When the summer job ended, we spent just about a month at and around home, watching the grass grow, and mowing it, doing a few short trips, and generally getting things organized. Finally, the small helicopter chipped in with some substantial income of it’s own. It was so successful that I had to turn down potential job offers this winter. North of Ft McMurray, in winter = Brrrrrr! While I’d love to check out the country, it would have meant living in a camp, without Hailey, so of course I declined. But time will tell whether the lucrative contacts will be available in the spring?
It was a beautiful fall; and the grass was green and growing much later than usual. In most areas surrounding us, there had already been a taste of snow, but none had fallen yet at home. But since it was inevitable, and would make traveling more challenging, I decided to get good and gone while the gettin’ was good.
With the truck camper off and safely stashed for the winter, and the fifth wheel loaded, we were soon off and down the road. Knowing the routine, everyone soon assumed their travel positions.
We didn’t have a particular route in mind, but the first leg ended up going pretty much straight south. We knew there was no longer any good food to be had at DogPound North, so we didn’t even slow down in that area. Continuing down Hwy 22 later in the day, after a post noon departure, we stopped near Chain Lakes Provincial Park for the night. Temps dipped well below freezing, but with the rig winterized, we were moving once again early in the morning. At highway 3, it was westbound through the Crowsnest Pass and always amazing Frank’s Slide, fighting the usual strong headwind. It might have been better, but they had left all those windmills running at full speed! Of course we fueled up before leaving Alberta, as rates are a lot higher in BC, as we noted at a station in Fernie.
We crossed into Idaho south of Cranbrook, and there was no line-up and no hassles at all, tho Hailey decided to hiss at and threaten the nice customs lady! A left turn at Sandpoint, Id, took us down the side of Pend Oreille lake, and then along the Clark Fork river.
It was tempting to spend another night, but it was a bit cloudy in the morning, so we decided to move on. Several other National Forest campgrounds were checked out along the way. Most were not charging fees – not sure if it was because of the US govt shutdown, or just the end of the season.
Eventually we found a very tiny, almost hidden camp spot on the banks of the Clark Fork, not far from St Regis. The turnoff was only marked with a tiny sign and we had to turn around to go back to it. The only drawback was that it was directly beside a railroad trestle – which meant a bit of noise at various times of the day and night. But we still enjoyed sitting around the first campfire of the trip.
After a brief stint on the I-90, we found ourselves in Missoula Mt. This was an opportunity to stock up on groceries, propane, fuel ($3.89 – diesel), and the nice Cenex station had a winterized water hose that we used to fill up the tanks, assuming we will be beyond most of the frost danger from here on south.
Heading out of town on the highway 93, I wondered if camping was available at the Lee Metcalf NWR, but just before getting there, we turned off on Bass Creek road, and found a very nice NF (Charles Waters) campground on the other side of the highway. There was eight or ten other units there, and even a host, but it was still free.
It was a bit of a challenge finding the satellite feed between the trees, but I got it on first try. Lots of good firewood available right across the road in a thinning operation, so another evening campfire was enjoyed under a full moon.
Sure nice to be on the road again – just cruising along with no particular schedule or destination in mind. I don’t know how the ‘campground with full hookups with reservation people’ can do it that way?
The Bayfield Bunch should be just about ready for departure from way over there in Ontario, John & Brenda are already in Arizona with their horses, and even Wandering Willy made a brief appearance on Facebook, though he travels in blogging stealth mode now! Looking forward to seeing all of the gang, when we reach our respective warm sunny destinations.
Anyway, come along for another winters’ travel in the south. Who knows where we’ll be next?