Snow, Snow, Snow

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Lovely Montana cabin, wouldn’t you love to wake up here  with a fire blazing ?

A little over a month has passed since we decided Winter camping would be a good idea.  We had a few obstacles along the way-it seemed to be the Universe’s message to us to re-think this whole Winter camping idea.  First a family member was hospitalized, so we postponed. Then our first attempt out resulted in Ruby being towed from a rest stop to the Mercedes dealer in Lynnwood, WA.(very nice people by the way).

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Uh Oh

Turned out to be a loose battery clamp that resulted in a short in the battery and no power !  By the time we unloaded all the camera and camping gear and food into the loaner car and arrived home, the folks at the Mercedes dealer called us and said -all fixed !  And only $150.00-we have never gotten away from a dealer with a bill that low, so we took it as a sign that we needed to proceed with our Winter camping plan, and we did.

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Boon-docking in Cle Elum

As soon as we reloaded Ruby and took off from the dealer we set Cle Elum, WA as our destination.  We arrived just shortly before sunset and found a sweet boon-docking spot in the parking lot of the Wenatchee Ranger Station. No one around, quiet, dark and surrounded by mountains of snow that had been cleared from the parking lot.

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We awoke the next morning to knocking-it was the Ranger, asking if we could move to a close-by spot as employees were showing up for work and would need the spot we were parked in.  No problem, we moved across the lot, proceeded to make the bed and have some coffee with breakfast burritos that I made at home in preparation for the trip.

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Just outside the city limits of Cle Elum

 The sun was shining beautifully and the skies were as blue as they could be. We took this as a sign from the Universe that we had made the right decision.

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We had beautiful weather for most of the day as we enjoyed the views overlooking Lake Coeur d’alene, Idaho and the Clark Fork in Montana.

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Clark Fork, our last sliver of sunshine before hitting a small blizzard !

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Welcome to Montana !  Darkening skies and falling snow !
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Pulled into the rest stop to stretch our legs and enjoy the huge fluffy snowflakes that were falling.

Before we left the rest stop, I made  some delicious hot chocolate to warm us along our journey.  Perfect.  As we drove along we watched for potential boon-docking spots for the night.  We pulled into this spot and had it not been at the bottom of a hill it would have been ideal . But with the falling snow we didn’t want to worry about digging ourselves out in the morning so we continued driving.

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Can you tell how excited Hailey was to get out of Ruby to run and play in the snow ?
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Good thing Hailey missed the wild turkeys as she was playing !
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We passed on this gorgeous boon-docking site.

As we continued on our journey, I remembered that we were in an area where there might be some hot springs.  I also remembered reading about Symes Hot Springs.  Checking our map we saw that we were about 45 minutes away and it would only take us  20 miles off our route.

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The decision was made,-Symes Hot Springs was our new destination.  I had read that it was a resort with RV spots available.  Fortunately for us, one of those spots was open-all the others were under blankets of snow.  We felt like we had stepped back into the 1930’s.  The folks here were very welcoming.  For $30 we had electric hook-up, access to water inside the building and unlimited access to the hot springs until 10pm and then all morning until the 11am check out. As you  can see , nothing glamorous about the camp site ,but soaking in those mineral springs sure made up for it.

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The makings for dinner and several lunches-slow cooker pulled pork !

And before we had left Cle Elum I placed a pork roast in the slow cooker.  So all day while driving we could smell the makings of delicious pulled pork for dinner at Symes Hot Springs !

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The next morning after a long soak we took off in the direction of West Glacier.  We knew we were only about 100 miles away and could barely contain our excitement.

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My intention for heading to Glacier was snow-and we got it !
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We felt like two little kids out in the snow !

If you haven’t winter camped in your Roadtrek, do it !   You have everything you need, it’s warm and cozy and if you have solar even better !  Apgar Campground in Glacier National Park is open year round.  You don’t actually camp in the campground.  The park employees carve out about a dozen campsites in the day use area of Apgar.  Which is wonderful because you are right alongside Lake McDonald.

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Our view, standing on frozen Lake McDonald.

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The same Lake McDonald in the summertime, photo courtesy of NPS site.

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Glacier National Park was stunning.  We felt so blessed to be able to enjoy the solitude, the falling snow and the surrounding beauty of this jewel of a National Park.  And how many people can say they had Lake McDonald completely to themselves ?  We can now.  Even the cold I had, that kept me inside most of the time, didn’t take away any of my enjoyment.

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We met a small handful of people who also had made the journey to Glacier to enjoy the Winter beauty of the park.  These folks came over and asked to borrow our campsite for a family picnic-our site was the only one with an exposed fire pit !  After they left we discovered this sweet little flower planted in the snow outside Ruby, as a thank you-nice people.

Fols who "borrowed" our firepit left behind a flower in thanks..sweetWe plan on returning next Winter and spending more time in this glorious Winter Wonderland.  The ranger we met on this trip told us a great story about where to backpack in the Winter to possibly see or hear wolves-so we definitely will be returning.

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Boon-docking in Bonner’s Ferry, down along the river

After we left Glacier we decided to take the northern route towards Bonner’s Ferry.  Initially after about 45 miles we thought we made the wrong decision as we ran smack into the middle of a blizzard with no road pull offs in sight.  That blizzard lasted about 30 minutes and Ruby handled beautifully in the snow.  But it was certainly nice when it stopped-our stress levels were greatly reduced.   We had never been to Bonner’s Ferry,Idaho before so we didn’t know what to expect.  It’s a sweet little town and if you ever stop, go to Mugsy’s Tavern for the best burgers in town ! They call themselves the “Cheers” of Northern Idaho and they are.  They make you feel welcome and that you have been coming there for years.  Good food, good company and good beer !

Wide open spaces in #Eastern Washington
Wide open spaces in Eastern Washington

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Our journey home was just as beautiful as our journey to Glacier National Park.  The wide open plains of Eastern Washington took our breath away.  You can see for miles and that feeling of being a small speck in the Universe is truly felt in this space.

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You look around at abandoned farms, homes and churches and start to piece together stories of another time.  Wondering what made them leave this place ?  And where did they go ?  We stopped and had lunch along side the road, listening to the quiet and the wind blowing through the abandoned church.

#Eastern Washington

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I wanted a winter wonderland on this trip and I got it !
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We are so small compared to the majesty of Nature.

Enjoy a the quiet and beauty of the falling snow…. Happy trails, wishing you all stay toasty and enjoy some warm winter camping !

 

 

15 thoughts on “Snow, Snow, Snow

  1. Barb Mahoney

    I am curious as to the tires you have on your RT and if you needed chains or snow socks during this trip. I have not ventured out in winter, not knowing how my van will handle snowy conditions.

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    1. Hi Barb, we have Michelins, no chains or socks needed. we do have the RS Adventurous 3500 with dually wheels so I’m sure the weight helped. But it really did handle well when we hit the few blizzard conditions-just slow down-we got down to 30-45mph depending on the conditions.

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      1. Barb Mahoney

        Thanks, Sandy. I also have a 3500 dually and tried to fit chains and it was a nightmare–even the tire guy was frustrated trying to fit them between the duallys. You have inspired me to head east!

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  2. Dirk Hoogendoorn

    Great writeup and about areas that we went through last fall(Road to the Sun). I have some questions, We were out boondocking some evenings with temps as low as-8C and that made the little furnace really hum!! We have a 2006 Adventurous RS, are the newer models better insulated or do you cover windows or add extra insulation?

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    1. Thanks Dirk, it got pretty cold when we were there too! We cut reflectix to cover all the windows and that really helps keep the heat in. Plus we roll up a piece and stuff it on the step inside the RS and that blocks any cool air sneaking in there. We have a tension rod up front with a curtain that hangs behind the seats and that blocks any remains cold air from the front. We also have the same arrangement between the bed and the rear doors! We were nice and toasty all through the night.

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    1. Thanks Mary, I wish we had 4 WD. We have been talking about selling Ruby when we get back from Alaska and then doing our own van conversion with a Sprinter 4×4 cargo van as the base. I think if I had Roadtrek do it with everything I want it would be a small fortune ! But it wouldn’t hurt to talk to Jim H. about it before we start ! We figured we could contract out electric and solar and do everything else-we shall see.

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