Dump and Run?!?!
Why drop everything, pause our travel plans and head up to Northern Idaho? Because we could! We finally had no deadlines and no where specific to be. We were camping in the Ketchum / Sun Valley, ID when we were asked about if attending the Panhandle Overland Rally. Interested and curious, we decided to dump and run so to speak. We’d already missed a few of these type of events over the summer and now we could at least make this newer, smaller venue our first experience.
So we did.
Drive over 450 miles in a day and a half.
The Driving Plan
We also knew we didn’t really need the Jeep and we made arrangements to park the jeep at a friends in Salmon, ID. Then quickly packed up the rig, and headed out from our camp location outside of the Ketchum, ID area.
We’re taking the back road over the summit to get to highway 93. Now this is not a new route for us so we at least knew what to expect this time. But, if you’re towing a trailer, it is not recommended.
- DAY 1: Drove East from camp and over the Trail Creek Summit, then North on HWY 93 all the way to Missoula. We stopped in Salmon, ID to drop off our jeep and continued as dark descended into Missoula, MT.
- DAY 2: We were going to overnight along the river somewhere, especially since I discovered the Missoula Walmart is no longer allowing overnight parking. But we searched for Cabella’s and made our way there after finding a online reference to successfully staying overnight in the parking lot. We arrived an hour before closing, checked in with the store staff and were OK’d to park overnight. Whew! I really didn’t have a backup plan if that had failed.
The rally is held outside of Sandpoint, ID. Our drive between Missoula, MT to Sandpoint, ID was uneventful. The route was along MT-200 which follows the Clark Fork River (of the Columbia River) making it a scenic and easy drive. We landed before lunch and settled in to a spot. Enjoy the video of our drive, some rally pictures, lunch and walk in Sandpoint, ID.
The Video: Our Drive, The Rally, and a Day Visit to Sandpoint, ID
Panhandle Overland Rally
This was the 2nd annual rally and was small; we preferred the smaller size over the large events and in my opinion it was nice and more intimate. If you want more info on this event, go to the Panhandle Overland Rally website. I’m not sure when they post updates for the next event, but I’d start checking in the spring. Get on a mailing list or following their social media, as there will definitely be updates communicated.
Lunch Date in Sandpoint, ID
We left the rally Sunday afternoon and I proposed a lunch date in downtown, Sandpoint, ID. It is cute and quaint just like a small lakeside town should be. We parked and headed towards the water to find somewhere to walk. There are numerous restaurants and shops to check out. The City Beach was really nice and I’d love to visit and hang out there in the warmer months. Check it out in the above video.
Campsite Review Videos
One our return drive we retraced our steps all the way back to Salmon. The plan was to just camp our way south.
We had a dog food shipment arriving in Missoula that Friday which meant we had a few days to kill. So we found a couple sites along the way, stayed as long as needed and by Thursday night we were outside of Missoula. Fortunately we knew our package would arrive before noon and that’d give us time to do a grocery run and other errands in town.
Campsite Review of Big Eddy Campground (USFS)
This was our first stop. A nice small campground of 5 sites. Being off season, there was only 1 other camper when we arrived making it quiet. By dark, the other 3 filled out with overnighters. I’d love to come back here when its warmer and paddle out on the water.
Campsite Review at Clark Fork Recreation Area / Finlay Flats
Finlay Flats was an option I had in my list that we decided to check out and see if it’d work. I wasn’t clear if there really was camping here or it was just a fishing access. We were pleasantly surprised to find such a gorgeous and generously sized campground that was free with amenities!
After this trip to Sandpoint, ID, we spent additional in the Idaho Mountains as we were slowly traveling towards Southern California. There will be a post on our time near Stanley, ID and maybe a video. At minimum a couple of camp review videos will be published.
Then we visited a park we’ve tried to get to for 3 years. Death Valley is a place you need both time and winter weather. Being the hottest place on earth is no joke. It’s also has the lowest elevation under sea level in the Northern Hemisphere. We spend several days in the park and we’ll have both video and blog post on the part and it’s wonderfully, unique scenery.
At this moment we are home and maintenance work is proceeding. Stay tuned on how our solar panel failures work out! They’re going back to the manufacturer this week. As Steve says, it’s not always a unicorn and rainbow life with Maximus.
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