Posts for October, 2018


The Clearwater (Five Mile Creek Hwy 12, Idaho)

Journal entry for Monday 1st Oct, 2018 (day 4, miles 482)

We stopped for a long while in Lewiston this morning. The town has a nice skate park and walking trail beside the river. We took advantage of this facility, and the fine sunny weather, to undertake our daily exercises. I am on a regime of strengthening and stretching from my physical therapist and Nina is aiming to achieve her Apple Watch goal of 10,000 steps every day.

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This mini adventure explained

Posted Monday 1st Oct, 2018

It occured to me last night that I had not explained in the recent posts what this trip is about. I had given an explanation on the website home page, but anyone getting our updates by email probably has not seen that explanation.

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Exploring around Orofino (Knife Edge River Access Hwy 12, Idaho)

Journal entry for Tuesday 2nd Oct, 2018 (day 5, miles 596)

We spent the day exploring the area south of Orofino along Idaho Highways 13 and 14 before starting the trek along Highway 12 towards Lolo Pass. The day was wet with light rain and this discouraged photos and encouraged an early stop.

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Lolo Pass (KOA Missoula, Montana)

Journal entry for Wednesday 3rd Oct, 2018 (day 6, miles 708)

We had some business to take care of so we set off early towards Lolo pass with the goal of getting to Missoula, a campground, wifi and enough time to "take care of business". The day turned out to be sunny which made the drive up Hwy 12 to Lolo Pass quite picturesque. There were long sections of new pavement which made driving very pleasant. But this was offset by a number of delays due to single lane sections where road crews were at work.

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A rude awakening (Suba, Montana)

Journal entry for Thursday 4th Oct, 2018 (day 7, miles 799)

As the reader will deduce from the photos, today brought grey skies and rain. After dithering around in Missoula for a long time we eventually got a late start heading south along Hwy 93. Fall colors were out in force but the lack of nice light and water on the lens reduced the opportunity for nice photos to zero.

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First snows (Near Ennis, Montana)

Journal entry for Friday 5th Oct, 2018 (day 8, miles 972)

This morning was a real treat. From our overnight spot we climbed steeply to Lost Trail Pass and were delighted to find ourselves amongst fresh snow, quite a few inches of the nice fluffy white stuff. Despite having lived in the US (a place where snow is not uncommon) for 20 years we still have the typical Australian reaction to this "exotic" stuff. After Lost Trail the road towards Wisdom, MT climbed a little higher to Chief Joseph Pass before dropping out of the mountains and eventually the Big Hole Battlefield Memorial, and the cafe in Wisdom.

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A little vehicle trouble (Suga City, Idaho)

Journal entry for Saturday 6th Oct, 2018 (day 9, miles 1153)

This morning our Webasto diesel heater would not start so we had to rely on the generator and a small electric heater to get our little house up to a comfortable temperature. To my surprise we also had difficulty getting the truck engine to start. Both these small problems were more than a little surprising as we were not at a particularly high altitude (only about 6,500 ft) and it was not particularly cold (33°F). Throughout the mornings travel both these problems persisted in a minor form. Both the heater and engine would start but would generate blue smoke for a while until full warmed up. Eventually in West Yellowstone I added some diesel anti-gel treatment to both tanks and we decided to bypass Yellowstone and the Tetons and head south towards Idaho Falls looking for lower altitude and slightly warmer temperatures until we were convinced the anti-gel treatment had done its job.

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Farms, Fog and Mountains (Grand Tetons, WY)

Journal entry for Sunday 7th Oct, 2018 (day 10, miles 1249)

We got off to a good start this morning. The heater, generator and truck all started as they should, and the sun was out providing very good light as we drove east through farm country. Near the town of Driggs we ran into a very dense and extended patch of fog which had largely dissipated by the time we stopped for some exercise on the walking/cycle trail at Victor. Then over Teton Pass to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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Perfect photo weather (East Entrance Yellowstone, WY)

Journal entry for Monday 8th Oct, 2018 (day 11, miles 1449)

The day started bright and sunny, with no clouds, so we were up somewhat earlier than usual to take advantage of the great photo opportunities. This theme continued throughout the day and we spent more time on the road than would be usual for us as we wanted to cover our targeted areas of both the Tetons and Yellowstone while the good weather lasted.

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Shoshone Canyon (KOA Billings, MT)

Journal entry for Tuesday 9th Oct, 2018 (day 12, miles 1619)

It was cold outside this morning, 24°F at 8:00 when we finally decided to get out of bed. But the diesel heater worked all night so we were comfortable inside our yellow box. And thanks to that same diesel heater I was able to warm the engine and get it started first try. I am now quite confused about the cause of the isses we have had with the truck engine and diesel heater.

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Big Horn Canyon (Fort Smith, Montana)

Journal entry for Thursday 11th Oct, 2018 (day 14, miles 1766)

As the title says, today we visited the northern end of Big Horn Canyon. Our route took us through miles of grass lands and Crow Indian Reservation before finishing in the small town of Fort Smith. At this time of year the town is gearing up for for fishing. There are many fishing lodges around the town and drift boats on trails were very common.

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More grass lands (Devils Tower, Wyoming)

Journal entry for Friday 12th Oct, 2018 (day 15, miles 2021)

Today turned out to be a long distance day by our standards, over 200 miles. But bad weather is forecast for the next few days and we wanted to be at a campground while it (the weather) descended on us. Also the roads today were good, travel easy and the grass lands scenery interesting without being spectacular. Thus we made it to Devils Tower late in the day to find, fortunately that the KOA was open for a few more days. We also arrived just in time to get a few photos of the Tower before the sun was gone.

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A snowy day in camp (Devils Tower, Wyoming)

Journal entry for Saturday 13th Oct, 2018 (day 16, miles 2021)

The forecast bad weather arrived over night and by mid morning the temperature was below freezing an snow was falling. That's how the day continued.

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Mail pickup (Rapid City, SD)

Journal entry for Sunday 14th Oct, 2018 (day 17, miles 2140)

It was cold this morning, 20°F, and still snowing lightly. Overnight our diesel heater had (again) stopped working and this time I could not get it restarted. Fortunately we are in a campground with electricty so we can still heat the camper and truck engine or maybe we would be here another day. Putting aside the vehicle troubles the morning was really pretty. About an inch of snow covering most everything yet clouds high enough that we could see the Devil's Tower also with a light snow cover. We quite enjoyed our stay at Devil's Tower KOA.

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Prairie dogs (Badlands NP, SD)

Journal entry for Monday 15th Oct, 2018 (day 18, miles 2227)

In order to give the mail service time to deliver the parcel we are waiting for, we decided to pay a visit to the Badlands National Park, spend a night there and try again for the mail tomorrow. So, after the usual round of grocery shopping chores, we headed east towards the famous town of Wall, SD and the Northern Entrance to The Badlands National Park.

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Successful mail pickup (Rapid City, SD)

Journal entry for Tuesday 16th Oct, 2018 (day 19, miles 2351)

We spent this morning completing our exploration of the Badlands finally exiting the park through the town of Interior, SD before heading back to Americas Mailbox and that long awaited parcel. In case your curiousity is aroused the parcel contained a supply of mint flavoured chocolates that Nina and I use as an after dinner treat.

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Blackhills (Hot Springs, SD)

Journal entry for Wednesday 17th Oct, 2018 (day 20, miles 2446)

Our excursion to the Badlands a couple of days ago had the unfortunate side effect of getting our truck very muddy as the road to Sage Creek is gravel, or in our case mud, as a result of the recent snow. So this morning we had intended to visit a local Rapid City Truck Wash to cleanup. However when we pulled into the entrance we noted 3 or 4 animal carrier tractor trailers ahead of us, and in short order one of the truck attendants informed us that our wait would be at least 4 hours. So much for cleaning the truck.

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Blackhills (Hot Springs, SD)

Journal entry for Thursday 18th Oct, 2018 (day 21, miles 2468)

We decided to spend an extra day in the Hot Springs area. We are a little ahead of schedule for our visit next week with Rob Pickering and I am not feeling well, I have a cold. And the town of Hot Springs seems to deserve a little more attention than we have so far given it. So after a relaxed morning we spent a few hours in the town enjoying the walking paths beside the river.

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Cow country (Hawk Springs SRA, WY)

Journal entry for Friday 19th Oct, 2018 (day 22, miles 2656)

We made another visit to Hot Springs this morning before getting on our way. Nina wanted a few more photos and the town offered a good trail for her daily walk. Thereafter we spent a pleasant day driving through miles and miles of open grass lands.

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Into Colorado (Strasburg KOA, CO)

Journal entry for Saturday 20th Oct, 2018 (day 23, miles 2862)

Before getting underway this morning we could not resist a few more photos of our pleasant camping spot. Then it was "onward" with the plan of getting to the Denver area so that we would be within easy driving distance of La Junta for tomorrow. Along the way we made an extended stop at the Wyoming Visitor Center just before the Colorado border. Quite an impressive building and facilities.

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Ready for a week of truck work (La Junta, CO)

Journal entry for Sunday 21st Oct, 2018 (day 24, miles 3014)

We spent the day making our way to La Junta, a long run east along I70 and then at the town of Limon south on state route 71. The run south along 71 was notable for the dryness of the country side. We would later hear that moisture (rain or snow) has been scarce in this part of the country for over a year. AS you can see from the photos we are in grain growing country.

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A week of maintenance and repairs (La Junta, CO)

Journal entry for Friday 26th Oct, 2018 (day 29, miles 3014)

Late today, Friday, all the work was done and our "week of truck stuff" came to an end. Compared to the last time we were here in 2014 Rob's business seems much busier (which is good) with a number of other customers or at least customer vehicles requiring attention.

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A little hiccup and feed lots (Garden City, Kansas)

Journal entry for Saturday 27th Oct, 2018 (day 30, miles 3346)

We had a bit of a hiccup this morning. We stayed in the parking lot at Terry Lee Ent. last night and headed east this morning. But a little way into our drive we discovered that our new exhaust system needed a bit of adjustment. So back to La Junta where Rob was waiting to spend a couple of hours of his Saturday getting us ship-shape.

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Farm country and fall colors (Elk City SRA, KS)

Journal entry for Sunday 28th Oct, 2018 (day 31, miles 3698)

We had a little McDonalds fiasco this morning. We rarely eat at the "Golden Arches" but this morning as we approached Dodge City we decided we would take breakfast at one of those eastablishments. Thus once in Dodge we found a place to park, ordered our desired nourishmet at the new fangled electronic boards that McDonalds now have, and sat down waiting for the delivery of our food and drink. Within a few minutes a young lady came to our table to inform us that "the expresso machine was not working would standard coffee be OK rather than the expresso I had ordered". yeh, sure. A few minutes later she came back with "oh, and by the way the iceream machine is also not working so we cannot make the chocolate shake you ordered". At that point we cancelled the entire order and left. On the way out I noticed that the store advertised "mobile ordering" using your smart phone. I wondered how the McDonalds app would have handled this situation, certainly their fancy electrtonic order board was not aware that expresso coffee and icecream while on the menu were not available.

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A visit with GXV (Springfield, MO)

Journal entry for Monday 29th Oct, 2018 (day 32, miles 3860)

As you can see this morning we were still obsessed by the lake and the birds. Why ? We could not work out an answer to that question.

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Tyler Bend (Buffalo River NP, AR)

Journal entry for Tuesday 30th Oct, 2018 (day 33, miles 3979)

After running down the KOA checklist for departing campers we took a few "last" photos of Springfield KOA and then hit the road south. For those that have not been to this part of the world, south of Springfield there are a series of popular lakes and the town of Branson. Branson is like a small Las Vegas with a varierty of entertainment and shows and to ensure that visitors get to know the choices available to them the highway is lined with large billboards advertising the various artists that are performing in the town. However, we have been to Branson on previous visits so this time we just continued on through the town.

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Rain ! (Little Rock, AR)

Journal entry for Wednesday 31st Oct, 2018 (day 34, miles 4081)

Overnight the rain continued with some really heavy bouts and that's how the day continued as well. Thus once underway we made steady progress to the KOA on the Northern side of Little Rock, AR thinking or was it hoping that tomorrow would deliver better weather so that we could visit the President Clinton Library.

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