R/V Pacific Northwest Trip

Day one: Grand Haven,MI to Island Resort and Campground:

Today is the start of our Northwest trip in the RV leaving from Grand Haven,MI.  We are taking a month break from our travels on the water to see part of the United States by land. We hope to make it all the way to Seattle before turning around.  Our first stop is Petoskey,MI where we purchase a new tire for one of our bikes.  From there we continue across the Mackinac Bridge to Highway 2.  We will follow HWY 2 for almost all of our westward journey.   We stop tonight at a nice campground just behind the Island Resort Casino, still in Michigan.
Miles Today: 417
Total Miles:417
Day Two: Island Resort to Pokegama Army Corp Campground:
Continuing on Highway 2, we make a lunch stop in Duluth.  The Northern Waters Smokehouse was highly recommended. Here we enjoy a great smoked salmon sandwich and a buffalo pastrami sandwich.  Downtown Duluth is very busy with lots of shops and restaurants.  Just outside of Grand Rapids we stop for the evening at Pokegama Campground which is run by the Army Corp. Of Engineers. The Pokegama Dam is 220 miles from the source of the Mississippi and 1197 miles from its mouth in the Gulf. We can now add the Minnesota sticker to our states visited on our travel map.
Miles Today:371
Total Miles: 788
Day 3: Pokegama to Theodore Roosevelt National Park:
It is raining this morning as we continue on HWY 2.  60 miles west of Pokegama we stop for breakfast in the town of Bemedji, MN.  This town is the home to The Paul Bunyan legend.  We have  a great flapjack breakfast at the Minnesota Nice Cafe.  A few hours later we cross the Red River of the North and enter North Dakota.  The Great Plains are blanketed with corn,wheat, and sunflowers.  We make a brief stop in Rugby,ND for a photo at the geographical center of North America.  All day we have been seeing a strange little creature crawling across the roads.  We finally did a Google search and learned that they are Tiger Salamanders.  In Minot, ND, we detoured south off of Hwy 2 to avoid road construction and also to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Boy was this a bad choice.  Hwy 23 is the worst!  It is completely tore up for miles and miles, nothing but black sticky clay.  Plus the amount of truck traffic due to the natural gas fracking is tremendous.  We won’t come this way again! It was a long day and we are relieved to finally reach Juniper Camp ground in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The RV is now filthy.
Miles Today:537
Total Miles:1325
Day 4: Juniper Campground to Cottonwood Campground:
After a beautiful night at the northern unit of Theodore Roosevelt Park, we headed 80 miles south to the main park entrance just outside of Medora.  Here we found a campsite in the Cottonwood Campground.  This afternoon we rode the bikes along the scenic loop drive.  We had hoped to do the entire 36 mile loop but quickly realized our legs would never make the entire distance.  They don’t call this area The Badlands for no reason.  These hills are steep.  We did have a good 12 mile ride through the park seeing wild horses, prairie dogs, and deer.  The only buffalo we saw were a good distance away.  There are over 400 buffalo in the park and we did see a lot of evidence that they are around.  We attended a ranger program on the National Parks this evening.
Total Miles Today:87
Total Miles: 1412
Day 5: Theodore Roosevelt Park to Havre,MT
Before leaving this morning, we stopped in at the Ranger Station so Jeff could receive his junior ranger badge.  The Ranger checked his workbook before giving him the Ranger Oath. He now has four Junior Ranger Badges in his collection.  We continued west on I-94 to the Montana Border. From there we headed north on Hwy 200S towards Circle.  We eventually made our way back to HWY 2.  Unlike the other day, today’s roads were all good and it was a nice trip through the Grass lands.  Tonight we are at the RV Park for the County Fairgrounds in Havre.  We found a great steakhouse in town called Uncle Joes.  The steaks were some of the best we have had.
Total Miles Today:385
Total Miles: 1797
Day 6: Havre, MT to Glacier National Park:
Today we continued on Hwy 2 through the beautiful plains of Montana.  We stopped for a photo in Cut Bank which is supposedly the coldest place in the U.S.  Just west of Cut Bank, the mountains of Glacier seem to rise right out of the prairie grasslands. We were very lucky to find a camping spot in the Two Medicine Campground 12 miles northwest of East Glacier.  These spots are all first come.  It is still early in the day and almost all the spots have been taken.   This afternoon we have a nice hike around the lake.  Unfortunately Sebastian can’t join us as dogs are not allowed on the trails, too many bears in this part of the country.  This is one of the most beautiful of the National Parks that we have visited.  The mountains are spectacular.  Our campsite at 5500 feet is located in a perfect spot just across from Two Medicine Lake.  We enjoy a nice Ranger talk this evening on Marmots and Picas.
Total miles Today:186
TotalMiles: 1983
Day 7:  Glacier National Park:  Two Medicine Campground
We have decided to spend one more day in this wonderful remote spot.  We had planned on moving over to Glacier’s West entrance today but quickly changed our minds after just a few hours here at Two Medicine Campground.  This is one of the more remote campgrounds in the park and it offers several great hiking opportunities as well as kayaking in the beautiful clear glacier fed lake.  We opt for a six mile hike up to one of the surrounding mountain peaks.  It is a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky.  As we hike up through the rocky scree, we scan the stream down below for any signs of Grizzly bears.  We never do see any but keep our bear spray ready just in case.  We have a good climb of 2200 feet to the summit.  From there we have some fantastic views of the jagged mountain peaks of Glacier National Park.  This afternoon Jeff stops in the Ranger Station and proudly collects his 5th Junior Ranger Badge.  This evening we are entertained for several hours as two black bears appear just partway up the mountain at the foot of our campsite.  We watch them grazing on berries for several hours.
Day 8: Two Medicine Campground to Apgar Campground:
When we awoke this morning, one of the black bears was still feeding on the mountainside.  His belly must be popping as it does not appear he has slowed down since last night.  Sadly we pack up and make our way towards the park headquarters at West Glacier and Apgar Campground.  We are again lucky to find an open campsite.  This area is so much more commercialized and crowded than that of Two Medicine.  This afternoon we hop on the free National Park shuttle system which takes us on the Going To The Sun Road.  Vehicles over 21 feet are not allowed on this narrow winding mountain road.  We travel this incredible vertiginous road 21 miles to Logan Pass. This pass intersects the Continental Divide at 6500 feet.  Here we see our first mountain goat of the trip and attend a lecture of the disappearing glaciers.  The park service now estimates that the remaining 25 glaciers here in the park will be completely gone by 2020.   On our return shuttle trip, we meet a New Zealand couple touring the us in their RV for six months. We enjoy sharing with them info about the US and places to visit during their short time here. We hope to maybe see them again in Chattanooga.
Total miles Today: 71
Total Miles: 2054
Day 9: Glacier National Park to Priest River, Idaho:
Before leaving this morning, we hop on the bikes for a ten mile ride around the park.  We bike out to the Fish Creek campground.  This campground is by  reservation only.  Although it is much quieter than Apgar, it is three miles from the village and shuttle system.  We are happy with our choice of Apgar. Glacier National Park is on of our Nations treasures and we will be back again to spend more time here.  Today we continue our westward drive on HWY 2.  Before entering Idaho, we cross the Continental Divide at Maria’s Pass, elevation 5216 ft.  This section of highway is beautiful with many small clear blue lakes and mountain vistas.  We are pleasantly surprised with the lack of traffic on this section of HWY.  This afternoon we stop at an Army Corp. of Engineer campground along the Priest River.  We were fortunate to take the last spot available. This evening we enjoy a peaceful dinner finishing with a piece of Huckleberry Pie that we had purchased earlier in the day at the Huckleberry Patch.  It was delicious!
Total Miles Today: 230
Total Miles: 2284
Day 10 Priest River to Leavenworth,WA:
Continuing west along HWY 2, our first stop today was in Spokane, WA.  We have two stops here.  One is to pick up our mail but more importantly is a stop at Franks Dinner.  Our Road Food book highly recommended this dinner for breakfast and it was right on.  Franks is located in a reconditioned railroad passenger car.  It has been voted as the best breakfast spot in Spokane for the last 14 years.  My lobster and crab omelet was outstanding as was Jeff’s Eggs Benedict, also with lobster and crab.  From there we continued through the rolling farmlands that lie to the east of the Cascades. Traveling through the Wentachee Valley region, we passed many apple and pear orchards.  This area is responsible for about 1/2 the nations crop.  Our stop for this evening is in the Bavarian town of Leavenworth, sitting in the eastern foothills of the Cascades.  We are camped at Alpine View Resort nestled in the mountains just outside of town.
Total Miles Today:234
Total Miles: 2518
Day 11: Leavenworth, WA:
We decided to make today a non travel day and spend it here exploring Leavenworth.  This morning Sebastian enjoyed a nice 4 mile hike climbing up one of the mountain sides.  This area also has many wineries, one of which is just across from our campground.  We spent the afternoon exploring the Bavarian town.  The recreated Alpine village draws a multitude of visitors and today was no exception.  The many German restaurants and shops are packed with tourists. We have a nice lunch at a local beer garden, The Munchen House.  We also find a great cheese shop where we buy some local cheese and wine.  Our next stop was at a cured meat shop where we came away with several  specialty meats and sausages.  Along with some fresh bread from the bakery, we have a great evening meal with our purchases.
Total Miles Today:0
Total Miles: 2518
Day 12: Leavenworth to Anacortes:
We again continued along HWY 2 through the Cascade Mountain Range.  It is a beautiful drive as we followed the Wentachee River as it meanders  through the mountains.  The river is a popular destination for guided raft trips on the swift class three rapids.  Once atop Stephens Pass, we had a very LONG and nail bitting descent into the town of Everett.  These are some tall mountains! Although our RV and driver handle the passes very well, the passenger seat is white knuckled on these long descents.  Everett marks the end of our cross country travels along HWY 2.  From here we pick up I-5 into Anacortes,WA which is on Fidalgo Island just 50 miles north of Seattle.  Washington County Park situated on the Pacific Ocean and within a stones throw of the San Juan Islands will be our home for the next week.
Total Miles Today: 154
Total Miles: 2672
Day 13 to 19: Anacortes,WA:
Washington Park has been our home for the past week.  We decided to rent a car here and use Anacortes as a base while we explore some of the surrounding areas.  One reason for visiting Anacortes is to check out the marina facilities in the area with the hopes of one day being able to cruise these waters aboard our own boat, Idyll Time.  We were able to tour several marinas and storage facilities around the area.  Anacortes seems to be the perfect spot to base our cruising.  Seattle is only one hour to the south of here with good airline connections.  This area would make a great jumping off point for cruising the San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island, and Alaska.  Plus there are great marine facilities here in Anacortes.  At some point in the future, we will be cruising these waters.   After several days in Anacortes, we head south down to Seattle in the rental car to say hello to the west coast Krogen staff. It was great to see everyone and also meet several Krogen owners here on the west coast.  Two new Krogen 52’s were at the docks being commissioned. The Krogen staff quickly volunteered to give us a tour of these fine new boats. Wow!  Krogen has really nailed it with new 52.   Along with lots of beneficial information for cruising this area, we both came away daydreaming of living aboard this new yacht. Several enjoyable days were spent touring the San Juan Islands by bicycle.  The Washington State Ferry System is located just 2 miles from our RV campground. Your couldn’t ask for an easier way to visit the islands.  A 30 mile tour of Lopez Island quickly reveals itself to be our favorite biking destination.  Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island, shows us a different side of the islands with lots of tourists.  We quickly peddle out of town into rolling hay fields with magnificent views of Straits of Juan Del Fuca.  Another 30 miles later and we are back on the ferry to Anacortes.  These Washington Ferries make visiting the islands incredibly easy.  Another day found us heading north to the town of Bellingham where we checked out more marinas and also met more Krogen owners.  The past week has been very educational and productive for us.  We will be returning here in either our RV or boat in the next few years.  This seems like a place we could call home.
Day 20: Anacortes, WA to North Cascades National Park:
 Today marks the beginning  of our return trip East.  We get a somewhat late start as we first have to return the rental car and then make a necessary stop to fill our propane tank.  We have decided to travel HWY 20 which is also know as The North Cascades Scenic Byway.  This is part of the Northern Cascades Loop Which winds through the rugged northern Cascade Mountains just a few miles south of the Canadian border.  Reaching the Skagit Valley,just a few miles outside of Anacortes, we make our first stop at a local blueberry farm for fresh picked, 5 minutes ago, blueberries and the best blueberry smoothly I have ever tasted.  Winding our way up the valley, we parallel the glacier fed Skagit River to North Cascades National Park.  The beauty of this area makes us quickly decide to shorten our travel day and grab a campsite at the Newhalem Creek Campground for the night.  After hiking several trails through the towering Cedar and Douglas Fir Forrest, we end up at the park headquarters where Jeff proudly earns his sixth Junior Ranger Badge. We enjoy a great evening camped inside the National Park within earshot of the Skagit River.
Total Miles Today: 78
Total Miles: 2750
Day 21: North Cascades National Park to Priest River, Idaho:
We continued our travels today along the North Cascades Scenic Highway 20 which is also known as the North American Alps.  It is a roller coaster ride all day as we travel through the steep mountain range filled with jagged peaks, cascading waterfalls, numerous mountain lakes, and beautiful vistas.  Due to snowfall, this road is closed from late November to late April each year.  Coming to our first mountain pass, Rainy Pass at 4700 ft., we make a brief stop at the Pacific Crest Trailhead which crosses HWY 20.  Next is Washington Pass at 5477 feet.  Here we take a short hike along one of the trails to a stunning mountain vista of the towering rocky spires. After another 4000 foot descent, we again make a long climb through the Okanogan National Forrest to Sherman Pass at 5575 feet.  From there it is all down hill.  Just after crossing the boarder into Idaho, we stop for the evening at Priest River.  We had stopped at this same Army Corp Campground several weeks ago as we were heading west.   Today’s drive along Highway 20 is one of the best we have experienced on our trip.  The views of The Northern Cascades are magnificent and we experienced very little traffic on this remote route.
Total Miles Today: 329
Total Miles: 3079
Day 22: Priest River to Yellowstone:
For today’s route we continued on HWY 2 to the town of Sandport where we joined HWY 200.  We had thought that the scenery of yesterday’s drive could not be matched, but we were wrong, it was today.  The drive on 200 following the Pen Oreille River through Idaho and Northern Montana along the valley floor with mountains towering on both sides is a wonderful scenic route.  We follow this to I-90 to begin our high speed drive east to Yellowstone National Park, passing through the the towns of Missoula and Butte.  In Butte we stop for lunch at Matt’s Dinner. Matt’s hamburger joint is listed as a must stop in our road food  book.  Started in 1930, it is believed to be one of the first drive-in hamburger restaurants in the state of Montana.  It is now listed on the National Register of Historic places.  We had burgers, a pork chop sandwich, fries, and a chocolate shake.  The burgers were excellent but the fries were even better.  From Butte we continue on I-90 for a short distance to HWY 298 which takes us into the West entrance of Yellowstone.  It is dark by the time we arrive at the Madison Campground inside the park.  It was a long but beautiful day of driving.
Total Miles Today:490
Total Mile: 3569
Day 23: Yellowstone
Today we have a leisure drive through the park to our next campsite at Mammoth Hot Springs.  After securing one of the first come first serve campsites, we hike back to the Ranger Station and then tour some of the thermal hot springs. The elk are migrating through this area and we see several grazing along the campground.  From our campsite, we have a scenic view of the Mt. Everts Range (7841 ft.).  We are camped at 6200 feet. Around dusk, we were treated with the sighting of a herd of elk as they moved through the campground. Sometime during the night, we also here their hoof beats on the road next to our campsite along with the male’s bugle call.
Total Miles Today:35
Total Miles: 3604
Day 24: Yellowstone: Mammoth Hot Springs to Canyon Village Campground:
Today we migrated through the park in search of wildlife.  We found a large herd of bison as they were crossing the road.  Traffic was at a standstill while they took their time meandering up the hillside.  We didn’t dare get out of the vehicle as the bulls seemed very agitated.  We enjoyed a spectacular driver over Dunraven Pass at 8859 feet.  The Pine Forrest in this area have been severely burned.  After securing a campsite at Canyon Village, we headed down to the visitor center where Jeff collected yet another Junior Ranger Badge.  He is now up to seven.  This afternoon was spent on a hike along the North Rim of The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  The upper and lower falls exemplify the grandeur of Americas first National Park.
Total Miles Today: 40
Total Miles: 3644
Day 25: Yellowstone to Lander, WY:
Driving through the park today we saw hundreds of Bison in Hayden Valley.  Traffic was at a standstill as they took their time crossing the road.  The Mud Pots showed yet another side of the park with their bubbling and stemming pools.  After traveling around the vast lake area, we exited the park through the South Gate and into The Grand Tetons.  Their view today was somewhat obscured by the smoke from various forrest fires raging in California and Idaho.   Back on HWY 26, we again crossed the Continental Divide at 9644 ft. Togwotee Pass and then winded our way along the Wind River through the multicolored badlands surrounding the town of Dubois. Tonight we are camped at the free city park campground of Lander,WY.  Sebastian insisted we stop at the local ice-cream store on our walk into town.  This evening we got the bikes down for a 15 mile ride to Sinks Canyon State Park.  We had a great but hard ride climbing 1500 feet into the canyon, but it was all down hill back to our campsite.
Total Miles Today: 209
Total Miles: 3853
Day 26: Lander,WY to Cheyenne,WY
Leaving Lander on HWY 26, we soon connected with HWY 287 South.   Driving through the Wyoming plains, we saw lots of pronghorn (antelope) feeding amongst the sagebrush, which stretches for miles in all directions.  In Rawlings we hoped on I-80 East.  We passed a horrific accident in which a truck towing a horse trailer was flipped over on its side.  Hay and personal belongings were strewn all over the road.  The horse trailer was still laying on its side.  If there were any horses inside, there is no way they could still be alive.  Our stop for the next few nights is Curt Gowdy State Park, 30 miles west of Cheyenne. Here we meet up with Jeff’s FBI partner of 25 years ago, Rich and his wife Gail.  It is great catching up with them after all these years.  This evening, Rich and Gail cook us a great dinner of Antelope and Bison steaks.
Total Miles Today: 250
Total Miles: 4103
Day 27: Curt Gowdy State Park:
We spend an enjoyable day with Rich, Gail, and their chocolate lab, Bailey.  We first inflate the kayaks for a nice paddle along the lake.  This afternoon we enjoy a good 5 mile hike along some of the trails.  Both Sebastian and Bailey get to hike with us.  Sebastian likes the hike but is unsure around the high energy Bailey.  We are surprised this afternoon with the sounds of cows.  Just over the hill from our campsite, we watch as a cattle drive moves through the area.  During our time here we are also visited by various groups of mule deer.  We have really enjoyed our stay here at the State Park.  There are many hiking and Mtn. Bike trails for exploration.  We hope to return here someday.
Total Miles Today:0
Total Miles: 4103
Day 28: Curt Gowdy to Custer, SD:
We spend a few enjoyable hours this morning over coffee with Rich and Gail before getting underway.  It was great spending the last few days with them.  Just outside of Cheyenne we hop of the interstate and onto HWY 85 through Torrington.  Our stop for tonight is the Flintstone Campground just one mile outside Custer, SD.  From here we are able to pick up the Mickelson Bike Trail for a ride into town.  This old railroad trail goes for over 100 miles.  While in town, we pick up some bison and elk burgers at a local restaurant and bring them back to the RV for dinner.
Total Miles Today: 275
Total Miles: 4378
Day 29: Custer,SD to Adrian,MN
Before leaving Custer this morning, we made a stop at the local grocery and stocked our freezer with bison burgers and steaks. From there it was a 13 mile drive to Mt. Rushmore .  We took a brief tour here before continuing on to Rapid City.  It is already 90 degrees so we didn’t want to leave the animals in the vehicle for too long.  Our trip on I90 through the grasslands is HOT-109 degrees.  We stop for the evening at the Adrian County Park.  It is a very nice park with plenty of open spaces available.  Plus they have electric so we can plug in and us the much needed A/C.  We have a wonderful dinner just across the street at the Country Village Steak House.  It looks to be the only restaurant around and we are the only customers inside.  Both Jeff’s steak and my walleye dinner are awesome, one of the best dinners we have had on the trip, plus it was very inexpensive.  Adrian is a great stop all around.
Total Miles Today: 428
Total Miles: 4806
Day 30:  Adrian, MN to Alberta Lea,MN:
We have a short trip this morning of 140 miles through the country roads as we travel through the cornfields to Forrest City, Iowa.  The Winnebago factory is located here and they offer free factory tours twice a day.  We enjoy seeing where Miss Daisy was born on this two hour tour.  It is another record hot day so we continue on in search of a campground with power.
Tonight we are camped just 30 miles from the Winnebago Factory in the Myre-Big Island State Park.  The park encompasses 1596 acres along the Albert Lea Lake.  There looks to be many hiking and biking trails.  Supposedly the lake offers good fishing of pike.  We would like to get the bikes out for an exploration ride but it is just too hot.
Total Miles Today:189
Total Miles: 4995
Day 31: Albert Lea, MN to Wild Rose, WI:
Well, I made a major goof.  Our mail drop was in Forest City and I completely forgot about it while there.  So, today we are retracing our steps the 35 miles back into town to pick up the mail.  At least it is only 30 miles.
Our trip today takes us east bound on I-90.  During one of our fuel stops we find a great Amish bakery next door. Here we load up on homemade bread and a fresh blueberry pie.  We cross the Mississippi River just before the Wisconsin boarder.  Being Labor Day Weekend, our search for a campsite tonight is difficult.  All of the state parks are completely full.  I finally locate a campground along a county road five miles outside the small town of Wild Rose, WI. They do have space tonight and also an all you can eat fish fry. Not sure what we will find, we weave our way through County Road,A ,B, and Q.  It is a beautiful drive through the cornfields to the Oakwood Camp and Supperclub. The campground turns out  to be pretty nice with most sites permanently   occupied by mobile homes.  We work off some calories before dinner with a nice bike ride along some of the back roads.  This area has fish camp after fish camp along the many small lakes.  Dinner tonight is the fish fry and at $9.95 they most certainly lost money on Jeff.
Total Miles Today 335
Total Miles: 5330
Day 32: Wild Rose, WI to St. Ignace,MI:
Our rout today takes us through Green Bay and then along HWY 41 to Marinete where we make a stop at the Seguin Cheese Shop.  It was a good find and we loaded up our refrigerator with Wisconsin cheese. We eventually connect with HWY 2 which was the HWY we took all the way west to Seattle in the beginning of this trip. We have traveled this route several times now so everything looks familiar.  Lake Michigan is tranquil today and looks very inviting.  Our stop for tonight is the Straits State Park in St. Ignace.  We were luck to get the last available campsite.  With 275 sites this park is a little crowded for our liking but it makes for a good stopping point along our route.
Total Miles Today:345
Total Miles: 5675
Day 33: St. Ignace to Grand Haven, MI:
Driving across the mighty Mackinac Bridge is both spectacular and high anxiety, as always.  Back on I-75 we detour to M32 in Gaylord so that we can visit one of our favorite towns, Leland.   This little town also known as “Fish Town”,on the shores of Lake Michigan is a popular tourist destination.  Our first stop is to the local cheese shop for some of their famous pretzel sandwiches.  Being a holiday weekend and also lunch time, the line is out the door. Our next stop is the local fish market.  We stock up on their great smoked fish and beef jerky.  From Leland it is a 3 hour drive along the shores of the lake to our home away, North Shore Marina in Grand Haven.  Here we find Idyll Time patiently awaiting our return.
Time to go boating again!
Total Miles Today: 321
Total  Miles: 5996
Trip Totals:
Total days: 33
Total Miles: 5996
Fuel cost: $1460.29
Total Gallons Diesel: 365