19th Jul 2012 - 21st Jul 2012
600 Miles and three Walmart Overnighters!
With great reluctance we left Big Arm State Park on Thursday morning and headed into Polson to do some shopping, use the internet and do our laundry. From there we travelled about 60 miles to Missoulla where we intended to overnight in a Walmart car park. When we arrived we immediately noticed that there was a sign saying no overnight camping by city ordinance. We debated the issue and decided that as there were others that looked as though they were going to overnight we would risk it – by the end of the night there were ten of us. Apart from the incredible heat we had no problems at all.
On Friday we left Montana and entered Idaho on the scenic US12. It was the most beautiful drive through the forests and for the majority of the way we followed the river. We even passed a guy who was travelling in a wagon pulled by three horses. We had pulled off the road at the National Forest Visitor’s centre for lunch and Linda went back to the road to take a photograph of it. However, one of the horses decided that he wanted to go and see her and so headed straight for her! We learned that a storm was forecast and so decided not to dilly dally – it was very hot and humid. We had a bit of thunder and lightening and a little rain but nothing much – it was funny though to see the road steaming so much. At one point on the drive we noticed a smallish tree across the opposite side of the road about six feet off the ground and we thought that it could be dangerous. We stopped and alerted a group of motorcyclists who were headed that way so that they did not round the corner and ride straight into it. About eight miles further on an ambulance, a sheriff, another ambulance and then a fire engine passed us going in that direction and we hoped that the tree was not the reason for it. We found our Walmart with no problem at all and set ourselves up in position for the night. We did a little shopping, watched a video and turned in for the night, tired after our 230 miles.
The next morning when Linda awoke at 6.30am Seamus leaped out of bed and said that we were getting on the road as soon as we were washed and dressed because he could not stand the smell of a food processing factory that was blowing our way. He didn’t even have a cup of tea and for those of you who know Seamus well, you will understand that this is unheard of!! It turned out to be our earliest start of the trip, actually of the entire trip, because Linda had forgotten to put her mobile phone time forward when we crossed a timeline between Montana and Idaho, so in actual fact we had arisen at 5.30am. We were, therefore, on the road at 6am. We first drove through a canyon with a manmade lake to one side. We saw bird of prey after bird of prey out hunting for their breakfast. We climbed up and up the canyon and suddenly we were at the top looking out over what looked like prairies – it was here that we stopped for breakfast. We were now in the state of Washington by the way and still on the US12. With our early start we arrived at Safeway by around noon. We had intended to use their wifi but horror of horrors they did not have it. We had not much power on our laptop and so needed to plug in somewhere – they had an outside plug socket but no chair to sit on whilst trying to locate a signal – but we did. Linda sat in a director’s chair plugged into Safeway’s electricity and skyped daughter Nicky. The manager came along and Linda had a chat with him and asked if he minded her doing this – to which he replied it was no problem at all and proceeded to apologise that they did not have a Starbucks in store that provided a more comfortable setting for her. Where else in the world would this happen! From there we headed to Walmart – oh no, this time it said No RV parking and indeed there was not an RV in site. We have learned that you should always have a plan B when leading this lifestyle and so plan B was immediately put into action. Linda went into the store and went to the customer service desk where she was told that she could stay for just one night but would she please park away from some houses as they complained about it – no problem. It was a scorching hot day and so we headed off to Starbucks which was just over the road and sat in the air conditioning with an iced latte for a few hours. After dinner we went into Walmart to do a little shopping and to cool off again.