STOP 7: North American RV Park and Yurt Village, Coram MT
Wow, I am behind on my reporting!! A minor PUP incident/repair, some bad internet, and general lethargy has me about three stops behind! Anyway ...
This was a beautiful RV park about 5 miles outside the Western entrance to Glacier National Park. We had full hookups, nice shade, and a large dog park right next to us, which made our two companions quite happy! The park had a store with some basic supplies, but for any grocery type shopping, you had to drive 5 minutes down the road. Not bad at all.
Of course, the reason we came here was to experience Glacier National Monument. In a nutshell, we were disappointed, but hang on, it's much more on us than it is on Glacier.
First off, being a National Park, dogs are not allowed on any trails. We would never leave our dogs in the PUP (hopefully everyone agrees on this point -- I've already heard too many yapping dogs locked up in their owners' RVs!) so it really limits one to seeing Glacier from your car windshield/window.
2nd, we figured we could still do the Going To The Sun Road. The two problems there are: 1) the road is still not fully open and 2) they severely limit the number of people per day. To get a permit, you have to be on basically every internet connected device you own, and at 7:59 am, start hitting the site to get a prized ticket. We were never able to secure one in the three days we were here. Oh well, no worries. We drove an hour to the East side, where there are no ticketing requirements. There also seemed to be fewer people, and we were able to see the continental divide monument.
Unfortunately (3rd point), the weather did not cooperate with us, which I assume is pretty typical for this area. Clouds obscured almost all of the glaciers available to see from the road. It's still beautiful backcountry, and we weren't disappointed we took the extra drive. As they say, "the joy is in the journey".
We got back to the East side, and by now had learned that after 4:00 pm, the Going to the Sun Road is unrestricted. We decided to take the road as far as possible. Again, between weather and unable to get out of the car, there wasn't much to see.
From watching a number of videos, it seems that Glacier really needs to be seen on foot, so we will try and get back here when we don't have dogs to negotiate.
STOP 8: Yellowrock Campground, Lolo MT
After three days, we left the Glacier area for the booming metropolis of Lolo, Montana. Yellowrock Campground is lovely wooded campground about two miles outside of Lolo, right on Hwy. 95. We didn't realize it, but there is apparently some history with this campground. The original owners (now deceased) evidently were square dancing enthusiasts, going so far as to build a dance hall in the campground. We met several people here who have come annually for years, to enjoy each other's company as well as enjoying some square dancing. One couple was spending their 19th annual stay.
Like I said, the owners have passed away, and (if I have my story straight), the daughter is now running things. She is very friendly: drove us to our site, and gave us a number of tips and suggestions. They are quite particular about grey water, and she asked us to "disguise" our jerry can collection system, and asked us to dump it "in the dark". I took that opportunity to buy a Camco sewer to hose adapter, which as it turns out, is obviously MUCH more convenient than having to dump my 8 gallon can every day.
Missoula is about 15-20 minutes to the north, and has almost everything one needs. That turned out to be quite a blessing; allow me to elaborate.
As we were sitting in camp, I glanced at the passenger tire of the PUP. Goodness, I am missing two lug nuts!! Yikes. Fortunately, this was a layover day, so no worries. I drove up to Missoula, and an hour later I was back with a pair of lug nuts. That's when I looked a bit closer and realized that the two lug bolts had actually sheared off.
Being late in the afternoon, I couldn't pack up, hitch the pup and take it up to Missoula, so we spent the night, while I made several phone calls. After striking out three times, I found a Les Schwab in Missoula that was willing to take a look.
We got up early the next morning (well, vacation early ) and slowly crawled back up to Missoula. Fortunately, in about 3 1/2 hours, they had replaced all the lug studs and nuts, for only $50! (I knew my front tires were nearing their limit, so I also purchased two new tires from them).
From there, we made the long trek down 95, and made it to our next stop, the Canyon Pines RV resort in Riggins, Idaho.
Stop 9: Canyon Pines RV Resort, Riggins ID
After a fairly long drive, including some gravel roads and a few long passes, we pulled into this RV park just south of Riggins, Idaho. I was not aware, but apparently this is where a lot of people visit the Snake River Canyon. While we didn't get a chance to visit, we did do some sightseeing up some windy gravely roads. The views were quite breathtaking, and I do wish we had planned to visit the canyon itself. (There's always the next trip!)
Canyon Pines RV Resort is a smaller, pleasant park. Access is super easy, lots of pull-through spots, and we were fortunate to have a spot right on the bank of the Little Salmon River. The water is really flowing here, and we wouldn't even let our dogs get in, for fear of being swept away.
I feel the need to say that this stay was a bit dampened by all the rules that are posted and verbally shared. Most of them are common sense; some seem a bit harsh, and some just ridiculous. For example "if your dog is seen off leash, you will be asked to leave the property immediately." Trust me, I understand (and follow) all the dog restrictions, but here we were not even supposed to use our tethers. Dogs cannot be tethered, they must be leashed at all times. Perhaps the funniest rule was posted on the bathroom doors: "Cleats are not allowed in the bathroom." Cleats? Has this been a problem? Anyway, I understand the need for rules -- I just felt like I was back in Mrs. Hearn's fourth grade class again, ready to have my knuckles whacked by her 18 inch ruler.
The good news is the repair job on the PUP was perfect: all lug nuts in place! We enjoyed the sound of the rushing river, as it drowned out any other noise we may have heard the two nights we were there.
We probably won't be back here, for the aforementioned reason, plus the fact that, other than the Snake River Canyon, there's not really a reason to return. Also, at the risk of crossing a political line, let me just say that this is definitely MAGA country! (for better or worse -- your decision).
We had an uneventful load up, and headed to Homedale, Idaho, and the Snake River RV Resort.