Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Sunday, May 08, 2011

May 6 and 7 Torklift to Missoula MT

May 6 Torklift to Burbank, WA

Torklift Central is a VERY busy place. As a truck camper, I’d only looked at their web site looking for items for campers. We had no idea of the depth of what they do from welding to fifth wheel attachments, trailer hitches, utility trailers to brake systems and towing rigs. The place reminded me of a pit stop for an Indy race car. We were taken in right on schedule and unloaded the camper in the work yard. Cassie and a helper showed us how the Wobble Stoppers work and how easy they were to install. I was worried that the dually fenders would not clear but they did so easily.

Here’s the Wobble Stopper in the position for using when the camper is off the truck.

Here it is in the travel position.

Since the camper was way up in the air (not in the normal off position) it would sway easily when pushed. Wobbles stopped the sway dead.

Off we went headed out into Washington State. We knew WA grew apples, pears, cherries and asparagus. We had no idea of the extent of the wine making business. The grape vines go for miles and miles interspaced with fruit trees. So often we just go to the grocery store to pick up produce, dairy and protein and forget the amount of land, work, time and luck /skill it takes to grow it all. America is truly one big grocery store.

The Wenatchee Mountains were beautiful. All western mountains are so different from our soft, old, round eastern mountains.

From the direction of travel you can probably tell that we are not going to make it to Alaska this trip. Elder care concerns for Joe’s mom are increasing and it’s not wise at this time to extend the trip by the 6-8 weeks for Alaska. We won’t race home as we are travelling fast enough as it is, but will head east. Alaska has endured for a long time and should be there the next time we try for it. We’re disappointed but have to be realistic as her care comes first. Bet a lot of us retired TCers have the same life occurrences.

We ended the day camped at Camp Hood on the Snake River, a Corps of Engineers park. TCs are so common out west, there were six in sight from where we camped.

May 7 Burbank, WA to Missoula, MT

Western WA must grow as much wheat as the bread bowl states. We had cut over to the Palouse Scenic Byway off of Route 12 to see more of the geology of the region. Ice dams formed state sized lakes in prehistoric times. The dams broke free and water drowned the land from MT down through ID and OR to the ocean. Over time this caused the land to lay in big hill sized ripples that exist today. Wheat farmers have to be pretty skilled to use machinery to plow and plant this land but they do it in contours.

Got old farm machinery wheels? Build a fence!

A lot of what we follow is the Lewis & Clark route and there are a lot of trail markers, guide posts and historic sights along the way.

Route 12 runs from Lewiston, ID to Missoula, Mt and we followed that route. What a twisting, turning climb and then long slide downhill. From Kooskia, ID to LoLo, MT is over 100 miles of following alongside a wild, scenic series of rivers. Photos cannot do this justice and you also cannot capture the mountains you are passing through. Fortunately it wasn’t snowing today but there was a lot on the ground at the high point of 5,000 + feet.

Even at the cold water temps, river rafters and kayakers were out in force.

Smart people bring their TC while rafting so they have warmth, dry and perhaps a brew or two to warm up.

Tonight will be a catch up night – sleep, laundry, supplies. Tomorrow we will head in the general direction of Yellowstone. Weather report shows snow up in Cooke City but 50s in the valley.

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