Monday, July 27, 2009

The Bitterroot Valley Isn't so Bitter!

Pictures L to R: Climbing up to Chief Joseph Pass; Mountain fog; Down hill all the way to the valley floor; The Bitterroot Valley; Peggy answering questions about the car and trip.

27 July 2009 Wisdom, MT to Lolo, MT 143 miles

Last night we went to the Big Hole Crossings Restaurant for dinner, and it was so good, we returned for breakfast this morning before heading out. We had had some pretty good thunderstorms during the night, or early morning, and it was still a little bit drizzly this morning.

After filling up the tank, ice chest, and water bottles, we headed west on Highway 43. About 12 miles outside of Wisdom, we stopped at the Nez Perce Historical Battlefield and explored the battlefield site for a while. The park service has a nice video that explains the plight of the Nez Perce and their flight through Montana.

Back in Baby, we headed up the grade. The climb was a long and continuous up hill until we crossed the Continental Divide, again, at Chief Joseph Pass with an elevation of 7,264 feet. Baby just purred...From the top of this pass, it was pretty much down hill into the Bitterroot Valley, which sits between 3,500-4,500 feet. At the junction of Hwy 43 and 93, we were in no-mans land for a bit. Stopping at the intersection for the traffic light, to the left of us was Welcome to Idaho sign, and to the right of us was the Montana sign. I'm sure the border is somewhere in the middle. Turning north, we continued down the hill past the grassy ski slopes of Montana.

The drive through the valley was beautiful, and we just enjoyed the passing scenery. The highway often followed the river, and the road was winding, but no big climbs. The one big glitch in our day was that the camera I have been using for blog pictures went on the fritz. If the lens would even open, as soon as I went to snap a picture, the shutter would close down and I’d miss the opportune picture. I was so frustrated that we finally drove fifteen miles past our turn into Missoula, MT to get a new one.

We stopped for the day about three miles west of Lolo, MT, at a small RV park that someone in Missoula had told us about. Way in the back, away from all the rigs and right next to the Lolo Creek is a tent area. We’re the only ones here…but we’ve had many visitors “going for a walk” stop by to see the car and visit.

We may be getting home sooner than we planned...Our plans for visiting friends in Walla Walla have fallen through, so now it looks like we will barely touch the corner of Washington State and then head south into Oregon to visit with Merrill and Betty King, some fellow Capitol A'ers who summer in Oregon. I think Dave is really anxious to get home...


  1. "I think Dave is really anxious to get home” Get home? I am trying to figure out how life could ever be the same again once I got home. It would have to be incredibly boring after this great adventure. I have been following you trip from the beginning and it has inspired me to purchase my first Model A. It is a beautifully restore 1930 Coup; I will be on my way to Nashville Tennessee Thursday to pick it up.

    Thanks for the inspiration.
    dusty from WV

  2. Dusty...Congratulations, and welcome to the Model A family. It is a great hobby, and this has been a great way to "sample" this great country of ours. Once we get home, we will be making other trips--although shorter, so life at home will, in no way, be boring.

    Enjoy your new ride!
    Dave and Peggy