Sunday, August 11 (continued)
The Perfect Tow Vehicle chugs westward on Interstate 90, up and through Lookout Pass at 4,680 feet.
Past Smelterville and Pinehurst we exit at the village of Kingston.
Route 9, also known as the Coeur d’Alene River Road, leads the PTV northward. The peaceful atmosphere changes. People and cars buzz around in a frantic pace, looking for fun, I guess, on this sunny Sunday afternoon. We cross a bridge where excited floaters haul their inflatables down to the Coeur d’Alene River.
After a little over five miles the PTV turns west onto the Bumblebee Cutoff.
We’re on our way to Bumblebee Campground in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. The road traces the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River. Shortly before the pavement ends and the road turns to gravel, the campground sign appears. The campground road takes us into increasingly dense forest.
The campground is small and heavily shaded.
Parking spurs are short. The boughs of immense conifers block the sun and thick vegetation crowds the campsites. Too dark and gloomy and we’re not on the river!
As the PTV carries us out of the campground, I shake my head at the $16 a night fee ($8 with senior pass) and this is without hook-ups. Most of the sites are filled, having been reserved. We can do better than this!
I backtrack a mile or so to a National Forest spur road.
Aha! This is Bumblebee Meadows!
I read online about this dispersed camping area. People wrecked the meadow, rutting the roads with OHVs, littering the campsites with trash, garbage, five-gallon buckets of feces, beer bottles, used furniture. Music played until dawn — It was a full-scale mess. Read the story in the July 29, 2007 issue of The Sentinel-Review, “Free Camping’s Steep Cost.”
In 2007 National Forest personnel stepped in and cleaned it up.
Hundreds of pounds of trash, including those buckets of feces, were hauled away. Port-o-potties were brought in. Abuse of the meadows is no longer tolerated.
Now, six years later, Bumblebee Meadows is lovely.
Bees buzz over masses of yellow flowers.
Campsites are green and clean. Signs make it clear that this is not a place to act like an immature jerk.
Two campsites at one end of the meadow are occupied.
I drive to the other end of the meadow and look for a site. Hmm . . . None of these have shade. Well, this one’s nice . . . wide open with easy access to the river. Concrete posts show where to park.
I let out the crew.
Excitedly Bridget and Spike fan out like inspectors, weaving across the lush grass, sniffing as they go. Forgetting that Spike doesn’t hear well, out of his view I say, “C’mon! Let’s go see the river!”
The water is cold, of course, and deliciously refreshing on this hot afternoon.
This little lady is worn out from the ride and the heat. Look at her eyes. She needs to take a nap after cooling off in the river.
He seems right at home here. I love to see my boy so happy and content.
I put out the awning and my camp chair.
As I’m fussing around setting up camp, a couple stop their car on the lane and call out to me.
“Are you leaving or are you setting up?”
“I’m setting up. Why?”
“We’re leaving and that site back there is nice. It’s shady and the river is right there.”
“Thanks! Maybe I’ll move over there.”
We make the move and I agree . . . It’s a very pretty, shady camp.
The next post I’ll show photos of the new camp and also I’ll tell you about another episode in which I get a bit feisty. Yep, RVSue did it again!
THANK YOU, RVSUE SHOPPERS!
I appreciate every Amazon purchase you make through my blog, including the ones linked below.
Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage
Camp Stove by Kelly Kettle
Nalgene Tritan BPA-Free Water Bottle
Panasonic Lumix Digital Camera with 40x Intelligent Zoom
Kidde Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Digital Display
Kangaroom Recycle Bags, Set of 2