Monday, July 7, 2014

A Hot Mess in the Little RV

Yesterday we left Missoula heading Northeast.  Our destination was Canyon Ferry Lake which is a part of the BLM Chain of Lakes Complex near Helena, Montana and along the Missouri River.  

We've been dreaming of boondocking near the water, all alone for a very long time. In my imagination I saw visions of a lovely outcropping large enough to park the Little RV.  There would be a lovely breeze and some trees for shade and not another human for miles.  

Realistically we knew we'd have to overnight somewhere and search out a campsite for the next day.  

Rob drove for a while and then we traded spots.  Almost immediately I hit road construction complete with detour signs. Fortunately our exit came up quickly and we got off that road.  

We had full fuel tanks and a full fresh water tank so there was a lot of extra weight for the truck to pull or to hold back depending on the slope.  I drove over a mountain pass giving me the opportunity to learn how to control the speed of the truck on a long 8% downhill grade using the manual shift. We continued on driving toward our destination, through Helena and onto some back roads.  My real challenge came when we arrived at the lake area and our route took us on some very twisty, narrow roads.  The worst was the dam.
Technically the dam is wide enough for two vehicles but it has a 90 degree turn at each end with no extra space so I had to stop and wait for the other cars before I could turn onto and off of the bridge.  

After the dam Rob and I traded places again.  I was getting a bit stressed out. Before we had gone another mile or two I saw one of the BLM campgrounds we thought we might try for the night.  We pulled in and got a nice pull-through space with a great view of the lake.  
Taken on the way out of the campground this morning.

I think we were both so tired and hot that we didn't pay much attention to our surroundings. There we so many more campers than we expected.  Our thinking was the holiday weekend was over so "they" would all be gone.  Wrong! So many children combined with lots of dogs off leash and a lake make for one noisy campground. 

The campground is all dry camping so there are no hookups at all. That was exactly what we expected.  We got unhitched and leveled and went inside.  

It was hot, really hot!  We opened all of the windows and turned on the bathroom vent to pull some of the hot air out of the Little RV but it didn't help.  Did I mention it was really hot? Rob even went across the street to the lake and took a quick dip to get cooled off but it just didn't last. 

By 8 PM it was 96 degrees both inside and out. We both finally decided we are just too wimpy for that kind of heat and turned on the generator for a couple of hours so we could run the air conditioner in the bedroom.  It was certainly a learning experience.  This morning we moved to a quiet little RV Park just outside Helena, with full hook-ups.  

We still dream of that perfect boondock on the water but part of that perfection will include cooler temperatures. 


  1. I am spoiled. I like to be hooked up to the electric grid. I am on oxygen at night and need AC power and I don't like to run the generator at night, because it may disturb other campers who may like to listen to the sounds of nature. BTW, I love the wildlife pictures on your last blog. I thought I commented but don't see it. That must be a sign of getting old (grin).

    1. Dizzy,
      We are not the most social people and Grant is just awful around strange noises and other dogs so we really like to be away. If only we could bring a 50 amp source with us. I have no idea how much propane our generator would consume if we ran it overnight.

      Thanks for the compliment on the photos. We had a good day at the Bison Range.