Coloring the Void

living nomadically

Somewhere in Montana?

I was all set to write up the couple of days we had in Livingston, Montana. To check where and when we were, I looked back at my budget in August. Yikes! I had completely forgotten the four days we spent between Virginia City and Livingston. No, I mean completely. Looking back at my budget, where I note the campgrounds we stay at, I saw Missouri Headwaters State Park. Ah, I remember that! But I thought it was much earlier in the trip. And two days in Bozeman. Where in Bozeman? After checking Facebook posts and photograph files and being unsuccesful, Mike suggested checking the DeLorme page. It was there – Sunrise Campground. Huh. It seems that Bozeman was completely unmemorable. Well, I do remember the pretty decent hamburger we had at that one place – but no clue which place it was. And now, thinking on it, I remember the campground was next to some train tracks. And there was some grass between tightly packed RVs. But, the rest of it is gone.  I’d like to think it was due to the lack of oxygen from two days at Missouri Headwaters State Park. At least, that is the story I’m telling.

Missouri Headwaters State Park is only about 70 miles from Virginia City. It is a wonderful drive between the two, particularly since you pass through Ennis, which I loved when we were there years ago. The campground isn’t the greatest, with most sites just being wide spots in the campground road, but we wanted to see where the Missouri River began, where Lewis and Clark camped, and I was starving again for water views. But, as we drove up the road toward the park, we saw smoke. We didn’t think much of it as we had spent the summer ducking smoke in Alaska. We got a site and settled in. There were no electric hook ups and no water for $23/night (without the MT state parks camping pass). The outside temp was in the 90s so we opened all our windows and turned on our fans. That lasted a good two hours before both the heat and the smoke overwhelmed us.

(It turns out that a fire started about an hour before we got there. Later named the Eustis Fire, it grew to 9500 acres while we were in Missouri Headwaters and was only four miles away on the other side of the river. We happened to be camped southeast of the fire; winds were coming from the northwest.)

For those who don’t know, even the best insulated RV is still a tin can in bright overhead sunlight. Whatever the temp is outside add 10-20 degrees due to the baking factor (have you seen what happens to food after sitting under a heat lamp for hours?). On hot days, it is always cooler to sit outside under the awning with the hope of a breeze blowing by. Only we couldn’t sit outside without doing some lung damage. Belle even refused to; she just stood at the door looking pitiful and then ran back to the couch.

We tried going for a drive to check out the town of Three Forks but there really wasn’t much to check out. The tour was over less than fifteen minutes later; we returned to the short bus and threw in the towel – we turned on the generator and the a/c. I have a problem with mechanical white noise. It drives me to distraction. I don’t know why, it’s just the way it is. But I was really thankful for that generator, noise or not. It was 98 degrees in the bus when we turned it on.


Early morning sunrise in Three Forks, MT. This was the view from our campsite. Though it couldn’t have been too early with the sun that high…

We suffered through one more day (at least according to my notes we did) and then gave up. After two nights, we headed east with hopes the smoke didn’t extend that far.

We made our way to Sunrise Campground, just outside Bozeman, MT. For $30/night, we got full hookups, a little patch of grass, and quite a bit less smoke. Honestly, I don’t remember this campground at all, or much about our stay there. I know we ate hamburgers at a restaurant, we went grocery shopping, and we bought Mike some jeans at a store. I think we were both still in a daze. Looking online at the campground pictures, it seems a perfectly nice place. It has good reviews and the owners are well thought of. It just must have been the heat and the smoke….

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