Travelin Tiger Archive

October 21, Prosser WA to Home

Our first trip for the year is over. From the time we picked Scout up at Provan we covered 4995 miles getting back to Portland. So far the new heater is working well, and we had a couple of wet days with no unwanted water. We averaged 13.4 mpg for the trip and 5 gallons of DEF.

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It’s good to be back in Scout and we are looking forward to next year when we can begin more extensive traveling.


October 20, Fairchild AFB WA to Prosser WA

From the begining we intended to visit Grand Coulee Dam. Ton had it on her mini-bucket list. When we woke up in the morning it was raining quite hard and continued the entire time we drove to Grand Coulee. The dam is impressive and is the largest on the Columbia River system. We watched a movie on the construction of the dam and poked around the visitors center for a while before moving on.

The drive out on the Grand Coulee Scenic Highway was very beautiful. Unfortunately with the bad weather there are no pictures. We will definitely be heading that way again in the future when the weather is better.

Looking for a place for the night we decided we needed a full service campground to clean up before heading home the next day. We settled on Wine Country RV park in Prosser Washington. It turned out to be a good choice. As we checked in they told us there were 10 tasting rooms a quarter mile away, and the RV park was having an evening wine tasting.

We headed down to the tasting rooms and sampled some wine, and ended up having a nice dinner. As we were setting up for the night the clouds lifted and w were treated to this sunset.

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October 19, Hells Canyon ID to Fairchild AFB WA

Today we reluctantly left Hells Canyon, unfortunately we are on a tight schedule for the week. Hopefully next year we will be able to take the time to really enjoy these finds when we are out wandering.

Today we drove US95 from Hells Canyon to Couer d’ Alene ID. It was not marked as scenic highway but really quite a nice drive with a lot of nice varying kinds of land. The fall colors were at there peak and though not up to New England were really nice mostly yellows.

During our 20+ years in the Northwest we had pretty much ignored Idaho which we now realize was a mistake. The good news is that we have an area close by we can spend some time in and discover.

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October 18, City of Rocks National Preserve ID to Hells Canyon National Recreation Area ID

This morning we woke up to this view from the back window of Scout,

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and this evening we had this view out our side window. This makes it all worth it.

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City of Rocks was as beautiful in the morning as it was the day before. We dawdled around getting out of there. On the way back to the interstate for some hard driving west we saw a sign for a back country by way and took a little detour thru a bunch of ranches with a small town every 25 miles or so. I am running out of ways to describe the beauty of eastern Idaho in the fall. If you are ever in the area around October give South east Idaho a chance you will not regret it.

Our plan for the next couple of days is to follow US95 from Boise to Coeur d’ Alene and then head over to Grand Coulee Dam in Washington. Heading north on US95 we saw signs for the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and our decision on where to overnight was made. On the map we saw that Idaho power had three campgrounds on the Snake river in the canyon. Our expectations were low so when we pulled in we were stunned with the high quality of this campground. Expecting primitive we were found paved roads, power, clean showers, and wifi all for $14. Kudos to Idaho Power.

October 17, W. Yellowstone MT to City of Rocks National Preserve ID

Caution looked like the right choice when we woke up there was about 3” of snow in W. Yellowstone. When we left we had decided to head for Mountain Home ID for the day, but driving thru the snow down the mountain Ton mentioned a place we had always talked about going to and said the fall colors were supposed to be nice there tight now. So mid-drive we reprogrammed the GPS for City of Rocks National Preserve on the Idaho, Utah, Nevada border.

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Ton’s instincts were dead on. This place is a real hidden gem of the park service. It is run jointly by the National Park Service and the Idaho Park and Recreation Department. It is on the old California Trail which is a branch of the Oregon Trail. It has some of the most incredible rock formations and we found it extremely beautiful and tranquil. It is really remote and the night sky was also fantastic.

If you are ever in SE Idaho along I-15 so yourself a favor and swing thru..

October 16, Hardin MT to W. Yellowstone MT

The plan for the day was to go to Yellowstone and stay at Hardy Campground. When we woke up in the morning we decided that we had not done Little Big Horn Justice so we decided to detour there on the way out of town.

We checked out the movie the Park Service has which is well done in trying to present the story from both sides. Then after the movie there was a Ranger talk whch was also excellent. We ended the visit with a walk up to the last stand site. Our little detour cost us half a day and it was almost noon before we took off for Yellowstone.

We busted along as fast as we could but it was not as fast as we would have liked as there was a considerable wind blowing the entire way which meant we were moving along considerably slower than the 80mph posted speed limit.

We finally arrived at Mammoth Hot Springs around 3:30 pm, only to see that Hardy Campground had closed that day for the season. With a 60% of 1 to 3’ of snow forecast we had a choice of staying at Mammoth Hot Springs and risking the park service closing the road across the park for part of the day, or heading for West Yellowstone and staying in a commercial campground. We opted for caution and headed over to West Yellowstone.

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October 15 Tioga ND to Hardin MT

After a week in Tioga while Ron earned his keep for the month working we moved on to our vacation. The plan for this week includes, Yellowstone and Grand Coulee Dam in Washington and whatever else we come up with.

After a leisurely start in the morning we drove to Hardin Montana to see the Little Bighorn National Battlefield. It was a wonderful Indian Summer day with puffy cumulus clouds in a wonderfully blue sky. The battlefield was quite well done. While it was like most battlefields a somber place, it is also a place of great natural beauty especially with fall colors. We really enjoyed ourselves today.

The plan for tomorrow is to head towards Yellowstone and hope the good weather holds for another day.

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October 9, Lewis and Clark SP to Tioga ND

Today we headed over to Tioga ND where Ron has been consulting more or less full time for the past year. We will be spending the next week in Tioga with Ron working and Ton getting her first experience of small town North Dakota life.

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October 8, Theodore Roosevelt NP to Lewis and Clark SP Near Williston ND

The next morning we headed over to the north unit of the park which is about 60 miles away. We enjoyed the drive over. The land in the north unit is very different than the south, and we concluded it was overall prettier than the south unit.

When we finished with the park we were looking for a place we can spend the night on Lake Sakakawea. Lake Sakakawea is the third largest man made lake in the United States and is formed by damming the Missouri River. Keeping with the Sakakawea theme we decided to stay in Lewis and Clark SP. When we arrived at the park we found that we were the only people staying in a campground with 200 sites. We spent some time exploring the lake shore where we found a group of three very hardy fishermen as it was quite cold and blustery.

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October 7, Jamestown ND to Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit

We headed over to Theodore Rooservelt National Park for the day. It is the only National Park in North Dakota. While the park is open year round, as you can imagine the visitation drops off considerably during the winter.

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There are two units to the park both along the valley of the Little Missouri River. The south unit has a badlands type feel similar to the Badlands NP in South Dakota. We toured the park and enjoyed the views and had a chance to see Bison and Deer. For the night we stayed in the parks only campground. Surprisingly the camp ground was pretty full given the high temperature for the day was 36 degrees, and the low was forecast in the 20’s.

October 3-6, Columbia SC to Jamestown ND

We picked Scout up at Provan on October 3. After being walked thru the changes by Jay and the crew at Provan we headed over to Ft. Jackson for the night to make sure that we understood how everything worked. Once we were satisfied that everything worked and we sorted thru everything to get reoriented to living in our truck. Also, we hit the commisary on the base and Costco to stock up on supplies.

The next day we took off with a target of getting to North Dakota as quckly as possible. The target for the first night was Ft. Knox Kentucky. We made it there with no big issues. We spent the night at a pretty full Army campground.

The goal for the next day was somewhere in Iowa. As we got closer we decided on Iowa City as a stop for the night. We ended up staying in a very nice Army Corps of Engineers campground.

We did not have an exact goal for the next night, after a very long drive we ended up in Jamestown North Dakota.

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