Heading to West with a Stop in Wallace, Idaho

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This was an amazing stop, and totally unplanned. The heat was on so we wanted to be plugged in for a few days.  The campground was Wallace RV Park, which is on a creek and the big selling point to us was has a brewery attached.  After getting off the interstate we drove through this adorable western mining town and then into the campground.  The campground, while the sites were small the location was amazing.  It had a railtrial (Trail of the Coeur d”Alenes) right outside the door which was amazing for working on my training.  It was underneath the interstate for a couple miles which made it very pleasant to stay out of the hot sun.  The trail is something like 73 miles long. 

The town is full of history. It is located in Shoshone County, Idaho in the Silver Valley mining district of the Idaho panhandle.  It was founded in 1884 and sits on the Coeur d’ Alene River and Interstate 90.   They had more brothels there than in San Fransciso did at one point.  The last one closed in the 80’s, the 1980’s.  It then became a museum and the rooms were rented it out.  There is an old theater there as well, however the summer program had not started while we were there.  One day we went on the Mine Tour (Sierra Silver Mine Tour).  We started at the Silver Mining Store, which is part store and part museum and ice cream parlor.  We hopped on a trolley that took us to our tour, after a steep ride up the side of the mountain we were greeted by a Miner who had us place a hard hat on our heads and off we went into the mine.  Very dark and very damp place.  After our 45-60 minute tour down below we decided that spending 12 hours per day in the dark, damp place would not be our idea of fun.  It was interesting how the miner’s lived and we now know that they did not make a lot of money but they would spend some money at the many brothels.  After our mine tour our driver collected us to take us on a tour of the town of Wallace.  In which we learned about the history of Wallace and how it became and why it became the only town in the US that all the buildings, homes are on the National Historical Registry.  Apparently in the 80’s again the 1980’s the government wanted to build the Interstate right through the town, so the town put every house on the historical registry.  

One evening we went to the brewery  (City Limits Brewery) we sat at the bar and a gentleman asked to sit next to us.  We started to chat up Bruce, he is a native of the town of Wallace, however he lives in San Antonio and goes back for a few months in the summer, can’t blame him for that.  Anyway, he was telling us about growing up there and the making of the railtrail.  He said when he was in the military they told the people when on leave they did not want them to go to San Fransciso or Wallace because of the amounts of brothels.  He also told us how the building of the railtrail was a way to unpollute the area. The area was polluted when they were taking out the railroad so the government told the town you either have to spend a lot of money to get rid of the pollutants or “cap”, capping is what they did and the railtrail was born.  There is a train museum, which we did as well, worth our time for sure.

Speaking of Railtrails, there is one we did the Hiawatha Trail.  It is an unpaved railtrail that is awared the Rails-To-Trails Hall of Fame designation.  It is considered the “crown jewel” of rail trails and after riding the trail I can honestly say we agree.  The adventure begins at Lookout Pass on the Montana/Idaho state line.  We drove up there and rode our bikes down, very little pedaling needed.  The trail is a 2% downhill grade of 15 miles of amazing views on the abandoned Milwaukee Railroad.  The trail has 10 tunnels, (one is 2 miles long, long dark and damp) and the trail also has 7 trestles.  After we got to the bottom there were some nice folks to take our bikes and us back up to the top, well almost the top, we have to ride the tunnel back to the beginning. It cost us less than $30.00 each for the ride and the return shuttle.  They rent bicyles and helmets (must be worn) and headlights (a necessity as well, remember the 2 mile, dark, damp tunnel), however, we had our bikes, helmets and lights with us.  We were finally able to use our bikes since we left Florida and were grateful for having our own and my Ion headlight and tail light.  After we got back we were wishing there was more.  If this is something you want to do check out the schedule at  ridethehiawatha.com. 

While we were in Wallace our days were spent exploring and the afternoons were spent enjoying the little town, checking out the breweries and just enjoying hanging around the campground.  

During one of the afternoon walks with Eris the Court’s bailiff asked us to bring Eris to the courthouse he had a cookie. He told us to go ahead and bring her in and he meant all the way in up the marble stairs and up to the lobby area where he could give her a treat. He said they are very proud of not having a dog policy. The hospitality in the whole town was amazing, for a second I thought we were in the south.

Bottomline, if heading west and you are like us and don’t have concrete plans be sure to do a stopover in Wallace, Idaho.  If we had time we would be heading back there.  

Next week’s blog we are skipping ahead to the Seattle area as there wasn’t much to be said about where we were in eastern Washington, because we were fleeing the heat.  

So until next week keep exploring, discovering and dreaming, whether you are traveling or staying in place.  

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

PS if you would like to purchase any of my photo’s, email me and I will be happy to sell you some.  I will be reopening my Etsy store in the near future as well, selling cards and magnets of my prints. Look out for that coming soon.

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Email: hlmichaudphotography@gmail.com

It’s Time for Yellowstone Part I, but First Here Comes the Teton Pass….

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So after spending a wonderful, memorable week in the Teton’s it was time for us to move on, in order to do this we had to go through Jacksonhole and head over the Teton Pass, after traveling across the country I have driven a lot of mountain passes but I gotta tell you Teton Pass is not for the faint at heart, it is never ending or so it seemed.  We made it through and I assume it was beautiful but my hands were firmly placed on the steering wheel and eyes on the road and I kept peeking at gages as well, maybe someday without us towing our home we will go up it again and check out the views, but honestly I wanted it overwith as did Eris.  Eris is not crazy about passes, we can tell, just wonder if it is because she cannot “pop” her ears or if the twisty turny road hurts her belly.  Either way, I am with her on that, this Florida girl is not happy driving them either.  

Well after we made it to that we went through Driggs (where we will be going to the XCapers Convergence in August.  Cute town and are looking forward to heading back.  We found a perfect campsite in Island Park, Boot Jack Dispersed Camping, it was free and it was easy to get in and out of and close to West Yellowstone.  After getting settled we did what we always do with a national park, headed in to get the way of the land.  We have been there previously (3 times to be exact, once just Mike and I, once with Annette and Cathy (we did a backpacking trip) and once with the girls, however, even though with the girls we did stay in West Yellowstone we never really did much on that side of the park.  We did do the required stops like Old Faithful, but mostly we just kept heading over to the Canyon area.  

One day we went to Mammoth area, saw some elk just chillin’ on the lawn, and we did all the pull offs and hiked the Mammoth area.  The weather in early June was perfect (mostly).  

Of course we got stuck in our fair share of “bison jams”, which I always like, got some great shots of some bison.  Also a lot of animal butts, a little cooperation would be lovely but I am certainly not one to ask them to move or smile for the camera.  

We did spend some time in West Yellowstone.  They have a great camera shop there (Yellowstone Camera).  I got a great zoom lens, which will be great for my wildlife photos when we come back.  When we come back we will be going on a scenic boat ride but what I am most excited about is the photo safari.  Honestly, we didn’t know these exist but not only do the exist they are reasonable.  Scenic boat ride is $19.00 per person and the photo safari is a little over $100.00.  They will take me and a few others to the areas where wildlife is present, I am hoping for a bear.  

One very cold morning (puffy jacket cold)  we got up super early and headed into the park in the dark, to try to beat the crowd for the Grand Prasmatic shot, well, the steam washed it out.  But we had a great hike and got some great shots regardless. Then we headed to Old Faithful and had breakfast at the Snow Lodge.  We walked the boardwalk around Old Faithful and made it back to what I think was a great place to see it “blow”.  We then headed to do the scenic drives.  Scenic drives are nice and relaxing, they have pull offs where they need to be and ususally have ample parking to see such.  I highly recommend doing any scenic drives that are available.  The ones in Yellowstone do not require a 4 wheel drive truck, but if any of the parks suggest that you have a 4 wheel drive truck, heed that advise oh and be sure to know how to use your 4 wheel drive properly.  On the scenic drives we did, one had a ton of thermal features and the other had some waterfalls and mountains.  While we were freezing when we left home in the morning our Waggle went off that it was 94 degrees inside the camper.  It was a hot night,  so we made our plans to move on. 

After a few days, I needed to go see Canyon, as that area has been our favorite part of the park.  I am excited to be spending some time on that side in August but wanted to see it just the same.  Oh my has it changed.  We did the scenic drive to the Yellowstone Canyon, of course.  

We ended up staying a full week in our free campsite.  Very unique area and can’t wait to return.  Yellowstone for sure is our favorite national park and if you haven’t been, make plans as pictures do not do it justice.  

That’s all for this week, hope you enjoyed it, and if you did please consider following us and liking it.  We will be back next week as we make our way to Deer Lodge, Montana, a surprisingly interesting cowboy town and if we weren’t looking for air conditioning we might have missed it and then back boondocking in Missoula.

So until next week, keep exploring, discovering and dreaming…

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

OFF TOO DRIGGS OR FLAMING GORGE, WHAT WILL THE MAGIC 8 BALL PICK, AND OUR FAVORITE CAMPER ADDITION

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Well we don’t have a Magic 8 Ball, but we do have a son, so we sent him the weather conditions for both Driggs and Flaming Gorge and said you be our Magic 8 Ball and tell us where to go.  This is the conversation we were having with our son as we were emptying out our black tanks at the Maverick down the road from the Flight Park.  He said definately Flaming Gorge.  So off we went, headed east, made it into Wyoming and then back into Utah.  Flaming Gorge is technically in both Wyoming and Utah  but our campground was in Utah.  After a series of serious, not kidding mountain passes we made it to our campground, Jug Hollow Dispersed. We decided to not scope it out and just go for it, because we could see there was a way to turn around at the end from Google Maps, so off we set out to what would become our home for the next week, actually 10 days, as we were not leaving on Memorial Day or before.  

The campground was amazing the road in was cow filled (cow jams were not out of a question) and the road in, while it was only 5 miles back took every bit of 20 minutes.  Our piece of paradise was at the very end on a penisula and while the ride back was a bitch it was worth every bit of it.  We were surrounded by beautiful water on three sides.  We had beautiful weather almost every day we were there, cool to cold in the morning and warm and pleasant during the day. The rain that looks so ominous never came to us.

While boating and fishing are favorite past times in the area we enjoyed just hanging out at our site and chilling.  The closest big town to the area is Rock Springs, Wyoming, while it was only about 50 miles, with getting out of our area and driving the scary mountian passes it is easily and 1.5 hours to get there.  But we did it a couple times, once for groceries, and laundry and another because I needed some running shoes.  

Since we were there a week before Memorial Day we felt like we would be protected from people camping too close to us and as there are no and I mean NO facilities at the campground we honestly didn’t figure on it becoming the place to drive down to for the weekend, but we were wrong and am glad we have plans to be at a friend’s mom’s house for 4th of July and established campground for Labor Day.  It started with 2 vans, with their dogs and kids, the were mostly quiet but let their dogs run loose.  We set up a tent near our camper thinking for sure this would deter anyone further from intruding or getting to close to our camper, no such luck, we went to bed at 11:30 one night and woke the next morning to 3 huge tents (almost on top of our tent) 4 or so kids and 4 or so off leash dogs, however, Eris now has a boyfriend.  Well he liked her but not sure how she felt about them.  Honestly, they were quiet though so except for letting their dogs run loose they were all fine.  But my question is where, oh where are they using the bathroom.  Anyway, by Monday afternoon all peace was restored, they all left.  We spoke to one of our other full time neighbors and they said she actually had to park her truck behind her rig because multiple people tried to set up behind her.  Anyway, our time in the campground was amazing and we will definately go back again.  

Now all about Flaming Gorge,  established in 1968 is a National Recreation Area.  There is over 300 miles of shoreline, boat ramps, marinas compgrounds and lodges.  As I mentioned it is a water paradise with the fishing, swimming and boating. As a Floridian I can tell you I was not getting in the water as it was 42 or so degrees.  There is dam and the Green River below it is world renowned for its trout fishing and rafting.  The area was named by John Wesley Powell in 1869 after he and his 9 men saw the sun reflecting off the red rocks.  In the 1870’s ranchers moved into the mountain valleys near Flaming Gorge.  There are remenents of Swett Ranch stil present today. Apparently, many outlasws and fugitives would hide out in the isolated valleys along the Green River, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch were among them.  

There is a ton of hiking and as it is a National Recreation area, most of the trails are able to be used by dogs.  So Eris did get to go hiking with us.  We hiked the Rim Trail.  Not sketchy just beautiful.  When in the area we will return to here. It was amazingly breathtaking, if you don’t believe me go check it out.  

At our campground we had amazing cell service so I was able to work.  Which get’s me to my favorite addition to our camper this week and that is our WeBoost.  It gives us just that little bit extra when needed.  Also, I might want to add our two hotspots, one AT&T with 100 GB a month and our Verizon, doesn’t give us nearly as much but works good when needed.  Right now and most times, I use my phone as a hotspot we are able to do most with it but sometimes we just need that little bit of boost and we now have our WeBoost for that.  

So that’s all I got for this week, again put The Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area on your bucket list and if you liked this blog, give it a like and consider following us for a weekly dose of our travels as we head towards Grand Teton National Park.  

Until next week, and keep Exploring, Discovering and Dreaming,

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

Joshua Tree to Williams and Grand Canyon and Favorite Item of the Week

We left Joshua Tree to make it towards Grand Canyon.  We made it after a very long drive to Williams where we found a decent campsite and then headed to the little town of Williams.  It is such a cute little town that really is the gateway to the Grand Canyon.  They Grand Canyon Railroad takes off from there and if we didn’t have a 4 legged kid with us we would have done it.  Anyway, we were only gonna stay at the campground that we stayed at for one night and then move closer to the Grand Canyon but there was things we needed to do in Williams so we stayed where we were and drove the hour to the park.  

The campground we stayed at was Garland Prairie Road Dispersed Camping.  It was free and was really a nice area. My only complaint was no real workable cell service.  We figured ok, next place will have it so we will just suffer it out until then.  

We headed into the Grand Canyon in the afternoon on the second day and it was a good time to go, crowds were lighter and our wait to get in was not so bad.  Well the I should say the crowds were lighter as far as waiting at the gate and parking.  However, the first thing the both of us thought was wow this is like Animal Kingdom (Disney for those of you who aren’t familiar), heavy crowds and sort of hot.  We got the papers from the Rangers and got the lay of the land.  Eris was able to do anything on top of the rim, which I was good with that, I didn’t have any intentions of hiking down at least not this time.  So we hiked the rim and oh my it did not disappoint. I am grateful for digital camera and I did not have to print the what would have been rolls and rolls of film in my previous days.  We headed into the park twice like this, in the afternoon and the second time in we did the scenic drive and again were not disappointed.  We did see some Elk, and deer on both days.  Eris really doesn’t know what to make of them.  Really since we weren’t really going to be doing any of the hikes other then on the rim two days or should I say 1 full day was really enough.  The beauty was amazing and every step we took was breathtaking.  But after a while we realized that everywhere we turned would not look much different then the other locations.  

One day while there we headed into Williams to go to the laundromat.  It was clean and reasonable.  Another evening we were so looking forward to going to the Grand Canyon Brewery.  Well when we got there we were sadly disappointed. It was filled to capacity and no one, I mean no one, except us was wearing a mask.  Felt so unsafe.  We had Covid once and we do not want to get it again. So we left. 

Another day we took a drive to Flagstaff, what a beautiful place.  We could move there if we didn’t already have our winter home in Florida.  We took Eris to the groomer, got her bathed and nails done, got an oil change in the truck, found an REI where we got Eris a pair of boots, she was not thrilled with them when we tried them on her but she may like them in the future.  Also, we decided that all the REI’s out here have amazing views.  The view was San Fransciso mountain range.  Mike asked the girl at REI and said if there is one thing we have to do in Flagstaff what would it be, she did not hesitate to say Snow Bowl. We were taking the scenic drive home so we passed right but the mountain pass that took us up to Snow Bowl.  Eris did not know what to make of that white stuff.  We didn’t try her in the boots, maybe we should have.  Snow Bowl itself was closed but there were trailheads there.  We weren’t really prepared for snow and ice so we headed back down.  We drove the rest of the beautiful drive back home and just chilled.  

After a few days we figured we have seen enough and were ready to move on and on the morning we decided we needed to head down to lower elevation we woke up to 15 degrees.  We were headed to Sedona for a few days to check out the red rocks.  

So be sure to check back next week to hear all about our stay in Sedona. 

This week I am most grateful for the addition of the handle on our screen door.  Where we are currently it is 25-30 mph winds with 50 mph gusts.  It’s crazy, to hear about this be sure to check back with us next week. 

If you want up to date status be sure to check out our Instagram page, I update that daily.  @what_r_we_waiting_4 

Until next week, if you enjoyed this be sure to like and consider following us and subscribing to the email list.  

Hope, Mike and Eris

YUMA TO QUARTZSITE TO JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, WHERE TO GET GREAT PHOTOS, WHERE TO HIKE WITH FOUR LEGGED FRIENDS AND CHEVY TRUCK BUILT LIKE A ROCK…..

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We headed to Quartzsite where we were treated to a nice boondocking spot at the LTVA BLM (Long-Term Visitor Area-Bureau of Land Managment).  We could have stayed there for 2 weeks for the cost of $40.00, there is a dump, trash and potable water available. Also there are people who stay for the whole season, (7 months) for something like $180.00. Pretty reasonable place to be.  It is about 2 miles from  Quartzsite, which is where the Big Tent (RV Show) is held as well as the gem show.  Oh, the rocks, were everywhere.  Poor Eris feet.  I tried doing yoga outside and I used the rocks under under my mat as pressure point relievers.  We can only imagine what this place was like during the rv show.  Quartzsite truly is a nomad mecca.  We do plan on coming back for the Big Tent next year. Our campsite was nice and private in a big field.  But no one really was that close to us.  It was super windy when we were there so the dust and sand was everywhere.  But can’t expect much different since it is the desert afterall.   We spent 4 nights there, had 4 beautiful sunsets and then  it was time to head to Joshua Tree.  

We arrived to Joshua Tree, South BLM after a couple hour windy drive.  We couldn’t have been any closer to the Joshua Tree sign even if we were staying inside the park.  First thing after we got camp set up was to head into the park to the Visitor’s Center, where we got the maps and lay of the land.  Of course there was not much we could do with Eris so it was a mostly drive thru park.  We did stop and see alot however.  The park is layed out and is condusive to pulling off and seeing and climbing up and over rocks, which we did.  We were able to take Eris on two trails, one honestly really sucked it was supposed to be an Oasis and the other was Keys View which was a beautiful overlook, not really a hike.  This is a beautiful park.  Joshua Tree is famous for it’s namesake the Joshua Tree, which is only found here.  The park roadway winds it’s way from the Colorado Desert to the Mojave Desert where all the Joshua Trees are.  It is such different landscapes.  We drove through the campgrounds to see what it is all about.  While they would have been nice to stay in, we were quite content to be right outside the south entrance for free.  We had the same amenities they have except we had a lot more space.  Basically outside the park on the south entrance there really is nothing.  We did find some hikes the pup could do we picked one called the Painted Canyon.  The drive to the hike was as beautiful if not in some spots as driving through the park.  We realized that Eris while she is a 3 mile dog in normal conditions she is a 2 mile dog in the desert.  After the canyons we went down to check out the Salton Sea.  Very interesting, it is a body of water that was made by accident.  Sadly the accident was pollutants.  There is the highest concentration of salt in this body of water that only two forms of sea life exist.  However, it was nice to smell the salt water as we haven’t had that scent since Mississippi. Also, what I noticed while we were having our picnic was the sound of the sea birds.   Down there they offer camping, fairly reasonable with hookups. But there really is nothing to do there.   

One day Mike had me drive him up the mountain from the campground so he could ride his bike back down.  He smiled all the way down. 

If in the area and need someplace to stay I highly recommend Joshua Tree South BLM, great space and super great cell service, amazing sunsets and great stargazing.

Best place for photos in this area is in Joshua Tree National Park at all of the pull offs.  Supposidly the best place for a sunset photos is at Keys View.  We couldn’t get a parking during the sunset so we came back in the daytime.  The sky was sadly hazy. I got better photos elsewhere in the park and I got amazing sunsets at our campsite.  Also, I highly recommend doing the other trails in the area outside the south of the park.  I got some amazing photos of canyons.

Oh where can the four legged friends go, all over Quartzsite and the BLM land around it, only two trails in Joshua Tree and mile and miles of trails by the Painted Canyon. 

We have done a lot of upgrades to our home, I would like to take the time to mention one a week. However, this weeks is not our camper it is our truck.  All I can say people if you are planning on going off road, make sure you have the proper vehicle to get yourself unstuck. Mike had to pull two people out of the soft sand. One couple spent the whole night in the sand in the park, the other rescue was in our campground.  

The weather was warming up so it was our time to move on and up, so follow along to see where our next adventures will take us.  

Don’t forget to explore, discover and dream and ask yourself what are you waiting for, life is short.

If you like this consider subscribing and like it and follow.  

Safe travels,

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowerrider camping hound.