Monday, June 02, 2008 -- James Kipp Recreation Area in Central Montana
Finding campsites that appeal to us can be tough. Near centers of population, whether a huge town like Chicago or much more modest places like Great Falls, MT., it seems the selection is often limited to commercial RV Parks.
RV Parks are essentially places to legally park your RV while in town. In general, there are few if any trees, a lot of gravel or asphalt, and very close spacing with your neighbors. What little grass there may be is fighting a loosing battle for survival. Sure, we could find a more acceptable campsite maybe 30 or 50 miles from town, but the cost and hassle associated with commuting means this isn't really an option. So when we've got to be in town, we try to select an RV Park with the best balance of cleanliness, safety, and price.
But when we get out of town we look for places that are best called campgrounds. You know, the places that have widely separated campsites, with lots of trees, campfire rings, and, hopefully, a lot of peace and quiet. Often these places are State Parks, Corps of Engineers (COE) Campgrounds, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Areas or Wildlife Refuges, but occasionally we find a commercial campground that fits this mold too.
The James Kipp Recreation Area in Central Montana turned out to be one of those places we like to be. Right along the banks of the Missouri River, about 100 miles east of Great Falls, it's managed by the BLM and it's the perfect place to find some solitude -- we had no TV, cell phone, or internet service at all. You find out things about yourself when there's no phone, no internet, and no TV. I highly recommend trying it from time to time.
We'll stay here for two nights before resuming our trip east on Tuesday.