last update is now at the top. You only need to scroll down if you missed
Thursday July 30
sort of took the day off today. Terry wanted to soak his back in the the
hop springs so late morning we took off for a mountain drive. When we go
for a drive we take the FS roads and it worked for us today. We went up
and over the Mt. range and came out the other side.
Rough rock base but better
than the (glad it dried) mud ruts we drive over a section of private land
The splendor of the forest
is overwhelming when you get immersed it it fro hours and this is all you
We are now back at the RV
park and Terry is off to the hot springs here in White Sulphur Springs,
MT. We are moving tomorrow up HW 89 to see where we will land.
Will spend the weekend in a primitive FS site we think we might like (or
should I say fit into) that we saw on our day trip yesterday. This is our
38 foot house we are pulling behind us and it doesn't fit just in any old
Forest Service campground. Then if it does fit, find one that you get a
southern view for the satellite dishes. There are trees out there in the
forests. Kind of hard to just go camping like many people do in vacation
mode anymore. But we will do our best to stay out of RV parks when we can.
Reasons why we have to explore ahead for places to stay. Makes for nice
day trips. You just can't pull off on an unknown FS road and hope you will
ever be able to get turned round again. But after all, it is
an adventure, me thinks. Got that me thinks thing in, Yea.
day trip was up HW 89 and the Kings Hill Scenic Byway, looking for our
next move to find the perfect campsite.
are still in White Sulphur Springs at Conestoga
rain stopped from last night and today was sunny and cool. We are looking
at Aspen campgropund in the NFS on the north side of the pass as our next
stop. Since I got my Old Peoples pass it is only $5 a day in these
may spend another day right here if Terry wants to soak his aking back
in the hot springs.
not in a hurry as Norcold just shipped our fridge door part via truck from
Ohio to Great Falls. MT. to a service center at Travel
it will take a few days. Me thinks this is about the only way I would slow
down and not be in vacation mode.
after several years, I get Hitch Itch after a day or two when
we are traveling. So works well for us to force us to stay awhile
and use Googel Earth to ... Find what is beyond the curve in the road ahead.
through the Lewis and Clark National Forest and Little Belt Mountains,
the Kings Hill Scenic Byway
allows travelers to leisurely savor the rugged beauty and invigorating
fresh air that are part of the Montana experience. Stretching 71 miles
along Highway 89, the Byway winds its way through pristine mountain lakes
and streams and is home to an abundant variety of wildlife. The gravel
roads criss-crossing the main highway lead to 450 miles of spectacular
mountain scenery, high country lakes, trailheads, campgrounds, and old
mines.(above from the www.byways.org
I think the sign above the building on the right sez Town Hall. Not
your tourest trap... I love this kind of town. We did stop down the street
at the green roof, and got a diet Dr. Pepper and Doritos Nacho Cheese chips
for the drive back to our RV park.
See waht you can find on
the FS roads.
We tried a few of the 450
miles of remote forest roads in this area.
If the (FS) Forest Service
road on our map looked like with it had a stream which might have fishing
for Terry, we tried it.
It was a great day of driving
and getting back to nature. This is really the first time as we got to
the middle of Montana that we have had the opportunity to get off the main
routes, let alone the interstates and see the real back country.
Roads like above is where tha action is at. (And this road is one of the
big wide back roads out there). (Most are one lane jobs.) Boondocking
campsites abound on these FS roads. We lookded a serveral, but as we are
pulling our home in a 38 foot version we have to search for a site that
we can get into and again out of. You just don't take a FS side road
with a big 5er and hope you will be able to find a great campsite. You
need to search these out, as day trips (without a 5er behind you) so you
know if you can get in a site, but the big thing is to get out again. But
that's the adventure...
Love the campers we see
tucked into that special site on a fishing stream, that we would kill to
be able to fit into. More power to them. We are fullimers and have a little
larger unit that we live in.
At least we try to find
places outside the normal parking lot type RV parks to land in. It's
an adventure after all.
We are between Yellowstone
and Glacier and not on the main routes between them. We have been there
and done that many years ago, so seeing what is not on the busy routes
is what we are looking for. To that point we felt we were at many
times the only people driving HW 89 today.
Went on to the north end
of HW 89 and stopped at the overlook of Sluice
Boxes State Park.
4293 feet. Since the 1860`s, this area has been mined for gold, silver,
and high-quality Yogo sapphires. All but the sapphire mines have been played
out, and you can spend a quiet afternoon fishing for trout and contemplating
busted (and fulfilled) dreams of glory. Old mines and ghost towns line
the railroad grade through the limestone canyon carved by Belt Creek. Once
upon a time, this area was lively with prospectors, miners, smelters, muleskinners,
and railroad men. Nowadays, the only ruckus comes from the many birds who
inhabit the riparian zone around the creek.
Stop back and see what we
decide to do next. So many choices.
your roving reporter Terry
been a while since I got to do an article, I fear that I might be
out of practice, but I will carry on. Last night after the rains
had passed to the East Ron and I went out to enjoy the sunset. The
wind had gone down and everything was peaceful and quiet. The horses
were happy in their pasture, and the trout were rising in the RV Park's,
all in all a bucolic scene.
morning we took of for points west on a day trip over toward Helena, and
Canyon Ferry Lake on the Missouri River. We went to the town of Townsend
then drove north along up the east side of the lake on HW 284. The
lake is massive, a thirty five mile drive north up the east side
to cross over on the dam.
And then back south on the
west side until shortly we had to climb up and over a 10% grade to get
more west toward the
Helena Valley Reservoir
in the map above.
were headed to the Spokane
Sapphire Mine to check out their fee to dig operation which is near
Helenaon the map above . The Mine was featured in a Discovery channel
program "Cash and Treasurers" a few years back and has made the place very
popular. I've got news for all of the would be sapphire seekers,
most of what you find is small, and when you cut the stone you loose at
least half of the stone, making your finished stone even smaller.
But like the web site says you will have a keep sake to treasure in the
years to come.
are a few of the gem stone seekers screening and washing their buckets
of gravel in search of the ever elusive sapphire. There were many
more people to the right of the photo, but I could not get them into the
picture and still have a good photo.
there was half the fun, we got slightly lost after we crossed the
dam. We were supposed to be on Canyon Ferry Road, but the road goes
around a corner and becomes Spokane Creek Rd with out any singage,
the Canyon Ferry Road is unmarked and takes off at the curve, needless
to say we were a bit confused, and had to backtrack, eventually finding
the right places to turn, then a few miles of gravel roads and we made
it to the mine.. We only yelled a very little bit.
thought the center pivot made for a very interesting picture, as it wound
its way around and around in the wheat field. Not a lot of dry land
farming, the hay field, bean fields wheat fields are all irrigated.
It makes for an interesting juxtaposition as we drive, one side of
the road is dry and brown and the other is green and lush.
the Spokane Mine we drove the west side of the lake on Hwy 12 to Townsend
for a few groceries and a late lunch. Here we are crossing back into
the Smith River drainage on our way back to White Sulpher Springs.
Ron wanted to stop at the Forest service office to get his Interagency
Senior pass while we were in the area, We had stopped yesterday but
the individual who was authorized to handle money and issue the passes
was not in the office to issue the pass. When we stopped today the
pass was available to be issued, The dirty little secret was that
the passes did not come in until this morning they had sold the last pass
on Friday and had to wait until today for their replacement passes to come
our new camping pass we will now get half price camping in the Forest service,
Corp of Engineers, BLM and some parks. Ron is excited about the possibilities.
we are waiting out the afternoon & PM rain shower waiting for supper.
map is clickable at www.byways.org
have landed in White Sulphur Springs (center bottom). Staying at Conestoga
Campground for $14 a day plus tax at the PassportAmerica rate. (good for
four days) We signed for 3 days to explore the area before heading north
on US 89. I'm sure before we pull north we'll do a day trip up there
to check out the campgrounds in the Lewis and Clark forest. Lots of gravel
side trips in the forest. We may take another day trip over to Helena just
because we can. Kings Hill Scenic Byway runs up from here to Belt. Read
its overview at www. byways.org
have hot springs here in town and a ghost town to the south. We landed
in the rain which continued most of the day and is just now sort of trying
to clear up a bit at 6 PM. The grounds are kind of wet as you can
see from the campground picture. There is a forest service office here
in town so since I turned 62 today we had to stop so I could get my Interagency
Senior pass for reduced rates at parks etc. Well the young person behind
the counter sez the person who can do that is not in today. They wont allow
her to do this task, handle money or some such thing. It costs $10 for
a lifetime permit. I told her that we were in the RV park for a few
days and would come back.
have to remember to call Norcold and make sure they are sending my fridge
door flapper part to the service center in Great Falls. Oh, life
on the road coordinating the small stuff can be so stressful.
is making chicken soup with home made noodles. I'll remember to say Yummy.
Sulphur Springs is another old railroad town and Terry found this left
left Miles City with waves from Jim who came out of the park office to
wish us well on our journey. How nice. On down I- 94 and US HW 12
combined, we had on and off heavy rain with huge drops. Conserned
about hail, we pulled over at a rast area that had a great view of the
Yellowstone River (see the picnic shelter on the far right) as we checked
the weather radio for condidtions ahead. Much lighting but no alerts so
After leaving I-94
at Forsyth HW 12 takes an out of the way route through the back country
along the old Milwaukee route. We saw less cars than we could count
on our hands.
(see below for maps)
The highlight was stopping at Ingomar and got a little history as we traveled.
We have landed at Harlowton, MT
at their city park. How cool, well not so cool if you like again 95 temps
The sign sez... This
park was so named for Chief Joseph. Leader fo the Nez Perce Indains. (learn
more about them) History states that he passed through to escape the"while
man." He was traveling to Canada and freedom. He surrendered just south
of the Canadian border near Chinock, Montana.
Now this campsite is $11
for 30 amp service... in this heat... we have our A/C single unit, fridge
and hot water heater on.
We are staying cool and
having a cool one, as for me a gin and tonic as I do the blog. Now you
will not believe this but we got here about 2:30 PM. I came off the road
and landed in good time for a change.
Howard Hollaway Arena made
possible by the Charles M Bair Family Trust the sign sez. How cool a family
providing this facility for the area. Nice stands and many out buildings
for livestock. Very fancy facility me thinks.
Terry went for a walk and
we need to add his adventures about what he found on the railroad that
made this town and area.
This is right on main street.
You can see this town was a big railraod town and prowd of it, rightfully
more about this very cool city.
Off to White Sulphur Springs,
MT on Monday. Only about 60 miles down the road. I will stop and not keep
on going as in my normal mode of operation. Terry is excited about
the hot springs and emailed them for rates etc. And the best part there
is a full service PassportAmerica RV park right in town for $16. We plan
on boondocking for weeks on end but for right now, till we get to those
places where we can, and in this heat, we are content to find RV parks
that offer GREAT rates. That's what it's all about, blending the best of
As an incitement to hurry
along our journey, Tad sent us a picture of the spot he has mowed for us
to land, at while visiting him in Roslyn, Washington.
Think that must be him weed
wacking on the far left.
Hold on Tad, we are on our
way, we'll get there. Site looks nice, thanks...
If I don't screw up, I will
be 62 tomorrow on 07/27/09. The first order of business is to get my Interangency
Senior Pass so we can get reduced entrance and camping fees. Not
to mention SS payments will start soon.
the 6 PM Updates below...
Big Sky camp hosts Jim and Amy stopped by to set the record straight about
what I had posted after they read my blog. I had left my card with them.
A little more about this park. See the main write up about this RV park
in my Friday post. They have a fantastic supply of tourist reading
materials. This is a tourist info center all in its own. If you are the
area this is the place to stay. This park has it all. Clean and neat. Well
done. Tell them HitchItch sent Ya... They
have a great web site Big
Sky Camp & RV park It is also listed in Streets and Trips
the rest of the story of what we had observed... and the Updates: (as in
City, MT our home for today since we signed up for another night atBig
Sky RV Park.
picture is of main street downtown.
have a river pond downtown and have made a swimming area out of it.
It is getting to be about 95 out and the swim area is not being used. Must
to be too hot for these kids.
Seems the kids tend to break out with chiggers or something and they are
trying to raise funds to build a new regular swimming pool. This pond is
drained in the winer and filled in the spring.
On another front, not all
is well in this fine city as you can see as the Chevy dealer has no inventory.
Must have been one of the lucky ones to get the ax.
Chevy dealer has only moved his inventory for a summer sale across the
street to the Ace Hardware lot. So all is well with his business.
We are also told this city is busy during the week and slows down on the
After shopping at Wal*Mart
and Albersons (they had some great sale prices on meat and a much more
pleasurable experience that what we found at Wal*Mart.) we are back at
the 5er staying cool. Will see if I venture out to the RV park pool later.
Had a surprise email this
morning... A guy who sez he has been following our blog for 2 1/2 years
and wanted to say he thought he might be the reader from the furthest point.
He has been a contractor in Afghanistan for that time and is due back later
this year to go fulltiming. WOW. Thanks Rick, for the email.
On Sunday we are off west
on HW 12 fom Miles City on up to Melstone and beyond to Roundup as shown
There are seven little towns
between Forsyth and Melstone and another 4 more before we hit Roundup.
What will we find, active thriving communities or ghost towns. We shall
find out. At our night stop at Roundup we will have to decided our
next move. Either stay on HW 12 or go up US 87.
Slowly heading to Great Falls,
MT through Lewis and Clark National Forest.
Maps from www.publiclands.org
out of town this AM from Herreid, SD again we go a rocking side to side
in the soft ruts all through the main town street.
We headed west on HW 12 and
followed it all the way through northern SD and southwest ND and on into
A nice drive as it was through
many small, to tiny, to what's left, of these old towns, now for many not
much more than signs that say there name as nothing much is left. . All
interesting to see most of them were settled right about 1900 to 1909 and
are now 100 years old and most not now in their best years by a long shot.
Look at how many towns were settled along this road.
HW 12 is the route from Mobridge
to Bowam and on to Miles City, MT. Many are trying to grow wheat and corn.
You go from barren badlands to whole area of crops again. As we see
this year the whole area is very wet as in standing water, even stunting
crop growth where grown. The glacer lakes are full. The vast area
to the most part is green and lush. Me thinks, this year at least, (not
sure if this has been a trend) is a great place to call home for
these homesteaders, unlike in Iowa where normal rain is taken for granted.
Knock on wood, as they say.
We didn't stop in ND at
Bowman to camp as we had planned. As we crossed the the Missouri River
we changed to Mountian time so just keep on going (It was only then about
noon) (I can't stop that early now can I) and at 3:30 landed in Miles City,
MT after checking Streets and Trips for RV parks.
A Montana drive by
These bikers were heading
east and not west toward Sturgis. Must be lost.
Now this one was heading
in the right direction with a group but me thinks it's set up backwards.
Now in Miles City, MT.
Above the Big
Sky RV Park in Miles City. The woman camp host was very friendly.
This park has a pool, WiFi, Cable TV, and showers etc. Full Service.
We took a W/E site for $16 total price. Cool deal. We like it here and
since we are way ahead of where we had planned to stop we plan to stay
Saturday night and explore the area. And Yes a Wal*Mart super center in
the area. I may have to do another float in this pool like I did in the
Mitchell RV park pool. Terry sez he will sit this one out as he thinks
he get an ear infection from the last outing. We are the 5er on the far
right. Only three rigs here in the overnight section. We shall see if it
fills up. They have long term in the back right.
more units pulled in later.
This park is right off Bus
I-95 and HW 12 at exit 141.
You all have a great weekend
where we are at right now. DataStormUsers
map ID 98
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