Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ is mostly what has been happening the last few days. That, and watching the weather reports to see what is coming, and what is behind us. After a night at Sunny Gulch, Hailey and I knew that we had an almost 9000’ pass to cross in the morning – and it had been raining much of the night.
And this time of year at this elevation, rain down low always means snow higher up. Sure enough, as we got rolling with a hot coffee in hand, we could see that the snow level was a mere 200’ above us.
A good sign was seeing no snow plows on the grade up to the pass, and as it turned out the worst condition was just a bit of wet pavement and some snow on the shoulder at the summit. Whew! With a long sigh of relief, and a hearty sip of coffee, we began the long descent towards Sun Valley.
Hailey was fairly impressed by the fact that a town had been named after her – as we rolled in to Hailey, Idaho!
She roused herself from her nap and decided that she had better ‘freshen up’ a bit, in case she was recognized by any of her ‘subjects’!
Meanwhile, her ‘driver’ decided it might be time to risk taking on water and ‘summer-izing’ the rig again. (It is a bit of a pain, having to winterize the trailer both in the spring on the way home and in the fall prior to departure.) With that in mind, the ‘RV dumps’ app located an excellent site just off the main highway in Hailey’s town, and we took on a load of water. It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer, err winter (!) again!
Last year we headed straight south from here, down through Twin Falls, Jackpot, and eventually Ely, Nevada, but this year it was time to explore a new route.
We turned the wheel toward Craters of the Moon NM, and looked at a couple of possible camps along the way from Freecampsites.net, but the road into one was so overgrown with brush that we would have risked tearing off rainspouts or vents along the way, so backed out of that one, literally. Strangely, the very strong winds were from behind us! Has that ever happened before? There was a nice, scenic little campground at C of M, but most sites were small and more designed for tents, and they were somewhat exposed to the wind as lava beds don’t block much wind. So, we carried on through Arco, where we were tempted by the fair grounds, but ended up instead at a windy rest stop in the middle of nowhere. Imagine our shock, dismay, angst, fear, and horror and disgust to see the windshield in the morning!
I had to rummage around behind the seat and finally found this wooden handled tool with a sort of brush on one end, and a scraper type thing on the other. When no one was watching, I got out shivering and scraped the windshield.
From Idaho Falls, highway 26 led us east, and eventually to another primitive BLM site on the Snake river, called Wolf Flats. We were the only ones there of course, and the wind calmed down enough to enjoy a small campfire on the river bank with some damp poplar I cut up.
Now for a bit of Snowbird advice!
You know you have not gone far enough south when:
- you are wearing a toque when sitting by the camp fire.
- the marker posts along the highway are 10’ tall
-when every yard you pass contains either snow machines or a snowplow on the front of an old 4x4
- signs on the highway say that riding a snow machine on the shoulder is not permitted
- the geese flying by are wearing down coats
- RV antifreeze is on sale at every Walmart
- trees don’t have leaves
- all the fences you see along the highway – are snow fences
- avalanche danger is rated as ‘considerable’
- snow tire and ‘chain-up’ signs predominate
- you haven’t seen a hummingbird in over a week
- rabbits are white
- your heated seats turn on automatically every morning
- you see a polar bear. This means that you turned the wrong way leaving Edmonton!
After sifting through the possibilities leaving Wolf Flats in the Idaho Falls area, the route east into Wyoming was chosen. After a scenic drive along the Palisades reservoir, Alpine, Wy was just across the line. During a brief stop here there were some eagles repeatedly diving at a spot in shallow water along the shoreline. They were too far away to see what was attracting them, but it must have been fish, but possibly a diving duck. Another very scenic section led towards Jackson, on the south side of Yellowstone NP. It was sunny and nice out, but with the cool temperatures, a Yellowstone tour would have to wait for another time. Another turn south (heeding my own advice above) headed us down towards Rock Springs on the interstate. The stunning scenery of the Yellowstone area was soon transformed into much more muted, high-plains scenery and a definite shortage of trees. On southward, the scenery picked up again, and so did the high elevation route, mostly close to 8000’.
A few antelope were now showing up along the roadside, but usually there was no opportunities for photos. That is, until this one fairly large herd decided to attempt a crossing right in front of us!
OK, time to dig out the long lens …
Flaming gorge sounded like a good possibility for our next destination. I think RV Sue was there a month or so ago, and it looked like it held promise. As dusk approached, we turned off down the road to Antelope Flats, where we experienced some washboard gravel road that Baja Mexico would be proud of. As expected the campground was closed and locked up, but more importantly the route out to Sue’s boondocking spot was also gated! And at an elevation of over 6000’ it was not going to be that warm either, but a convenient lake-view spot was just going to have to do for a night. Update: Just checked and found the RV Sue came in on Jug Hollow road to get out to the point. Shucks, missed that one. Should have checked while I was there, not 100 miles down the road!
I guess we will just have to keep on keepin’ on southbound, till we find some of that weather that Al has been talking about on the Bayfield Bunch. Also have to keep an eye in the rear view mirror in case Wandering Willy the stealth-blogger is catching up, or for John & Brenda in case they have loaded up a herd of horses for their trip south. Another update: A certain rooster on eastern daylight time tells me that J&B are back in the south, but haven’t updated the blog yet!
Meanwhile, out on the windy west coast, Hailey’s friends Taggart, Polly and Rand have started their migration southwards from the sea spray and lighthouses, to the warm, dry desert. They travel with Nina & Paul, who some of you may have heard of!
No doubt, all of our paths will cross at some point during the fabulous months ahead! I have to get back to the hard work of taking it easy now.