Sloway and Cabin City in the Lolo National Forest

When we leave the Big Pine Fishing Access campground and continue our westward journey on I-90 I keep my eyes open for an improved campground, meaning one with pavement, water, garbage, tables, firepits.  We don’t need electricity or sewer so I’m not looking for THAT level of improvement, but we need something out of the mud.

It isn’t long before I spot a sign advertising a forest service campground called Sloway.  Sloway is in the Lolo National Forest and it is indeed an improved campground.  Being a national agency we will get half off the going rate.  Considering the retired, white-haired old lady I have become, that suits me fine!

I pull in, sign us up for a night just to see how it goes before committing to anything longer than one night.  We are in campsite 15.

This campground is chockfull of offerings. It has a picnic area, a launching area for canoes, kayaks, and rafts, a horse camp (which has it’s own entrance up the road), a section for large RVs with 7 pull-thru sites, 20 tent/car sites all with tables and fire rings. There are several vault toilets, 2 garbage collection sites, a recycling area, water spigots, and a camp host.  $10 per night, half that with senior pass. It’s right off the freeway, but traffic isn’t bothersome.  There is also a train that rolls through several times a day/night across the river, but I am either getting used to those sounds or going deaf. Not sure which it is.  What’s that, you say?  🙂  Lots of pines for shade.

We end up staying three days total, and you know what? I didn’t take any photos!  The old lady is losing it I guess!A

Before we get out of Montana we stay one night in another USFS campground called Cabin City. Much smaller than Sloway in the way of offerings, but has the basics: 2 loops of 12 sites each, tables, firepits, water, garbage, vault toilets.  It’s a pretty campground, but not so pretty getting there.  We drive past some drop-dead gorgeous homes and then at the turn to get to Cabin City, some pretty darn dumpy places.  All is well though, once you are in the campground. We saw a wild turkey sneaking through the undergrowth on one of our walks.  As in all of Montana, it’s bear country so keep your food inside your vehicle.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hugs, Shawna

CURRENT READ:  Still reading Colony by Anne Rivers Siddons … Good one!

Life is short 

 

 

 

 

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.

DSC_0067 (3)

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.

DSC_0066 (2)

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 🙂

 

Anaconda, Montana

June 15th. From Butte we take Hwy 1, the scenic route, toward the town of Anaconda which comes up in short order.  We get “the rest of the story” about copper mining when we discover The Stack, a park in Anaconda dedicated to the miners who worked the mines in Butte and the workers who ran the smelter here in Anaconda refining the copper.

DSC_0039 (2)

DSC_0041 (2)
The copper smelter

DSC_0045 (2).JPG

DSC_0047 (2)

 

 

Anaconda has some beautiful old brick buildings. I thoroughly enjoy driving through this town stopping where I can whether it be an actual parking spot I snag or just stopping in the middle of the street if no one is coming to grab a photo.

We continue the scenic loop drive on Highway 1. The campground I am looking for along this highway is closed for repairs. My guess would be because of flooding.

Several miles up the road I discover a forest service road on the right, and I take it in hopes of finding a camp.  While I don’t find a camp, I do find these lovely carpets of lupine.

Moving on we eventually end our tour of Hwy 1,  and glide into the little town of Drummond.  Thankfully they have a small park with about 12 camp sites.  I pay the $10 fee and get parked. A walk for the Chiweenie Brothers and we can finally rest our weary heads. It is once again raining.

CAMP AMENITIES
Water: Yes                        Garbage: Yes
Bathrooms: Vault toilet 

Electricity: Available for $25 per night and you have to make a phone call to have some one unlock the box

Tables: Yes                         Shower: No
Fire Pit: Yes                        BBQ: No
# of Sites: 12 or so.            Fee:  $10 for a tent site. $25 if you want electricity 

Other: Right by the river, has a day use area for fisherman, and you are allowed to use the baseball diamond if you want.  It’s also next to the rodeo grounds. Nothing going on while I am here, but might be a problem getting a site at certain times. 

Montpelier, ID

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

DSC_0009 (2)

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.

DSC_0011 (2)

DSC_0017 (2)

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

DSC_0025 (2)

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.

DSC_0036 (2)

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.

White Spar Camp Ground

Saturday, March 31, 2018 turns out to dawn bright and beautiful with no wind.  I decide we will leave today instead of tomorrow.  Scurrying around breaking camp the boys know we are leaving and they are beyond excited.  As we pull out Fries does his usual thing of putting his front legs on the dash, hind legs still in the seat and gazes out the windshield. I have tried and failed to get a photo of him doing this, so you’ll just have to picture it in your mind.

Highway 89 North toward Prescott takes us on a climb in elevation toward the small town of Yarnell. This may or may not ring a bell for some of you, but it was near Yarnell, Arizona that a wildfire, ignited by lightning on June 28, 2013, overran and killed 19 City of Prescott firefighters, members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. God bless our courageous men and women who do firefighting for a living.  Not too many braver than they.

Before we actually get to Yarnell I spy this alongside the road.  Someone else sees things in rocks and mountains!  Ha!

DSC_0052

As we cruise through Yarnell I spot this as we drive by and had to stop, walk back, and take a photo of it.

DSC_0053

The only goal for today is to find a place to stay for the rest of the weekend that has cell service so I can call the clinic in Prescott Valley and see if they can get me in to look at that tooth in the upper left corner. 

We have managed to level out after Yarnell, but soon we begin to climb again and it’s about 15 miles of wonderful road (saying that with tongue in cheek).  For those who know Pit One Grade from where I came from it’s like that only a lot longer; not enough guard rail, two-lane, mountain-on-one-side-gorge-on-the-other, but with many switchbacks and a lot of traffic.  And what goes up must come down … YIKES!!!  Sorry folks no photos here!

After that adventure in driving we come to White Spar Campground, a USFS offering that is just a couple miles from Prescott.  Not thinking we will find anything else on up the road before we hit town I pull in and sign us up for two nights. It’s actually all the camp host will allow us and we get site #2 only because the people who reserved it decided not to take it.  It’s a blessing and the two days will take us to Monday when I can make that phone call. From there on out the site is available for two night stints until the 6th when it’s reserved for someone.  

I much prefer boondocking, but sometimes that just isn’t available, so I am thankful.  Our neighbors to the right have bird feeders out and when I am not reading or blogging, I am watching the birds. 

Nuthatches, rufous sided towhees, and a big ‘ol raven keep us amused

There are TREES here—oaks, pines, and some juniper—and I am able to run a line between two oaks so the boys can have a lot more freedom while I am slaving away at the computer.  Being in a campground means lots more noise and a lot less privacy, but nights are quiet and that, too, is a blessing as this campground is right on the highway.

DSC_0056

Thanks for stopping by 2DOGS! Hugs, Shawna

CAMP AMENITIES
Water:  Yes                          Garbage: Yes
Bathrooms: Vault toilet     Electricity: No
Tables: Yes                           Shower: No
Fire Pit:  Yes                         BBQ:  No
# of Sites:  50+ (I think)        Fee: $14 per night, half that with pass

OTHER:  Reservations are recommended, but if someone hasn’t shown up or there is a spot that isn’t taken prior to a reservation you can stay two nights at a time. Reservations take priority.

There are hiking and biking trails just as you pull into the area and a picnic table and parking lot.  These trails are BUSY!

The campground is right along Highway 89 so it’s quite noisy, but the traffic is almost nil at night. 

ALL WHO WANDER ARE NOT LOST … Usually.  🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corvina Beach

January 29, 2018, our noses pointing in a westerly direction, we slowly make our way along Hwy 111 to our next destination on the Salton Sea, Corvina Beach.  The water sparkles like diamonds where the morning sun hits it, and there is no where to pull over.

We come to a little oasis along the shore that I thought might be a good place to spend an hour or two amongst the palm trees, but once on the dirt road leading down to the water I spot a no trespassing sign. Private property. Keep out.

DSC_0003I turn around and continue on.

The Salton Sea, largest lake in California, used to be a busy vacation spot. Time has changed all that. The “sea” is slowly decreasing in size,, increasing in pollution, and huge fish kills happen every year.  This body of water is 50% saltier than our oceans! If you care to read of how the Salton Sea came to be, the problems, and the hopes for it you can read this assessment about it Here. While some saltwater species of fish do live in this toxic soup they have huge die-offs each year.

The beach is composed not of sand but of inches deep crushed barnacle shells and dried, petrified fish bones and scales.  It would be brutal to walk on barefoot, but surprisingly it doesn’t bother The Chiweenie Brothers’ paws.

I set up camp and wait for Jan to arrive. I cover the windshield and all the windows on the sunny side of the van  which will help keep us a bit cooler. There is also a wonderful cool breeze coming off the water.  Seagulls are checking out the shore for any bits of food that they might find.

We take walks, but mostly just enjoy the view and the birds. I reflect on the predicament this body of water is in, but have hope that something can and will be done to save it. At this time of the year there is no smell, but in high summer the stench of dying fish can knock you off your feet I am told.

I enjoy our first night’s sunset. DSC_0007

Our second evening stuns with this sunset.  DSC_0052

The next morning, having been awake since 4:00 trying to get a shot of the super blue moon eclipse and failing, I get enough light to catch the setting moon reflecting on the water.  And then Mr. Gull strutting his stuff looking for an easy meal.   The air is cool and refreshing and it’s going to be a stellar day!

DSC_0068

DSC_0030

Thanks for stopping by.  Hugs, Shawna

CUURRENT READ: Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

CAMP AMENITIES
Water:  Yes                Garbage: Yes
Bathrooms: Vault     Electricity: No
Tables: Yes                Shower: Yes, cold water
Fire Pit:  Yes              BBQ: No
# of Sites:  About 12 Fee: $10 per night, $8 with senior discount
Other:  Nice view of the water.  Near railroad tracks, but honestly the sound is somehow dampened and there are no whistles as the trains pass by.  I didn’t find the trains a bother.

 

 

Niland Boat Ramp

Our next stop, January 28, 2018 after leaving Slab City is the Salton Sea.  I head north again on Hwy 111 and intend on a night’s stay at the Imperial Wildlife Refuge to do some bird watching.  Murphy’s Law on “plans” kicks in and wouldn’t you know it, this is the LAST day of duck hunting in the refuge.  The only place to stay is the parking lot divided into parking spaces by old fire hose nailed into the ground and I say to heck with it and we move on.

Not too far down the road and just past the border patrol check station we come to the dirt road leading to the old Niland Boat Ramp.  Abandoned and no actual boat ramp visible any longer I grab a bite to eat and then walk the boys over to a quaint abandoned building on the shore and grab a couple of photos.

Not wanting to stay the night in this particular spot I head back out the dirt road to a side road I noticed when driving in.  The road looks solid and we take it coming to a nice level area and I park Freedom and put the window panels up to help keep the heat at bay.  We take a walk then have our dinner.

Charlie's got Bitty on lizard patrol  Charlie showing Bitty how to hunt the elusive lizard.

Bitty.JPG

Just before dark I hear a diesel truck. It sounds like it is coming up “our” road.  And closer. Closer still and I can now see the nose of a dark blue truck coming to a halt at right angle to my van.  I stick my head out and it’s a guy telling me he hoped I wasn’t offended earlier.  I look at him blankly and tell him no, I am not offended. Long story short, when we were at the end of the road down by the abandoned buildings he was parked next to a larger building “getting some sun”. He was sitting in a chair and had no shirt on, but that’s not unusual. Certainly didn’t offend me.

Have I met the preacher he asks and I tell him no, I have not. “Good,” he says. “He was offended that I didn’t have my shirt on. Guess he’d be pretty upset finding me without my pants, too.”  On my goodness. Another nudist (remember Bookstore Paul?).  What is it with these guys?

He tells me I can have his parking spot by the water as he is going to be gone for a couple of days. I thank him for the offer, but tell him we will be leaving in the morning.  He dithers on about how where I am is his usual spot, and that there are coyotes, but I should be safe. He assures me he is not “hitting on me” and his name is Bill.

Not missing a beat he says, “Well I guess I better put my pants on before I go into town,” and proceeds to open the truck door.  I pull my head back in the van and scramble as far back as I can and wait for him to leave.  I finally hear him drive away with  another assurance that he is not hitting on me and means no harm.  Bye Bill.  I had thought of staying another night, but this clinches it.  We are gone in the morning!

Chiweenie on Lookout Duty  Even the Chiweenie Brothers can’t wait to get out of here!  Hurry up, mom!!

WHAT IS IT WITH THIS DESERT ENVIRONMENT?? Aren’t they afraid things will get sunburned?  Can they do this kind of thing just anywhere out here?

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel!  Hugs, Shawna

Free camping. Nothing posted regarding length of stay allowed. NO AMENITIES.  Not sure about very large motor homes, but there were several medium sized travel trailers here.  AND CLOTHING IS OPTIONAL!

 

I