Rough as in Very...

Trip Start Jun 04, 2011
Trip End Oct 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Upper Red Rock Lake Campground
What I did
Relaxed a bit..

Flag of United States  , Montana
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lynn and I left Helena on Tuesday morning in Shorty with Sooby in tow.  We took a different route down to the refuge.  We went through Boulder and then to Whitehall, Twin Bridges and on to Dillon.  The turnoff to the Refuge is about fifty miles south.  It was a beautiful, blue-skied day.  The snowy peaks are numerous and reflected the sun like we had wished for.  The road is primarily two lane and a great way to get wo where we were going.  That is, until we turned off at Monida, on the Idaho/Montana border.  We were naive and didn't realize that we had twenty-eight miles of "hard road" ahead of us.  Man, I can't believe how rough it was and how dusty.  I must also confess that I had forgotten to close the Soob's windows tightly.  You can guess the result.

We had hoped to stay at the lower lake, at River Marsh CG, but on checking in at the HQ building in "Lakeview" found that the road was impossible for an RV with the overhang that Shorty has.  We were directed to the Upper Lake CG, another four miles further along this disastrous road.  Did I mention the dust??

We got settled in without any problem.  The site is primitive, that is, no water, electricity or sewer.  No problem, as we have onboard battery power.  So I thought.  More later on this.

After dinner, we drove a bit along the lake to try to find access to the lake.  No go.  It truly is a secluded and safe place for the birds to breed and raise their young.  The refuge was begun in 1935.  At that time there were only about a hundred swans left and very few additional anywhere in North America.  Today, there are over 500 birds plus numerous other species.  I did get a long telephoto shot of one pair, otherwise we struck out.  We did see numerous bluebirds, swallows, hawks etcetera.  We decided to try again tomorrow.

Then the fun began.  At shortly after five AM, we were awoken by the Carbon Monoxide Detector's "beep".  I opened a few vents and windows and finally discovered that the coach battery had dropped in power enough that the detector warned us of the situation.  

I ran a set of jumper cables from the chassis battery to the coach battery and that got us going.  To top it off, for some reason the generator is unwilling to start, so no toast.  Aha!  I remembered how my mom would make toast on top of the wood stove at our cabin.  The day was saved.  

We left fairly early and drove back to the Lower Lake to see what we could spy.  We never did see the pair of swans that are nesting in the area.  We did see a number of white-faced ibises though.  We had seen the white variety when we were down in Texas and a couple of other spots.  There was a large hawk of some sort sitting close to the road.  I got a decent shot of him.  And then there were several yellow-headed blackbirds directly by the roadside.  I'm glad we didn't try to drive Shorty into the CG there.  The "dips" in the roadway were about 3-4 feet deep and nearly twenty feet long.  Not enough tail room for the coach, for sure. 

We had lunch on the roadside and headed back to camp.  Ol' eagle eye, Lynnie, spotted a good sized bull moose about two hundred yards from the main road. He was grazing, but moving at a good pace into the trees.  i got one decent shot of him.  After he disappeared, a smaller bull showed up nearby.  I only got a glimpse of the two of them at one time, though.  It's always a thrill for both of us to see moose.  I reckon that they're our favorites.  We decided that since we'd seen about all that was accessible in the valley that we'd head over into the Madison Valley.

We got to Ennis at about three PM and settled into the Riverside RV Park.  With a bit of persuasion and talk, I got a discount from the owner since I'm a Native Montanan.  As my dear, departed mother, Bernice always said, "It never hurts to ask.  All that they can say is no."

We had brats and some of Lynn's famous potato salad for dinner and here I sit.  I did drop off for an hour or so to get enough energy to finish this and the rest of the day.  Thanks, as always, for checking in.
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TJ on

High and lonely up there in the Red Rock. Amy's grandparents on her mother's side owned "Lakeview" for several decades. She spent a lot of time up there as a kid cooking and cleaning for the dudes. Not nearly as relaxing as Georgetown was for me....the poor dear. Long and rough dirt roads at least provide some solitude. Hope it was a great solstice in the sticks.

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