Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 30th, the drive from Missoula Montana to Twin Falls Idaho

On this Wednesday, we had a long but un-eventful drive from Missoula Montana to Twin Falls Idaho. We drove 443 miles leaving Missoula Montana at 8:05 AM and arriving at 5:15 PM. That drive time included putting on 50 +/- gallons of Diesel fuel before we actually got on the highway followed by three potty stops for the dogs as well as a lunch stop in Dillon Montana. We stopped at a McDonalds in Dillon Montana which was a perfect halfway point between our Campground in Missoula and the one we are spending two nights in at Heyburn Idaho, which lies between Idaho Falls and Twin Falls. This McDonalds was just a couple blocks off the highway, it had a Safeway with Fuel in one part of the shopping center, RV parking and of course the McDonalds. But the highpoint of the stop was the fact that the McDonalds had picnic tables under Pine trees in a nicely cared for Grassy area.

We have found that fuel prices have been pretty consistent on the trip. In the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, fuel prices were all pretty much the same. They all were within about a dime of the $2.64 for regular unleaded and $2.69 for Diesel that we paid in Rancho Cordova California before we left. This shot is of a gas station in Heyburn Idaho.

For those that are curious, we are getting about 7.5 miles per gallon on the Motorhome towing the Jeep Wrangler on this trip.

Safe travels all!

Eric and Carol Anderson

August 29th, A quick stay at Missoula Montana

We had a brief two night stay in Missoula Montana. As we headed home, Eric had try to build an itinerary where we were not driving every day and it gave the dogs a chance to have some existence other than a rolling box. Eric had been intrigued for sometime with Missoula Montana for a couple reasons. For one thing, there is a Smokejumper base there and because Blackfoot communications is headquartered there. Eric use to work with a subsidiary of Blackfoot Communications by the name of Telesphere software when he worked for Volcano Telephone. Now that Carol works for Cal-Fire, Eric has remained intrigued with Smokejumpers, even though Cal-Fire doesn't have any smokejumpers, they are a US Forest service operation. None the less, we took a quick trip to the smoke jumper base in Missoula to check out the Visitors center (Sorry folks, there is no visitor center for the smokejumpers in Redding California).

A very nice young lady who is a US Forest Service intern took us on a tour of the facility which we both found to be very interesting. She explained to us all of the fire gear that smokejumpers take with them when they are deployed and how additional supplies and equipment are dropped to them to help them fight the fire and to survive in that hostile environment.

We also got to see one of the aircraft that is used to deploy smokejumpers and their equipment. Additionally, we went into the rooms where they inspect the parachutes to ensure that they are safe, and into the room where they are packed so that they are prepared to be used.

The young lady who conducted the tour was amazing. There was a couple of young families there who sadly were not watching their kids very closely. And even when their kids were in full view, they were letting their kids be disrespectful of the equipment of the facility. The tour guide kept her composure in the distractions and how she managed to not pull her hair out was amazing. It was sad though how the parents were doing so very little to control their kids.

The campground that we stayed at in Missoula Montana was called Jim and Mary's RV park. This is a wonderful facility where they are always working to make sure the facilities are in good working order. The bathrooms were clean and functional and the infrastructure at the sites was all in good working order. The grounds were beautifully maintained and the camp store was well stocked. They even have entertainment, in the form of a local band there at the park on Wednesday nights! They don't have any breed restrictions, they just ask that you don't bring any aggressive dogs to the camp ground which we completely understand. The only drawback to this campground is that the water here is very hard. When the sprinklers ran during the early morning they got our car and motorhome wet and caused a lot of spotting. We may have to give our motorhome and car a pretty good polish and wax job to get rid of the spots.

We were saddened by just how much smoke there is in the western part of Montana. At the time we passed through, there were at least 6 major wild fires raging in this region, and it was hard to see the mountains in the distance because of all of the smoke.

Our next stop is Twin Falls Idaho where we will spend a couple nights as we continue our trip home.

Safe travels all!

Eric and Carol Anderson

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Wrapping up our visit to Glacier and moving on to Missoula Montana

On Sunday the 27th, we wrapped up our visit to Glacier national park by checking out Apgar Village and the visitors center doing a little souvenir shopping and a visit to the Canada visitors center! On Monday the 28th, we packed up camp and started to head towards Missoula Montana. While making our way to Missoula, we made a stop at the National Bison Range which is located between Hungry Horse and Missoula. This location has a 'Visitors center' and a drive through park similar to what Eric remembers as 'Lion Country Safari' when he was a kid. The National Bison Range allows you to drive among the Bison and up close and personal with them. as we drove along the route, there was a lot of open range to be seen. We understand that since the park opened during the Teddy Roosevelt administration in 1908 when only 100 Bison remained. Today, the park maintains about 350 to 400 bison on year round.

Annually, there are anywhere from 50 to 100 baby Bison that are born in the park. The park holds a round up every year that results in some of the heard being relocated to other Refuges across the country. Today, the drive takes you near a river where you can frequently locate the Bison. We were fortunate to see many bison and found that they frequently walk between the cars passing through. Rex was pretty excited about all of the bison around him and was barking up a storm. We had to get him to be quiet, because we were concerned a bull bison might decide to take us on.

After we finished our visit to the National Bison range, we continued our trip on to Missoula and Jim and Mary's RV park. We arrived at Jim and Mary's RV park around 4:00 PM. This is a beautiful RV park on the north end of Missoula Montana. The grounds here are well maintained and the sights are nice and roomy. Some of the sites are shady and others are in full sun. It is easy to navigate through the park with the RV. This is a great park for those of us with dogs of discriminated breeds. They don't exclude based on breed, just behavior. The Wi-Fi is a little marginal, primarily because people stream video over their network, even though they ask you not too.

We had a great dinner at the Blue Canyon Kitchen and Tavern. We had a great steak, with Mashed potato's and vegetables. Our trip continues to go great! We are having a wonderful time enjoying our trip on the road.

Safe Travels all!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

August 26th, 2017 - Traveling to Canada

Today we made our second road trip to Glacier National Park this time with the destination of  village of Waterton Canada. It was a little village that Carol had visited back 30 years ago and we also took in the 'Prince of Whales Hotel' which was absolutely stunning! We also had lunch in the dining room at the 'Prince of Whales' which was a wonderful experience. Though they admitted us in our slovenly attire, the food and service was exceptional.

We also got to see a couple of places firmly etched in Carol's mind, the old motor inn that she and Brian had stayed at 30 years ago in their previous trip, and also the bicycle shop that had ripped them off of their $50 (US) deposit.

On our way back from Waterton, we Stopped at a couple of the visitors centers which normally have been too busy to allow us to find parking. We loved checking out the really impressive views especially from the Logan Pass Visitors center which is at the Continental divide. The continental divide by the way is pretty much the high part of the country. All water that falls on the east side of the continental divide flows eventually to the Atlantic ocean or south to the shores off of Louisiana. All water that falls on the west of the continental Divide flows west to the Pacific ocean.

We are truly enjoying our trip this summer. Though we have had a few bumps along the way such as the refrigerator door falling off the night before we were supposed to depart and the retractable steps completely giving up the ghost the morning that we departed, things have been working out great and we are having a wonderful time. All of our planning has seemed to work out well for us too. We had absolutely no problems making it to Canada and back, even though our new Jeep Wrangler does not have plates yet. The Customs folks on both the Canadian and US Ports of Entry have been very understanding and had the knowledge to deal with the issue.

It just goes to show you, be sure to plan ahead and a be sure to have a current passport if you are traveling internationally. If you do that, the rest is a piece of cake!

Safe travels all.

On Friday the 25th of August, Hungry Horse Montana

Today started out with a wonderful road trip up the ‘Going to the sun’ highway that took us from the West Glacier entrance to the East side of the park. We took the dogs with us, which limited some of our exploring of ‘Visitor Centers’ but we got to spend quality time viewing many of the Glaciers from the road as we made our way up the road. Carol had been here 30 years ago with her first husband Brian, as well as friends Mitch and Monica. She sadly reported that she has seen a huge retreat of the glaciers especially those such as the Jackson Glacier. It is so sad to see what mankind has caused through ‘Global Warming’. 

The area is very beautiful and though there are areas that have been burned by forest fire, where the tall cedar and pine trees have been eradicated, there is a lot of other greenery compliments of scrub brush and oak trees that are starting to return. There are many beautiful small waterfalls and this unique location called 'Goose Island' that was cool to observe from shore.

Once we returned to Camp, we found that our replacement Kwikee steps had arrived shipped to us by Amazon. These steps we un-damaged and within an hour and half, Eric was able to have the steps installed and in working order. There is even a cool step light that now turns on, when the door is opened! While Eric was working on the steps, Carol was working diligently on her speech for Brandon. For dinner this evening, we ate at a local restaurant that supposedly had great burgers and pizza. Though we did not try any of the burgers, we did try the pizza at the Glacier Grill and Pizza, and it was pretty darn tasty.

Safe Travels all!

On Thursday 24th of August – Coeur D’ Alene Idaho to Hungry Horse Montana

The drive on this day was supposed to be a fairly short one, only 220 miles, which we thought would only take 4 to 5 hours. Instead, it ended up taking closer to 7 hours. The reason for the elongated run, was because of the mountain driving we involved with. And while fortunately the roads were not particularly windy, there was a lot of altitude changes over the trip. Also fortunately, Charlie, Rosie and Rex are all being real troopers when it comes to being on the road.

For us two legged adventurers, the drive however was worth the effort. After departing Coeur D’ Alene at 10:30, we arrived at the campground at 5:20, pacific time (6:20 Mountain time). Montana is very beautiful country, much like the Amador county foot hills in California. The one big difference being is that the trees here in Montana have not suffered from the Bark Beetle the way the trees in Amador County and all over the state of California have suffered from it.

The ‘Mountain Meadow’ camp ground that we arrived at here in Hungry horse is beautiful. It is just like staying in a ‘National Forest’ while still having the amenities of an finer RV park. The roads and sites are paved with gravel and each site is lined with trees. This is a fairly large facility that really puts you back in nature. Everywhere you turn there are pine trees, and greenery of all shapes and sizes. There is a beautiful little fishing pond, and convenience store. Their rest rooms and shower rooms are absolutely beautiful. There is a dog park and best of all, no Breed Restrictions. They just don’t want anyone bringing ‘Aggressive dogs’ in to the park. If we are ever back in this area, we will definitely stay here again.

Safe travels all!

On Wednesday 23rd of August – Coeur D’ Alene Idaho

Today had some highs and lows to it. The highs, far outweighed the lows just so you know. J The day started out with an attempt to replace the auto retracting stairs on the motorhome. The original set had a swing arm break. We tried having it welded 3 years ago, and it held up for a while, but it finally gave up the ghost as we tried to leave Rancho Cordova on this trip. We ordered a replacement step from It was delivered here to the RV Park. The box was a little beat up, but the step looked like it was no worse for wear. However, after about an hour of removing the old step, I was ready to install the new step. The first step is to extend the step before installing it. I couldn’t get the steps to extend and found out that a plastic bracket that attaches two parts of the drive motor and the gear box was cracked. So, we have ordered a replacement set of steps and are returning the first set we received. According to Amazon, the new set should arrive Friday to the RV park in Hungry Horse which is our destination on Thursday. Until then, we will take a tall step out to the little yellow step and hope one of us does not break our neck! :-)

The highlight of our visit to Coeur D’ Alene is the dinner cruise that we took along lake Coeur D’ Alene on a ferry boat. It was cloudy, but balmy, but not hot, the captain was amazing at the way he handled the ship and the food was amazingly good. The experience started with us exploring the area around the dock. There are a lot of very expensive boats around here. Obviously this area has a pretty high tax bracket. Our Boating excursion started out with an on time departure, but an immediate return to the dock, when it was found out that someone who was coming on board to celebrate her birthday had missed the boat by 2 minutes. So, captain skillfully returned to the dock, we picked up our two missing passengers and then we were on our way. It was a beautiful evening. We sat on the upper deck the entire evening. Though we sprinkles a couple times, the tour was very enjoyable. The captain did a good job of pointing out to us some of the interesting aspects of the lake. It was a wonderful evening, and the roast beef dinner was amazing. It was well worth the $50.00 per person that we paid for the experience.  

Safe travels all!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

On Tuesday the 22nd of August a long drive to Coeur D’ Alene Idaho

On this day we had a full day of driving from Bend Oregon to Coure D’ Alaine. It was over 400 miles of driving on this day. We made really good progress all-in-all, but we did have some traffic at the when we approached the Bridge that crosses the ‘Columbia River’ going from Oregon to Washington State. We also ran into some traffic when we passed through Spokane around rush hour. As we drove through Spokane, we were amazed at the beauty of some of the older architecture such as that of Smoke stacks, a church and the Washington State University.

During our drive, we had a lunch at a great little dinner in Biggs Oregon where the 97 north intersected with the interstate 92 which would start us on our eastward trek along the Columbia river. We arrived in Coure D’Alaine around 6:00 PM at the Blackwell Island RV resort.

This is a beautiful RV resort. The sites are gravel sites with many of the smaller roads being gravel as well. They have a nice little dog area. There is a dog beach where you can take your dogs to run and play. This is a beautiful and well maintained RV park with lots of wonderful amenities, including some natural ones like an Osprey nest! Sadly however, they do not allow any breeds that they perceive as aggressive breeds such as ‘Pit Bulls’, Rottweiler's, German Shepherds and Doberman pinchers.