Montana Trip Finale.

The entries for this trip are disjointed, I know, and there are reasons, of course. I would share all those reasons but it would sound a lot like whining so I’ll just give you the main reason.

OK, I’ll give you a few of them.

First, my laptop is old and slow like molasses all the time. No amount of searching on the internet, when we had it, revealed a viable solution so I struggled with the long wait times. It reminded me of when I first got involved with computers (1989) when slow was the norm. Now, however, everything is supposed to be lighting fast, like when the laptop was new (2010, I think).

Then there was the internet problem. Most of the campgrounds had wifi, but in all cases it was a iffy connection to a slow service. Diane and I found that using our iPhones as a hot spot worked far better (when we had a cell signal).

Other reasons for scattered input involved laziness. I was on vacation and simply found it more relaxing to just zone out on the sofa, watching TV, until time for bed. That was one really good thing about all the camping sites – we had a good look at the southern sky that ensured contact with the Dish satellites. Just like being home, almost. I don’t like using that term because it conjures the question, “then why didn’t you just stay home?” So, I shy away from that one so forget I said that.

Also, most of our RV trips only last 4-5 days at a time but this one stretched to 18 days. I know that’s true because that’s how many pair of underwear I packed and I used every one of them. I also packed just enough pills to make it all the way to the end and ran out the day we got home. That was last Thursday, September 30th.

The last excuse I have for not keeping up with our travels is that we had to change our route because of forest fires and rumors that Highway 12 had been closed where it crosses into the Indian Reservation to stop the spread of COVID. Instead of verifying the latter, we just chose to head north back through Coeur d’Alene to Spokane. That one wore my head out even though I was not part of the planning process to find an alternate route. The ladies did all that.

From Drummond, Montana, the name that may not be correct, and the Ghost Town attraction, we headed west. That’s the direction both those arrows indicate, but we used I-90 instead of Drummond Frontage Road, which passes by the Bearmouth Chalet and RV park.

That’s Terry & Cliff resting.

When we got to Missoula, just a few miles west of Bearmouth, or Drummond (your choice), we stopped to take a peak at Fort Missoula which was not far off route. when we finally weaved our RVs through a seemingly endless number of full parking lots, we found some space in front of the Military Museum. As luck would have it, that was my main choice of places to look at.

While trying to avoid active sprinklers, I got to a dry sidewalk and saw this lashup which intrigued me.

The hose runs off to one of the sprinklers running in the area.

This apparently intrigued me so much that I either failed to take photos inside the museum, or I took ’em and lost ’em. We may never know. I just know I can’t find them, yet.

one of On the grounds outside the museum we discovered all manner of interesting things. This was my favorites ……..

There was also a steam engine that belongs to Willamette Iron & Steel Works in Portland, Oregon. That true. there was a label on it …

In an attempt to curb vandalism, they put a sign on it to dissuade climbers,

… but there’s one in every crowd, right?

Actually, I asked Terry to step up there so I could take his photo for this very purpose. He didn’t hesitate but he didn’t see the sign, either. It was OK, though, because no one was looking but us.

There was this enormous steam tractor, too, that was connected to a portable sawmill. Fascinating.

After the park and museum, we continued our journey west toward Spokane. Since we fiddled around a while at the fort, we made it a short day by stopping at the River’s Edge RV park in Alberton, Montana. It was handy, between I-90 and the Clark Fork River. I think Diane found it. It’s a nice park once you find the spot assigned. It was very confusing, but we worked it out and got parked OK. Supper was left overs from previous meals at table #5 on the river, about 50 feet from our parking spot.

Home

In Spokane we were going to stay at the Elks Lodge but upon arriving at the address we found on the internet we found that the entire building had been torn down. We found another address for it but couldn’t find it so we stayed at the Eagle’s Lodge instead. It was OK but it poured down rain in the night. That sounds like a complaint, but it isn’t. It was an observation.

From Spokane we drove south to Umatilla and stayed at a city park right on the river. It was Exit 1 after crossing the Columbia. Diane and I left the other two RV’s at Spokane because Terry was having transmission problems that needed attention and he didn’t want to take a chance of catastrophic failure on the freeway. Cliff an Susie stayed with him an Carolann to help. We went ahead because my pills ran out on Thursday and we had to be home before then. As it turned out, they acquired a workable solution that allowed them to follow about 3 hours behind us. They alerted us when they were 20 miles out so Diane and I took a walk round the park and found a bench to perch on so we could see them coming down the road.

And, there they were!

We all had good spots in the park, enjoyed the evening with a group dinner, then headed west on I-84 for The Dalles the following morning. We only made one stop along the way, not too far past Boardman.

In The Dalles we stayed at the Eagle’s Lodge parking lot (with hookups). For dinner we went to Cousin’s Restaurant. Turns out it wasn’t nearly as good as it used to be so we crossed it off out list for the near future. We took a little trip around town near our parking spots, and I found this street …

We didn’t linger here, but headed back to the ranch post haste.

Diane and I headed home the next morning but the other two couples wanted to stay another night because of the weather report. They didn’t want to get home and unpack in the rain that was forecast. So, Diane and I went on ahead.

The trip through the Columbia River Gorge was extremely windy (not uncommon) and it poured rain on us the entire way. So, the weather report Terry heard was correct.

We got home in time for me to take my last batch of pills so all is good.

As I finish this, we’ve been home just a week.

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