Cabin City, MT

Taking my friends suggestions

After staying a couple of days at the North Shore campground outside of Trout Creek, MT, I continued my trek south to a USFS campground just a few miles north of Saint Regis, MT.  My friends Linda and Carole, who were part of the caravan through Canada, I stopped here and highly recommended it. Thanks Linda and Carole for the great suggestion!

I get a lot of recommendations from many people suggesting, “I stop at different places” or “don’t forget to see this”.  Of course I can’t fit everything into my schedule, but I do try to check as many out as I can.

Although Saint Regis was a bit out of my way I thought I would check it out anyway.  Just 11 miles north of Saint Regis is a very small town called Cabin City where I found a wonderful campground.  They have two loops and I found a nice spot in Loop B.  There was no electricity or dump station, but they did have water.

I found this campsite, which had lots of room and settled in.

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They had a new camp host who was a gold miner and we had several good conversations about finding gold and camp hosting.  He was really a great guy.  Just in front of where I had the Sami parked was a dirt road that led into the forest.  However it was closed, so couldn’t drive down it.  But Chica and I took a nice long hike down it to see what was there.

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We found a beautiful patch of flowers.

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All around the campsite were trails that led off into the forest.  It was very dense up there and since we were in bear country I decided that it would not be a good idea to have Chica as bear bait so we stayed close to our camp.

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Bear in camp

The first night in our camp the host came by to warn us that a bear had come into someone’s camp in the other loop and ransacked their food.  The lady was camping in a tent and was able to scare the bear off, but not after it had destroyed most of her food.

This was a case where a camper was too complacent about keeping their food in a vehicle.  The host told me that she had all her food out on the table and it was easy pickins’ for the bear.  DUH!! Not too smart.  When up in bear country you need to take precautions and not invite the bear into your camp for a meal.  Oh well, live and learn.  At least no one was injured.

I did not hear anymore about the bear the next day and two days later we will make our way toward Missoula, MT and then Victor, MT for a couple of days with my friends at their ranch.

Kootenai Falls, MT

Kootenai Falls were spectacular

The last thing I wanted to do before leaving the Libby area was to hike to the Kootenai falls.  I was going to drive out there Monday since I thought I would be driving east when leaving Libby, however after talking to Butch, the camp host, he suggested driving a different route to the Missoula area.

This would take me past the falls so I decided to head to the laundromat and did about two weeks of dirty clothes.  I’m glad I got that done so I wouldn’t need to look for a laundromat later on down the road.

So I got all hooked up and headed west toward Troy, MT.  The falls were about 11 miles out of Libby and you could tell where they were by all the parked RVs and cars.

It was a short hike to a swinging bridge where you could get a great view of the river.  There were signs posted stating how dangerous the river is in the spot.  Nine people have lost their lives including rescuers attempting to save others.  I hiked to the swinging bridge and took this pic from it.

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This was taken from the trail leading to the bridge.

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Finally as I was returning I discovered a trail that led closer to the falls.  What a view this was.

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Heading South

My plan was to head west and then south to Thompson Falls, MT.  But as I was traveling down Highway 200 I noticed along the Noxon Reservoir many signs indicating National Forest campgrounds.  I decided to stop for a minute and check in my “Free Campgrounds” book what was available in the area.  I found many in the area and headed for the North Shore NFS Campground just outside of the town of Trout Creek, MT.  What a find!

There were quite a few campers there but I was lucky to find a nice site among the trees.  It also looked like it might be a good spot for my solar panels as well.  Plus the cost was only $5 per night with my “Geezer Card”.  I paid for two nights and got settled in.

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I am behind on my blogging and I apologize, but unfortunately I have been in areas where I have very poor Internet access.  Sometimes I can get on and other times forget it.  As far as uploading pics it is very slow.  The pics in this post took between 20-30 minutes EACH.  I can normally upload 10-15 pics in just a few minutes with a good Internet signal.  I am hoping I can catch up once I get to Missoula tomorrow.

Too HOT…Gotta Go

Wifi at library

The other day I was looking for the post office to check that I could have my mail sent there by General Delivery.  I found it on Main St. (which is not even a main street) and they confirmed that I could have it sent there.  I then contacted Escapees Mail Service to have them send it out. 

But right across the street from the post office was the library.  Great!! I can now use the library’s Wifi to send and receive email and publish my posts.  I have been using McDonald’s, but I felt compelled to buy lunch and their Wifi was not very fast.

I used the library to publish my last two posts and found it to be quite fast.  I need a fast Internet in order to upload my pics.  Plus the library also has a nice picnic table out front that I can use for my phone calls.

Libby Dam Tour

I returned to the Libby Dam for a free tour.  What an amazing tour that was.  You are able to walk across the top of the dam and peer over both of the sides.  One side you are looking down about 20 feet to the water of Lake Koocanusa, while on the other side you are looking down about 300 feet to the bottom of the dam and the Kootenai River.

Then they take you about 300 feet down to the bottom of the dam where they showed the generators that produce the electricity.  The tour guides took us into one of the rooms that housed a generator that was a backup and not on line.  There they explained how they work and we could be right in the same room as the generator.

Next they let us peek into a room that housed a generator that was on line.  It was extremely loud and we could only remain there for a very short time.

They also showed us the large crane inside the dam that could move the huge parts that make up a generator.  It could lift 300 million tons.  Some of the parts of the generator weighed 250 million tons.  The company that sold them the generators they learned was going out of business so they decided to buy up as many spare parts as their budget would allow, so there were many spare parts in huge boxes around.

We then ventured out to look at the spillway.  We could actually get right up to the edge of the spillway but you got very wet.  It was very exciting seeing so much water coming through the gate up top of the spillway.  We were just to the left of the spillway at the very bottom of the dam, behind the cement wall you see in the next pic.

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Need Propane

I have a 5 gallon propane container hooked up to my rig using an “Extend-A-Stay”.  I run all my propane off this tank and when it runs out I switch it over to the propane tank on my rig.  Then I take the external tank into town and get it refilled.  This way I always have propane and don’t have to drive my rig into town to refill it.  Well I had to find propane for my tank and just happened to be driving past an RV park that sold it. 

Tanks are full

My tanks need to be dumped and the ladies I had met a few days ago told me about an RV park about 1-½ miles from here that would let me dump my tanks for $5.  That may sound like a lot to just dump your tank, but they are in the forest and aren’t connected to a sewer system.  Plus driving into town will cost me more then double the $5.

I will have to button down all the hatches and put everything away in order to drive down there.  The last time I dumped my tanks was 13 days ago at the Fish Creek campground in Glacier National Park.  I could probably go one more day making it 2 weeks since the last dump, but I don’t want to be going down there on the busy weekend.

Hot…Hot… and Hotter…

Yesterday it was extremely hot.  Not sure what the temp was but heard on the radio they were getting temps in Phoenix of 115-120.  That is too hot for my blood.  We sat outside in the shade but to no avail.  Outside the flies would drive you crazy.   Even Chica noticed how hot it was so I put her in the sink and dribbled water on her to cool her off. She really loved that.  Sorry no pic.

It was even hot into the night so I had the vent over my bed in the loft wide open and still couldn’t cool off.  Hopefully tomorrow will be much cooler.

I discovered a local that lives about ½ mile from my campsite that sells fresh eggs for $2 per dozen.  I have gone from eating eggs and bacon daily to just eating Eggbeaters and no bacon.  I know eggs aren’t the best things to eat on a daily basis, but I will only be here a short time so decided to try their fresh eggs.  There is nothing like them.  They taste so much better then store bought.  I first started eating fresh eggs last year when I was camp hosting in Oregon.  YUM YUM!!

Chica hates dumpsters…

Every morning I would take Chica for a walk around the park.  I would also take my trash with me and throw it away in the dumpster at the other side of the park.  When I would get anywhere near the dumpster Chica would freak out and refuse to go near it. 

When I found Chica in Mesa, AZ (or should I say when Chica found me) I talked to several people around me to see if they knew her owner.  Joe and Jane who also worked with me at the ballpark said they had seen several Chihuahuas always hanging around the dumpster.  I guess they were looking for anything that didn’t make it into the dumpster.  I don’t know what scares Chica so much about the dumpster but there must be some reason why she is so afraid of them.  So now I will take the trash down there myself and not have to submit her to that awful reminder.  How could anyone hurt this little girl?

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Moving into Libby

There is a 14-day limit on staying here and I it also applies to all COE parks in the area so I have decided to move into Libby and stay at the Fireman and Memorial Municipal Park in town for $10 per night.  I will be able to avoid the holiday madness, plus I would have great cell phone/Internet service.

There are no hookups but they have a dump and water available, plus the park is really nice and located right in the heart of the town.  I can walk to everything here.  After driving back and forth into town I think I will like the fact I will have cell phone/Internet access and get a chance to catch up on the blogs I enjoy reading.

So I am only going to be at Blackwell Flats through July 2 then moving on July 3 to Libby. 

Change of plans

We decided to move in to Libby today and for now I am staying at the Woodland RV Park in town.  We both needed the A/C.  Today the high was going up to 102 degrees and with no A/C running it makes the inside of an RV like a hot box.  We  just need to get cooled off.  It sure is nice with the A/C running.

I still am planning on moving to the Fireman’s Municipal Memorial Park once I think it is cool enough.  There are lots of trees there and should keep us cool.

 

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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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And it rained…

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We were actually almost in the clouds.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

McGregor Lake, MT

McGregor Lake, MT

After Glacier National Park, I wasn’t sure where to head.  One thing I did know is that I wanted to stay away from expensive campgrounds.  The trip to Alberta put me way over my budget in just about every category.  It had to be cheap!

I pulled out my 2005 edition of Don Wright’s “Guide to Free Campgrounds”.  By far it is not the latest edition, but may give me some ideas as to where to stay.

My choice was a National Forest Campground on McGregor Lake just 32 miles west of Kalispell.  Not a bad day’s drive.  I wanted to stop in Kalispell at the WalMart to pick up some groceries.  I had it dialed into my trusty GPS, but when it said I arrived it was nowhere around.  Don’t you just love GPS when it has no idea where it is?  Several times in Alberta the GPS had us incorrectly going down dirt roads to our destination.  Sometimes you just have to ignore its directions.

I stopped and asked someone directions to the Walmart but they were no better then the GPS.  I finally gave up and went to a Smith’s instead.  By the way it was a fantastic market.

Then it was down the road to McGregor Lake.  This time the GPS had it right on. DUH!  Wouldn’t think that the GPS could miss a lake!

The “Guide to Free Campgrounds” said the campground would cost $8 per night with no hookups, but they did have water.  Well times have changed folks.  It is now $12 per night.  Still not bad when I only had to pay $6 with my geezer pass.

I drove around the park and just happened to get the only pull through in the park.  How lucky was that!

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Beautiful Lake but no communication

I checked out my cell phone and the dreaded “No Service” was showing.  My next option to communicate with the outside world was to plug in my Wi-Fi and booster.  Two RED lights appeared for 3G and 4G.  It said I had a connection but with the lights red it could not access the server.

I then decided to stay only one night and look for something tomorrow with at least Wi-Fi.  I took a hike around the campground and down to the lake.  I found these keys laying on a stump.  I hope the loser of the keys isn’t too upset.

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McGregor Lake is 5 miles long and the water was crystal clear.  I couldn’t see any fish, but I bet there were plenty of them.

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This was a trail that led through the picnic grounds and to the boat dock.

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If I could have gotten Wi-Fi I might have stayed here for several days, but in the morning I decided to move on to Libby, MT about 54 miles from here.  It is a good-sized town and I would expect it to have both cell service and Internet.

Glacier National Park (continued)

Moved to a new site

I had to change sites from Loop A to Loop B as A sites were all reserved for the next few days.  I decided to stay an additional 2 days to get to see more of Glacier’s beauty.  I had to wait until the people in the site I had reserved had left before I could move over there.  I then drove the car over and walked back to the rig, then drove the rig over and got all settled in.

Later on I drove over to the Discovery Cabin across from the Apgar Visitors Center just inside the West Glacier entrance.  It was a small cabin that contained a lot of interesting items.  They had many of the skulls of different animals within the park.  I found this display showing a variety of antlers of many animals.

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They also had a full coat of both the black bear and the grizzly bear to show you the difference between the two.  You could see the claws up close.  What a difference!  The grizzly claws were huge compared to the black bear.  I sure would not want to run into one of those guys.

I also heard a very educational talk on Glaciers by the ranger outside of the Discovery Cabin.  What I found very interesting was that there were 150 glaciers when Glacier became a national park back in 1910.  Today there are only 26 glaciers in the park and the ranger said that in 7 years there would be 0 glaciers.  Whether you believe in “Global Warming” or not it is hard to justify what is occurring in Glacier National Park.

Lake MacDonald Lodge and Falls

The next day I traveled to the other end of Lake MacDonald to the Lake MacDonald Lodge.  It was really a beautiful setting.

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The lobby was fantastically beautiful.

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This was taken standing on the pier in front of the lodge.

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Then I traveled further to the Lake MacDonald Falls.  What a mass of rushing water.

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Avalanche Creek Campground

Then my adventure took me to the Avalanche Creek Campground.  This was the end of the trail as the park was closed off at this point until they get the snow plowed.  The campground was closed for camping but actually became a big parking lot for all the hikers.

This picture does not really do this justice as it looks much more fantastic in person.  It is just up the road from Avalanche Creek Campground.

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Trail of the Cedars

Then I took the “Trail of the Cedars” hike.  It was a short hike (.8 mile), but takes you through a very deep cedar forest.  It is really beautiful.

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On my return trip to my campsite I took these pics of Lake MacDonald.

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It was a great day visiting just a few of the attractions of Glacier National Park.  The ranger in the Discovery Cabin told me that I should return after July 1 when all the roads are open.  She suggested the Logan Pass Trolley that takes you to many scenic spots.  You can also get off for pics and hiking and get on the next trolley.  I am not sure I will be in the area at that time, but for those of you who mentioned they were coming to the park around that time, I would highly recommend it.

No to slow Internet

It has taken me a while to upload this post.  I am in a spot where there is no Internet so I went into the town and my Millenicom WiFi was extremely slow.  So I am now in a McDonald’s using their fast WiFi.  I will be posting more in a couple of days regarding my present location.