A very nice advantage of Blogging

I received this email recently

Hi Jim,

My name is Molly. However my maiden name is Molly Blackwell and I’m originally from libby,  MT.  A  friend of mine sent me a link to you’re blog about Blackwell Flats.  And I have to say I enjoyed it very much.  I grew up I that very same spot and spent much of my childhood fly fishing right there.

My grandfather Lewis Blackwell moved to libby from Billings to build the libby dam. There was nothing out there so just above blackwell flats he built blackwell trailor court and that was for the men and their family’s building the dam.  it stayed long after the dam was built and turned into its own tiny town.  Laundry,  gas station,  grocery store….my aunt drove a garbage truck while my dad and uncle dumped the garbage.  Years after it closed Blackwell flats came to be and it was named after my grandfather. Just a little history.  Thank you for the story.  My grandpa would have loved to know it was being enjoyed.


I wrote her back asking permission to post her email on my blog.  Shen then wrote me the following email.

You can absolutely share that story…. There is a lot of fun history about libby.  We lived off hwy 2 heading towards troy.  So we were all over those trails and swinging bridge growing up.  If you get the chance the movie,  a river wild,  with kevin bacon and meryl streep was filmed at those falls. Also in the early 90’s I believe the movie,  always,  with john goodman was filmed on the other side towards kalispell out at the “airport”. I also read your other blogs about libby and the falls.  I just really enjoyed them all and it made me home sick. Thank you


Thrilled to get that email

It always makes me feel good when someone lets me know they enjoyed my blog.  But to have someone who actually grew up in that area is really special.  Then you get a sense of what it was like for them growing up.

I visited Libby back in June/July, 2013. just after my trip into Canada.  No one had mentioned Libby to me, but I just thought it looked interesting.  What a treasure that was.  Plus the camping was very cheap.

There are two blog posts that Molly is referring to:




There are several other blog posts about the Libby, MT area which you can read.  I loved this area and would highly recommend it to anyone traveling in Montana.

Pics from my stay in Libby.






Thanks Molly!!

Thanks Molly for the wonderful emails and a bit of history about Blackwell Flats and the Libby area.  It brought back great memories of my trip there.

Blackwell Flats Campground Part 2

Met my neighbors and a visit to Libby Dam

I finally met my neighbors today.  It turns out they are two very independent women who are traveling full time in their rig.  One is from England and the other is from South Africa.  They bought their rig and have been traveling in it since 2010.  They travel in it until there money runs out and then work for 6 months and then are on the road again.  This past year they toured the entire outside of mainland Mexico and are now on their way to Alaska.

They too have become fond of free camping spots as it gives them more time on the road before they have to return to work.

I decided to check out the Libby Dam just 4 miles up stream from my campsite.  It was closed for tours on Sunday so will have to return some time through the week.  I was able to check out their Visitor’s Center and it was very informative.  The dam is huge as you can see.




 It creates the giant Lake Koocanusa reservoir, which extends all the way into British Columbia.


I will return sometime during the week to take the free tour.  It should be really interesting.

Nice drive on a forest road

Later before returning to my campsite I found the two other Corps of Engineers parks.  Alexander Creek was closed but Dunn Creek Flats is open I will probably stay there once my time at Blackwell Flats is up.  Then I found an interesting forest road that I decided to check out.  It was a one-lane gravel road that went along Dunn Creek.


It was a very smooth road so I took it for 4 miles back into the forest.


What a neat ride.  This is what I really intended when I purchased my car.  To be able to venture down these old forest roads.


I went up the road to the 4 mile marker and then turned around.  This is a pic where it crossed the Dunn Creek.


It was a fun ride.  Looking at the map there are many of these forest roads to explore.  Hunters probably use them during the hunting season.

Today I awoke early to turn on the heat for Chica.  The weather has been very nice and I don’t even run the Wave 3 at night.  However it is overcast this morning and there was a small sprinkle last night.  I hope we aren’t in for more rain.  Anyway I happened to look out the window and saw these two in the meadow.  Unfortunately when I opened my door they heard it and took off shortly after this pic was taken.


Those two got even braver the next day and came down to the river at the next site over from mine.



I love this spot, as it is so tranquil.

Chica goes wild

Some of you have asked to include Chica in my blog more often.  I took this pic of her finishing off my Ben and Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns ice cream.  She loves it and so do I for that matter.  If you haven’t tried it you should.


Yesterday a group of picnickers came to the site next to mine.  Their huge Golden Retriever was not on a leash and happened to stroll into my campsite.  Chica could see it through the screen door and without even hesitating ran right out the door knocking it open.  She leaped off the step and was right in this dogs face.  The dog was big and must have weighed at least 75 lbs. but that made no difference to her.

The dog looked at her and slowly started heading back to its master.  I grabbed Chica and put her back in the rig.  I had to calm her down, as she wouldn’t stop barking.

I can leave my door open all day long and she will never go out of the rig until I call her.  Now I am going to have to fasten my screen door so that she doesn’t do the same thing again.  It could be an aggressive dog or even a wild animal next time.

Watch out for this wild animal the next time you are camping in the wild.


Both Chica and I are having a wonderful time in Montana!

Blackwell Flats Campground Part 1

Blackwell Flats Corps of Engineers Recreation Area – Libby, MT

In the “Guide to Free Campgrounds” I previously mentioned I found a park in Libby called the Fireman & Memorial Municipal Park.  They have RV sites there and the price in the guide was only $2 per night.  Plus they have water and a dump station.  That sounds like my kind of place.

I pulled it up on my GPS and started on my way.  It got me right to the place with no problem.  However economic times have changed drastically for this park.  Now they are charging $10 per night. Wow, what an increase!

I checked out my cell phone service and it was 3G so called my sister to let her know where I was located and then decided to see if I could find a cheaper spot.  Cheaper as in FREE.  HA!

I found a National Forest campground called Timberlane and figured with my geezer pass it wouldn’t be too expensive.  This showed up on my GPS and it was the closest campground to Libby.  So off I went.  But when I arrived the gate was closed.  What, no camping at the end of June!

I then looked for other campgrounds in the area using the extras on my GPS.  I had input campgrounds using the POI Factory website.  It came up with the Blackwell Flats Corps of Engineers campground.  I looked it up in the “Guide to Free Campgrounds” and it was listed and showed that there were 7 primitive sites, but no drinking water.  The cost listed was FREE.  That cost is more up my alley.  So off I went.

It turned out to be a great place with nice campsites along the Kootenai River.  What a deal.  It also had a picnic table and fire pit.  I found a great site that even had a cement slab so I was fairly level.  So this became my home for a while.

And then it rained…


And it rained…


We were actually almost in the clouds.



Weather is finely starting to clear up

When the heavy rain turned to a sprinkle I got this pic.  You can see the river flowing about 50 feet from us.  It is very picturesque.  I can’t wait until it stops raining.


So I cranked up my trusty Wave 3 heater and kicked back the remainder of the day and watched the rain.  The big excitement from then on was when a Corps of Engineer employee came over to tack some new reading material on their bulletin board.  It is about 100 feet from our rig.  Chica went absolutely berserk barking at this guy who is standing out in the rain.  She even started growling at him.  I wonder what she would have done if the guy happened to come over to our rig.

It finally stopped raining so got out my dish to see what I could get on TV.  I was able to get it set up and had quite a few channels.  But I am only about 50 miles from the Canadian border and it doesn’t give me all the channels.  Unfortunately I am unable to call Dish unless I drive into Libby, but my TV is out where there is no cell phone service, so I will just wait until I get in an area where both my cell phone and my satellite dish are operating.

I was all by myself here for several days while it rained.  Then a motorhome drove in here and parked and has been here for two nights.  Yesterday two more campers came by so the place was getting busy.  But this morning, everyone was gone but the motorhome and me.

I am planning on staying here until I need to dump, then I will go into the Fireman’s Memorial Park in Libby where I will stay for the night.  While I am there I can dump my tanks and take on fresh water.  Then I will move to another Corps of Engineers park called Dunn Flats where I can also camp free.  Dunn Flats COE is about ½ mile from here on the other side of the river.  I am in no hurry to get back on the road.  On the Alberta trip we were on the move quite often, sometimes every day.  I am in the mood to just settle down for a while, do some hiking and sightseeing in the area, and work on my rig.

Yesterday I had repaired a 12V bulb that had broken off in its socket.  I had to scrape all of the glass out of it.  I had a 12V bulb but it was too big so bought one at Ace.  I have been cleaning my rig and also need more cleaning supplies.  I also need to get all the dust out of it after the 2500 mile trip through Alberta.  I also organized my passenger seat compartments.  Now everything is at my fingertips while I am driving, including Chica.

The past couple of days have been very overcast although it has stopped raining.  Today I got up to bright blue skies with hardly a cloud.  Here is a pic of the Kootenai River as it flows nearby my campsite.


This is my campsite for the last several days and many days to come.


I am trying to post more often, but my poor Internet reception does not allow me to post until I drive into Libby, which is about 17 miles from here.  So I will post as often as I get into town.