July 10, 2021 We need to get away for a bit, but summer is in full swing and lordy me it is HOT. We could do a night somewhere, but there has to be shade. And water would be nice. We live close to the Colorado River, so that’s where the search begins.
An internet search of nearby places comes up with Crossroads BLM Campground along the Colorado River just a few miles from Parker. This will be a scouting run. When the boys see me loading up the car with the ice cooler they start tussling and the ‘excitement’ fight is on. When I grab their harnesses they explode with bouts of play biting, running back and forth from one end of the Arizona room to the other, and barking. Lots of happy barking. Come on guys I say, wrestling them into their harnesses and snapping on their leashes. Let’s go for a ride.
Trotting along talking to each other with something like this that I imagine they are saying … ‘we’re going OUT! Maybe to the dog park! Mom’s taking the cooler so it must be dog park then groceries. Yeah!!! Dog Park!!’ Not the dog park, Boys, but something ALMOST as fun. And we head out into the already intense sunlight.
Traffic is light this time of year. No miles and miles of trailers, motor homes, and everything in between so we make it to Parker in about 35 minutes. Crossing the river we take a right putting us on the north side of the Colorado River which is the state line between Arizona and California.
We are in Earp, California. A mural painted on the side of this building says Earp, but how far Earp extends east and west is unknown since there really isn’t anything but mobile parks from point A, the turnoff, to point B our destination. For the sake of simplicity let’s say it’s all Earp.
Once we got home my curiosity got the best of me and this is what I found out about Earp:
Earp, California is an unincorporated community in San Bernardino County in the Sonoran Desert close to the California/Arizona state line at the Colorado River in Parker Valley. The town, originally named Drennan in 1910, was renamed Earp in 1929. It was named for famed Old West lawman Wyatt Earp who with his common-law wife, Josephine Sarah Marcus, lived part-time in the area beginning in 1906. Earp staked more than 100 copper and gold mining claims near the base of the Whipple Mountains. They bought a small cottage in nearby Vidal and lived there during the fall, winter and spring months of 1925 – 1928, while he worked his “Happy Days” mines in the Whipple Mountains a few miles north. It was the only permanent residence they owned the entire time they were married. They spent the winters of his last years working the claims but lived in Los Angeles during the summers, where Wyatt died on January 13, 1929. Though the town was never incorporated, the post office near Earp’s mining claims at the eastern terminus of Highway 62 near Parker, AZ was renamed “Wyatt Earp, California” after Earp’s death in 1930 with a ZIP code of 92242. For amusement only there is a tiny cemetery showing the fake grave of Wyatt Earp (his actual grave is in the Hills of Eternity Cemetery in Colma, just south of San Francisco). The post office is more than 220 miles (350 km) from the county seat in San Bernardino, California; further than any other in the county. The entire region on the California side falls under area code 760. Unofficial alternate names of the area are listed as Big River, Drenna and Drennan. Since Earp is an unincorporated community of San Bernardino County, County CEO Leonard X. Hernandez would be considered the Chief Administrator of Earp.
But back to present. After a pleasant, meandering drive on the two-lane road we arrive at the campground. This little section of land along the Colorado (which means colored red in Spanish), Crossroads Campground, is BLM. It appears there is a camp host here during the usual camping season of mid-September to Mid-April, but wisely they are long gone. Even along the river, although a bit cooler, this is desert and if you are in the sun you fry. You still have to pay the fee to camp — this is a government agency after all — but the fee is minimal. $5.
At the very end of the campground is a fully shaded spot, occupied by several people who do not look like they would take kindly to being photographed. We turn around.
I think the next time we need to stock up at Walmart we will make it a two day run and spend the night here. Close to home, shade, and a cell signal. This place ticks all the boxes of what we require in a spot to camp this summer.
October 13 to October 16 . 2020 for most of us has been the year we’d like to forget. Covid, lockdowns, closures, and stay-at-home orders re-invented a lot of lives. Arizona, our new home base, experienced the hottest summer ever and broke many records. Right here in our little piece of this beautiful state saw almost a week of 120 degree plus temps; the rest were 110 plus. Oi vey.
Not being able to enter New Mexico to finish up our state parks pass and having some new plantings in the yard to keep alive we decided to just stay put. Until recently that is. The weather up until mid-October has stayed hotter than usual, but the higher elevations are beginning to cool down and plans were made with previous Interesting Person, Sylvia, to camp for a couple of days near Prescostt AZ.
White Spar is a medium-use USDA Forest Service campground and I have never not found a spot, but I didn’t take into account it is still 2020. The plan was to meet at White Spar. My Camping Buddy tells me she is leaving around 4:30 a.m. to beat the morning commute in Phoenix and will wait in the parking lot of the trail head and read and/or walk the campground while waiting for me. I rise early, too, but do not drive anymore before the landscape can be seen and tell her I will be leaving about 10 and see her about noon.
Feeling guilty (a bad habit of mine) that she will be waiting all that time cooling her heels I buy ice, load the groceries, and get the last minute things loaded up the night before and the Chiweenie Brothers and I are ready to roll at first light. I enjoy the two hour drive, and the boys are excited to be on the road. We’re in the Honda CRV instead of the van, trying out car camping, and they have a bird’s eye view of the road ahead as the mattress from the van just fits in the back of the Honda and brings them up high enough to see out the windshield. Happy little chiweenies!
The air gets cooler as we climb past Yarnell. Once we begin the second half of the climb, about 10 miles worth, the road is two-lane, narrow, and takes all my attention, but it’s a slow enough go to enjoy the cool morning air through the open driver’s window. Lovin’ it!!
I make note of the entrance to Wolf Creek Campground as we pass and cringe. It appears to have had a LOT of traffic recently; it’s fine powdered dust indicating a lot of use. That could be a backup if needed, but I surely do not want that dust sifting up under my back window that no longer closes all the way. A couple miles up the road we come to White Spar.
I park at the trail head—day use only—and leash up The Boys so they can relieve themselves then we walk the parking lot looking for Sylvia. She is not parked here. We walk it again to make sure; I don’t see her silver SUV.
Climbing back in the car we drive up into the campground. I have never seen it so full! We make a circuit looking for her SUV. She is not in any of the camp sites either, but maybe I just missed her. We drive around again. There are a couple of empty sites, none with level ground, and a few with only one day available. Hope nothing has happened to her.
Energy ebbing, as is normal these days after doing practically nothing, and thinking she must have had car trouble or something else happen I sign in and pay for one night and text her number. While waiting for an answer I pull out my chair, the sun oven to heat up some lunch, and get the Chiweenie Brothers staked out. No sense fiddling with the new camping items just for one night. No tent either (YEAH!!) as we will be sleeping in the car. Just a couple of adjustments to the mattress after my mad dash to Cali last spring to say goodbye to my sis and my sleeping set up is a cloud to sleep on.
I hear from Slyvia after texting to ask where she is and she wants to know who is texting her! WHAT??? She doesn’t recognize the phone number? I tell her who I am. She says she doesn’t have my new number and has been using the old number. I remind her that I gave her the new number and it’s in a previous text, just look up at our old messages from a couple days ago.
She now tells me that she drove to Williams. She wants me to drive to Williams. I have already paid for my site for one night and tell her no. Long story short, I suggest she meet me back here at White Spar in the morning if she doesn’t want to stay in Williams and we will go from here. She arrives bright and early and I am shocked at how frail she looks. She is pretty much shuffling, too, and that is concerning, but she wants to camp. I keep my concerns to myself.
Mingus Mountain is where we will meet and perhaps find a boondocking site as I know of several people who spend their summers there. High elevation, cooler air, lots of pine trees. My Camping Buddy wants me to lead the way. I punch the name into my GPS and off we go. I have my GPS set for best route and it takes us through some beautiful old homes on the outskirts of Prescott. Nice not to deal with a lot of traffic, but I come to a yellow light. Too close to slam on the brakes for fear of throwing the dogs into the front seat I buzz through the yellow and lose Sylvia in the process. She is behind a couple of cars and she hasn’t moved over into the left lane. I slow down as much as I dare, but she doesn’t see my left turn signal or can’t see it. I stay to the left on 89A (alternate) per GPS instructions. The Boys and I wait in the first spot big enough to pull over and park, but still no Sylvia. Onward. She is getting water is the next text. We talked about this, but guess she doesn’t trust me to find a store with water. 😉
A quick stop at Watson Lake overlook to take a couple of photos and let the dogs out for a leg raising, hoping she will catch up. Still no camp mate.
I find another spot past a roundabout and pull off, texting her to stay on 89A and take the second exit within the roundabout in order to stay on 89A.We are just past the roundabout. She texts that she is on Such-and-Such Road. It wasn’t 89A. I can wait no longer parked in the sun, and I text her that the roundabout I described and 89A (alternate) is the best I can do for directions, and I will meet her on Mingus Mountain. I don’t worry because I know she has been to Jerome so should be able to find it.
Somehow she pulls up just minutes from my arrival at the summit! I knew she could find it. The road to the boondocking sites is covered in the same fine dust as the road that went into Wolf Creek. People are camped everywhere it seems and who can blame them. Even home bodies need new scenery at times!! I explain my reluctance about those powdery dusty roads and it sifting into my back hatch and she mentions Cottonwood. Cottonwood is located down in the desert and I know there is no shade from what other people who have camped there have said, but she thinks it’s the only place we can get information so–OKAY! Head to Cottonwood!
The road down into the valley is another one of those two-lane, side-winder type roads of steep descent. I put the Honda in 2nd gear and crawl down the tarmac behind my Camp Buddy along with dozens of other vehicles of all types (I can smell the heated brakes of a pickup hauling a large travel trailer) the 12 miles or so it is to Jerome—can’t wait to see this town on the way back—and then on down into the little spot in the road, the name escapes me, between Jerome and Cottonwood.
Sylvia gets her info from the gas station where she pulls in and treats herself to an ice cream sandwich. I assure her I do not want one. With tongue in cheek I ask about shade in the Verde Valley of which there is none. I know this because I know people who have camped there and it’s okay for the winter months, but desert is desert. I think she just had boondocking on her mind and not as cold at night, but I can’t do without shade. After a brief rest, we head back up to Jerome and although the town is packed with the hoards needing to get out of their homes just as we want to do, we find a few places here and there to park to grab some photos. This little berg is literally perched on the hillside and Old Town Jerome would be a wonderful place to spend time some day. No Old Town photos, but did get a couple of the old copper pit and another section of the lower part.
Once back on top of Mingus Mountain we are fortunate to get sites at the Potato Patch Campground. Paying for two nights we settle into our respective spots. I have purchased a couple of new camping items and am eager to try them out. The dogs run line is put up and they are leashed to it, and I set out to put up the pop-up (sets up in 60 seconds!!) screen room. About ten minutes into it I am muttering to myself and spewing out a few expletives. Sixty seconds my ***** is just one of them. It doesn’t help that the instruction tag attached to this thing isn’t in English, but I do eventually look closer at the pictures. Oh. I have the dang thing upside down. Well shoot. Now to get it turned over (it is 10′ by 15′) without ruining the screening. I am here to tell you it CAN be done, but wasn’t easy. LOL. I then struggle with trying to figure out how the legs extend, but it is just a bit easier than figuring out it was upside down. I am too tired to be doing this, but I carry on. Eventually it is up, a bit dirty, but still intact and I get it over the cement table.
The new hammock has to be a lot easier than the screen room to put up, but I am whacked. My energy these days doesn’t last long, and as much as I am looking forward to a long lounge in that hammock it is going to have to wait until either later this evening or tomorrow. The dogs still need a walk. It is a short one, but it’s all I can do. We pass this relic and grab a shot of the old-time version of a camp table according to our government. How cool is this? I am thrilled something like this has survived.
Back at camp and not having proper extended walks for most of the summer due to excessive heat, I forgot how much energy the Chiweenie Brothers have pent up in those poor little bodies. While they do really really well with the bicycles cruising by and haven’t even barked at the little kids with their scooters whizzing by on the downhill road going by the campsite, The Boys go berserk when someone walks by with their dog; and there are a lot of dogs in the campground. I get beyond frustrated with them.
It is not only annoying, but disturbs the peacefulness and the relaxation I am looking for as I am sure the rest of those in the campground are also looking for. I do the best I can with keeping them quiet, but add in those who don’t have dogs, or don’t know dogs and walk up to them with their hands out toward them wanting to say hi . . . They mean well, but haven’t a clue. The Chiweenie Brothers are the best watch dogs ever, but like many they do not want to be reached for or touched by a stranger and especially not on their territory. This spot is their home and they act accordingly. I hate to do it, but out of frustration put their muzzles on. All three of us hate it! Much of the trip was already history before I resorted to this so they weren’t in them very long.
A group heads out for a hike
After the first night…Which is cool, but not as blessedly cool as White Spar had been…my Camp Buddy says she fell over the guy line on her tent and tells me she may have broken a bone alongside or under, I can’t remember which, her humerus but shows me her knee. She is nauseous, too, and asks if I will help her take down her camp. Of course, but I mention that I wish she had asked me earlier. She gives me an odd little smile. It’s later in the afternoon, but I begin taking down her tent which solidifies my reason for not using a tent of my own (UGH!! Hate ’em!!)), and after removing the contents which includes a box of books, two large tables and several side tables along with her bed which she will sleep on outside tonight, and various other things, she tells me where to put things in her vehicle; at least those that can go in now. Some have to wait until morning. And then the undelivered texts come through! Jeez. Ah, well, it is what it is.
In the morning there’s the rest of her stuff to pack. Another table, very heavy and the other folding tables that couldn’t be put in her vehicle yesterday, her bedding, many blankets, water, shovel, rake, ect. I finish getting her packed up and she is eventually ready to head out claiming she is okay as long as she is seated, and she heads for Phoenix.
I need to finish packing up my own camp and thankfully it doesn’t take long; there isn’t much as I took down the screen room and packed the camp stove, kitchen stuff, and food after packing most of Sylvia’s camp yesterday. That done, I heave a sigh of relief, get the dogs loaded, then plug Yarnell into my GPS heading out to 89A and then along a different route that branches off, seeing some new country.
New boondocking sites are noted along this road (Williamson) along with some granite dells, and just before dropping down into Skull Valley I spot smoke laying over the valley! OH NO!! Not another fire!!! As with California, Oregon, and Washington Arizona has had many wildfires this year. Human caused.
We gas up just north of Congress. I contemplate spending a night off Ghost Town Road in Congress, but it is too warm down here. I have stayed there before in years past and was fortunate to find a shade tree, but that can’t be guaranteed and I am too tired to deal so on we go. We head on through the desert taking Hwy 71 to 60 then catching I-10 and arrive home a bit before noon.
It’s very warm, supposedly the last day of the high 90s, and the casita needs cooling down, but the first order of business is getting The Boys into the back yard, then getting the cooler going. Energy expended from a nice-but-not-as-relaxing-as-expected camping trip deems unloading the car will have to wait.
I lie on my comfy bed under the cooler, the boys running in and out of the back door of our one room oasis checking their backyard for intruders. It feels good to be horizonal, the cool air flowing over me and getting my room down to a decent temperature. Before falling asleep I think about the next trip the Chiweenie Brothers and I will take. It is so much fun to plan, and there are lots of places in Arizona to explore now that the weather will cooling off soon and before the next wave of Covid potentially keeps us in lockdown again.
My last thought before drifting off for an hour’s nap is that surely November will bring the temps down into the 80s. The first week of October continued to break records with highs in the triple digits, and since then high to mid-90s has ruled. The weatherman tells us we are heading into lower temps and should get some wonderful relief next week, but I am not counting my chickens. Playing it by ear. Keeping from hoping too hard. This is, after all, the year 2020!
CURRENT and PREVIOUS READS: The Institute, Stephen King, The Outsider, Stephen King, Room 15, Charles Harris.
Potato Patch Campground. Forest Service. Electric sites in the first loop closest to the camp host is $18 per night, regular sites in lower loop, $14 per night half price with senior passes. Vault toilets, water, tables, firepits. Hiking trails of various lengths.
The steady climb up Hwy 126 takes us up to over 7000 feet so it’s nice and cool compared to the valley below. The Chiweenie Brothers, heads out the window, give our new temporary home the once over.
I back in, then begin getting The Boys’ cabled run set up. I like them to have as much freedom as possible and the 25ft coated cable allows them some wandering room while still being in compliance with the ‘dogs must be leashed rule’. Once the cable is looped around two trees and secured I get the two wiggle worms on their leashes and the leashes attached to the cable. I begin setting up camp.
This camp ground consists of a small loop that contains 15 or so campsites. There is a vault toilet and water. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and paved parking. We get lucky 13, a nice shaded site in the afternoon.
The water pump also serves as a good upper body workout device!
The campground loop itself serves well as a good cardio walk as it is not level, but there is also a trail that goes back into the forest. Wildflowers are abloom, too.
The view out our backdoors
The Boys spend time digging for squirrels and chasing lizards,
and these cute little golden mantle squirrels abound!
We thoroughly enjoy our almost two weeks here in the mountains near Cuba NM.
Last night’s temps in Farmington NM made it all the way down to 70. A hot and sticky night. We’re outta here!
Still heading east we get very close to the beautiful little town of Aztec again. If I had known at this point that my photos of the Aztec Ruins were gone forever I would have gone back and taken the tour again. But I didn’t know, and we continue on oblivious to what we are letting go.
At Bloomfield we catch Hwy 550 heading south. It’s a long, hot drive. I don’t run the air conditioner in the van. Sounds stupid, I know, but it seems to make the oppressive heat even worse when we stop so I keep it off.
There isn’t much out along this piece of New Mexico, but there are gas stations and a few tiny towns. The Chaco Canyon and more ruins are along this stretch of highway, BUT, as much as I would like to take that in I am not wanting to bump along 20 miles of washboard dirt road to get there in this heat. Another time—in the dead of winter—would be good time to see it.
550 goes from blah flat desert with nothing but greasewood to these interesting sandstone bluffs and rock formations. What starts out as a boring, hot drive, turns into an interesting hot drive. It actually goes back and forth between the two landscapes.
We eventually make it to Cuba. Not THAT Cuba. Cuba, New Mexico, a tiny little town with all the basics: Family Dollar, gas stations, a grocer, laundromat, AND a small library. I get the chores done.
A search on freecampsites.net yields a review of Hwy 126 to Fenton Lake State Park, the place we are looking for. It’s a shortcut that takes 70 miles off the trip to the park. The reviewer says the last six miles are rugged. Slow and steady would make six miles okay, but I also ask the tattooed, earring wearing clerk at Family Dollar about this Hwy 126. Is it good road? “Sure is, as far I know. Good road all the way, but it climbs and is a twisty turny mountain road,” he says. We can deal with that!!
Supplied up, things on ice, and plenty of gas in MissAdventure we head back to the beginning of Hwy 126. That clerk wasn’t kidding. The road begins to climb almost immediately and we are soon twisting and turning our way into heavy timber. The air is getting cooler. Oh my, I love this!!
About 18 miles in, and this is just a guess, we come to the dirt part of the road. There is a sign that says ’26 miles of dirt road, not maintained’. WHAT??? That reviewer on freecampsites must have made a typo, or was being a smart alec. Six miles is one thing, 26 is another. Ain’t happening.
I get the van turned around just in time to get out of the way of a small white car barreling down the dirt road enveloped in a cloud of dust. Some days I am just so happy with the decisions I make, and I pat myself on the back to just saying NO to this road.
We explore a few of the roads leading back into the National Forest where we could easily boondock, but nothing appeals to me. I am tired from the drive in the heat along Hwy 550. I remember a Forest Service campground back a ways, and I decide to check into that.
The Rio De las Vacas campground in the Santa Fe National Forest is $5 per night with senior pass. We pull into a spot that will give us afternoon shade and set up camp. It’s a wonderful 78 degrees here, and here we will stay at least through the weekend.
It’s almost the end of September. We are about 10 miles inland from the coast, and the nights are cool and the days pleasant. Sparse traffic makes for a peaceful camp, and The Chiweenie Brothers and I enjoy lots of long, leisurely walks along paved road.
I had not planned on staying so long here, although it’s a lovely campground, but an order I placed with Amazon is taking its sweet time to arrive. Part of the order has been delivered, but the other half is napping in Salt Lake City ….
My phone doesn’t work here, but I can text. My Mobely hotspot signal comes and goes, but at least it works sometimes. It’s all good. The boys and I deal with what’s handed to us and make do, happily. Most times. Ha!
Beside the walks, I read and crochet and check Amazon a dozen times a day to see where the other half of my order is languishing. We drive into Port Orford to purchase ice and a few supplies and drive down to the harbor. The view of the bay provides a gorilla’s profile in the large rock in front of us. Do you see it?
How about a cow’s face in a tree at our camp site?
Back at camp I fill out another tag and write out another check for three more days then take the boys for a walk where we discover Mr. Wooly Bear caterpillar. Next spring he will become a tiger moth. Folklore says you can predict the weather by how much black is on the coat of the wooly bear. The more black on their coat the colder and wetter the winter will be. Looks to me like it’s almost a tossup this year.
We continue to bide our time over the weekend, and finally, FINALLY, on Tuesday the package is delivered. Amazon’s Prime 2-day delivery only took a week :), but you gotta love UPS! Those dudes will deliver anywhere; right up to our campsite at Edson Creek Campground in Sixes, Oregon.
It’s late in the afternoon by the time my Amazon order arrives so we will stay another night here then head south early tomorrow morning on the last leg of our Oregon Coast summer trip. Getting so excited to see family and friends.
Thanks for stopping by!!! Hugs, Shawna and The Boys
CAMP AMENITIES Water: Yes. I spigot near Host’s site Garbage: Yes Bathrooms: Yes, vault Electricity: No Tables: Yes Shower: No Fire Pit: Yes BBQ: Grate on fire pit, but is non-adjustable # of Sites: 20 Fee: $8 per night, seniors with pass $4 Other:
As we leave the valley floor behind after our visit to Unity, Oregon and the history of the fight for water from the Burnt River, we begin to climb in elevation. I am very happy about this as it will mean a respite from the building heat.
Amongst the tall pines we find the Forest Service campground, Wetmore, and it’s totally empty. I choose a nice shaded site and we settle in. The breeze floating through the pine boughs murmurs a sweet welcome.
After lunch the boys and I take a nap. A few people drive through but no one stays; perhaps because it’s right by the highway? I do not find the sparse traffic annoying, and here we will stay for five days. Tomorrow we will explore the walking trail.
There is a lovely walking trail between Wetmore and the next campground, Yellow Pine, and only a half mile hike. It does have a couple of switchbacks to gain some elevation, but it’s an easy walk. The Chiweenie Brothers and I walk this every morning.
We hate to leave this camp, but supplies are
running low. Time to move on. Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel.com Hugs, Shawna
Water: Yes Garbage: No
Bathrooms: Vault Toilet at upper tier Electricity: No
Tables: Yes Shower: No
Fire Pit: Yes BBQ: No
# of Sites: !2 Fee: $5/$2.50
Other: Don’t leave your doors open at night. Lots of mice. Ask me how I know this. 😦 — But it’s okay. The Chiweenie Brothers are perfecting their eradication skills.
June 29, 2018. We leave Moses Lake after our morning routine is taken care of; The boys are fed, I’ve had coffee, and The Chiweenie Brothers get another romp in the dog park.
As the sun climbs higher and the day gets warmer, we take Hwy 17 south scouting for places to call home for the night. Sometimes that has worked out better than planning too far ahead or travelling too far in one day to reach a certain point. . . sometimes it doesn’t. Today it works out.
Seeing a sign for a Bureau of Reclamation reservoir called Scooteney, I make a right turn into the area and we drive down to the lake to check things out. Nice campground! A bit higher than we would pay in a national forest camp, but the heat has been building and I am already hating it. Just looking at the large shade trees and that blue, cool water makes me feel better.
The picnic area at Scooteney
I find a spot to my liking–site number 18–that has a good shrubbery fence that will at least keep the ice chest side of the van shaded. Even block ice isn’t lasting long in this heat. There is also enough privacy to allow me to keep the side doors (with lace curtains drawn) open and the back doors cracked open letting in enough air to keep it a bit cooler
in the green beast than it otherwise would be.
The boys are beyond excited to check out our new digs. I leash them up, and in their eagerness to check things out I am practically dragged along on the way to the pay station. WHOA! Settle down you little hooligans! I pay half (it’s that senior thing again!) at $7.50. Getting a little wild with my money 🙂 Checkout time isn’t until 2:00 p.m. Unusual, but nice! We can lollygag all we want tomorrow morning.
It’s a busy campground, but not an inconsiderate bunch in the lot.
Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna
CAMP AMENITIES Water: Yes Garbage: Yes Bathrooms: Yes Electricity: No Tables: Yes Shower: No Fire Pit: Yes, with grate BBQ: No # of Sites: 20+ Fee: $15, $7.50 with senior discount
Other: Lots of lush green grass, huge shade trees in the expansive picnic area, a boat launch, observation decks in several places overlooking the lake. Paved road, paved parking at each site, tent pads, water spigots strategically placed between campsites as well as garbage cans.
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!
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.
The copper smelter
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.
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.
May 24, 2018, with Montpelier ID as our intended destination, we head north on Hwy 30 and leave Wyoming behind.
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.
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
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.
Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!
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.