MT: Libby – 06/09/2016 – 06/15/2016

Libby, MT

Parking: Dunn Creek Flats
Rating: 10
WoW: Hinterlands

There are several free sites around Libby Dam on the Kootenai River, and they are really nice. The river is lovely, the sheriff checks in every day and you can watch the fishers pull in some nice sized trout.

We had some nice conversations with a gentleman who had been full-timing for years in his custom converted horse trailer. His rig is a really nice idea because horse trailers are built so much more robust than a normal RV, and the horse stall area can be used for toys. He kept his motorcycle and beautiful wooden boat (that he built himself) in there. If we hadn’t needed the ability to pull the sailboat, I think we would have gone with a similar solution.

We went motorcycle riding up to the dam and along Lake Koocanusa. Despite it being a weekend, there was almost no one on the road or in the primitive camping sites. Then we stopped at the RV park at the marina (just to have a look around), and apparently that’s where ALL the tourists go. It was PACKED with people. We were flummoxed. There are so many beautiful, peaceful places around, but folk were choosing to pay to be in the crowd. Oh well, more free space for us!

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Libby, MT

Rant:
There were rules posted all over about keeping dogs on a 6′ leash or keeping them fully restrained (and not allowing them to impede the enjoyment of the land by others). We went on a walk over to the dumpster, and at the site 100′ away come two aggressive dogs straight at us. We just stopped cold while the owner ineffectually kept calling out to them to “git over here.” They continued to growl and get closer and closer to us until I was sure we were going to have to kick at them (we had left the pepper spray and camera in the RV) when the owner was finally able to catch them. I do not care if you think your dogs are “just playing” – I do not want your beasts touching me. Keep them inside if you cannot keep control of them. Next time, they either get sprayed, shot or reported.

ID: Lake Pend Oreille (Ponderay) – 06/04/2016 – 06/09/2016

Ponderay, ID

Parking: Bonner County State Fairgrounds
Rating: 10

Since the gas-powered outboard motor was no longer functional on the sailboat and since we weren’t sure if the Torqueedo (electric outboard) would be able to power us back up Johnson Creek, we needed to get a new motor (also, we were ready to upgrade to a 6 hp), so it was time to move to a place where there was some cell phone coverage. The Fairgrounds is a very nice RV park with treed and grassy lots and Schweitzer in the background. It was about 1/3 filled, and it seemed like all of them were either full-timers or full-seasoners. Rick called around and found a motor – back in Spokane. Grrrr. We did NOT want to be going back to Washington so soon.

The motor mount on the sailboat had been shortened by the original owner, so we needed a longer one. The workshop just had it’s first task!

The sailboat hadn’t been in the water for almost three years, and this was the first launching using the RV. The Sandpoint city boat launch was hopping for a week day; apparently everyone was getting their dry-docked boats delivered to their slips for the season. There were plenty of nerves, but all went way more smoothly than we were expecting, and we were finally in the water again.

Boating on Pend Oreille is fantastic. It’s a beautiful lake, and we had fair winds. We kept the boat at the city marina so we didn’t have to spend so much time re-rigging and re-launching. The second day, we sailed up to East Hope on the north shore to have a spot of lunch. The next morning, we planned on taking the boat out early in the day to avoid the crowds, and we ended up taking out our lighting rod just as a thunderstorm rolled through. For not having done that in years, we got it out of the water and de-rigged amazingly quickly.

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

ID: Lake Pend Oreille (Clark Fork) – 06/01/2016 – 06/04/2016

Clark Fork, ID

Parking: Johnson Creek
Rating: 10

We had originally planned on going to the Clark Fork Drift Yard, but it was closed for breeding geese (because if there’s one thing of which the NW needs more, it’s Canada geese), so we headed to nearby Johnson Creek. This is a property owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, and it has a nice little boat launch and a couple of beautiful camping spots. It has a three day camping limit, but the other two RVs seemed to have already been there a while, and they were they after we left, so I don’t think it’s enforced.

The boat launch is pretty heavily used, but we did not end up launching because our 2.5 hp motor on the sailboat blew an oil seal. We did some canoeing/kayaking and some motorcycle riding pretty much spreading out as large as possible.

It has been really nice finding these free, beautiful, non-crowded locations. I’m sure things will change when we hit the East Coast, but so far, it has been great. Since we have plenty of solar power, we don’t require electrical hook-ups (or have to be the obnoxious folk that run the generator all day), so it gives us a lot of location options.

Clark Fork, ID

Clark Fork, ID

Clark Fork, ID

Clark Fork, ID

Clark Fork, ID

Clark Fork, ID

Clark Fork, ID

Clark Fork, ID

WA: Spokane – 05/30/2016 – 06/01/2016

Parking: Rodeway Inn
Rating: 6

There were a few things that we needed to handle, so we needed to be in civilization for a couple of days. Unfortunately, one of the things that needed doing was me going to the dentist because I had a very painful molar.

Hopefully, we won’t be spending too much time in motels, but it’s nice to have a real shower once in a while.

WA: Sprague – 05/26/2016 – 05/30/2016

Sprague, WA

Parking: Rest Area
Rating: 8

Parking: Fishtrap
Rating: 10
WoW: Arathi Highlands

After getting confirmation that the buyers had signed their paperwork, and the sale was being registered, we were officially house-free and were ready to travel. We headed for Moses Lake, but it was absolutely ridiculous for the holiday weekend – tons of people and dust flying everywhere, so we headed further east.

We arrived at Fishtrap a little too late to try to figure out where to park (especially for our first official night), so we decided to stay the night at the Rest Area a few miles back west. We drove through the town of Sprague, and it was weird and creepy. It was absolutely empty looking. It seemed to be the kind of town that Stephen King would write a tale of stranded tourists being caught by long dead ghosts to become permanent residents.

The Rest Area was clean and restful. We stayed about five minutes less than the eight-hour maximum and headed back to Fishtrap. The area was a bunch of old farms that the BLM has taken over. We were expecting another crush of people, but it was nearly empty. We pulled over into a nice parking spot and unloaded the motorcycles. Eventually, a couple tent-camped near us for one night, and a mile or so away, a group of horse-riding and ATV-riding truck campers set up. There were a few day folk that visited during the holidays to bike or hike, but other than the truck campers, we only saw one other RV. It was unbelievable to have the place pretty much to ourselves on what should be a very busy weekend – especially since it’s a free location.

The area is beautiful with rolling hills of grasses with a few pine groves in the distance. The motorcycle riding was excellent, and we met a lovely couple that gave us some information on the area and suggested that we visit Big Horn in WY when we get out that way.

We rode out back to Sprague to get some groceries at the gas station, and the town was completely different than at night – it looked like a perfectly normal (but little) place. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones to notice the difference because we overheard another party making similar comments. It’s bizarre that this part of WA supplies so much food to the rest of the state/country/world, but they themselves have limited access to buy their own groceries. For example, when we got a loaf of bread, the cashier said, “it’s still frozen, so you know it’s fresh!”

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Sprague, WA

Rant:
This is a well-maintained area, but when we arrived, someone had recently left their garbage bag behind, animals had shredded it, and the winds had scattered the trash all over. The area does not have dumpsters, so visitors are expected to “pack it out,” but apparently that is just too much trouble for some folk. The trash was clearly only from only one day’s visit (one day’s food, one empty pack of cigarettes and bottle of booze, and some used toilet paper), so there’s no doubt these litterbugs would have had plenty of room in their vehicle to take their trash home. So, the first thing I had to do when we arrived was to get out a bag and gloves, and pick it all up – some of the toilet paper all stuck in the bushes. Then we had to keep some random person’s poop-covered trash for three days. Nice.

WA: Monroe – 05/24/2016 – 05/26/2016

Monroe, WA

Parking: Evergreen State Fairgrounds
Rating: 8

All the paperwork for selling the house has been done, and we’ve moved the whole kit and caboodle to Monroe, so we can get the last items out of the house a little easier.

The fairgrounds is very quiet as it’s midweek. It has nice bathrooms and showers, but it loses a few rating points because the fiberglass boat building place next door is STINKY; fortunately, they had plenty of space for us to move. If you ever stay here, make sure you do not reserve any of the spaces around 210 (the middle of the eastern side).

WA: Plain – NW Overland Rally 2015

Motorcyles in garage pod
Loading the motorcycles in the garage pod.
Rally site
Lots of motorcycle, RVs, tents, and expedition vehicles.

TrexPod campsite.
TrexPod campsite. Notice the hastily erected “awning” to have a little shade outdoors. 105 degrees – not pleasant! Fortunately, we were able to run the air conditioner straight off the solar power.
View from atop Sugerloaf.