We had hoped to drive to Rose Lake, Idaho yesterday, where we would dry dock at a pullout next to a boat ramp on the lake. Using Google Earth, the site looked perfect for a quiet last few days in the Rockies. Based on my analysis of the weather, the snowline was going to be more than a thousand feet in elevation above us and we would only be getting some rain. Rose Lake at an elevation of 2500 feet and I was anxious to squeeze some more time in these scenic mountains.
Thus, with this plan of action in the forefront of our minds, we said goodbye to our lovely campsite at Drummond, Montana. This time, we stayed mostly on the freeway, trying to make miles as quickly as we could. Previously, we had been trying to take the more scenic side roads but did mix in a fair amount of freeway miles to avoid the higher passes that the local roads tend to go up and over.
For most of this leg, our journey took us on the down slopes of the Rockies. We crossed the continental divide and started our downward drive. A number of times, the grade was steep and curvy, making us slow LeuC down to 50 MPH so we could take the curves comfortably. Thank goodness for engine braking. Otherwise, our brakes would have overheated going downgrade for so many miles.
Rose Lake is at only 2500 feet in elevation and when we pulled off the freeway to follow the local road to get there, the sun was out and the sky was clear. Looking just at the sky, one would not realize that a snow storm was going to be landing in the elevations above us in a few hours.
The side road we needed to take to get to the boat ramp area was a few miles down the road and when we got there, we gulped. There was no way LeuC could go down that narrow lane without the branches of the pine trees lining the lane scrapping off our side paint. We decided to continue on, looking for a second road that Google Maps showed as an option. Alas, that road was even narrower and was more of a cow path than a road.
Without a clear path to our night’s campsite, we decided to return to freeway and just drive down to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and find a Walmart to spend the night. Along the way we spied a little RV park tucked in amongst the pine trees and decided to check it out. Unfortunately, when we pulled in, we discovered that it was closed for the season and no one was there.
We finally found a Walmart in Post Falls, Idaho, just a few miles shy of the Washington border. As it turned out, it was a nice place to spend the night. The lot was huge and by evening mostly empty and quiet. For dinner, we just walked into the Walmart and bought a rotisserie chicken that we brought back to LeuC.
This morning we decided to continue on to a campground in the Columbia River Plateau about 30 miles south of Wenatchee, Washington. It is called the Ginkgo/Wampum Recreation Area and is located overlooking Wampum Lake, which is really part of the Columbia River.
We were not expected to arrive here until this weekend but given our efforts to avoid being in the Rockies during snow storms, an early arrival seemed prudent. This will give us 6 nights here. During our stay, we hope to explore the area since it is renowned for its petrified forest. Plus, we can rest up a bit from our long drives through the Rockies before our last leg of this journey to the Pacific Northwest. On Wednesday, we will drive to Blaine, Washington, to spend time with my brother, Don, and his wife, Debbie.