I crossed back into the US Sunday morning and spent the night in Cascade, Montana. They have a town park where travelers can stay for free. There is also a dump station on site. I found it on the way up to Canada three months ago and knew I wanted to stay again. The park is right next to a cell tower and I knew exactly where to aim my dish for TV.
The next morning I drove west and spent the night in Lolo National Forest a few miles from Missoula, Montana. The wind across Montana was brutal so I stopped early to find a campsite. I knew it would set me back a day to arrive at ground zero for the eclipse but I still had several days before the event. I had TV but no cell signal.
Today I drove Highway 12 into Idaho. Highway 12 is about the only way to get across Idaho without going way north or south. There is a huge area of mountains and wilderness smack in the middle of the state, and they aim to keep it that way. There was talk of damming the Clearwater River years back and the idea was scrapped and they turned thousands of acres into wilderness.
The road is narrow and twisty for almost a hundred miles. It parallels the same route that Lewis and Clark took in 1804 to explore and map a Northwest Passage to the Pacific. Lewis and Clark kept such detailed records of there path through the mountains that today we know almost exactly where they went. Many signs along the road at pullouts tell information such as – “Lewis and Clark crossed the river here and with their Shoshone Indian guide headed up the steep slope of the mountain over there.” It’s pretty cool! The sad part of the story is when Lewis and Clark were caught in the snow of the mountains and almost starved, the Nez-Perce befriended them and nursed them back to health. Seventy years later the US army chased the Nez-Perce indians into South Dakota and all but wiped them out.
Donna told me about a campsite she stayed at in the Nez Perce National Forest below Grangeville. I found the campground but had no cell signal, so I drove up the road and found a dispersed site that had a little LTE signal and was open to the sky for my dish. I should make it to her campground near Cascade Lake tomorrow.