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Wandering Northern Idaho and Western Montana
in an RV; 2009

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Bayview, ID
Thursday, August 20, 2009: You are right, this doesn't look like boondocking. We are in Bayview, Idaho at the southern end of Lake Pend Oreille, the largest lake in Idaho. We are here to visit a long-time friend of Gwen's. We were going to try to park in her friend's driveway but the road is too steep and turns too sharp. I need to give Big Blue a break so we are in an RV park for a couple of days.
Friday, August 21, 2009: Today was a special day for Gwen to spend with her friend Penny. This photo is at Penny's house with Lake Pend Oreille in the background. What a fabulous house, view and lake. After visiting and starting a load of laundry at Penny's we drove to Farragut State Park at the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille. This is where the Farragut Naval Training Center was built in 1942 to train US Navy personnel. My father was one of the Navy men. We toured the Brig museum to learn about the training and living conditions for the service men. Then we went to the visitor's center and found my Father's group photo with the men he trained with. I'll be posting photos of what we found within the next few days. Click this photo to see a panorama of Penny's deck, Lake Pend Oreille in the distance, Big Blue in the driveway to the left. The 2" ropes running from tree to tree in the front yard are for the squirrels to walk from one tree to another. Gwen with her friend Penny
Farragutt Map Camp Ward
Barracks Camp Ward was where my Father trained in the spring of 1943. He was in Camp Ward. Over 293,000 servicemen were trained at Farragut Naval Training Center before the end of World War II. The Brig Museum has a barracks setup to show the space each serviceman was given. These photos can be enlarged by clicking on the photo.

In front of The Brig Museum is this memorial which was dedicated in 2006. You can see the head is made of the many faces of the servicemen to pass through this camp. Pass your pointer through the photo to the right to see the front view.

My Father was in Company 142. The Farragut State Park Ranger at the gift shop hand carried this photo outside in the sunlight to allow me to photograph it without a flash. The flash was creating a bright spot on the photo. He held the photo front and back while I took the photo. Click here to see the legend printed on the back, my Father is D. C. Prohaska in the front row. You can click the photo to enlarge. Note, it was taken on April 30, 1943.

Memorial in front of The Brig Museum
My Father's Group
Sand Point Idaho
Yaak River Campground Saturday, August 22, 2009: We left Bayview today driving north through Sand Point, Idaho. This looks like a town we should stop and walk through, maybe next trip. We continued through Bonner's Ferry then turned east into Montana. Only ten miles into Montana, we have stopped at the Yaak River Campground. This is a National Forest Park with a fee of $10 but with our Senior Pass, only $5. Note that we are completely surrounded by trees but it looks like we might get a couple of hours of direct sunlight during the day for our solar system. It took nearly 2 hours to sight in the satellite for the Internet since I was shooting between the trees.
Confluence of the Yaak and Kootenai Rivers
Sunday, August 23, 2009: We are staying a second night at the Yaak River Campground. It's not the greatest but we need a second day without moving. We were able to get only 24 amps of sunlight today due to the surrounding trees when we need about 60 amps on a low usage day to fully charge our batteries. On a high usage day, I've seen as much as 180 amps generated. Also we are too close to the traffic on highway 2 so hear traffic noise all day long. It's fortunate that very little traffic uses the road at night. The campground is located at the confluence of the Yaak River and the Kootenai River (the Yaak river meets the Kootenai from the right). Just across the Kootenai is a very busy railroad track. We hear the engines, but fortunately, there are no crossroads so no need to blast their horns. The air temperature is perfect, good drinking water and garbage collection nearby. Very nice picnic tables and fire rings are at each camp site and our hosts, Don and Judy are very nice, helpful people. What else do you want for $5. (OH! and we are on pavement! No gravel roads.)
Monday, August 24, 2009: This has been a busy travel day. We really didn't drive far but we were in awe of Montana as we drove. Our first stop was at the Kootenai Falls, only about 12 miles from our Yaak River Campground. To view the falls you must first cross over the train tracks. Since it is such a busy track, you must use a bridge built especially for this purpose. It was a all metal stairway, tough on Morgan's paws. You can look straight down through each step. I waited for a train but none came until I had returned to the parking lot. The falls was spectacular with a huge volume of water passing over the descent. You can click the panorama below to enlarge. Gwen is walking in the right of the panorama. Crossing over the railroad tracks to view Kootenai River Falls
Transparent stairway The view from the top
Kootenai River Falls
The swinging bridge over the Kootenai River One of the signs pointed toward a "swinging bridge" which we couldn't pass up. The bridge was strung on cables across the river. Gwen was the first to test the cables. Morgan and I just had to watch to be sure it was safe to go across. The view of the river is up-river from the bridge back toward the falls.
Gwen and Morgan about to cross the river Here goes Gwen
View from the bridge
When we returned to the parking lot, we found Ron. Ron and Terry write the HitchItch Website which I follow. Terry was off viewing the falls, we must have past him on route. Ron follows RVeCafe and recognized our rig in the parking lot. We had already planned to meet up I met Ron or
with them in Arizona to join the Quartzsite Gem and Mineral Club. Terry is on the board of trustees and writes about the club on the HitchItch Website. That's how we learned about it. No, Gwen and I know nothing about gems and minerals, they are just rocks to us but since we will be spending the winter near Quartzsite, we thought we would learn something new. I wonder if Terry found any cool rocks ... I mean gems or minerals at the falls?
Swan Lake
Our goal for the day was to reach Swan Lake on the east side of Flathead Lake near Kalispell, Montana. Our friends, Terry and Kathy are working at the campground for a short while before they head on to South Dakota. Swan Lake is 20 miles long and averages 1 mile wide. The photo above is of the campground beach and can be enlarged by clicking on the photo.
Planning a hike to Holland Falls Tuesday, August 25, 2009: Kathy and Terry have the day off so they take us to Holland Lake, about 30 miles south of Swan Lake to hike to Holland Falls. The photo below-left shows the trails on the left with the falls hiding in the trees. Kathy and Gwen hiked together and talked all the way. In the panorama view below of Holland Lake you can see the Mission Mountains in the distance with glaciers on the mountains. Click any of these photos to enlarge.
Holland Falls is hiding in the trees Kathy and Gwen are talking during the entire hike
Holland Lake with Mission Mountains in the distance

The hike is a little more than 1.5 miles one way with about 500 feet to climb. Once we reached the falls, Terry was ready to take in the view along with Morgan in the shadows, bottom-left.

There is still quite a bit of water coming into the lake from the falls.

The three girls are still talking, this time including Morgan. They have an ideal view point of the falls while eating lunch. The falls is in front of them on the other side of the bush.

After the hike, we drove back to Bigfork for burgers, fries and a shake. Bigfork is on another huge lake, Flathead Lake. Flathead Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River.

Terry and Morgan enjoy the view
Holland Falls The girls are still talking, now Morgan joins in.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009: We spent the second half of the day visiting downtown Kalispell, Montana. After finding good prices on propane and filling two tanks, then getting a 15 cent discount at Smith's on diesel we found this smoothie shack. I got a pineapple milk shake while Gwen got a huckleberry ice cream cone, the highlight of the day. We walked the old commercial section of the town. Gwen found a nice yarn shop while I found the Rocky Mountain Outfitter. Lots of really nice outdoor stuff. No purchases for either of us however, must watch that budget. The last stop was the Conrad Mansion Museum. We didn't have time to take the tour. It's advertised as the largest, most authentic 1900's museum of it's kind west of the Mississippi. Our first stop in Kalispell
Walking the downtown streets of Kalispell The one store I visited, great outdoor stuff
Some of the older building dating back to 1900
Conrad House Museum
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