Missoula and Fish Creek

June 17, 2018.  We leave our overnight camp in the Drummond City Park with a light mist falling. Hoping to find some sunshine we chug along through this tiny town and find the freeway entrance to head west on I-90.  I don’t like to travel the freeways unless it’s necessary, and in Montana it is quite often necessary. Due to the gorgeous, towering mountain ranges connecting roads are, more often than not, non-existent. It’s the long way, the freeway, or no way!

We gain Missoula and spend a night at Wally. I do absolutely no scouting; the traffic in this city is horrendous! There is a dog park here that is supposed to be a really nice one, but although I find the park next morning, the access is by footbridge, and I can find no place to park.  The businesses must have gotten tired of dog people parking in their lots and there are signs everywhere threatening being towed if you park in their lot and are not a customer.  I’ve learned my lesson and do not mention DOG PARK, so The Chiweenie Brothers don’t know they are missing out.  

Our next camp is found along Fish Creek at the Big Pine fishing access area.  It’s about 4 miles in off I-90, the last mile or so dirt.  Or should I say mud.  The clouds are breaking up so the hope is that it will dry out a bit and we can stay here a few days.  

There are five or six camp sites at Fish Creek, and only one is occupied.   Lots of trees and bushes separate the campsites giving wonderful privacy. I choose a site down a short “driveway” leading right to the river and park so our view out the side doors is of the rushing water, the driver’s side–which has the cooler–in the shade.  We head out exploring.

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This fishing access camp along Fish Creek is home to the largest known ponderosa pine in Montana.  

There are also some beautiful wild rose bushes here.  DSC_0007 (5) and this shrub with the white flowers.  Any guesses as to what it is?   DSC_0008 (5)

The boys settle down for a little nap.

One night here, and we leave. It’s raining again and it’s just plain muddy.  The road out is fine even though it’s soup.  I need to find a spot where I can walk the boys without bringing Mother Earth inside the van every time we step outside. 

We stop at a wayside along I-90, kind of a mini rest area for lack of a better word. There is room for a truck and a couple of cars and it has a vault toilet.  This sign tells the story of the building of the road through these mountains.  I try to see where the cut was made but I don’t find it here. nor do I find it once we get moving again. There is road work going on and I daren’t ogle the scenery much.

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Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna

Fish Creek Fishing Access is a boondocking site, but it does have a vault toilet, tables, and fire rings.  NO water and no garbage (pack it in/pack it out).  Cost:  Free.  There are one or two spots big enough for a medium sized trailer. Walk the “driveways” before pulling in as several of the sites have no way to turn a vehicle and a trailer around. Unless your really good a backing up 🙂

 

Homestake BLM and Butte, MT

We spend one night at Homestake, A BLM boondock near Whitehall, MT.  I can SEE cell towers but cannot get decent reception.  I drive on to Butte just a few miles up the road. It’s dog park time!

I ask around, no one seems to be able to tell me how to get to the dog park.  I stop at the information center and the lady behind the counter isn’t sure either as I asked for the park near the Old Sherman  School and this throws her off. She doesn’t know. The other gal behind the counter finishes her transaction with another customer, and she comes over and mentions the Skyline Park.  With that I get a street address and we are off.

JACKPOT! This wonderful place has THREE dog areas. Four if you count the off-leash area, but we aren’t interested in that.  One area for the big dogs, one area for the small dogs, and a combined area.

DSC_0026 (3)  This combined area for both large and small dogs is huge.

 

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Our first night at Walmart in Butte is uneventful, although there does seem to be an inordinate amount of street people around; no one bothers us. We have internet and we have a fabulous dog park. We can hang in there, and do Wally for a couple days!

The Skyline Park not only has three fenced areas for dogs, it has a fishing pond and a small play area for kids, paved and unpaved walking/biking paths, and pretty views all around.

Butte was founded on mining, a dangerous occupation that took many lives in one way or another. From the park  you can see the old Poor House, still pretty much as it was back in the day.  Today it is a technology school.

On our final day here I ask the boys if they want to go to the dog park again. They know these words, and start wrestling and play fighting,  so happy they can hardly stand it.  I put the breakfast things away, hop in the driver’s seat and start up ol’ Green. Fries jumps up on the camera back pack that’s sitting next to the driver’s seat. It’s on top of the little plastic drawer unit I have between the driver’s seat and the larger drawer unit that replaced the passenger seat. The camera backpack makes Fries’ little head just about even with mine.  I ask him if he is excited to be going to the dog park again this morning and the little stinker pushes his little wet nose against my cheek; a little peck on the cheek. Oh how I wish I could get photos of some of the things this little dog does. He just melts my heart!

Arriving at Skyline Park the boys, anxious to get inside “their” park, they pull and tug and tussle torn between starting play and pulling me along faster to get inside.

We know our way, mom, don’t worry about us!

 

Carbella BLM

Leaving the beauty that is Yellowstone National Park, I search for and find a place to have an early dinner.  The boys get their evening meal, too, and a short walkabout. While eating I research places to stay along Hwy 89 N and find Carbella, a Bureau of Land Management camp.  It’s not far and I am grateful to find not only a nice place to park but it’s shaded, too, and the campsites are close to the Yellowstone River.

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Room for any size rig, the road down to the camping area is dirt, but not a bad road at all. There are about eight sites with tables and fire rings, and a vault toilet and boat ramp.  There are spots to park for the night without the fire rings and tables.

We have a nice view of  the Absaroka Mountain Range when we take our walks.

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One afternoon we hear sirens and soon a helicopter flies overhead landing out near the highway somewhere.  Someone being airlifted out I suppose.  Reminds me of back home.

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Charlie B relaxes in camp.  DSC_0006 (4)

After enjoying a few nights here we pull out early in the morning and head toward Livingston. Montana is big and bold with formidable mountains and vast valleys. I enjoy the scenery

while The Chiweenie Brothers keep an eye out for any errant lizards they spot along the way. Of course that doesn’t happen so they nap.

 

As we gain Livingston I spy the Scrub Tub as we navigate the main thoroughfare. I take that as the sign it’s time to get laundry done.  Three loads washed and dried, and we go in search of the dog park. The Chiweenie Brothers desperately need some off leash run time.

I find the dog park. Although the Yellowstone borders the dog park on two sides  it’s not fenced.  This won’t do because being half badger hound the first moving critter they see and they will be off on the hunt.

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I ask a patron if there is a fenced park anywhere and she says yes, there is, and gives me some pretty vague directions. Off we go …

I find it only to be shut down again. Yes, it’s fenced. With hog wire that any self-respecting chiweenie could get through.  Even if that were not the case, the fenced area has no gates.  I start the green beast and begin getting her turned around all the while the boys are giving me the “what the hell?” look.  I feel so bad.

We continue on to Bozeman where, yet again, there is a problem regarding the dog park. I can’t find it.  There is construction in the area, and I only have a street not a specific address. I have no luck finding the dog park.  We spend the night at Wally.

On an ice run the next morning I spot a small sign that says “Rose Park” and I pull a U-turn (safely and legally!!!) and head in the direction of this park. It’s a disc golf area with walking trails, and although it’s not fenced either they need some exercise. I leash the Chiweenie Brothers and we take off.

We stay at the Bozeman Wally for three nights, spending our days at Rose Park. It rains off and on, and I am exhausted not really wanting to find another camp just yet. This Walmart is very quiet. They do not allow big rig parking so we get some good rest, and this Rose Park is a good place to walk The Chiweenie Brothers.

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Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna

Current Read:  Colony by Anne Rivers Siddon

The Idaho side of the Grand Tetons

As we drive away from Palisades Reservoir we take Hwy 31 to Victor where I pick up my forwarded mail then we head north to the town of Driggs and begin looking for a spot to stay.

About Victor ID

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The Grand Tetons are even more amazing from the Idaho side.

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The Grand Tetons from the Idaho side
The Grand Tetons as seen from Swan Valley in Idaho

We end up in a boondock in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Our camp in this national forest ends up being a one-night stand as there are many mud puddles from recent rain and although they are drying up many remain with standing water.  Those remaining must be teeming with mosquitoes because we practically get eaten alive.  The air is so thick with the buzzing blood suckers that I can vacuum them up with my little portable vacuum cleaner.  The poor Chiweenie Brothers spend a too warm night under a light blanket, but still suffered many bites.

On the way out of our camp I spot these butterflies enjoy some refreshment at one of the dryer areas

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From Driggs, ID we take Hwy 33 toward Rexburg where we will hit a Walmart to get supplies and gas up the green beast.  It is a beautiful drive through  potato farming country in the Swan Valley, the seed potato capital of the world.

No overnight at the Wally in Rexburg, so we head on toward Ashton where I plan to do laundry.  The laundromat is easy to find, but it’s been a long day, and I just don’t have the energy to tackle that chore.

I take Hwy 47, finding a dispersed camp site again within the Caribou Targhee  National Forest–also loaded with mosquitoes–and we spend a too-warm, restless night with the windows rolled up. Tomorrow we visit Mesa Falls.

Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna

Palisades Reservoir, Irwin ID

On May 30, 2018 we begin the hunt for a new back yard. We pass the little town of Freedom, Wy and I can’t resist taking a photo. 

DSC_0048 (3)It’s not far before we find a beautiful campsite along the Palisades Reservoir outside of Irwin, Idaho.  We motor down the dirt road and take a left at the vault toilets, an offshoot of the main dirt road going down to the water, and I get nauseous as road gets a distinct  steep slope to one side. It didn’t look so bad when I walked it upon arrival.  Too afraid to back out I go on.  We made it — what’s to worry about.  Getting back out that’s what! 

I find a wonderful spot under some trees    DSC_0062 (1)

the Chiweenie Brothers and I take a walk down to the water.  It’s calm, with a few pelicans paddling around. Love this spot!

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Better yet, we find “our” road turns back onto the main dirt road, and we won’t have to worry about going back out the way we came in. Whew!!

Recent rains farther north have the creek flowing into the reservoir at a pretty good clip, but although we do get a bit of rain and a couple of thunderstorms, it doesn’t amount to much.

We have a beautiful view of mountains to the east, and this huge area has several spots with lots of shade given by a type of tree I can’t identify. A few groves of aspen also dot sections here and there, their leaves fluttering with the slightest breeze.

The wildflowers are in bloom

On Thursday night an uninvited guest in the form a tan colored little mouse with a white bib pays us a visit in the middle of the night, and the hunt is on. The Chiweenie Brothers spend the next two nights on the hunt. Every time something rattled even the tiniest bit they shot off the bed in search of Stewart Little. They were not successful. On Friday night I took several drawers out of various storage units to let them have a better chance, but still nothing.

On Saturday I spent the day tearing the van apart hoping that the little bugger would find his way out while I was tearing into things.  I assume he did as Saturday night not a peep was heard from the boys. Sleeping all night can sometimes be a wonderful luxury!

We spend five days in this lovely spot, but on Monday, June 4th, it’s time to move on.  We are low on water and foodstuff; like M&Ms and the Kosher Dill potato chips I have become addicted to.  :), and, like all good things (and not-so-good things, too), our time here must end. 

We haven’t been down to the lake’s shore since Saturday because the weekend was pretty busy here with local traffic, so this morning the Chiweenie Brothers get a walk down to the water before our departure. They enjoy wading into the water, something that they never used to do, but since camping by water a lot this past month, they’ve found they like it.

I, however,  am shocked by what I see.  The lake has come up quite a bit in two days,

and–horrors!–our way out is covered by a deep puddle of water.  Dang!  We’re going to have to get out of here by way of the steep slope and the driver’s side will be on the downhill side.  There’s nothing to do but suck it up and go for it.  Camp has already been broken and our gear loaded up so I get the boys inside and climb in the driver’s seat. Oh Dear God, get me through this.

 I am sweating bullets as we creep along feeling my body lean to the left as we cross that sloping area. Once past the worst part and we gain the remaining ground to the main dirt road I heave a sigh of relief, but . . . I need to use the facilities.  I think it’s the first time ever that I’ve been happy to use a vault toilet.  

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!  May YOUR travels be smooth sailing.

 

Dry Creek Road

From Montpelier Canyon Campground we again head north on Hwy 89 and back into Wyoming. At every turn is a scene I simply must photograph.

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Or a wildflower calls out not to be forgotten.  They are everywhere!
DSC_0048 (2)Surely the westward travelers were uplifted and encouraged by the sights of this area when they marched ever onward toward Oregon and California. How sad it would have been to be too downtrodden with exhaustion to enjoy the beauty around them, those who travelled this area when the grass was new and the wildflowers burst forth.

As we get closer to the little town of Afton, and the even tinier town of Smoot, I begin searching for a forest service road somewhere along the highway in the Bridger-Teton National Forest when I spot Dry Creek Road.

The dirt road takes us back into the forest DSC_0053 (2)

and with all the rain up north, Dry Creek is anything but Dry. The roaring creek claws at the banks and the roots of the trees and bushes lining its path.

We drive back farther than I like to be without cell service and turn around, heading back to the very first camp site I saw once past the houses on private land.  It’s very shaded!

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We take long walks and long naps, spending two nights here.

 

 

 

 

The boys smell something in the air

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Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!

CURRENT READ: Sweet Hollow Women   by Holly Tierney-Bedord

 

 

 

Montpelier, ID

May 24, 2018, with Montpelier ID as our intended destination, we head north on Hwy 30 and leave Wyoming behind.

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Along the way we stop in several places to read information at the kiosks provided. Hwy 30 is part of the Oregon Trail where early emigrants, mostly from Missouri, traveled by wagon train to get to Oregon and California. At this particular stop the descent from the BIG HILL was described as being the worst of the whole 2000 mile journey.

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We travel through some beautiful ranching country.

We get to Montpelier and the hunt begins for the dog park that is here. The boys need some free run time and I especially want to find this particular park as it was the senior project of a local high school girl. There is no address, just the name of the road, Adams. I plug that into the GPS and we are taken on ride out of town, around a loop named Sharon, and finally out into what is a housing area, and then onto a dirt road. Twelve miles out I see this going nowhere I want to be, and I turn the van around. Sorry guys. SOOOOO happy I didn’t mention the D.P. words!!! They know the difference. I’m learning.
As we get back into town I notice a sign advertising that Butch Cassidy robbed a bank here. That devil gets around! Last I heard his name was back in Circleville, UT!! We’re not stopping.
We do stop at a convenient spot, however, to check ice. There’s still a big chunk, and I want to see just how well the new little cooler will actually hold ice so … I read over the directions to our next probable camp and we head out.

The Montpelier Reservoir

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is located right off the highway, and by the way we are back on 89, and we find a nice little spot by the overflow spillway.  Lots of room to walk the Chiweenie Brothers and some lovely grass for lying in the sun.  They won’t even miss the dog park I couldn’t find!

We only spend two nights here.  The intention was to spend all of Memorial Day Weekend here and be off the highways, but not all of this gypsy life is moonlight and roses.  There’s partying going on at the other end of this parking area, but we don’t hear much of it, however, someone takes exception and a sheriff shows up.  A trailer that had been parked but unoccupied for the two days we are here is suddenly gone.  A woman–a very gleeful look on her face–begins backing HER trailer into that vacated spot.  I think we have the unhappy camper right here with us now.

Later in the afternoon someone, who apparently knows the unhappy-but-soon-happier camper, pulls their huge travel trailer right in front of us, and I do mean right in front of us. All I can see out of Freedom’s windshield is their trailer’s slide out.  UGH!   By Saturday morning the area is so packed full of people one cannot step outside without being in someone else’s camp.  We are out of here.

Back to the town of Montpelier we go to get an internet signal so I can do research on where to head for a camp.  KOA is real close, but they want $35 for a dry camp.  Nope, not going to happen.  I remember a campground just beyond KOA called Montpelier Canyon and with nothing else close by and a tentative  direction to head if it is full we head back up the way we came.

Driving into the campground I am delighted to discover not only are there several spots available, there is a site, fairly secluded, along a chattering creek, and the cost is only $10 per night, half that for us old folk.  And here we stay until Monday morning.

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Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!

 

CAMP AMENITIES

Water: No                    Garbage: No
Bathrooms: Vault       Electricity: No
Tables: Yes                   Shower:  No
Fire Pit:  Yes                 BBQ: No
# of Sites:  15                Fee: $10 per night, $5 with senior pass
Other:  Not all sites are shaded, and the campground is right next to the highway although I didn’t find the traffic bothersome.  Sites are small, and probably only a couple of them will accomodate a real large travel trailer, probably not a motorhome. Most sites have enough shrubbery and aspen trees to give a very descent amount of privacy between sites.  I lucked out and even had privacy from the road through the campground.