Summer Travels 2015
It was a crazy summer of RV travel. Five weeks in Wisconsin at the Omro RV Park flew by in the blink of an eye, and then a new travel schedule began in earnest. Our first major business commitment of the season began July 14 – exhibiting at the HobbyTown National Convention in Lincoln, Nebraska on behalf of a longtime client. One week later, we again represented our client at the four-day IPMS National Convention in Columbus, Ohio. Our next big engagement was in Portland, Oregon, where we represented two separate companies at the National Train Show, which began August 28. We put on about 4,200 miles in six weeks.
Our RV travel route between Columbus, Ohio and Portland, Oregon was chosen based on proximity to business engagements, as well as a general desire to head as far north as possible to take a route we’ve never explored before. First we spent a couple of nights at the Twin Mills Thousand Trails park in Howe, Indiana to recoup and regroup, then a night at Pine Country Thousand Trails in Belvidere, Illinois, before pushing on to Eau Claire, Wisconsin for a one night stop. The next morning, we left early, hoping to put as many miles on as possible before the predicted winds kicked in. But Jerry still wound up battling 30 mph gusts for most of the drive north to Superior, Wisconsin / Duluth, Minnesota area.
Duluth is a fascinating city, all of it either hills or waterfront. If you go, make sure to look up the shipping schedule online. It’s a big deal to watch the bridge rise and any of the big ships come in or head out into Lake Superior past Canal Park. Maybe it’s our hobby interest, but planes, ships, and trains tend to draw our attention. They all converge at Duluth, along with interesting architecture, great places to eat, and beautiful parks.
After Duluth, we continued northwest to Thief River Falls, where we spent two nights, then onward to Minot, North Dakota for a fascinating two night stop at the North Dakota State Fairgrounds. At $20 per night, it was the least expensive camping we’d found for awhile – electric only, but that’s all we needed. I say ‘fascinating’ because one corner of the fairgrounds houses the County Historical Society, with a terrific display of old cars and an entire community – housing, church, railroad depot, post office, blacksmith shop, etc. We were the only visitors and were treated to a personal tour of the property. What a find!
Continuing west, campgrounds were few and far between. Most are associated with a motel or a city park. Our next stop was to dry camp at a city park in Malta, Montana – $3 for a quiet place to park in a small town.
Next, we spent some time in both Great Falls and Missoula Montana, where we visited friends and reacquainted ourselves with our hometown of eight years, 23 years ago. Great Falls has changed dramatically since we were there last and it was a challenge to recognize those pieces of our past that were once so important to us. We were sad to see that our old neighborhood has gone from rural beauty to run down suburbia. Our last home while we lived there was on Malmstrom Air Force Base, and that old neighborhood is now a grassy field. It’s true that ‘you can’t go home again.’
Missoula, Montana is called ‘Little Seattle’ by its natives because of its cultural diversity. It was too hot and smoky too enjoy much time outdoors this trip, but a drive through of the downtown piqued my interest. We’ll schedule more time there when we return again. Somehow I was under the impression that this was a small town, but it’s large and sprawling. It’s the home of a good friend, a next door neighbor for many years. Our kids were best of friends while we lived in Great Falls. It was good to reconnect over dinner our first night in, then to have some fun together the following evening at the Bullorama (Rodeo) at the Western Montana Fair.
Montana overall is as beautiful and awe inspiring as it’s ever been. I’ll never get tired of the view from Great Falls – rolling fields of grain with mountains in the distance, the big Montana sky, the Great Falls of the Missouri River.
Leaving, Missoula, we drove to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It was a smoky, though beautiful and windy drive. Jerry was more than ready to be off the road by the time we reached Jim & Mary’s RV Park. The next day was windy and cold, pushing the smoke out of the area. We took advantage of the opportunity to spend time outdoors and visited Coeur d’Alene Lake at City Park. This is the home of the world’s largest floating boardwalk, and it gave us a wild ride as we walked it, with waves crashing over the side. From City Park, you can take a riverboat tour, a scenic seaplane tour, rent kayaks, go kite surfing, or swim on their public beach. We were to content to walk and take photos and thoroughly enjoyed our day.
From Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we moved west into Spokane, Washington for a business engagement, staying at the Spokane KOA, then southwest to Pasco, Washington for more of the same. Between the heat and smoky air, we didn’t do a lot of sightseeing.
300+ miles later, the last of it driving down roads more suitable for a car than a 38’ bus, we arrived at the Pacific City Thousand Trails in Oregon, a side trip before our next business engagement in Portland. Oh, what a ride!
We relaxed at Pacific City Thousand Trails for nearly a week, with several trips out for sightseeing, hiking, and walking the beach. If you’ve never visited the coastal rain forest of the Pacific Northwest, add it to your bucket list. This was territory I had never visited before and it was amazing!
The sound and occasional glimpses of the crashing surf below, as you make your way through dense forest with huge trees with tangled roots, moss and ferns everywhere – it’s an experience not to be missed.
This brings us up-to-date on our journey through the end of August, 2015. Where did your RV travels take you this summer?