30th trip – days 148-150, Oct 1-3, 2021 Lava Campground site 26
Friday 10/01/21 I was a bit concerned as I looked at the weather forecast for Lava Hot Springs, ID this week. It is forecasted to be down to 29 degrees. HOWE (our travel trailer, Home On WhEels) can easily handle it but I just don’t like the cold. HAHA It turns out, I didn’t need to be concerned at all. Read on to learn more. 🙂 The drive to Lava Hot Springs, ID gave us a lot of views of beautiful Autumn leaves along the way. The Rocky Mountains around us have patches of deep red, flaming orange, and brilliant bright yellows. This seems to be the peak of the colors this year and we are thrilled. Kevin has never been to Lava Hot Springs and I was only there once during high school. The area around “Lava” is mountains but looks like big hills to us. There is a river along the road that is moving pretty fast. Lava has a population of 407 but we know there are way more visitors here than people living here. We see at least 5 campgrounds around the area.
This morning we got a call from Lava Campground saying they had accidentally put someone in our spot and would we mind going to another site. Of course, we didn’t mind and we didn’t want someone to have to pick up camp and move. It turns out we like our “new” spot. We back up literally to the steep mountain behind us. I jumped out of the truck and started snapping pictures of the red and orange leaved trees 10 feet behind HOWE. The other site was along tiny creek and had a good view but we lucked out. Supper was cold chicken strips with macaroni and potatoes salads from the grocery store. (I haven’t been well lately and didn’t have the energy to cook anything to prepare for this trip.)
Saturday 10/02/21 We woke up and headed to the hot springs at 9:00 am when they opened. The temperature outside was 39 degrees. The mineral springs are very unique in that they don’t have a sulfur smell. Good! There are 5 mineral pools, all heated naturally. The coolest one is approximately 102-105 degrees. The hottest one is approximately 112 degrees. The water felt wonderful. It is so clear you can see the bottom of the pools: some have stone that looks like flagstone and others have tiny gravel-like rocks. We hung out mostly in the “cooler” pool for 2 hours. It wasn’t busy at all and had only about 2-4 people in each pool.We got out and drove the few miles back to HOWE where we changed. Kevin had seen on YouTube videos that the place to eat in Lava is Chuckwagon. We were hungry, as neither of us had eaten breakfast. We got there at 11:15 and there was a wait. The hostess had us go to a “waiting room” which looked to be an overflow room with table and chairs. They had a nice video running on the TV of the history of the area. We liked that. 15 minutes later we were seated. This place is a mom and pop sort of place. We ordered our food and kid you not, waited more than 50 minutes to get our food. As I watched, I saw the cooks must have been short staffed because they had 15 tickets on the roundy-thing all the time. Once we got our food, it was disappointing. My favorite food in the world is mashed potatoes and these weren’t good at all…they were mushy like baby food. I couldn’t even eat them. Finally got out of there at 1:00 pm. We did what we enjoy doing: driving around town. The houses and yards look pretty well kept, for the most part. The area is so pretty with pops of Autumn colors all around. For being October, there were still some patchy green grasses in the non-watered pastures and fields.
There is a highway that passes our campground and Kevin was curious about where it goes because most of the traffic is semi trucks with either cattle haulers or refers. We drove the road, US Hwy 30 to Soda Springs, ID. The land is covered with farms from Lava Hot Springs to Soda Springs, with one mountain top (6000 ft) in between. The flat farm land goes on for miles until you see a hill/mountain. Most of the crops have been harvested already but we saw potatoes being harvested today. We also saw new growth of fall plantings. We immediately said we want to come back to this area and explore more. Soda Springs has a huge Phosphorus plant. We first thought it was a huge power plant. The name on the sign is Bayer with the same logo as the company that makes aspirin. We saw an enormous “hill” that turned out to be tailings. 🙂 Also several leech fields. We want to learn more about this place.
In all our travels, I always think it would be neat to find a roadside veggie/fruit stand and stop and get some. We hadn’t done this before but this time we saw an old pick up truck in a field that advertised onions potatoes and corn. We drove there and what a find! 50# of potatoes for $12; 50# onions for $20, ears of corn, I don’t know how much, and a canning jar of “Grandma’s Corn Salsa” for $9 that I just had to have.
Back to HOWE, we changed into our swimming suits and went back to Lava Hot Springs to soak in the mineral pools. I wanted to see it in the evening as the sun went down. There were a ton of people! We barely found a spot on the side of a pool to sit on. The sun on the surrounding trees and rocks were pretty in the “golden hour” right before the sun went down. Kevin got to visiting with a guy next to us who drives a Ram pickup with a trailer and he hauls “exotic” animals. One example is he was paid to haul a bull bison from a breeding farm in Montana down to this area. Then he let it go so that the payer could go hunting. Just the cost to haul it was $10,000! After enjoying the evening, we went back to HOWE. For supper we had chips and the Corn Salsa we bought today. It was really good and I hope I can find a recipe to match it.
Sunday 10/03/21 We woke up slowly.On the way home, we stopped in Tremonton at our favorite diner, JC’s Country Diner. We were seating in the part of the old building that is like a sun porch or green house cover. We like it because we are right next to birds, trees, and rose bushes right next to the windows. We had the Chicken Fried Steak dinner, which still is the best ever, in our opinions.
In case you are keeping track of how many trips and days we have camped, you will notice I didn’t post trip 29. It was a family reunion where people came from out of state. We met at Zion National Park for a long weekend. Suffice it to say, there was more food than we could eat, evening stories by the fire, drives and some hiking in Zion National Park and a visit to Matt’s Offroad Recovery shop. It was a wonderful time.