Onward we went
to the Snake
River Birds of Pry National Conservation Area.
We landed for the night at
Park. From the web site it talks about dry camping. We took what
we thought was the main road into it (CanAda Rd. and Victory lane) (see
map) which turned out to be the old main way in and now the back way in
over a 4X4 so called road.
There was a lot of yelling
going on to be sure. Terry walked in front till we made it to the nice
black top parking lot (past the end loader that was trying to improve the
pot holes a bit) to the visitor center where we could see the paved road
leading from the other direction. At least we knew we would be able to
get out from here. The very nice attendant came out and told us we could
camp in the parking lot right next to the river instead of back up the
4X4 road we just came down. They were in wonder we were able to pull over
that mess of a road. So we will stay for only one night so not to impose
on the parking for the day trippers who might visit. This place closed
up at 3:30 PM so now we have the place to ourselves.
We next plan to head on down
to C J Strike Reservoir south of Mountain Home at a Idaho Power company
campground right below the dam. We need a front end alignment and
oil change which can be done in Mountain Home next week. So we plan to
lay low and get our shit in order. It is still way to hot to be heading
into Nevada and on to Quartzsite yet. Oh and by the way all the campgrounds
owned by Idaho Power down here are FREE. My kind of power company.
But at last we are settled
at a very nice spot on the great Snake River. You can see the parking lines
lower left. This is not ment for camping but they insisted we pull right
up to the edge and enjoy.
By Monday morning
it was time to move on down the road.
We stopped at a couple of
campgrounds while heading south on US HW 95 but found them not to our liking...
so you know us we moved on and on some more. At last we landed at
Mann Creek Reservoir just north of Weiser, ID. You can see the Reservoir
on the map above.
A view from the road to get
to the west side of the reservoir after you drive across the dam.
We are camped left center
(1) on the higher landing. Now this is a no frills campsite. Nothing, just
open space and a rock fire ring. No water. But at the far end of
the reservoir creek intake is a Forest Service real campground (2) with
water and trash bins. So we went and filled a 5 gal water jug for Terry's
tea making needs. We don't use our onboard water tank supply for drinking,
just washing etc.
Never hook up to city water,
just fill our freash water holding tank and use the onboard water pump.
This works for us as we
don't have to worry about springing a leak with high city water pressure.
Of course we don't try to
travel with more than a third a tank of water due to the weight.
Our humble spot with a great
view. We can see all the way over the dam to the highway in the distance.
Oh and did I say this boondocking spot was FREE. This is an official
campground just no amenities. It's not the cost so much as the freedom
to be not shoe horned in, in a RV Park. What fun is that. Looking ahead
we are finding some great BLM campgrounds south of Boise on the Snake that
might be perfect for us later on.
mess we got ourselves into... as in day trip.
Friday and time for another
day trip. It was only going to be a short one but it went on and on.
thought why not drive the old HW 95 up through the Nez
Perce battleground area. You can see the switch backs in the above
picture and the new highway. Once at the top of the pass off to Grangeville
further north and why not do the loop over to Cottonwood and back down
to the Salmon river and cross it at the last bridge and take a high
shortcut back to our rec area. Google shots to help show you the way.
South of Cottonwood the road
went straight down and down some more to the river. The dimonds are our
To the right in the view
in the center along the Salmon river is the recreation area campgrounds.
Now this is a campsite with
a view on the Salmon River. The road stooped here.
We crossed over the Salmon
River and came up the south side and up to the plateau via that long valley
in the left.
Crossed the high plateau
looking for the way back down to our White Bird campground. Little did
I know what was next.
around the corner and saw this and went Oh My God... What Have I Done Now...
At this point I couldn't
even see the road going down but knew we had to get to the bottom somehow
and it sure was not going to be fun.
It was at this point I was
thinking I was going to have start to carry extra shorts in day bag
if we kept up these kind of journeys.
We are camped along the river
in the center bottom. Yes we made it down. Yelled at each other a bit for
being so stupid to get caught on a road like this again. Let me say sitting
around the campfire with not having had to change shorts made for a happier
than usual happy hour this day.
Now on Saturday at 1:30
PM it is 80 deg. and no breeze with full sun. A perfect day in norhtern
The weather turned
perfect so off we went for a day trip up river to Riggins, ID on Wednesday
This is for the most part
a one street town devoted to river rafting and the tourist trade. What
we were looking for was the BLM campgrounds east of town back up the Salmon
river about four miles. But the road was under construction and closed.
And I do mean closed. It opens for a hour at noon and then after 6 PM.
That's it. So we had to turn back. We are now thinking about just staying
where we ae at and next week going on south past Riggins to see what we
can find. Time in the next few days to hit Google Earth and www.uscampgrounds.info
and get busy scouting out the way forward.
Got a few things at the grocery
in Riggins and headed back 25 miles to our Hammer BLM site at White Bird,
White Bird is down in the
canyon under the bridge that the highway now bypasses. The old US HW 95
used to come down through the canyon and go right through it. Now as you
can see the HW goes right up and over it all and climbs up for 8 grueling
miles to the pass and back down to Grangeville.
I would be remiss if I didn't
show some more river pictures on our way to Riggins, now wouldn't I.
This mine shaft was right
next to the road. We thought he must have been trying to push mine tours
but with the Keep Out sign who knows.
We sped on by and didn't
We did stop at a fruit stand
and got some great local tomatoes which were put to use on BLT's
for supper last night.
We are pretty much alone
here except for the hosts which are way back well away from the main campground.
They just took the host position
and will be here till Thanksgiving. This campground Hammer
Creek Rec is open year round. Later they said they may stay for the
supply now in good shape for a roaring fire this evening. Terry did a good
job don't ya think.
worry I don't us gasoline to start anything, they were just sitting there.
is what fulltiming is all about.
We moved up to McKay's Bend
Campground 15 miles east of Lewiston, ID. on Monday.
doesn't this look like a great spot to spend several days exploring the
area. It was not to be, we are Internet dependent and that tall pine tree
to the south cast a hitch in our plans. We could get DirecTV but not our
89W Hughes internet satellite. It was the last site in the campground and
right on the end of the loop. All the others were deep in the trees. But
that darn pine tree blocked us even after we spent much time moving the
5er back and forth. The truck was first parked in front and now in back.
Still no luck. We Gave Up and drive into Lewiston to Walmart for supplies.
in the morning we decided to move on. On west to HW 95 and then south
to Grangeville. It has been a little cooler and cloudy so that might have
to our desire to head a little more south at this time. We will leave the
Moscow area for a future adventure.
So off we head to Grangeville
to we first thought would be a PassportAmerica RV park and assess the situation
and make plans.
We knew we were also looking
for a welder to repair our fold out steps as a bottom support bar had broken
and needed welding. So when he hit Grangville I pulled up the maps feature
of my Droid Incredible and spoke "welding" and it brought a couple of welding
shops in the area. I hit the map listing for one that looked good and the
phone called Frank's Welding and he said he could take care of us and gave
us the best route to get to him. Of course the Droid followed along to
direct us to him. I asked Terry of he thought this Droid is worth it now?
The support bar at the bottom
needed welding. One side was broke and he welded both ends to make it all
And when done I asked what
I owed him and he said after thinking a bit said how about $5 and I gave
him a twenty and said what he had done was worth all that an more.
He welded both ends of the brace. One had broke before last year and a
RV dealer had charged $65 to weld it at a standard shop hour rate. We pulled
into Grangeville and 30 minutes later we were fixed up. Can't do better
Frank's Welding & Equipment
Repair LLC. His shop was clean and neat. If in the area this is the place
to go to.
We were now in a good mood
so we pressed on to find that perfect campground. We had printouts of
BLM campgrounds going south on US 95 on the Salmon River. We planned to
go to White Bird and the Hammer Creek BLM Campground right on the Salmon.
But no one told me about the road that went up for 8 miles and then back
down with 7% or grater grades for another 8 miles. I put the truck in first
gear after awhile (that's nuts but as we went down we needed to downshift)
as I was hitting the brakes more and more. Took it easy at about 20 mph.
This was one big downgrade with three Runway truck ramps. This just might
have been the steepest and longest downgrade I have have pulled over to
date. It was unexpected... but we did it slow and it worked out well.
This goes on and on
for eight miles at 7% grade or more. You have to get to the bottom and
do mean bottom way down there.
A overview of the upper Grangeville
area and what we came down to.
We got off at White Bird
and took the Old HW 95 which goes back under the new HW 95 bridge to get
to the river.
What an engineering feat
this above US HW 95 bridge must have been.
Can you imagine what it
would have been like to live here when they built this marvel.
The view crossing the bridge
across the Salmon river just west of White Bird, ID.
This may just be on of the
best sites we have camped so far on this fall trip.
It was cool and cloudy as
we set up but this time we got connected right away to our internet satellite
so I checked the weather and it sez it should be great for at least a week
and a half. This is good news, we shall see if fishing is any good which
will determine how long we stay here.
But me thinks we should
be happy for a least a few days right here.
Time for day trips, fishing
and campfires. We are at Hammer
Creek Rec. The link is to this location and other great BLM sites in
We have no cell phone service.
Still working to make Skype and or Google work over our DataStorm internet
connection. But for internet we get our two computers and Droid phone
connected via our WiFi DataStorm Hughes internet dish service.
Right now watching all the new TV shows via Sat. HD DirecTV.
Just two guys experiencing
life as we find it. Knowing we are so lucky to be able to be doing this
as so many in this land are hurting in these current economic times.
We are able to live for far less monetarily in this lifestyle (even while
traveling) and with a lower impact on energy consumption than if we lived
in a sticks and bricks.
The big picture as to where
we are at on the Salmon River at White Bird.
where we are at right now. DataStormUsers
map ID 98
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