On Monday, September 14, it was time to leave Idaho. We loved our campsite and would have stayed longer, but we are on that hated thing called a schedule. Mind you, it is a very lax schedule, but we need to keep moving to see the new grandbaby make her big entrance.
We had two options, we could drive further up the canyon over a road that ultimately turns to gravel and save 60 miles to get to I 90, or we could backtrack back to St. Maries and drive the long way around. Guess which one I chose…Bingo! we went on the adventure. What I was not counting on was some of the most beautiful scenery we have had on the entire trip.
We drove up the St. Joe River road to the northeast. The river canyon is stunning. Huge rock walls on both sides and a beautiful river below. The road was was extremely curvy but for the most part fairly flat.
We drove and drove for about 70 miles at an average of 30 miles per hour. It was so worth it. We then came to a road that went up the mountain leaving the river behind. This road got steep and took us to the top of a pass. It was beautiful up there also.
We were camped way down in that valley. We decided to stop and let the truck rest and have lunch. This was our lunch spot.
Next up was 12 miles of dirt road down to the town of St. Regis. The road was not bad and was not too steep. We made it to St. Regis and then got on I-90. We only had 20 miles to our campground…or so we thought.
When we got to our exit, there was a big brown sign with the name of the campground on it. It had another big sign on it that said “CLOSED”. I had just visited the web site for this USFS campground two days earlier and it said nothing about being closed. We pulled into a rest area and started looking for a place to stay. 70 miles down the interstate was Beavertail Mountain State Park. That looked like our best option, so we started driving. We arrived at about 5PM, because of the time change to Mountain time zone. The good news is they had a site that would fit us and we paid for two nights and bought a Montana State Park Pass. I guess we will be staying at some Montana State Parks on this trip.
The park was right by the interstate and a train track. The bad news is that first night we had 5 or 6 trains go by from 1AM to 6AM. Kim could tell you the exact times. I vaguely remember them. I woke up rested, Kim,not so much.
Here is a picture of our site at Beavertail Mountain SP.
The park is really not too bad. There is a nice nature trail and the Clark Fork River runs right by. It looked good for fishing, but I was busy catching up on some computer stuff. We had great Verizon signal at this park. Here are a few shots of the Clark Fork.
You can see by the color change along the river that fall is coming to Montana very quickly. The second day it rained most of the day and was down in the 40’s. We turned on the electric heater for the first time in a long time. We hunkered down and did some research on our plan for the next few stops. We were now 500 miles closer to Missouri than when we started two weeks ago.