear, being right along the creek, but no luck. Some of the leaves are already beginning to change color at 4,500’.

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While we have power this week I plan to borrow Debbie’s sewing machine to make some new privacy curtains, and of course we plan to check out some of the breweries in Missoula, along with more hiking.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Beauty Creek Campground, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

 

We’re spending a few nights in the forest at Beauty Creek Campground, just 11 miles from Coeur d’Alene. Chuck and Carla stayed here on their way to Washington and told us there were a few sites with good sun exposure, and Brian and Leigh arrived earlier in the week and said the same. No hookups, vault toilets, and drinking water, $10/night with the senior pass.

Here we are from the Caribou Ridge trail. Brian and Leigh’s Airstream, our Lazy Daze, and Debbie’s, basking in the sun. It drops behind the trees and mountains in the late afternoon.

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This is our first time visiting Coeur d’Alene and so far we like what we’ve seen. After a good workout on the trail with views of the lake,

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we all went downtown for dinner at Fire Artisan Pizza, which we would highly recommend.

We don’t normally take pictures of our food, but Jim doesn’t understand why they have to put so much arugula on top. Presentation is everything, I suppose.

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Yesterday we had to pick up some mail at the post office, then went for a 10 mile bike ride on the North Idaho Centennial Trail. The trail runs for 24 miles, about a third of it along the lake.

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We had lunch at Higgens Point, the east end of the trail.

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I-90 bridge, and the reason the trail ends here.

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Last night we enjoyed a community vegan meal and took a walk around the campground. It’s getting might cool here at night, mid 40’s. Looks like it may be time for us to begin moving south.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Post Falls, ID, Cabela’s

 

We decided to spend two nights at Cabela’s in Post Falls, Idaho, just east of Spokane Valley, Washington, where we had an appointment to take the car in yesterday. We met up again with Debbie, who arrived a couple hours before us. Although there were only a few RVs when we got there, as you can see it is a popular place and was nearly full both nights.

Close quarters.

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But excellent internet. There is also drinking water, a dump station and a horse corral.

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The first afternoon we did some shopping at Home Depot, Camping World and a couple other big RV parts dealers in Spokane Valley. Jim also wanted to stock up on some beer at the Total Wine store we passed on the way here. There was construction on I-90 eastbound just before the Cabela’s exit, and miles of stop and go traffic, so when we spotted the Boston’s Pizza we decided to tough it out with a pizza and beer before heading back during rush hour traffic, a wise move. When we got back we walked into Cabela’s where I bought some hiking socks, the price for our free stay.

Yesterday morning Jim took the Subaru to Truline RV, while Debbie and I made a Trader Joe’s run. Truline quickly diagnosed the brake light problem, which had apparently been wired incorrectly when it was switched from the HHR to the Subaru in Albuquerque a couple years ago. They also drilled a new hole and remounted the breakaway switch Jim replaced a few days ago, which he had attached with zip ties after breaking off the screw. Only a $56 job, and now everything is working properly.

We spent the afternoon doing laundry and picking up a few things at Walmart. A not-so-fun couple of days, but they were productive. And it rained most of the day yesterday so at least we didn’t waste a beautiful day on chores.

Last night at dusk a horse trailer came in and deposited these three handsome creatures in the pen next to Debbie’s site.

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I named this one Sophie, as it spent almost 30 minutes this morning trying to break out.

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Today the sun is shining and we move back into the forest.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lake Roosevelt NRA, Kettle Creek Campground, WA

 

After a slow but lovely 80 mile drive crossing two mountain passes, we decided to spend the night at Kettle Creek, one of the many campgrounds in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.

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The 130 mile lake on the Columbia River was formed by the Grand Coulee Dam in 1942. Labor Day is a great day to arrive at a campground, as we had our pick of lakefront property. $5/night with the senior pass. No hookups, flush toilets, trash and recycling, dump and RV water fill station.

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A small marina that rents large houseboats.

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After settling in Jim decided to replace the breakaway switch on the car, which he had been carrying around for months, since he still wasn’t convinced it was working properly even after cleaning the old one. What he thought would be a 15 minute job turned into nearly two hours, with a broken off screw and problems splicing the wires. The new one is now in place and functioning but it was a frustrating experience. In hindsight he should have just let the RV repair shop do that job tomorrow also, but he thought it would be simple. I have to give Jim credit, though. He may not be the greatest do-it-yourselfer but he gives it his best shot. Unfortunately I’m the one who has to listen to all the foul language that spews from his mouth!

Today we move on to Cabela’s in Post Falls, ID.