Montana to Pacific Northwest

Wow! what a start to the day, as I stepped out to walk the dogs about 0730, I saw the sky to the East was ablaze with red emanating from along the horizon. One of the best sunrises since my deep sea days. A very aptly named campground..

The end of this whirlwind cross-country journey is slowly coming into sight, as by this afternoon we finally reach the Pacific Northwest, and the normal dull grey sky and rain. After 2 nights at 5,000 feet we are looking forward to the lower altitude of Spokane and then finally back to sea level the following day. We just aren’t used to this lack of Oxygen!!!

Wednesday 15th October 2014

Sunrise Campground, Bozeman, MT to Spokane KOA, WA

Temps – 8 to 18C

Weather – Initially fine & clear, then overcast & heavy rain

Wind – Initially light airs then very strong cross wind

Cloxs – Clox back 1 hr (Z-7)

Distance today – 391 miles

Total Distance – 9,249 miles

Navigation

Another day that the navigator can sleep most of the day, as the departure campground was literally a few hundred yards from the I-90 junction and in Spokane we were a shade over 1 mile from the motorway.

Departure Sunrise Campground

Another easy departure and within a couple of minutes we were again west bound on I-90.

Detailed Voyage to Spokane KOA

As previously noted, the day commenced with a spectacular sunrise, with the Eastern sky ablaze in reds emanating from the horizon. Don’t have much experience in the mountains, but at sea we used the saying, “Red sky in the morning sailors take warning, red sky at night sailors delight.” So was this an omen of an impending storm system heading our way?

With less than 400 miles to travel today and an hour clox in our favour, we were in no great rush to hit the road, so finally pulled out about 0800. Our only problem this morning was diesel, or more specifically the lack thereof. We anticipated having 100 miles left, but the huge hill and crosswind last night put a huge dent in the reserve and we started with less than 50 miles to empty. This is well outside Andy’s comfort zone. Bozeman doesn’t have a truck stop, but the next town is only 11 miles and they have a Flying J – perfect. With an easy drive along I-90 we arrive at the truck stop, pulling up to one of the empty truck lanes. As usual the pumps don’t accept our Canadian Visa, as they require a ZIP code, so I go into pre-pay. The young lady at the desk advised that if we can fit in the car lanes we will save 6c per gallon. Running on fumes, a 6c per gallon saving is over $2 – where did you say the car lanes are? Lots of room, even some semis would fit. With a full tank we are off again about 0830.

We spent the next 300 miles winding our way through Montana, initially along a flat plain, before climbing up to 6,500 feet, at which time we needed to stop, walk the dogs, pump the bilge and make some more tea. Us poor coastal dwellers really don’t like the lack of Oxygen at these altitudes. Fortunately we headed down steadily to about the 3,000 feet, where we continued for a few hours before climbing a monster mountain just before the Idaho State Line. This is where we received an early welcome to the Pacific Northwest – the heavens literally opened and dumped water, oh! I almost forgot the wind, which was driving the rain sideways. Yet again, another very strong crosswind, while climbing a mountain.

On reaching Idaho, we started a gradual descent and by the time we arrived in Spokane were down to below 2,500 feet. Yes, much more comfortable.

We arrived at the campground shortly after 1600, and while a nice spot, it is rather tight for big rigs. The sites are really narrow and the roads not much better. Wasn’t any problem now that it is quiet, but in summer, with the sites full and cars/trucks parked everywhere, I highly doubt I could get to the site without moving vehicles.

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