Hey, Analise here. I love it when a plan comes together. The plan was to leave Kalispell, MT on Saturday morning. The plan was to overnight in Arco, ID and see Craters of the Moon on Sunday. You know what wasn’t in the plan? A historic winter storm that spanned eight states.
Who wants to outrun a blizzard after work?
The updated forecast on Friday morning projected snow and sustained high winds starting that night. Rexy can handle wet ground (the snow wasn’t even going to stick) but winds on the highway are a no-go. We moved Rexy from Hungry Horse to Kalispell near Mark’s office so he could work there, I’d work from the rig, and we’d save 30 minutes of driving later in the day. RV life isn’t always glamorous: sometimes it’s just working out of a Popeyes parking lot hoping Montana cops don’t mind my dubiously parked 40-ft jumbo bus.
After work, we hightailed it out of Kalispell as fast as our 400 horsepower diesel pusher could safely move us. Our usually sleeping cat Lilly chose this moment to unveil a new skill: creeping under the 3.25″ gap under the pocket door to escape the safety of the back room and walk around the pilot’s seat while we’re driving. After a quick turn-out break to wedge a pillow under the door, we were back underway.
Click the pic to see a bigger pic
We made it to Butte — 235 miles away — just after dark. The Butte KOA has an after-hours check-in system so we could stay in the campground overnight. By the time we woke up, the storm was hot on our bumper. We packed in the rig and busted out of Butte just as snow flurries started coming down. After crossing into Idaho, we took a two-lane highway to reach Craters of the Moon and saw our first non-Washington wildlife:
Can’t see them? Let’s zoom in:
Those white fluffy butts belong to pronghorn! Mad props to Mark for snagging this photo with less than 10 seconds notice while we powered by at 55 mph. We’d seen a single one earlier, so we were primed in case they appeared again. These ones were waiting to join three others across the highway, sprinting at speeds of 30-40 mph. We also a saw a coyote cross the road but he couldn’t pose for a photo, what with the roadrunner making a getaway at the same time.
One small step for Rexy…
We passed through Arco — the first town in the world to be lit by electricity generated solely by nuclear power — and made it to Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve. In 1969, the Apollo 14 astronauts, including Alan Shepherd, visited the monument to train for exploring volcanic terrain and collecting geologically valuable rock samples. A plaque at a lookout point explained the geology best:
Where’s the Volcano?
Sign, National Park Service, Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve. Viewed 28 September 2019.
Say the word volcano and the image that usually flashes to mind is a single, great, symmetrical cone. But the volcanic activity on the Snake River Plain has taken a different form. Beginning several million years ago, deep cracks, known as volcanic fissures or rifts, opened up and periodically oozed flows of lava that spread widely across the plain. This activity culminated here along the 52-mile-long Great Rift when flowing lava and more explosive lava eruptions created this scene about 2,000 years ago.
After Craters, it was a nearly straight shot to Boise. By the time we arrived, we’d covered 660 miles across two states in in 26 hours.
Rexy was a champ on this haul, though we did our best not to put her in a sticky situation.
- We’re still getting that low coolant light, though we can go longer between topping it up. We went from Spokane, WA to Shoshone, ID through Montana by adding one gallon.
- We got an excessive slope indicator when leveling at the park in Boise. It’s not clear why, as we’ve leveled on similar pads in other parks without issue. We’ve manually leveled and will troubleshoot.
On the constructive side:
- We got our license plates! Now Rexy is a real road rig.
- Camping World in Boise had drawer latches so we can keep the new desk drawer from sliding in and out during drives. It sounds like the doors on the Starship Enterprise.
- The LaserJet is up and running! Our printer took a tumble during one of our first RV outings and needed a little techy TLC. Mark waved a magic wand over it and now we can print and scan again. It’s not the most must-have need for two digital remote workers, but it does come in handy when the occasion calls for it.
We’re still flummoxed as to how Lilly squeezed under the pocket door. No part of her meausres at less than 3.25″ — further investigation may be required.
More Boise! For the next two weeks anyway. We’re restocking on supplies, especially things that are easiest to get online (hello, Amazon Hub Locker). Mark came down with a full-blown cold and I think I’m not far behind. It’s good to have some time to rest up before the next trek.
If you have any questions about our travels or RV life, let us know in the comments.