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Old 10-27-2011, 11:30 PM   #1
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Whirlwind Trip From Oregon to Montana...

I just (okay, on Monday) from a four day/night trip from Eugene, Oregon to Helena, Montana (and beyond). This was actually only my second trip with the Airstream; the first was at a campground less than 20 miles away from home.

This was a solo trip to go spend a couple of days in Northern Montana with a law school buddy doing some pheasant hunting. I left Thursday night around 9:30 after the kids went to bed and drove until 2am. I stopped as a rest stop just outside of Boardman, Oregon, crawled into the trailer and went to sleep. I woke up at 7am, got back in the driver's seat and hit the road. I made a few stops along the way, including Kennewick, Washington and Coeur D'Alene, Idaho for meals and to gas up (and empty out). I got to Helena around 6pm local time (1 hour ahead of Oregon). We had dinner and drove up to Conrad, Montana where we pulled into the RV park at around 11:30pm.

I spent a great few days with my buddy and his German Shorthaired Pointer, Jake, looking for Pheasants that, for the most part, weren't there. I got one in the first 5 minutes of hunting and then nothing for the next two days. It was not for lack of trying on the dog's part either; he was beat by the time we were done.

We spent two nights in Conrad and then I spent Sunday night at my friend's house in Helena before heading home, leaving around 6:30am from Helena. I'm glad I left early because just outside of Helena, on State Hwy 12, is MacDonald Pass. At just about 6300 feet, it's not nothing, and that morning it was 33 degrees and snowing hard. Fortunately I was able to get up and over before there was any accumulation and I never had to chain up.

What follows was the farthest that I've driven by myself: 770 miles. I stopped for lunch and gas but otherwise just drove. It was a pretty easy trip with the exception of some pretty gnarly wind while on I-84 going down the Columbia. The three big mountain passes (MacDonald, Fourth of July and Lookout) convinced me that I will need a 3/4 ton if I were to have more people/stuff in the car. I pulled into the driveway at my house at 8pm local time. I would have been there around 7:15 but I got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-205 around Portland, Oregon (I hit Portland at just around 5).

Some numbers from the Suburban's trip computer:

Total miles for the whole trip (less than 100 while unhitched): 1931.9

Fuel Used: 197.8 gal

Ave. Eco.: 9.8 mpg
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:32 AM   #2
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sounds like you had a fun trip!
Looks like your dog is worn out and needs to come home for a restful vacation. All I can say is I wish I could have been there. I have hunted pheasants in South Dakota and it was a great time.
What kind of firearm are you sporting? From the stock it looks like you have an over/under.
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:28 PM   #3
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Yeah, Jake was pretty tired after two days. I don't blame him; I was exhausted and he covers something like 4 or 5 times more ground than we do when hunting.

The gun is a Ruger gold label 12 gauge side-by-side. It's relatively light, performs flawlessly and is a great looking shotgun, IMHO.
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:45 AM   #4
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I missed this earlier. Looks like a great trip. Have a friend whose family is enamored of GS Pointers. Impressive and strong.

Read Rick Bass' book, Colter?
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:54 AM   #5
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I haven't, but I bet that the guy who owns that dog probably has! I was really impressed by how well this dog hunted and pointed. He did a great job until he got too tired, then he just about walked right over a HUGE male; that thing basically flew up under his chin. When he came back to us I finally understood where the term "hang-dog expression" comes from; poor guy.
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:33 AM   #6
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Sounds like a great trip...You didn't have extreme temperatures to deal with? We usually head to South Dakota from Oregon in December and it can get COLD!

Love the photos!
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:07 PM   #7
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Valmog, I got really lucky when I went (end of October). It was dry and got up to the 50s during the day and only down into the 30s at night. I did drive out through a driving snow storm that was juuuust beginning to stick in the mountains. If I'd stayed one more day I might have had to stay for a week!

What do you guys do in South Dakota?
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