Thanksgiving November 23, 2017
No wind for a change and forecast for 64 degrees in nearby Canyonlands National Park, so we are going there today for a Thanksgiving outing and picnic. I send Happy Thanksgiving Day text to my kids, pack food for the outing, and then we are on our way.
We are going to Canyonlands via the secondary highway rather than over Abajo Mountain, as Clifford wants to check out a firing range that is not far off Hwy 191. We find the right place and are the only people here. It is nice spot and we could even come here for a picnic sometime.
Then on we go, checking out a couple of the BLM campgrounds on the way. We are surprised to find them overflowing. Not a single spot available for us to have our picnic. This is unexpected, as there was almost no one in these campgrounds when we camped here in September on our scouting trip.
On the to the Visitor’s Center, expecting to find it packed, also, but there is almost no one there and we have our pick of the picnic tables, choosing one with the most sunshine.
After our abundant picnic, I go “rock climbing,” finding my way up a huge boulder outcrop… or more precisely, an upcrop. I take photos from the top – too bad the sky is so trashed with jet trails.
Then we go on the scenic drive, stopping briefly at the Wooden Shoe Arch View Point.
At Pothole Point, we go on the hike – really just a half-mile walk across the slick rock with great views of the badland rock formations.
When we reach the end of the scenic drive, we park, and ravens are eagerly waiting to invade the car through the open windows!
We hike part of the trail here and I take a few more photos of the formations before we head back to Monticello.
It is getting too late to drive over the mountain, so we don’t make a loop trip as planned, as driving over the mountain in the dark wouldn’t be that much fun.
It was a very fun outing and we look forward to going again in the spring.
Sunday October 15, 2017 – It is a beautiful autumn day in Wallace, Idaho, and a bittersweet walkabout taking photos of the gorgeous colors, knowing that we will soon be leaving this behind.
Tuesday – Clifford and I pick up the Uhaul truck, a 26-footer, in Couer d Alene this morning. The day is devoted to loading the truck, first CI boxes and furniture, and then apartment and basement stuff. We are lucky that the forecast rain has held off for most of the day. By late afternoon, the loading continues in the rain.
Wednesday – Packed to the hilt, the Uhaul truck left Wallace first thing this morning. We hired Mike, someone we trust, to drive it to Monticello, Utah, and take care of unloading, while Clifford and I follow behind in the Suburban towing Terry (our camper) at a much slower pace.
Whatever remains in the apartment is packed in Terry or the Suburban and we are on our way by late afternoon. We stop at the Wallace Coffee House to say good-bye to Katie and the boys, and then we are on our way to Alberton.
It is a beautiful drive with the western larch turning golden. However, due to the lateness of the day and the rain, taking photos through the tinted windows of a moving vehicle is not very successful.
Arriving in Alberton, we set up in the parking lot across from the bar. I am happy to see Ang and Oden, as they are in Alberton for play practice. We visit awhile and after they leave, Clifford and I eat a simple dinner before heading to bed.
Thursday – It is a pretty autumn morning here in this mountain valley. After Merri texts me that she is up, I walk to her house to visit and have tea with her before she heads to her job. She gives me a ride as far as Ang’s road. Ang picks me up and we go up to her place where she shows me the progress she has made on the greenhouse.
Back in Alberton, Ang, Clifford and I head over the River’s Edge for lunch together. I will miss being close enough to regularly visit my daughters.
Going to Missoula Walmart for tires for Terry is a waste of time, since once there, they inform us that they are too busy to do it. Back on I-90, we head southeast toward Butte, watching the autumn scenery,
stopping at the rest area near the junction with Highway 1 for the night. After dinner, we both read until bedtime.
Friday – It is windy and chilly this morning. Clifford takes a shower and we discover that some of our clothes are wet from rain leakage. Bah humbug.
We have stayed in touch with Mike and his son, who are on their way back to Wallace after unloading and dropping off the Uhaul truck in Monticello. Our paths will cross today in Dillon, Montana, where we plan to stop for lunch. It is fun to meet up with them and chat about our journeys.
Leaving Dillon, we run into rain and then quite the sleet storm as we head up Monida Pass.
On the Idaho side of the pass, the sleet eases with only occasional rain showers.
The wind, however, is much more troublesome. We are relieved to reach Idaho Falls where we pull off at Walmart for new tires for Terry. We spend the night in the parking lot, as do other RV travelers. It is likely that the wind has encouraged many to pull in early this evening.
Saturday – Clifford takes a shower while I visit Walmart, and soon we are on our way. On I-15, on the outskirts of Idaho Falls, an overturned camper blocks one lane of traffic. This is both sad and disturbing, and I can’t help but wonder if a gust of wind caused this accident. At Pocotello we exit looking for Denny’s for brunch, but end up driving in circles until we give up on the idea. A box of cheez-its becomes our brunch instead. In retrospect, cheese and apple slices may have been a better idea had we known we wouldn’t be able to stop for a meal.
The drive continues until we reach Perry, Utah, just south of Brigham City. We find the Walmart there, glad the day’s drive is done. A colorful sunset brightens the last moments of the day.
After dinner, we both stay up reading until midnight.
Sunday – Today we leave Perry and drive through the Salt Lake City complex, no mishaps, stopping at Cracker Barrel in Springville for a late lunch, happy that that leg of the journey is behind us. Once we turn onto Highway 6, we are amazed by the continuous parade of traffic, including many RV’s, heading north toward Salt Lake City. Hundreds of people are returning home after a weekend of camping in the National Parks to the south.
What a relief to reach Price and get off that busy highway, finding a spot to set up in the back parking lot of Walmart. Another colorful sunset brings the day to an end.
We fix a simple dinner and read until late. I finish “Coyote Waiting,” …just in time, as tomorrow we will arrive in Monticello.
Monday – There is not nearly so much traffic this morning, which makes driving a little less stressful.
Once we reach Moab, we stop for a few groceries at City Market as we know that they carry a line of organic food.
And finally the last leg of the journey, the 50 scenic miles from Moab to Monticello, arriving in mid-afternoon.
Robert, the realtor comes by with the keys and we enter our new abode and a new chapter of our lives.
Friday September 1 – We finish packing the Suburban this morning for our rather impromptu trip to Utah. This is a business trip related to Clifford’s non-profit, Carnicom Institute. Since it is not meant to be a camping trip as such, we are not taking the camper; in fact, we are not even taking a tent. I have packed camping pads, sleeping bags, and pillows, a couple coolers, some canned and dried food, the picnic bag, and a bag of cooking gear – pans, spatula, and so on, and one suitcase of clothing. Hopefully it is enough.
It is a bit hazy from forest fire smoke as we leave Wallace, Idaho, about noon, but increasingly smokey as we head east. Smoke from the Lolo Peak fire in Montana nearly obliterates the mountains the closer we get to Missoula, but even beyond that, heavy smoke continues to dominate the landscape.
We arrive at the Divide Bridge Campground north of Dillon, Montana, in the early evening, happy to find that it has not been closed due to the fires. Although the sites by the river are taken, we consider ourselves to be very fortunate to get a nice spot on the Friday evening of Labor Day weekend. We unpack food and cooking utensils, making vege quesadillas for dinner. Then I make the back of the Suburban into a comfy bed, the coolers and such are loaded onto the front seats, and we are set for the night.
We watch the sun go down, forest fire smoke coloring the sky.
We made 250 miles today, a good start on our journey.
Monday May 22nd – It is early, but I am awake when Ang and Oden stop at the lot by the Alberton Town Park where we had parked for the night.
Raindrops on shrubs in the park
Oden is just finishing up his Drivers’ Ed class for today. It is great fun to see them; I make French press coffee and we chat for a few minutes until Ang has to leave for a meeting in connection with organizing the Alberton Railroad Days coming up in July.
We arrive in Wallace in mid-afternoon and have a little time to visit with Katie and Jeremy before beginning the huge unloading process, bringing in only the perishable food and most needed items to begin with. Later we have dinner with Katie, Jeremy, and family. So nice to see them all again.
Wallace: power, internet, and hot showers! Family and friends.
Flowers and the beautiful Coeur d Alene River.
And for the first time in months, I play my good cello… and what a pleasure that is! Traveling is quite the adventure, but there are some great things to enjoy while we are here in Wallace.
Saturday May 20th – I feel better than I did yesterday, but still kind of low energy. However, I go off for a walk to gather mountain sage to hang on our clothesline with the intention of making sage bundles for smudging.
Then we get the back of the Suburban cleaned out and repacked in preparation for our leaving tomorrow.
After dinner and cleanup, I do some editing while Clifford studies.
Sunday May 21st – It is so pretty here this morning, I am sorry that we are leaving. This has been a great place and we wouldn’t mind staying longer if we could, but we have obligations in Idaho.
Our destination today is Alberton, about 30 miles west of Missoula, 80 miles from home.
We stop in Missoula on our way through for a Barnes & Nobles fix and supplies at Costco. Then on to Alberton and set up in the lot adjacent to the park.
We have a picnic dinner in the park on the back deck of the historic train museum with my daughter Merri and her little grandson, my great grand-son, Jack, who is a very intense, almost-two-year-old.
This is a lovely spot with a huge expanse of lawn and trees in bloom.
After our picnic, we walk up to Merri’s place to visit awhile, then back to Terry (our camper) for the night.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are going to stay a couple more days, so no need to start packing up this evening or tomorrow. Sweet.
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.
After tea, journal, and breakfast, I go out again.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday May 16th – Although there are winter storm warnings for western Montana, it looks like a good day for hiking. We meet Bill and Sally and their big German Shepherds at the village of Glen before following them out to rugged BLM land that reminds me of the buttes of lower Sun River valley where I lived as my kids were growing up.
The road gets a bit rough and when we stop, we discover that our 5-gallon water jug has tipped and broken, spilling five gallons of water in the back of the Suburban. Not a good thing, but we park on a slope and let as much run out as possible.
Then Clifford and I follow Bill and Sally up a draw and around to the backside of a large mesa, eventually climbing all the way to the top.
It is a bit strenuous, particularly on my knees, but the views are quite spectacular.
We can see the clouds on the mountain across the valley becoming dense and dark, the harbinger of the storm to come. We make good time going back down, not wanting to get caught in the rain on the rocky slopes and draws. Between ticks and rattlesnakes, we have to be on the alert the whole time, but it is a good hike.
Back at the vehicles, we follow Bill and Sally to their place in Dillon, where they show us their pretty flower-filled yard, rock collections, and car restoration projects, followed by a very tasty meal of steak, rice, and the best corn-on-the-cob I’ve ever had.
Back at camp, as we nap, tired out from the hike, it begins to rain, and the rain becomes heavier as the evening progresses. Looks like the winter storm that was forecast is moving in.