"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Back to Yellowstone, MT

Miner, Montana
Carbella BLM Boondocking

After spending time in the plains of North Dakota, it was wonderful to be heading back into the mountains!  We are positioning ourselves to be camped just outside of the north entrance to Yellowstone.
 Mountains here we come!
 Absolutely beautiful out here.
Carbella Rec Area is alongside the Yellowstone River and run by the BLM.  Free to camp here along the river. 
 Here we are right next to the river viewed from my brothers rig.  Almost no one out here.
 Looking over to my brothers rig.
 Plenty of sun for the solar panels.
 River view right out our back window.

We have a table we keep in the basement and set that up.  I also brought our kitchen chairs out and set thing up nicely for dinner.  Dining al fresco! 
 My brother smoked the sausages and grilled the corn.  We also had roasted sweet potatoes and salad.
 Don't let these beautiful skies fool you though.  It was COLD!  Snow is also in the forecast.
 Since the winds died down we figured we should get a nice campfire in while we can.
 What a great way to end the day. 
 The moon was full and just beautiful.
During the night there was some rain which muddied up the river so my brother and I decided we'd take a ride in the Ranger and check out the mountain roads across the river.

 We found a great dirt road to explore.  We were all bundled up as it was very cold!
The grasses looked really cool with the wind blowing them across the hillside.
 Lots of Aspen and fancy houses towards the bottom.  As you drive further up it's all National Forest and the homes are a bit more....
 ... simple.
 And the neighbors can be a bit more grumpy!
 Even the creeks up here are running fast and dirty.
We found a pond along the way that was out of the wind and let my brothers dog, Ruger, out for a swim.

 Up here at 8,000 feet we reach the snowline.  We see only a couple deer and no bears.
We stopped at a small hunting camp near a trail head and gathered up some firewood we found along the way.  Looks like the outhouse (above) took a direct hit!
 Such a gorgeous view from up here.  
Back at camp you this is what some of the other areas look like along the river.  Some have better river views than others and some further down have a lot of tree cover.

 There is an outhouse and a place to put in boats/kayaks/rafts just behind the outhouse.
Some crazy winds whipped through.  They blew so hard I could barely hold the door open! We went out to grab a geocache since we couldn't really sit outside.  It was funny because it was called The End of the Road.  You can see why in the pic below.  You drive out on this short road that is less than 100 feet and then for some reason, it just suddenly ends.  No idea why. 
Tomorrow we spend the day in Yellowstone in the upper loop.  Snow is coming during the night so we hope it won't be too heavy!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Crossing into Montana & A HUGE Surprise Meeting!

Fort Peck, Montana
Downstream COE CG
Lewiston, Montana
Kiwanis City Park

Say, Ahhh
What in the world is this?!  I'm coming to it....
Just as we were about to cross the border from North Dakota into Montana, we saw "Home on the Range" in rocks on the hillside.  It sits off Hwy 94 in the Little Missouri River National Grasslands outside of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Now we are in Montana with much warmer weather.  Let the fishing begin!  My brother and I each bought a year fishing license as we'd be in Montana for a month or so and planned on lots of fishing!
Our first stop in the NE corner of Montana was Fort Peck.  Fort Peck Lake is the 5th largest artificial lake in the US.  The dam was built from 1933 to 1940 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer by damming the Missouri River to make it more navigable.  It took 10 years to fill.  It is HUGE.
We stayed at the Downstream Campground built by the COE.  $20 for 50amps.  Water spigots are spread throughout and there is a dump station.
Lots of grass and very tall, shady trees.  There is very good spacing as well. You can ride bikes or walk on the nice paved trail or fish on the lake or in the ponds.
Gorgeous sunsets out here over the lake.
The very next morning my brother and I fished at the dam.  Right away he caught a huge 5lb Lake Trout.  Gave him a good fight!

That ended the fishing as we went straight back to camp so he could weigh and clean it.  Guess what's for dinner tonight?
Look at those teeth!
We did try fishing later on but didn't catch anything so we took his Ranger out on several of the dirt roads and scoped out some other fishing spots.  Not much luck though.
So we drove to town and tried out their beer at the Busted Knuckle Brewery.  It was housed in an old abandoned gas station. 
It had fantastic ambiance.  Their flights were served on license plates, the tables were old radiators with glass tops.
Diane and I don't drink beer so we tried their homemade No Octane Root Beer.  Very good!
Cute names for their beer as well.

I like the wrench handles on the taps.
We saw this vintage set up as we left.  How cute is that?
On Sunday we spent the day at the Visitor Center at the lake.  They have a huge hydro electric system here and lots of information about it, the lake and the area.
I learned there were many dinosaurs discovered here.

Look out.  One still bites!

Pretty amazing that Fort Peck made the first cover of LIFE Magazine?
Above is the town of Wheeler in its heyday. (Yes, another town of Wheeler, my maiden name)  It no longer exists today.  It's just an empty area now at the corner of Wheeler St.
It was time to head out through more prairie to Lewistown in the center of Montana for a few days.  Along the way there were these large cutouts of various dinosaurs and other animals.  At least there was something to look at to break up the drive.
Driving through some whistle stop towns along the was Saco.  There were some very old buildings along one side of the road with the railroad on the other.  We decided to stop and check it out and give the dog a run.
The old one room schoolhouse that they proudly display as the place where future national radio and television newscaster, Chester (Chet) Huntley, attended school in 1917.  He was best known for co-anchoring NBC's evening news program, The Huntley-Brinkley Report.  Huntley and Brinkley's catchphrase closing of  "Good night, David"—"Good night, Chet... and good night for NBC News", was well known.
Huntley's last NBC News broadcast was aired on July 31, 1970. An interesting tidbit, he returned to Montana, where he conceived and built Big Sky, a ski resort south of Bozeman.  Huntley died on March 20, 1974, at his home in Big Sky at the age of 62, three days before the opening ceremonies.  He was honored with a cenotaph at Soldiers Chapel on the grounds of the Big Sky Resort.
Besides the schoolhouse was a church and jail.
We finally made it to the campground run by the Kiwanis.  It's a donation-only campground.  There were a few obvious sites but mostly you just pulled out along the inner road and chose a spot on the grass.  There were several people but it was very quiet.  No amenities, but there are bathrooms, a central water hose to fill up.  No dump.

That night we checked out the Elks Lodge.  No camping there but we had a great dinner out in the covered patio which overlooked the golf course.

I can't believe he didn't slip and fall in.  I did have my camera on video though.  Just in case.
As usual while poor Steve and Diane worked my brother and I fished.  A couple of nearby streams kept us very busy.  Some spots were easy to get to along the road or trail, others we had to bushwack to.  We had a great time and caught quite a bit of trout. 

Playful otter.
Big Spring Creek
And finally....  It happened.
  You know how some times you really wish and hope and pray that something will happen?  Well it took 5 years, but we finally hit the jackpot!
We had been trying to meet up with Dino & Lisa of MNDrifters since we met them at the RV Dreams seminar in TN.  They are hard to keep up with.  Either that or they were trying to avoid us.  Not sure which.  Well we knew they were heading to Alaska and it just so happens they knew where we were and decided they could no longer hide.  They went the route that would take them right by where we were in Lewistown.  They didn't tell us either.  I had just gotten back from fishing and Steve says, Hey, Dino and Lisa are here!  I said What?! Where?  He said right behind us.  Steve shows me his facebook where Dino and Lisa had posted a picture of their camper and that they were tucked in for the night in Lewistown. They were just waiting for us to notice.
If you look closely that's our rig way behind them!
Oh those tricky kids!  Look how happy they are to finally run into us again!
We went in to town and had some dinner at the brewery.
We sat around camp a bit and talked and talked.  They told us all about there Alaska plans and we got to tour their cute camper.  Love it.  When we go to Alaska that is how we will do it.  Buy a camper and store the 5er.
Then we said our goodbyes and watched the magnificent sunset!

WOW!  Meeting up with THEE Dino and Lisa and THIS sunset!  How could it get any better?
Thanks guys for making our 2019 into such a great year!