September 3, 2013 Moving day

Palisades BLM campground to Red Mountain BLM campground

SmallRV andToadMooseMoved this morning about 35 miles north from my BLM site at Palisades to the Red Mountain BLM campground on the banks of the Madison, 8 miles east of Norris on 84. I wanted to get closer to Bozeman to find a solution to my missing window, and that would be the only likely place I will find a glass shop that might be able to make the repair. Since I had no Verizon coverage whatsoever at the Palisades site, I stopped at the grocery store parking lot in Ennis and got the IMac out to get on the internet and search out glass shops in Bozeman. I found 2 shops that looked look they may be able to help.

After getting set up on Site 7 at Red Mountain, right on the banks of the Madison, but really not that attractive a campground, no “it” factor, I hopped in the car and headed to Bozeman. Easily found the Glass Doctor and spoke with a helpful young man at the front desk. He seemed to understand what I was looking for, said they could cut laminated glass with rounded corners, had it in stock, and was familiar with the type of window frame I had and set me up an appointment for Thursday at 11 AM. Looks like kind of a tight fit to get the motorhome into their lot, and they are on a very busy business highway, but he assured me they can get me in there. His estimate is around $220 which seems a fair price I can live with.

Returned to my campsite around noon but just couldn’t take the heat anymore by 2PM. Loaded the dogs in the car, turned on the AC, and set out to go explore around Pony, according to the Montana Road Map, a ghost town up in the mountains. Turns out there are a few old buildings in Pony, but it mostly is just another small backwater, rather rundown town whose best days are obviously behind it.

Abandoned Montana barn
Abandoned Montana barn
Abandoned Montana farmhouse
Abandoned Montana farmhouse

 

 

 

 

 

However, there were a couple of dirt roads leading out of town and up into the mountains to National Forest lands and campgrounds and so up I went. By the time I reached the end of the road, I had gained enough elevation to have the temperature drop from 94 degrees to 74 degrees, just what I was looking for. Although the roads looked like they should have led to some wildlife sitings, all I got for my efforts was a very dusty car and heat relief, though I did see 4 good sized piles of bear scat in the road, just no bear scat depositor.

Mule deer doe and fawn
Mule deer doe
A pair of pronghorn
A pair of pronghorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did see a few mule deer and a small herd of Pronghorns as I took a shortcut along a dirt road through farmland from Pony back to route 287. Got back home around 6:30 and it was still hot. This was one evening it did not seem to cool down so quickly, but a thunderstorm around 8 PM finally did the trick.

Montana farmland
Montana farmland
Montana farmland
Montana farmland
A pronghorn and his harem
A pronghorn and his harem
Camera shy pronghorns
Camera shy pronghorns

September 2, 2013 Palisades BLM Campground

A day of rest

View of fisherman through RV windshield
Watching the action in comfort
Fish on!
Fish on!
The end of the fight, guide nets trout
The end of the fight

 

Madison River Trout
Madison River Trout

 

Guide measures trout
Seventeen and three quarters inches says the guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never left the campsite today, just sat back and watched fisherman, finally actually watched someone catch something, and read all day, enjoying the cloud cover that kept a lid on temperatures for the first time in days. It stayed very comfortable all day with the breeze blowing and the sun peeking through only occasionally. By late afternoon, the few other campers that have been here were packed up and gone, leaving the entire campground to me. This has been one of the most peaceful spots I have ever stayed, definitely has the “it” factor going for it, no road noise, wide, level sites, spaced far apart for privacy, clean, well kept, with the river 30 feet in front of your site and the imposing bluff on the opposite shore where eagles and ospreys perch.

Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey

 

August 28, 2013 Ennis to Palisades BLM Campground

Moving Day

Time to finally leave the Ennis RV Village, a nice place to stay, featuring the only truly usable Wifi I have ever encountered, clean and well kept, quiet and convenient, with a reasonable price of $35/night. Filled up the motorhome with gas and propane and then headed south to Palisades BLM Campground on the Madison River, only 24 miles south of Ennis on 287.

Palisades BLM campground
Palisades BLM campground

My hoped for spot on the turnaround was taken so I settled in on Site #3, unhooked the dolly so I could park head first in facing the river and angled to accept the cooling breezes. Since there are no hookups here, I will be living off solar only, if possible.

My site at Palisades BLM campground
My site at Palisades BLM campground
The view out the front windshield
The view out the front windshield

 

 

 

 

 

A very nice large, flat gravel space with a picnic table, bear proof storage compartment, and a metal fire ring with cook grill make this space, less than 30 feet from the river’s edge one of the nicer spots I have encountered yet. Oh, and the price of $4/night, with my senior discount, is pretty hard to beat. Two small tent campers about 100 yards upstream and the pickup truck camper the same distance downstream, are the only other people here.

Read for a few hours and took off south down 287 around 5 Pm to see if there were any roads heading east into the hills above 287 ( there aren’t ).

Madison River ospreys
Madison River ospreys

Got some nice shots of an osprey pair in their nest on a nesting platform along the highway just south of the campground.This Madison River valley must be paradise for these fish eaters.

Madison River ospreys
Madison River ospreys

I continued down 287 looking for a gas station so I could fillup the Prius before I headed into West Yellowstone with its inflated prices.Only problem was that I had to go all the way into W. Yellowstone before I came across a gas station.

Since I was already there, and since I already had made this a much longer trip than I had planned, I decided I may as well venture into the Park to see if the elk are gathering yet in the meadows on the road on the way in from W. Yellowstone. An absolutely gorgeous evening as I drove along the Madison River inside the park. Quite a bit of traffic heading out of the park, but very little going my way. One small band of cows and calves with an escorting bull were plodding along the edge the river bringing traffic to a standstill with people simply parking their cars in the middle of the road, getting out and taking photos, completely ignoring park rules, of course. There being no shoulder to park on, I did not take any shots since I couldn’t stop and besides, the lone bull with this band really wasn’t that great a specimen, I would doubt that he will be holding on to this little harem when the big guns get here.

It is encouraging to see at least one group of elk here, maybe by the time I get into the park, there will be more. The outgoing traffic was backed up, parked, for more than half a mile, and since I had to reverse direction and retrace my steps back to the campground, I decided to continue on into the park, rather than just sit in that line of parked cars for the next half hour, so on I went. Nothing more to be found, though, so I finally turned around hoping that the traffic jam would be breaking up by the time I got there.

My little jaunt to find gas turned into a 4 hour 150 mile trip, not what I was planning to do, but it was beautiful evening for a ride, even though it didn’t produce any great photos. Got home around 9, turned the inverter on and watched a movie. Took the dogs out around 11 to do their thing and marveled at the moonless night sky. With no street lights, houses, or other campers leaving their outside lights on, it was absolutely dark and you could see forever in the overhead sky. Makes me think about doing some night sky photography, if only I didn’t have this bear proof food container sitting here reminding me what can be out and about on these pitch black evenings. Maybe tomorrow night.

August 27, 2013 From Ennis to Bozeman, Montana

A side trip to Bozeman via Route 84

Headed north up 287 to Norris, then east on 84 for a quick day trip into Bozeman for supplies and just because I always like visiting Bozeman. I kind of hate all cities, but little city Bozeman is the exception. Another gorgeous day with blue skies and white puffy clouds.

Montana Whitetails
Montana Whitetails

 

 

Spotted a couple of deer in a field on the way and got a long range shot of a buck and his companions.

 

I stopped and explored the Red Mountain BLM campground on the Madison River about 8 miles east of Norris. A sort of developed campground with a camphost on the 287 side of the river and then another undeveloped set of 8 campsites stretched along the opposite side of the river. Either would make a good choice to stay, though the sites on the opposite side were all occupied today, so they are apparently quite popular.

White pelicans over the Madison River
White pelicans over the Madison River

As I was driving along the river, I spotted a flock of white pelicans taking off, spooked by one of the many fishing dories plying the river. I found a pullout and watched them float in circles, riding the wind currents to gain lift. While I still find it odd to see these birds I continue to associate with the ocean, here 1000 miles from the sea, it really strikes me as odd to see them feeding in fast moving river waters.

Montana horses
Montana horses

The 30 or so miles from Norris to Bozeman is a very scenic road, following the Madison River about half way, and then going through open range and then vast farmland. Then, bang, you are in the city. A nice, small city, where 5 miles from the city center, you can be in open country, probably not a bad place to live.