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Posts Tagged ‘RV Sites’

Drove six hours including gas and rest stops.  Very tired by the time we arrived at the Small Towne Campground in Terry, Montana.  We took a chance on this one; Jackie called ahead, but no one answered the phone.  When we pulled in, except for a few full-timers, the campground appeared virtually empty.  Not even the owners were around. We noticed a sign outside the backdoor of their house that  told us to pick any site, which we did.  The sites themselves were nicely graveled with plush, grassy sections right next to them, perfect for Roscoe and Louie to stretch out and cool themselves after a very long and rough ride.

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Terry, Montana

It’s no secrete that when the body is overtired, the brain seems to shut down most of its reasoning capacity.  For example, when I tried to extend the leveling jacks and slide out, nothing worked.  Naturally, I overlooked the obvious, but I just couldn’t think through what I was doing wrong.  After six hours of driving,  my brain was dead.  While Jackie took the dogs for a little walk, I sat down, pulled out the monster ring binder, and skimmed the manual for a solution.  At least I still could read.  And then I found it:  “Apply parking brake fully” was clearly printed in bold font. If you get the body to relax, the mind will soon follow.  And so, with jacks and slide out fully extended, our camp was fully in place.

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Small Towne Campground site

When the owners finally returned, I sought them out to square the fee for the evening.  Very nice people, but they were a cash only enterprise, and I had no cash.  Not a problem.  The Stockman’s Bank has an ATM in the lobby and only a mile away.  The owner told me to be sure and check out the sculpture of two Montana cowboys standing around a campfire.  The thing was welded out of sheet metal by a couple of local prison inmates and displayed in a neighbor’s backyard.  I rode my bike to the ATM, got the cash, and looked for the sculpture. I couldn’t find it where she said it was; I even asked a few local Terry folks, but they didn’t know and looked at me as if I was crazy.

An inteevelyn with cameraresting side-note about Terry, Montana, is the fascinating story of Evelyn Cameron (1868-1928), a British-born photographer, adventuress of some considerable reputation, who moved to Terry in 1893 with her Scottish husband, Ewen.  After hearing stories about hunting expeditions in the Badlands of Montana, homesteading on the prairie, and living the life of a “pioneer,” Evelyn and her husband moved to Montana to see it all for themselves.  Evelyn inherited enough money after the death of her father to purchase a ranch.  After an initial failed effort to raise polo ponies to sell to wealthy Europeans, Evelyn raised vegetables to sell and took up photography after buying a nine-pound camera and tripod which she lugged around by horse, taking photographs of every aspect of frontier life in Montana.

Evelyn with horse:

evelyn with horse

Kneading dough:

evelyn kneeds dough

 

 

 

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Such a beautiful morning full of sunshine and quiet breezes off the river.  Sleeping with the slide out retracted was not too much of a problem.  Jackie took the couch-bed and I took the dinette-bed, and both dogs selected Jackie as their sleeping partner for the night.  Roscoe started cosying up with me, but on second thought, quickly changed loyalties and moved over with Jackie and Louis.

We’ve been without a consistently charged GPS; we’ve got the GPS, but forgot the charging cable.  Because the Garmins have such inferior batteries, they lose their charge very quickly because it’s such a graphics-dominated device.  But we’ve been able to keep the thing charged up through my Acer 6-cell Li-ion battery long enough to figure out the shortest route north to Spokane, Washington.  We were going to take the highway 12 route through Walla Walla (where I spent my junior year of high school:  Go Blue Devils!), Lewiston, Idaho, and through the Lolo pass to Lolo, Montana, but decided against it of weather concerns: late snow was what we heard.

Instead, we took the the 395 to Spokane.  Somewhere near Cheney, WA, while hitting the “seek” button over and over again, searching for a listenable FM station on the lower end of the FM band, suddenly the sound of a muted trumpet swung its way across the air waves.  Miles Davis and his quartet, John Coltrane on tenor, playing the Sonny Rollins’ tune “Oleo.”  Can this be so? The station was KEWU 89.5, Eastern Washington University. Listened to jazz all the way to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Hermiston to spokane

We had targeted a few rv campgrounds in the surrounding area, but they all panned out to be either full or much too expensive at 40 to 50 bucks a site.  We called one campground, Wolf Lodge Campground, but they were closed.  They told us that if we were willing to take a water/electricity site only, they would let us stay for the night for 28 bucks cash.  Turned out Jackie got us the site for 25 because she didn’t have any ones.  Spent another night sleeping in tight quarters, unable to extend our slide out.  Tomorrow we’re off to Christian’s in Lolo, Montana.

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About thirty miles into Mexico we came up on what turned out to be a huge line of parked tractor-trailer rigs.  I would say easily a hundred, lined up ass to nose as far as my eyes could see.  mexican truckers waitingOf course, I pulled up at the end of the line; I had no idea of what else to do.  I inched the Coach House around the rig in front of me to take a peek at what was happening.  A huge passenger bus roared by and one of the drivers ahead of me waved me frantically onward.  The line of truckers were all waiting their turn to pass through inspection at the Aduana, another checkpoint. Passed through that one easily as well.

Mexican truckers own highway 2; the truckers seem to have systematically established their own rules of the road, which, naturally enough, facilitate the transport of goods more economically; the faster they can safely deliver, the more profit for everyone.  One custom of note, which many of the road loggers and bloggers have seemed to have overlooked in their Mexico survival driving advice columns is the custom of straddling the shoulder’s white line, almost at all times, which leaves the center line for passing.  trucker shouldersThis enables other truckers to pass in between traffic going in both directions.  I learned this within the first fifteen minutes of driving in Mexico. Traffic speed limits are subject to Mexican relativity: even when the posted speed limit is 60 km, every driver goes much faster.  I had to adapt to seeing the speedometer as km rather that mph, not made any easier by km numerals half the size of mph on an American-made vehicle.

Our first stop for the night was in Caborca, about three hours from the border.  First, we had to look for a little hotel, Hotel Casa Blanca, that has five RV sites in the parking.  I had the address and the Garmin, so finding it shouldn’t be a problem.  Except the Garmin did not recognize any of the street names.  Worse, most of the streets, main streets included, did not have any street signs identifying intersections.  One example of the Garmin Mexico maps at their worst is in our search for an ATM in Caborca.  Instead of a bank, the Garmin directed us to an abandoned shack.  No good.  Since I couldn’t find the hotel, I resorted to calling the Casa Blanca, but the lady who answered the phone spoke no English.  Understanding directions over the phone in Spanish is probably the most difficult language challenge there is.  Jackie spotted a street name that intersected with the street we were looking for.  No luck.

Entrance to Casa Blanca

Entrance to Casa Blanca

Casa Blanca Office Entrance

Casa Blanca Office Entrance

 

After driving around for almost an hour looking for the place, by sheer providence I spotted the hotel’s name atop a giant pole: Hotel Casa Blanca!  Pulled in to their parking lot of the street and just opposite of the office, there were five tight little rv spaces of which only three seemed to be usable.  The very friendly office lady pointed us to the only spot that had utilities.  Tired, hungry, and very thirsty, we lay in for the night.  No pesos meant no cervaza at least for that night.

Coach House RV Spot

Coach House RV Spot

Coach House backed in for the night

Coach House backed in for the night

 

The next morning, the owner greeted us before we left and wished us well on our journey.  He introduced himself as Hector Hernandez and profusely apologized for not having the kind of amenities American RVers are used to.  It had been a long time since an American RVer had stop for the night; he’d almost given up hope of ever seeing one again.  I wanted to make him feel a bit better so I told him his Hotel came “highly recommended.”  This surprised him, but a smile did cross his face.  I said his internet connectivity was particularly exceptional as well.  He took this well and ask where we were going.  Hector made a couple of recommendations himself for campsites and offered his card for future reference.  Hermosillo was four hours away.

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