Lots of Surprises...

Trip Start Jun 11, 2012
Trip End Sep 24, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lynnie and I decided to leave on Labor Day for our trip out to see Lisa and Rich, our Washingtonian Kids.  The idea was to eliminate the competition for campsites.  Not a bad plan, eh?

We got out of Helena at about ten-thirty, with Sooby in tow.  The trip to Missoula went uneventfully.  As we approached Missoula, however, things changed.  The smoke in the valley there was "UNBELIEVABLE", as an old friend would have said.  I assumed that it was from the fires in the Bitterroot Valley.  We started south to get on Highway Twelve West and hoped that it would clear.  It didn't.  We continued on down into the Lochsa River country and saw even more smoke.  If we looked up onto the high mountains to the south of the river, one could even see the smoke billowing from the active wildfire.

We had planned on staying at Wendover CG, a Forest Service CG. The plan was to test out our improved "house battery" system.  We added a second, larger 12V. battery just recently.

The campground, as well as all of them along the river were closed due to the nearness of the fire in the Bitterroot Selway Wilderness Area. I got a couple of shots near the Split Creek take-out just to show how bad it was/is.  It was so bad inside, that we were both coughing, in spite of the fact that I had the AC set on "inside air".  

This meant that we had to continue to Stop Two on our itinerary, Pink House CG near Orofino, Idaho.  We made it fine, in spite of the over three-hundred mile drive.  With no nap, no less...

Pink Lady is a BLM CG and is BLM campground. It's located on the Clearwater River and also included Clear Air. It has full-hookups, with water, electricity and sewer.  Normally, a younger individual would pay $18 per night.  With the trusty "Geezer Pass", however we paid half.  One of the "bennies" of growing old and staying adventurous....

This morning I got a couple of shots of the river near camp and we headed out to Hood Camp, near Burbank, WA.

We stopped in Clarkston, WA at the Costco to get fuel.  It was about a quarter per gallon more than when we left Helena.  Go figure...

We drove through familiar country enroute to Hood.  The weather was in the eighties with little wind and clear blue skies.  Lots of ups and downs greeted us on the way.  Rolling high hills covered with wheat fields and orchards in the valleys make up the area.

Hood CG was easy to find.  It's a beautiful Corps of Engineers place right on the Snake River.  But, it was not to be... It was closed.  A call to the COE revealed that ALL of their CGs close on Labor Day.  So, our plan didn't pan out.

The nearest CG that we could find was in Sunnyside, WA, about fifty miles west on Hwy 12.  It took us about an hour to find a nifty little private CG.  It's warm, sunny and quiet an very reasonably priced. Just watch out for the camouflaged speed bumps.  The owner mentioned that they could use a little yellow paint after I mentioned it. So it goes.  We're settled and ready for dinner as I write this.  

More later from Mount Rainier National Park, White River Campground, IF it's open. 
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Dennis on

Soundslike a real adventure. Stay safe and enjoy yourselves.

Rich Buswell on


Your blog is coming through loud and clear now. I am not sure why, because my computer would not open your site before. All is well now and we look forward to following your adventures as they progress

photodon on

Good to see that you guys are on the road again. Enjoy your pix and travel bloggings. Didn't realize there were still wild fires going on but I guess they are an almost constant occurrence. Be safe.

ferd on

Hey, you are in some of my favorite country, to bad the trip was so smoky! We were in Msl. for the game, the air was better but bad again on Sunday and as you know Monday! To bad those CG closed so early! Weird! Have fun!

Mike Noble on

Hey, how come you didn't take all our smoke with you and deliver it to Idaho. Glad you finally found a good CG. I have camped at a couple of the others you mentioned albeit via an a framed tent....at least a couple of your pictures don't have smoke in them. Have a great time in Rainier -there were a couple spots our family always used there but no access by rv's since they were down on the river---fond memories. Have a great stay there and with your daughter and son in law.

Z man on

Looks like another legendary excursion by the Guay trekkers!

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