Tag Archives: Butte KOA

10/1/2019 Butte, Bozeman, Livingston, Day 21




Morning Butte KOA

We were snug and warm last night with the heater turned down to 50 it never came on.  I heard the water heater kick on sometime in the morning.  Our under blanket set at 2 (one setting above low) last night.  It was perfect.  We cuddled listening to NPR with the heater set to 71.  I made coffee, Ellen heated croissants.  We had a comfy breakfast with no sense of urgency.

Low temp last night was 22F. I had the gray/black heater on and a light on in the water cubby with the outdoor shower.  I don’t think it was cold long enough last night to require it.

At the office I met Nathan and his dad, Chris.  Nathan is not shy.  He loves to talk.  Chris said when they started managing he was shy around strangers.  It didn’t take long for him to enjoy playing with everyone who came through.  They’re closing the KOA next week and headed back to Virginia.  I sensed that Nathan would rather have stayed.  “Someone gave me a penny.”  “do you still have it”  “I think so”  “I’d give you one too, but I don’t have one.”  Toward the end Nathan said, “I’ll call mom and let her know we’re coming back.”  To Chris I said, “I can see who’s in charge here” with a smile. He chuckled.


Partly Cloudy. Today’s Forecast.


It actually Snowed a Bit Today!


Our plan was to visit REI, Walmart, and Safeway in Bozeman; visit to Museum of the Rockies, eat at a Main St. restaurant, and stay over in Bozeman.  At REI I found a light weight down jacket that’s perfect as a second layer.  Ellen found water resistant wind pants. Perfect.  At Walmart, Ellen found a 3 quart instant pot to replace the far too big  6 quart we had returned.  One Bozeman campground was closed but for 2 RV sites.  Another is closed for the season, a third didn’t answer.  Osens RV Park in Livingston answered and had availability.  The Third campground called back, but I’d already pre-paid at Osens.  Osens said they’d close the gate at 7PM, we should arrive well before.



Museum of the Rockies

Museums smuseums!  We visit museums and often find them uninspiring.  Some are stellar. I think of the Rodin in Pennsylvania, the Met, the Louvre, Uffizi, and the like.  So many museums in the west are interesting, but not fascinating or awe inspiring.

The replica out front is of the original T-Rex skeleton that stood in the Museum. That skeleton is on loan to the National Museum of Natural History.  They re-named it Nation’s T. rex.  Not to worry, there is a replacement inside.

Today’s special price for seniors was $10.50.  The fellow at the desk said the planetarium show starts in 5 minutes. You’ll enjoy it.  The show was about the formation of the earth.  It was very informative, but not as emotionally intense as I had hoped.  Still who knew that Jupiter’s orbit came in as close as Mar’s current orbit before being dragged out by the newly formed Saturn.  That was news to me.  The seats were comfortable and reclined at an angle.  It was difficult not slipping into sleep.  Science was emphasized with no mention of god (yay).

Outside sits a 3/4 inch square piece of a meteorite that originated from Mars!  the original meteorite was cut into samples for display around the world.  Hence the small sample on display.  How do we know it originated from Mars?  There were (are) gases trapped in the stone.  The composition of those gases matches the content of Mar’s atmosphere.  Thinking goes, “asteroids striking Mars kicked up debris some of which broke free of Mars and arrived on Earth.


From Mars!


How We Know

As we exited, Mat, the counter jockey said, “there’s a docent tour starting in a few minutes with a 94 year old who knows more about the exhibits than anyone here.  It should be fun. You should join the group.”   We did.

Morey, who studied physics, worked with Jack Horner.  Jack Horner is famous for dinosaur bone discoveries and theories of development. Morey and Jack traveled the world on dinosaur bone hunts.  He was a wealth of information and anecdotes.  Like the fact that Jack flunked out of the U of Montana seven times and was not accepted back in the eight time he applied. 


I Find This One Fascinating

The collection of dinosaur bones, casts, and replicas is astounding.  The museum is wisely arranged build in intensity until the final dinosaur display.   The tour cut into our time for dinner in Bozeman.  We stuck with Morey.

We listened to Morey without a thought of taking pictures.  He flitted from one display to another skipping perhaps 2 out of 3 that were not of interest to him (and therefore not to us?).  He said the most important discovery in the past 100 years is presented in the display photographed below.  Dr Schweitzer presented a paper of her find of Dinosaur DNA.  Her paper was rejected because the DNA samples were insufficient to establish her claims.  The search continues.


Dr.Mary Schweitzer & The Search for Dinosaur DNA


Heading into Livingston Mt


Osens RV Park and Camp

We plan to return to the museum tomorrow to take in the exhibits.  Osens RV Campground is 26 miles away, a relatively short drive.  We’ll also have lunch or dinner in Bozeman before entering Yellowstone.

Waze guided us out of Bozeman skirting the town to the east.  That was efficient, but I desperately needed diesel. With no stations in site and Livingston over 20 miles east, we were forced to backtrack on I-90 to Bozeman for gas. “Next time” I’ll be sure to get diesel before it becomes critical.

We stopped at an Albertsons at the turn onto 89 south in Livingston.  Osens is very close; a left onto Merrill Lane less than a mile south from Albertsons.  Osens RV Campground is a small parking lot style campground.  It has showers and a laundry room, though compared to Blackwell Island RV park, the showers felt like they’re not heated at all. 

I just disconnected our water line.  I’m sure we will have no problem with our tanks or lines overnight.  The exposed external hose could freeze. Better be safe. There’s a light in our water service bin.  I’ll turn it on too.

It’s 10:45.  We just returned from a foray outside.  Outside walking around it feels brisk, cold even.  We dress for the weather. The cold doesn’t seem bad at all.  Then when we step inside Li’l Beast’s warmth, we realize just how cold it is outside and how much we appreciate getting inside.  Night time temperatures for the next week is projected to be low, 26, 28, 36, 29 for the next few days.  The daytime temps improve: 39, 46, 57, 49, up to 63.  63 will be a relief.


Tomorrow we’ll return to Blackwell and may stay at the RV campground that called back earlier today.  We’ll visit Museum of the Rockies and Main St. Bozeman. 

9/30/2019 Blackwell Island Coeur D’Alene, Day 20


Coeur D’Alene

I enjoy this small town.  It’s situated on a gorgeous lake with rolling hills and wildlife all around.  With a population of 45,000, it is roughly the size of my home town when I was a teen.  I’ve checked real estate prices on the lake.  Older homes with a good view, a pier for a boat, 3 br 2ba, and older floor plans run just under $600,000.   Homes with modern floor plans and lots of glass are just over $1M.  There’s one spectacular 3br 2ba home right on the lake that’s wonderfully designed and spectacular.  At $6 million, it’s ridiculously out of reach.  Why would I look at real estate prices in CDA?  We would never move here.  For me it’s a way to see how insane California real estate prices are.   Surprisingly for properties on the lake, the disparity is not huge.  Off the lake, 3br 2ba homes can be as low as $250,000.

The women’s motorhome is pushing on today.  We’ll head on to Missoula and Butte, though I doubt we’ll get that far.  We may stop in Arlee for the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas or the National Bison Range.  The Jocko Hollow Campground near Arlee is open year round.  We’ll see how far we get today.  Three to four feet of snow fell in parts of Montana and with the temperature expected to stay low for a few days, we’ll see snow today.


Lake Coeur D’Alene is Huge


Into Montana


Early Snow is Everywhere







Le Petit Outre, A Bakery Tale

We have evolved a tradition in our travels.  Bean probably started this last year by introducing us to Boise’s best bakery where we had amazing almond croissants.  We were blown away they were so good. Since then wherever we go, we sample local bakeries looking for our take on “the best”.  Leaving Idaho, Ellen notice we would pass through Frenchtown, Montana. Ah, they must have a great French bakery, right?  Wrong.  There isn’t a single bakery in Frenchtown. I mentioned we could make it to Butte today, but not to Bozeman unless we really push. Butte is 283 miles from CDA where Bozeman is 380, another two hours driving.  Ellen searched bakeries in Butte and found NOTHING. So sad, no great bakeries to visit there either.  What about Missoula?  We would pass right through. Ellen practically leapt out of her seat. “Le Petit Outre” (the small other) is a five star bakery in Missoula.  Cool.  It’s on the other side of town from I-90.  No big deal, we’ve driven Li’l Beast to Franconia Notch.  We can handle downtown Missoula blindfolded.




The final road our GPS took us on is a residential road with oblong roundabouts for traffic control and low lying trees.  With some trepidation, I drove into a residential area to pop out at an older brick building that announced “Le Petit Outre”.  Parking was impossible.  I dropped Ellen off, “Call me when you’re done and I’ll come pick you up.”  It seemed the only reasonable thing to do.  I got turned around, nearly lost, before finding parking close by.  Ellen called as I was exiting Li’l Beast.  She had a loaf of wheat stalk French bread, a chocolate croissant, an almond croissant, and two scones. She passed me one stalk from the loaf.  It was wonderful.  Based on the bread alone I highly recommend stopping by Le Petit Outre.  We drove through Missoula to continue on I-90.


Le Petit Outre Mural


Missoula Mt


Just Visitin’


And On To Butte


At Walmart Butte Mt


Walmart Returns

Butte’s Walmart took the 6 quart pressure cooker back without question.  They had a 3 quart display unit, but none in the box.  With additional drinking water we drove off to Butte KOA.

There’s about two inches of snow on rooftops in Butte in spite of temperatures in the 40s. The snow on the north slopes around Butte shimmered in the sunlight.  Gray clouds hung over the ridge tops, but the sun was bright as we arrived at the KOA.  It was cold.  Temps reached 47 here and there on the drive.  Mostly temps were low 40’s until the sun started down.  Now at 8:40 outdoor temp reads 30.  I have the light on in the water compartment which should keep our outdoor shower from freezing.  I’ll turn our gray/black tank heat on tonight. We should have sufficient water in the tank to avoid freezing in just a few hours overnight.  Temps should climb back into the 40s tomorrow.


View from a Wells Fargo ATM



Butte KOA

We stayed here last year.  I remember meeting the owner near closing time. He was helping a bus-sized RV add water at the time.  Last year we arrived the day they were closing.  This year they’ve shut off water to the sites and closed the shower/rest rooms! It was cold in Butte this past weekend.  We expect around 22 F tonight.  No worries about freezing, yet.  No reservation necessary at this KOA; it’s practically empty.  Cold weather drives “sane” RVers south.  Not US!



Clearly a trip to Glacier National Park or into Canada is not happening this trip.  Tomorrow we’ll drive to Bozeman stopping at Walmart and REI; Walmart looking for a 3 qt pressure cooker and REI for a warm down parka for me.  We hope to stop at the Museum of the Rockies to check out their dinosaur exhibit. We’ve never been.  I asked Ellen if she had a preference: arriving at West Yellowstone or Gardiner as entry to the park.  She preferred Gardiner.  I was very happy as I like Gardiner much more than West Yellowstone too.  It’s small and much more quaint.  We can visit a photographer we met last year.  A bonus, Mammoth Campground is open year round.  We’ll go from Mammoth to Madison Campground enjoying the expansive views, one of America’s true last wildernesses.

I-90 and side roads have been clear.  We’ve had no rain or snow today.  This weather should hold to Friday 10/4 with temperatures rising daily.


We sleep over an electric blanket that warms us from below on very cold nights.  Usually we turn it off and keep the heat off.  Last night we kept the blanket on low with the heat off.  We were toasty.  Tonight we may leave the heat on but set to 50 or 55.  That should dissipate some of the interior condensation.   Even in 7 degrees we’ve been toasty inside.