We were in no hurry to break camp this morning but we still ended up on the road before the 11am checkout time. We pulled out of the back in site and then hooked up along side one of the campground roads. We were only a few miles off the interstate and were quickly on it and headed North with the cruise set at 62, the speed limit is still 80.
About 100 miles up the road we turned off near Missoula onto Route 93. There is a Flying J here and we topped off the tank with 60 some gallons of diesel at $232 a gallon. Thats $.25 less a gallon than in Utah. In less than an hour we were pulling into the Diamond S RV Park in Ronan, MT. Both Rick and Desiree were in the office. They are new owners having bought the park last August. They said it was their dream for 18 years. Its a nice small, 20 some site park and we fit nicely in a pull through space. Just hooked up power and water, we are only here 2 nights. It was rather hot so we fired up the air and cooled down.
After a quiet afternoon we decided to head over to the National Bison Range to catch the evening animal activities.
Boy were we in for a surprise. Here is info off Wikipedia.
The National Bison Range (NBR) is a National Wildlife Refuge located in western Montana established in 1908 to provide a sanctuary for the American bison. The NBR is one of the oldest National Wildlife Refuges in the United States. The size of the bison herd at the NBR is relatively small, numbering between 350 and 500 individuals. The initial herd of American bison was provided by organizations such as the American Bison Society, and today the refuge serves as the central point for bison research in the United States.
The NBR consists of approximately 18,800 acres (7,600 ha) and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Other nearby National Wildlife Refuges are managed as parts of the National Bison Range Complex and include the Lost Trail, Ninepipe, Pablo and the Swan River National Wildlife Refuges. Also affiliated is the Northwest Montana Wetland Management District.
We went around 5:30 and the visitors center was closed so we decided to drive the loops. First we took the West loop and did not see anything. So then we decided to take the Red Sleep Mountain Drive to the top of the park. There were a few cars but mostly we were by ourselves.
Our first find were these mule deer relaxing in the shade.
I love seeing these dead pines with the drooping branches
As we climbed the views were spectacular. I loved seeing the fields being irrigated and the river in the background.
More of the Flathead River. The Flatheads are Native Americans and this whole area is their reservation.
We spotted a Bison notice how steep it is and it gets a lot more so in places. The trees are up high where the shade is and they tend to go up there during the day and then down as it cools to get water and munch on the grass. There are around 500 Bison on the refuge.
Notice the dust in the background. They love to wallow in the dust to ward off the insects that seem to love them.
Here is a dirt wallow.
Next a long way off we spotted a Pronghorn.
Then a mom and calf headed for a drink.
This was a long shot also as they grazed.
This is another great view but there are about 25 Bison in the picture also.
I zoomed in a little, see the calf?
Some more deer seeking shade
A noisy truck pulled up behind us and they decided it was time to leave.
You guessed it a small heard of Big Horn Sheep
A couple of bulls on the road right in front of us. They were scrapping the road, we think for salt.
We ran into some more Pronghorn, not very big prongs yet.
Thats better, even if we got a lot of backside.
More young Bison
Then more Mule Deer.
Finally some Elk.
Bonnie was hoping to see a Golden Eagle and here it is on top of a power pole.
Nearing the end of the loop we spotted more deer.
The sun setting on the nearby Mission Mountains, still some snow up there, lots of cattle here just outside the refuge.
As we headed home the sun set behind the hills. Can you tell there is some humidity in the air here, about 40%
So wow the viewing was better than in Yellowstone, we were amazed and really enjoyed the 19 mile loop.
We stopped on the way home in Ronan at Dairy Queen and got a salad and a sandwich. Bonnie got a blizzard to go which she shared with me. It cool enough to open the windows when we got home and a good night for sleeping.
After a good nights sleep it looks like a nice day again. We are parked headed south east so the bight sunshine coming in the front window is heating up the coach in a hurry even though it is still in the 70s.
The Tire Pressure Monitoring System has shown some low tire pressures on the cool mornings so I got out my trusty Sears Air Compressor and checked all the tires.
They were only down a few pounds at the most. Better safe than sorry, but I did work up a sweat.
Time to fire up the AC units. The back came on fine, but the front one has a problem. The fan runs fine but the compressor keeps humming and trying to start. So we will see if the back unit can keep us cool. I walked over to the office and picked up a couple business cards from Mobile RV repair places that come here. I called but never did get an answer and so far no call back. The good ones are always busy.
So I went on line and checked the reviews on local repair place but none were recent and none mentioned AC repair.
Next I called Mountainview where we are moving tomorrow. They recommend Mark Miller. I gave him a call and explained what was going on. He said call him when we get in tomorrow and he will block off some time in the afternoon and try to come and take a look. Great, we should be good to go.
It was to hit 90 today. But don’t you know some clouds built up, there were some storms in the area, but we only got cooler temps, like its 75 not 90 and a few drops of rain and a nice cool breeze. God is Good.
Now I just need to plug in tomorrow route to the GPS and make sure I know where the RV Park is, then I can relax a little. I went over to the office to talk to them about the best route to Columbia Falls and ended up chatting until almost 10pm. Well time for some sleep now.
Its been an interesting day. We were up and on the road before 11 this morning. We had less than 80 miles to go up to Columbia Falls. I had talked to Rick the CG owner and he suggested we take RT35 up the East side of Flathead Lake, so we did. It was scenic and we got nice views of the lake, plus there is one Cherry orchard after another alongside the road. Oh the road it was pretty narrow. The coach took up almost the whole lane. So I had to pay extra attention and there was no shoulder if you got off. So I was pretty tensed up when we pulled into the Mountain View RV park.
I went in to check in and they could not find our 2-week reservation. Well this is a first for us. So I stayed calm and Evonne one of the owners worked and worked and finally figured out a way for us to stay. We are parked next to the office tonight with 20amp of power, which is plenty for us. We always have water on board and plenty of room in the holding tanks. So we are set. Tomorrow we are to move into a pull-through site which they are moving someone coming later into a back-in site that is too short for us.
Andy from Millers RV repair came and checked out our AC. He confirmed that it was the start capacitor for the compressor. He had some with him but wrong size so he ordered one and it should be delivered tomorrow. We chatted with him a few minutes and then he took off. I tuned in the TV channels and happy to see we get all the networks.
After the evening news we headed into town to get a nice meal. But the place we picked out you need a reservation to get into. So we ate at Laurie;s Deli which turned out to be pretty good and plenty to eat.
Back at the coach now and time to get this posted. We did get a picture from my one Granddaughter. She works at a day care for the summer and they took the kids fishing today. And Alexus caught a nice sized Bass.
Well thats it for the start of this week. Thanks For Checking In!