Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Monday, June 08, 2009

June 7 - Polson, MT to Kooskia, ID

June 7 - Polson, MT to Kooskia, ID

Today we got to see what the real Montana working lands look like and then saw the
wild and pristine part of Idaho. It's been a long day and we are pooped! Now camped
on the banks of the Clearwater River just south of Kamiah, Idaho, watching the sunset
and having an adult beverage. Joe cooked up some burgers on the grill, no bugs
around, 60F at 8PM. Of course our body time is still partially on East coast time so
for us it is 11PM. How do people in Alaska ever get used to daylight all the time?

Started off in Polson at the Kerr Dam. Finding it was a bit tricky but we did and climbed down wooden stairs a LONG way to the bottom to see the dam. Lots of fishermen
just ahead of the dam and quite the collection of birds including two osprey.

Joe is still speaking to me but sometimes I don't understand why. I love back roads
and have no fear of getting lost. I'd mapped out back roads to the National Bison
Range just below Moiese, MT. When I say back roads, one of them was actually named
Back Road. It was a collection of small roads, mostly Route 112, that followed
Pleasant Valley between two mountain ranges. This, for me, was the first time I'd
really gotten to see what living as a rancher in Montana would be like. The road was
gravel, narrow and meandered between huge pastures with every kind of cattle you
could imagine. On both sides of the valley were mountain ranges, some still snow
capped. No towns, just an occasional church or school building. Most of the
farms/ranches are quite far apart and I kept thinking of how the women got to
socialize - if they did. In the distance a herd of cattle were crossing the road and
I was fully expecting to see a cowboy on his/her horse. There was a cowboy, just not
on a horse but an ATV with dog happily sitting on the back.

The bison were everywhere! We chose to take a shorter drive than the two hour loop of
the whole park. Narrow road with no pullouts meant you couldn't park and just observe
for a while. No way do you get out of your vehicle!

Montana is vast and the distances between large towns long. We went through the
outskirts of Missoula and thought that most everyone in that quarter of Montana must
have been shopping as a treat to get into town. Grabbed milk and bread and got out of
town as fast as we could.

From Missoula we started our trek across Route 12 to Idaho. Thanks be to whoever it
was here on RV.NET for telling us to take this scenic drive. I don't have internet
right now so don't have your name handy. Route 12 from Lolo, MT to Kooskia, Idaho is
awesome. It is the wildest, most pristine piece of land we have ever travel led. The
route is beside a rushing torrent of water, crashing around curves in the river,
forming rapids, whitewater and a constant source of awe. The mountains along this
pass are steep, the trees are very different from the east being a forest of all
spruce? or cedar? with no deciduous mixed in. We kept passing trucks towing rafts
headed back towards Lolo but only ever saw one kayak in the river. It was so rough, I
really wondered if it were too rough to raft. Light traffic so we took our time and
stopped at many places to walk beside the water.

We were headed to the Corps of Engineers campground at Dworshack Reservoir but got
too tired to safely drive further. The night's camp is on a broader, much calmer
meaning no rapids part of the river. I still wouldn't want to fall in because it is
very swift. This is out our back TC door.

Tomorrow we'll wander ever westward, changing our route as we go.

1 comment:

Diane in Oregon said...

Anne, you are a woman after my own heart! I remember a trip in New Mexico, and we got on a road (it looked fine on the map) that just kept getting narrower and more faine, turned from 2 lane blacktop to one lane, to gravel...finally we got to a sign that said "You are now entering Private Property". My husband looked at me, and said what have you got us in to?! We pushed on (and it was beautiful country), and finally came out on blacktop on the other side. It was a little tense for a while, but a great adventure.

We also had a time in Nevada where we were a little off the beaten track (we could see the highway, miles away), and were low on gas. Yet another adventure we recall fondly :-).

I envy your travels - hope it's all good!