Montana We Are Here – July 2019

Monday July 15: Today is a long day of driving as we leave southern Idaho and cross into Montana, traveling north on I-15, arriving at Divide Bridge Campground in the mid-afternoon.

Southwest Montana

This is a lovely BLM campground in a very scenic area alongside the Big Hole River, just a few miles from the little town of Divide, Montana. The campground is well-maintained with lawns and flowers on one loop, and left more natural on the other loop. Clean restrooms and good water are much appreciated.

We are happy to have arrived early enough to get a spot by the Big Hole River, in fact it is the spot we had the very first time we stayed here. It is not so hot here as it has been thus far on the trip, a pleasant relief. The mosquitoes aren’t too bad when we first arrive, so once we are set up, we sit outside for awhile, happy to be here with time to relax this afternoon.

Enjoying Divide Bridge Campground

When it starts to rain, the mosquitoes become problematic, so Clifford goes inside to take a nap and I walk about to take photos of the river and the flowers. Back at the campsite, since I didn’t have coffee this morning, I make a French press coffee and do some editing before starting dinner. After dinner, dishes are done, awing is in, herbs are in. We are mostly ready for leaving in the morning. We like this campground and wouldn’t mind staying longer, but we have places to go and people to see…. Family awaits in northwest Montana.

Big Hole River at Divide Bridge Campground

Divide Bridge Heading South – September 2018

Saturday September 29: We get up a little earlier than usual and I get tea made for the thermoses. We have a quick breakfast of yogurt and fruit before we finish packing, and we are on our way before 10:00. We are leaving the Bass Creek Recreation Area in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana where we have been camped for the last couple of weeks. Our destination today is Divide Bridge campground in southwestern Montana.

Destination in southwest Montana

The wind is fierce as we go through Hellgate Canyon on the east side of Missoula. We are relieved that it lets up some as we head further east, but even so, stopping for gas at Deer Lodge, we are surprised at how cold the wind is.

Reaching Divide Bridge Campground, we find a spot with grass still green and shrubs showing autumn colors. Our set-up is minimal, as we won’t be staying long.

Cougar at Divide Bridge Campground
Autumn Colors
Visit to the Big Hole River

Of course, I visit the river right away.

Big Hole River

In the evening, we work on our projects – dulcimer and CI Legacy for Clifford, while I continue editing Princes and Priests and prepare another blog of our travels. We have nachos for dinner, as that is easy and tasty, and head to bed earlier than usual. Travel days are tiring, but at least we have a pretty place to stay.

Sunday September 30: I am up early to use the restroom and see that it is a drizzly morning The neighbors have a nice big campfire, so I go over to say “hi.” We have a nice visit before I go back to Cougar to make tea for the thermoses, as we are planning on leaving to meet Tye and Tammy at Lewis&Clark Caverns.

Saying “Hi” to the neighbors who are set up by the river

However, the drizzle turns to sleet, which turns to snow. Since we don’t have a current weather report, we are a bit undecided about the wisdom of driving over Pipestone pass to meet them, not knowing what the weather is on the pass or on their side of the mountain. In the end, we drive out to the highway where there is cell service and cancel our plans to meet them. I am very disappointed, but again, discretion is wise.

Snowing at Divide Bridge Campground
Snowing at Divide Bridge Campground

By afternoon, the weather clears up and had we had communication, we might have been able to still pull off a get-together, but oh well, sometimes things don’t work out the way I’d like them to. At least it is pretty here and I spend time walking about, taking photos of the snow on autumn colored leaves in the morning and photos of the river in the river in the afternoon.

View from the campground

We are short on power today; I edit until the laptop battery is dead, then play viola for awhile. Dinner is cooked and eaten by lantern light. Even though we normally use our electronic devices a lot, there are always things that can be done without power. Tomorrow we will be continuing south and we will see what the weather brings our way.

Spring Journey – Suburban Issues Continue – May 2017 (18&19)


Thursday May 18th – I decide on a campfire this morning while Clifford runs to Divide to get hold of my cousin Bill in Dillon. Bill had helped us with the Suburban, tightening loose battery cables and such, hoping that would solve the problem of it not starting. But no such luck, so now onto the next plan, which is to go to Dillon again and have the alternator checked. So, I put out the campfire and we head off to Dillon, the snow still pretty on the hillsides.

Heading to Dillon

Snow on the hillsides as we travel to Dillon

In Dillon, the alternator checks out as being fine, but a coolant sensor is purchased and Bill installs it for us. Then he makes us another yummy dinner. Nice to have someone else cook and fun visiting with my cousin and his wife Sally.

Back at camp, after walking down to the road to take photos, I make another campfire and hang outside until it is too dark to write in my journal.

Bighole River with snowy hills in the background

The turnoff to the campground

After I go in,  I finish a blog and do some editing, staying up later than intended. Always so many good things to do in a day.

Friday May 19th – It is partly cloudy today with puffy little cumulus clouds floating across a blue sky and up to 74 degrees. Although snow remains on the hillsides, it is hard to believe all the snow in the valley bottom just a couple of days ago.

Cumulus clouds against a blue sky

I’m feeling a little under-the-weather, so not a very productive day, but I take a few photos and we go out to Divide to make calls and check email and such.

More photos of the Bighole River and snowy backdrop

More photos of the Bighole River and snowy backdrop

The trees have started putting out their leaves during our time here

 I take a nap in the afternoon, get a few shots of the pretty evening light and go to bed early, leaving Clifford to do his own dinner and cleanup.

Capturing the evening light

Capturing the evening light on the rocky outcropping above the campground

Capturing the evening light

The sun has set

We are going to stay a couple more days, so no need to start packing up this evening or tomorrow. Sweet.

Spring Journey – Snow at Divide Bridge – May 2017 (17)

Wednesday May 17th – During the night, the rain turned to snow and we are blessed with with a couple inches of the fresh white stuff. I go out to take photos right away, quite enchanted with the beautiful stillness.

New fallen snow at Divide Bridge Campground in mid-May

Home Sweet Home at Divide Bridge Campground in mid-May

After tea, journal, and  breakfast, I go out again.

The Bighole River as seen from our campsite

Snow at Divide Bridge Campground

While the snow still clings to the branches, the effect makes one think of delicate lace.

The Bighole River is rising a bit more

Snow emphasizes the textures of the trees

My laptop is dead and journal is current, so I read some photography and Aarp magazines that I haven’t yet gotten to on this journey. The snow turns to sleet, and I go for another walkabout, enjoying the crisp freshness of the day while snow remains on the trees.

More of the lacy look…….

Looking toward the mountain

Looking toward the river

Sage that I was going to harvest is covered in snow

Aspen, or maybe they are alders, still hold snow, but soon it will be gone

The new neighbor is there celebrating his birthday and has a campfire going, in spite of the light drizzle that continues into the evening. Since the host is there, I go join them at the campfire, rather than try making one of my own. It is nice to have someone to chat with for a bit while Clifford continues with his research and studies.

A snowman built by the maintenance man – too snowy to mow the grass, he said

After dinner, with no solar power to charge any of our devices, Clifford and I both go to bed somewhat earlier than usual – kind of nice, for a change.

Spring Journey – Divide Bridge Campground – May 2017 (14-15)


Sunday May 14th Skiff of snow this morning here at Divide Bridge Campground. By time I go for a walk, only the snow on the hills remains.

Snow on the hills around Divide Bridge Campground

Snow on the hills near Divide Bridge Campground

Snow on the hills near Divide Bridge Campground

The Bighole River running high at Divide Bridge Campground

After breakfast there is a knock on the door and some grizzled fellow is there. I ask him if I can help him and it turns out he is my cousin Bill, whom I have not seen in at least 50 years! I have been in recent contact with him through FB and he lives in nearby Dillon, Montana. I told him where we were camping for the night, but it just didn’t dawn on me that he might actually show up on my doorstep! What a fun surprise! He will come again tomorrow with his wife, Sally.

Lots of book editing and photo editing today for me, while Clifford spends the day working on electrochemistry.

Today is Mother’s Day and it is quite wonderful to hear from all of my kids, either calls or texts… well worth the drive to Divide to get cell service.

Monday May 15th – Today is a day of variable weather from sunny with little puffy cumulus clouds, to overcast and rain flurries, and back to sunny.

Sunlight on the river

My cousin Bill arrives with his wife, Sally, and their two very large German shepherds. We sit out at the picnic table to chat for a bit, warm enough when the sun comes through, not quite cool enough to bother with a campfire, and make plans to meet tomorrow for a hike.

In the afternoon Clifford and I go out to Divide to send emails and make phone calls. Back at camp, I explore the other side of the campground, listen to music, and do more editing, journaling, and blog writing, while Clifford continues with electrochemical work.

The passing of a brief rain storm leaves a gorgeous rainbow in its wake, a very nice way to close out the afternoon.

Rainbow at the end of the day

Winter Journey – Provo to Divide, Montana – May 2017 (10-12)

Wednesday May 10th  – I am up early getting a thermos and clothes ready in case we need to spend the night at a KOA, as we don’t know how long it will take to fix Terry (our now broken-down camper).  We talk to Jason, the manager here at Les Schwab, and learn that we will have to replace both axles, hubs, brakes, and so on.   The reason is explained and we see that it is the best way to take care of our situation.  The parts are ordered and we carry on as usual until the parts arrive.  From the parking lot, I enjoy the snow-capped mountains that border the town.

View from the Les Schwab parking lot

It is interesting to watch how they tow Terry into the bay with a forklift, not dragging the injured part.  We spend the afternoon in the waiting room with wifi and our thermos of tea. I take care of email, post blogs, and edit, while Clifford studies.

It is after 6:00 p.m. by time Terry is ready to roll.  Expensive for us, but very reasonable considering all that has been done.  We will be much safer on the road now.

We head north to the Walmart at Orem.  There is no Walmart in Provo; the address in the book was listed as Provo, but the Walmart is in Orem.  How ironic: we were looking for a Walmart in Provo that didn’t exist and broke down less than a block from the place that could truly fix the problem.  Life is full of mysteries.

Thursday May 11th – We get a few groceries in Orem before continuing north through Salt Lake City, stressful with all the traffic, but uneventful.

As we cross Idaho, we see the lava fields that the area is known for.

Lava fields of southern Idaho

Lava fields of southern Idaho

We stop in Idaho Falls for a late lunch and the salad I ordered was so bad I couldn’t eat it.  Ugh.

We find the Walmart in Idaho Falls and park in a quiet corner alongside a nice strip of green grass with trees, a pleasant enough place to spend the night once I pick up a bit of trash.

Idaho Falls Walmart for the night

I don’t feel great – too much stress, too many miles in the last few days, and lack of proper meals.  Clifford is tired from all the driving, so we head to bed earlier tonight.

Friday May 12th – We are up early and continue north, soon crossing into Montana.  Our plans to camp at Grasshopper Creek Campground west of Dillon have changed, as my cousin, who lives in Dillon has a weather forecast indicating SNOW at that elevation.  Seeing a BLM campground indicated on the map just a few miles off the interstate outside the tiny town of Divide, we head for that, not knowing what we will find.  Some BLM campgrounds are quite inaccessible for towing vehicles, but we are pleasantly surprised to find a well-maintained campground with several lovely sites right along the Bighole River.

Divide Bridge BLM Campground

In fact, it is such a nice campground, we decide to wait out the cold weather that is forecast and stay at least five days rather than heading further north right away.

After getting set up, we drive back out to the town of Divide, close enough to the interstate to have cell service, and notify family and friends where we are.  Back at camp, after admiring the river, I explore a bit, bringing back some fragrant sage.

A variety of trees and sbrubs border the river

Campsite along the Bighole River

The Bighole River running high

There are few gusts and sprinkles through the later afternoon and heavier rain in the evening.  I’m feeling very happy to be here rather than continuing north fighting the weather.