Lava Hot Springs in 39 Degree Weather!

30th trip – days 148-150, Oct 1-3, 2021 Lava Campground site 26

Lava Campground, Lava Hot Springs, ID. Oct 1-3, 2021

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.

Water Line for Irrigation in the Middle of Campground, Lava Hot Springs, ID. Oct 1-3, 2021

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.)

Cute Bear Carving at Lava Campground, Lava Hot Springs, ID. Oct 1-3, 2021

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.

Soda Springs, ID

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.

Buying Fresh Produce! Soda Springs, ID. Oct 1-3, 2021

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.

Harvesting Potatoes, Bancroft, ID. Oct 1-3, 2021

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.

Answers, Fremont Indian State Park, and Snacks!

28th trip – days 140-142, Sept 17-19, 2021 Fremont Indian State Park, UT

I finally was able to get some answers this week. As you have read, I had been experiencing horrible headaches, ear pain, dizziness, and vertigo. The Neurologist looked at the MRI and said my brain looks great. (Some may argue with that! HAHA) There are two things going on at the same time. 1. The ear and headache pain is caused from the ear nerve. I have had this pain for several years, about once a week or so, since starting to lose my hearing. But it had gotten so bad it was at times debilitating. I was put on some medicine for nerve pain. It takes a few weeks to fully start helping. As you will see in next week’s post, I was feeling incredibly better and was able to write in my travel journal again. 2. The vertigo was caused by the crystals in the ear being out of place. I was sent to a great Hearing and Balance hospital. He said the crystals in my ears were really out of whack, more than he usually sees, but was able to help with a few treatments. I am so thankful for the medical professionals and modern medicine. He and my neurologist both said it was just bad timing that both those issues occurred at the same time. So, for this camping trip, I still wasn’t feeling well but what amazing sights we saw.

Fremont Indian State Park, UT Sept 17-19, 2021

“Discover artifacts, petroglyphs, and pictographs left behind by the Fremont Indians. During the construction of Interstate 70, the largest known Fremont Indian village was uncovered. This museum preserves treasures from the site, including pottery, baskets, and arrowheads.” This is from the Fremont Indian State Park website describing what the park is about. Fremont Indian State Park

Fremont Indian State Park, UT Sept 17-19, 2021

Driving around and looking at the beauty just never gets old to us.

Castle Rock Campground, Fishlake National Forest, UT Sept 17-19, 2021

Amazing view of mountains, moon, clouds, planet, and stars.

Castle Rock Campground, Fishlake National Forest, UT Sept 17-19, 2021

This is the foundation of a house used by a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) worker and his family.

Castle Rock Campground, Fishlake National Forest, UT Sept 17-19, 2021

This cave was used by the BLM worker and family to keep things cold. It is bigger inside than the foundation of the house!

Castle Rock Campground, Fishlake National Forest, UT Sept 17-19, 2021

Beauty in the little things. A flower growing up through sage brush.

Castle Rock Campground, Fremont Indian State Park, UT Sept 17-19, 2021

We made a great discovery! HAHA. We like Funyuns with Cinnamon Bears. 🙂 Try it, you might like it.

My Favorite National Park, So Far

27th trip – days 135-139, Sept 2-6, 2021 Bryce Canyon, Ruby’s Inn Campground

Bryce Canyon National Park, UT Sept 2-6, 2021

Of all the U.S. National Parks that I have been to, so far my favorite is still Bryce Canyon. (Kevin’s is Zion National Park.)

At this point, I was still having severe headaches, dizziness, and vertigo. My appointment with the neurologist wasn’t for another week or so. I am so glad we made this camping trip over Labor Day weekend. We took it easy and slow.

Evening walk about at KOA in Fillmore, Utah

We left on this trip on Friday, after Kevin got off work. We are always so excited to “get on our way” that we couldn’t wait for Saturday morning to get going. 🙂 When we set up the plans, we decided to go 1/2 way and stay in Fillmore. If you have read through these blog posts, you will see that we have stayed here several times. It is a nice stop over. The back of the property is open to the mountains and an area very popular with Off Road Vehicles like ATV’s, 4 wheels, Razors, etc.

Campsite at Ruby’s Inn, UT Sept 2-6, 2021

This campsite at Ruby’s Inn had a us a bit confused. It has two entrances off the through road and it loops around. The loop is where HOWE is (Home On WhEls, our name for our trailer) and goes around to the top of the picture. It has spars off of it for other campsites. Kevin ended up walking back to the office to ask if we had the correct site. They laughed, said they get that question all the time with this spot, and yes, we were at the right spot. You can see our chairs set up there and we were able to enjoy a campfire every evening.

Bryce Canyon National Park, UT Sept 2-6, 2021

We had been to Bryce Canyon years ago but never walked down into it. This time we did. What beauty! From the top looking down is incredible to see and the bottom looking up is, well, majestic!

Bryce Canyon NP, UT Sept 2-6, 2021

This is the crazy way to go from the bottom of Bryce Canyon back to the top. At least on the hike we did. Look at the rocks going from side to side…that is the path. It is so steep that you have to go sideways to get out of the bottom. What a thrill!

Bryce Canyon National Park, UT Sept 2-6, 2021

This archway really captured my attention. I took about 30 pictures of it, getting all sorts of shapes and shadows with the setting sun. We went back to the Visitor’s Center and asked a Ranger how big this “hole” is. No one knew! It is hard to tell but it has to be at least 20 feet tall.

Kodachrome Basin State Park, UT Sept 2-6, 2021

One day we took a drive to Kodachrome Basin State Park. From the park website, “The color and beauty found here prompted a National Geographic Society expedition to name the area Kodachrome, after the popular color film, in 1948.”

Kodachrome Basin State Park, UT Sept 2-6, 2021

You can see Kevin on the side there. He looks tiny!

Escalante, UT Sept 2-6, 2021

After visiting Kodachrome Basin State Park, we drove over to Escalante just to look around. We saw this place along the road. It looks like a campground where you stay in an airstream and can watch movies at the drive-in movie in old cars. What a unique and fun idea!

Kodachrome Basin State Park, UT Sept 2-6, 2021

This final picture gave us a great chuckle! It is at Kodachrome Basin State Park where there is red and white dirt everywhere. Fun name for a laundry place. 🙂

Ponderosa Pines

26th trip – days 132-134, Aug 27-29, 2021 Ponderosa Uinta National Forest, Nebo Loop, Nephi, UT

Ponderosa Unita Campground, Nebo Loop, Nephi, UT Aug 27-29, 2021

A few days before this camping trip, I had an MRI on my brain. The neurologist is trying to figure out the cause of my intense headaches, dizziness, and vertigo. I was glad Kevin and I were able to go on this camping trip because the place just makes you rest and relax with all the beauty. This picture grabs me in a lot of ways. I see the colors of Autumn starting to pop out. The trees are reaching towards the sky, some straight and some bent from the weight of snow when it was a young sapling. I see a stream slowly meandering down the mountain yet reflecting what is seen above it. I see a road and wonder where it leads. I see a missing bridge and puzzle at what it might have been made out of.

Ponderosa Unita Campground, Nebo Loop, Nephi, UT Aug 27-29, 2021

When we pulled into the campground, the camp host said we had reserved a site but he thought we would like a different one. He said to have a look at both. Well, he was absolutely correct. The one he suggested was off the road, very large, and bordered along the water.

Ponderosa Unita Campground, Nebo Loop, Nephi, UT Aug 27-29, 2021

On one of our walks we found this bit of history.

Nebo Loop, Nephi, UT Aug 27-29, 2021

This small section is called “Mini Bryce Canyon”.

Ponderosa Unita Campground, Nebo Loop, Nephi, UT Aug 27-29, 2021, site 18

Kevin adds: While camping, our neighbor was trying out various boondocking things. His solar panels were not charging his devices very well. I wanted to test out my new generator, so we combined forces. My generator got some run time, and he got his devices charged. I like our generator. It does a great job. The only problem is that it is LOUD. It is especially loud in an idyllic location like we were in. I might not have minded so much if were were in a very remote location, and not a campground.

Ponderosa Unita Campground, Nebo Loop, Nephi, UT Aug 27-29, 2021

Back to Charla: there is just something about old fences that makes me want to capture them in photography. This photo is from our campsite looking at the water. A very enjoyable place to be.

Mostly Pictures

25th trip – days 129-131, Aug 20-22, 2021 Provo Canyon “Resort”, Wallsburg, UT

Provo Canyon RV, Wallsburg, UT Aug 20-22, 2021

As I mentioned in the last post, I started getting headaches and very dizzy. The headaches were debilitating. Along with the dizziness, I was getting vertigo while laying down. Two days before this camping trip, I went to the doctor. He referred me to get an MRI.

I didn’t write anything in my travel blog for this trip. I just didn’t feel well enough. But I was able to snap a few pictures. I was glad to be out in the beauty and nature. I figured, headache and dizziness at home or headache and dizziness out in the beauty of nature. 🙂

Provo Canyon RV, Wallsburg, UT Aug 20-22, 2021

Kevin cooked delicious steaks and veggies on the Black Stone.

Who Is Hungry? ME!

Thank you for reading this blog and checking in.

Just Chillin’ Weekend.

24th trip – days 126-128, Aug 13-15, 2021 Mountain Valley RV Resort, Heber, UT

Mountain Valley RV Resort, Heber, UT Aug 13-15, 2021

We picked this campground because Kevin is on call this weekend and we know the internet is great here. When we were here before, we enjoyed the luxurious campground and the adults-only heated swimming pool and hot tub. 

Friday, 08/13/21 Got a little later start this evening due to Kevin needing to do some more things for work. But that was just fine; didn’t bother us at all. We knew we were camping pretty close to home. Ah, this place is luxury personified. 🙂 Lots of green grass, picnic tables and our site backs up to beautiful trees with great shade. When we checked in, Kevin asked if there were any entertainment things going on this weekend. She said, no, because the guy who does it (setting up the movies, for example) broke his collar bone and some ribs. Ouch! Poor guy. While I was helping Kevin back in to our site, a worker driving a golf cart came up and started talking to me. I said, “I am deaf, please talk to him.” I was using our walkie talkie and so Kevin knew what was going on. The guy said they had two trailers booked for this spot and to wait. I saw the second trailer behind him. So we waited in the road for a few minutes. Then he came back and said everything is fine, He misread the paper and the other trailer goes in F3, we are in F2. No problem at all. He was very nice. We got backed in no problems. The F3 trailer is from Sandy and they are here for their boy’s 8th birthday, Grandparents were coming over to celebrate. We ate a simple meal of pasta salad that I made this morning. We also had a roll with it. We realized that we didn’t bring Diet Dr Pepper and Diet Coke and there was only 1 each in the fridge. After reading and playing on our laptops for awhile, we drove 5 minutes away to Walmart. As we went to check out, we saw there was 0 cashiers and no check out lanes open. Not one! The line of people was waiting for the self check out. How weird is that?! Of course we didn’t have cold drinks, so a stop at Maverick was a must. Kevin said inside there was only one person working. Made us wonder, is there not enough people working at Walmart and Maverick? Must be due to Covid. Back to HOWE, we sat in the shade under the trees at the back of the site and property. We didn’t feel like swimming but plan to tomorrow.

Enjoying Our Campsite.

Saturday 08/14/21 I had been feeling dizzy at times. It seems to be getting worse. Sometimes I have to take a step to the side to balance myself. Today we just rested. Kevin was on call and ending up on the phone for quite a while to help out some people. I enjoyed the time reading.

Chick’s Cafe in Heber, UT.

For lunch we went to Chick’s Cafe. My dad drives 40 minutes to eat here a couple of times. He said the Chicken Fried Steak is delicious. I tried it and he is right.

Who Is Hungry?

We ended up not swimming. The campsite next to us had a boy who was turning 8 and he was having a party with his family and friends. One of the family friends had to leave quickly because Parley’s Canyon caught and fire and they lived near there. Later, the parents offered us food and cake and ice cream. They said they had plenty because so many had to leave to check on the fire. They were so very nice. We had just eaten. Kevin cooked sausages, peppers, onions, and zucchini on the griddle. I was too full for dessert but Kevin had some. 🙂 

Sunday 08/15/21 I woke up at 5:00 AM with severe vertigo. I ended up sitting up in bed and not moving my head at all until the sun came up. I felt nauseous, too. Thankfully, I didn’t throw up. We headed home around 11:00 am.

Didn’t Know You Can Camp Here.

23rd trip – days 123-125, Aug 6-8, 2021 Gladstan Golf Course, Payson, UT

Gladstan Golf, Payson, UT Aug 6-8, 2021

Friday 08/06/21 What a find! Who knew you some golf courses have an RV campground. The golf course restaurant is where we had our wedding rehearsal dinner 32 years ago! It was brand new. It has an amazing view of the valley but we can’t see it because the wildfire smoke from CA & OR have made this area “the worse air on the entire planet” according to the news this morning. 😦 We followed the instructions on our confirmation that said to check in at the Golf Pro Shop. So we went there. The parking lot was tight for HOWE (our 26 ft travel trailer, Home On WhEels) but Kevin made it fine. He went to check in and a worker met him outside and said, “You followed the instructions on the internet, right?” Laugh. Well, he said, you don’t have to check in at the shop, just go down the road, past the church, turn down the dead end road and it is there. We call that “farmer’s directions.” We found the dead end road, went to the end that was a cul-de-sac and not a campground. Turned around (thankfully it was big enough for one turn) and found a gravel side road. Up the hill and as we crested it, we saw the campground. It looks new and only 2 other trailers here. We are in the middle of the golf course, next to the pond. Green gorgeous grass everywhere. We sat outside and watched the golfers. Kevin can even hear them talking. One of the rules here we have to be quiet during the day so as not to disturb the golfers. Well, Kevin said he hears all sorts of the worst swear words from some of the golfers! Maybe they need a rule, too. 🙂 We got set up and then drove a few miles to Mi Rancherito in Payson. It is a favorite Mexican restaurant. We got right in and got a nice corner seat by the water fountain. However, it took a long time to get our food. It did’t bother us because we had a great time visiting with each other and eating chips and salsa. We know a lot of places are short staffed due to Covid. The food was delicious, as always. Chicken enchiladas and tacos. On the way driving down through Spanish Fork, we saw that this weekend is the Utah County Fair. Kevin and I looked up the schedule to see if there is anything we are interested in. We found antique tractor pull for tomorrow. We think that will be fun. Kevin suggested we invited Mom & Dad for Dad’s birthday which is next week. I texted them and they said that sounds like a lot of fun, yes, they would go. After dinner, we came back to HOWE and relaxed outside. I watched a golfer hit a ball in front of us. I remembered that Kevin and I had talked about how hard it is to see the ball and how do cameras on TV always follow it. Anyway, as this guy hit it, I tried to follow the ball but couldn’t see it. All of a sudden, I see a huge “kur-plop” in the pond! HAHA The ball went into the water. I looked at Kevin and he looked at me and we started laughing so hard. But, of course, the guy is so close to us that he could probably hear us so we were trying not to laugh out loud…which made us laugh even harder. We were crying we were laughing so hard, trying to hold it in. 🙂 We saw more than 25 deer walk right in front of us, eating grass and leaves from the trees.

Gladstan Golf, Payson, UT Aug 6-8, 2021

Saturday 08/07/21 After a great night sleep, and sleeping in, we sat outside. At 10:30, we left to meet Mom & Dad and brother for an early lunch. Dad said he wanted to meet for lunch before the tractor pull and since it is his birthday week, we had him decide. They wanted to know all about our Glacier trip. Off to the fairgrounds we went. It is free. We sat in the grandstand and seriously, there was us and one other couple in the entire grandstand! Nice. It was fun to watch the tractors. It ended at 2:00 and we parted ways. We decided to drive Nebo Loop, Payson Canyon to Nephi. Very pretty. We both commented that Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier had nothing on this road. This one has drop offs with no stones/boards/rails and the landscape is stunning with tall mountains, green pine trees, white aspen trees, grass, wildflowers, and bushes. And smoke. 😦 We couldn’t see the view of the valley but that is fine. It made it a unique beauty. At one point, we decided to take the road that goes down Santaquin Canyon. This road immediately turned to gravel. We saw campers tucked up in the trees along the way. The road got a bit rough like it hadn’t been maintained for a long time. From the top to Santaquin is 11 miles. After driving 1/2 hour, we came to a “road closed” sign. We couldn’t believe it. The gate was open on one side so we stopped and asked a guy who was parked near and getting ready to hike. He said the road was definitely closed just a bit farther down and had been since the big fire. A mud slide (due to vegetation being burned away) had wiped out the road completely and hadn’t been rebuilt. Hum, I think there should have been a sign at the top of this road. So we turned around, laughing all the way and enjoying the scenery from the other direction. 🙂 Back to the top and we verified there was no sign. Back on the main road, we continued our way through Nephi Canyon. We got into several traffic jams…the “traffic” being cows in the road. This is grazing country and it is fun to see them just moseying along. We decided to drive back on I-15. We picked up burgers, English chips, and shakes at Polar Queen in Payson and took it back to HOWE. We ate outside, enjoying watching the golfers.

Gladstan Golf, Payson, UT Aug 6-8, 2021

Sunday 08/08/21 We took our time getting awake and packed up. This is a great campground and the whole time, there was only us and then two others on the far side. A very beautiful and unique spot to camp.

Taking The Long Way Around & Seeing So Much.

Last part of our vacation trip Glacier National Park.

School & Mason Building at Bannack State Park, MT

Thursday 07/29/21 Slept in and then got all packed up. I looked at the map and we decided to go east on I-90 for a ways and then head south, following the Lewis and Clark trail. Oh, we are glad we took this route and it only added about 15 minutes or so. We aren’t in a rush so this was nice.

Beaverhead, MT

We found a historical site and stopped. So glad we did because this told of how this whole Beaverhead area got its name. The Indians named a rock formation Beaverhead because that is what it looked like to them. This became a marker for Indians and later other people as to where to go when they reached it.

Fascinating Journal Entry By Meriwether Lewis on August 8, 1805

We drove on to Dillon and to our campground. It is a former KOA with nice lots and green grass. Outside on the door was taped everyones name and site number on a campground info paper. We drove to our pull through and set up under a nice shady tree. The gravel site was a little unlevel and we had to add a block or two under the wheels on one side. Kevin and I debated how many blocks we would need. I thought it was good enough but he thought one. So we put one down and Kevin drove HOWE on it. I looked at the level on the bumper of HOWE and saw it was perfectly level. I can’t have this because he is right! So I grabbed a pebble and put it under one side of the level. Then I stood in front of that side as Kevin came back to check. The look on his face was so funny! “How can that be? Completely bubble off?” HAHA I couldn’t  help it and started laughing as I moved away. He chased me and tickled me. Note: the next stop, he looked for pebbles under the level. 🙂

Someone thinks he is Lewis and Clark! HA

By this time it was 12:30 and I was hungry. We took our picnic lunch a mile down the road to Clark’s Lookout State Park. There wasn’t much there but we read a few signs and then walked a small trail to the top. You can see for miles, if there wasn’t wildfire smoke. The signs talked about how detailed Clark was with his maps and the equipment he had with him to  know where he was (compass, sextant, etc.). They also had a Log Line but didn’t use it much. Sailors would use this to see how fast they were going. A log line had a piece of wood with a rope. The rope had “knots” at certain intervals. The rope was fastened to the ship and the wood and rope thrown overboard. As the line got pulled in the water, the sailer would count the number of knots that went past in 30 seconds. The time was done with a sand glass. Thus, the speed in “knots”. After this, we stopped in at the local visitor center. We got some pamphlets for later. Then it was back to HOWE to write in the travel journal and relax. Dinner was eaten outside on the picnic table – rotisserie chicken and fresh string beans. Yum.

Friday 07/30/21 We didn’t wake up until 9:15. Kevin offered to “cook” this morning. Nice. That means McDonalds. We haven’t been able to cook outside at all this entire trip due to the thick wildfire smoke. It grosses us out to think of cooking food in it. You can see the ash falling everywhere.

Bannack State Park, Montana

We went to Bannack State Park. This was near the top of our favorite sites this trip! Bannack was where the first gold was discovered in Montana on July 28, 1862. The town grew to a population of over 3,000 by 1863. The unique thing about this town is that there are 50 buildings still standing and you can actually walk through many of them. And, they haven’t been moved. We parked and walked to the visitor center to get info and pay the fee. On the door was a sign to watch for rattlesnakes because they had been seen in the town. Eeek!! I hate snakes, no matter what kind or size. We paid the fee and got the $2 information booklet. This was a big help because it gave a lot of information for each building and spot. We walked to the first building and looked inside the windows. As we turned around, there was a huge snake. I squealed and ran to the side. Kevin said he saw next to the snake a dead chipmunk; he is sure the snake killed it. Most of the buildings had walls of plaster and lath. You could see wallpaper peeled off and the boards. Some of the floors had laminate over the 3-4 inch wide floor boards.

Bannack State Park, Montana

It was a typical “old west town” with gun fights. At one point, a sheriff was a convicted felon who had walked out/escaped the front door of a jail in California. There was a jail but most people didn’t want to guard the jail because they wanted to be out getting gold. So a lot of people were hung. The gallows were in direct view of the jailhouse windows. HAHA Several people were even hung in a house. The saloon still has the old bar and it was beautifully carved. During the Civil War, the town was also divided and the northerners coming to the town stayed outside in an area called “Yankee Flats”. It took us about 2 1/2 hours to walk the town. We left the park and turned left to go towards Jackson, Wisdom and around Hwy 43 to I-15. We were excited to see several barn/garages with RVs parked there. It looks like home bases for full time RVers. Fun!!! We climbed to an overlook of 7000 ft. At the historical site, we read about a device that was invented in this area to lift hay up so it can be stacked. Incidentally, we saw quite a few of these in large farm fields. Do they still really use them? Do they use horses to raise and lower the fork? This was also along the Lewis & Clark trail and was the highest point in elevation they came, according to the sign. The view was of a Big Hole which has a large flat valley with mountains around it. There is a lot of cattle here and one ranch alone has 13,000 acres.

Large Hay Bales, Polaris, Montana

There is quite a bit of farming here. The Jefferson Valley, along the river was flat with what we think are mountains off in the distance. Smoke is too thick to see far. We saw hundreds and hundreds of cows and bales of hay. Not kidding. At one point, everywhere you looked you saw big round bales of hay. We wonder where the bales are stored. Some fields had two swathers working, two balers working, and several tractors. Another observation: places around here don’t have a lot of gas stations. Little towns, no gas stations. They must have to travel a long way to get gas. The landscape changed along the way. From large, open valleys to canyons lined with rock and trees.

Montana Wildfire

At one point, we even went around a wildfire and could see the smoke from the trees. I spotted an eagle on some rocks. The rocks overlooked a large valley that is farmed. We pulled over and watched for a while. Kevin said it is a bald eagle and looked to be over 2 ft tall. Back to Dillon, we stopped at a auto parts store to get some fuses. Kevin discovered the horn didn’t work nor our truck camera. Pull out the fuse, put it back in and it worked. HAHA Well, we have extras if needed. The store listed in The Traveler’s Quilting book didn’t have fabric, just yarn. Back to HOWE. I heated up BBQ sweet pork for nachos. The mosquitos are horrible at this camp. We guess because it is by the Beaverhead River and the river moves along slowly through here.

Camping at a city park in Blackfoot, ID.

Overnight camping at Blackfoot, Idaho. The city lets you camp in the Sports Park parking lot for just a few days. Even had water and electric hook ups.

This trip was really nice and of course we enjoyed it. We saw Glacier National Park. It was a bit disappointing but perhaps it was due to the thick wild fire smoke and all the crowds of people so we couldn’t even park and hike. We learned fabulous history and stories from locals that we would have missed out on if not asked for recommendations of places to see. Historical markers offer insights to the past that makes you get out your iPhone, look up for more information, and marvel at what you learn.

Last Days at Glacier National Park

Bridge at Glacier National Park

Wednesday 07/21/21 We drove into the park early so we could get a parking spot at McDonald Lake. There were just two spots available.

The rain forest at Sperry Chalet Trailhead in Glacier National Park

We went on a hike called Sperry Chalet Trailhead. The sign said it was a rainforest. It all looked the same, every turn around the path all looked the same. It ended at a bridge over water.

Glacier-cold river at Glacier National Park

Kevin got his feet wet and said it was glacier-cold.

Cabins and houses line the shores of Glacier National Park

We had purchased Lake McDonald boat ride tickets months ago. It was a nice ride around the lake. We had thought it went up a river but nope. One interesting thing we saw was some houses and cabins across the lake. That land was purchased by individuals before the national park. The national park can’t take away their ownership so the park actually goes out and around them. If they ever sell, the national park has first dibs to buy it.We stopped at the visitors center on the way out. In the parking lot we saw the Oscar Myer Wiener-mobile. It was getting a lot of attention and pictures taken.

Huckleberry scones for dessert

For dinner that night, we decided to eat in West Glacier. We found an old building with Belton Grill & Dining Room & Tap Room. We were told we needed reservations or we could eat at the bar. The bar was fine. Kevin enjoyed visiting with the bartender who kept up a lively conversation. I had a Huckleberry Mojo and it was delicious. For dessert we had Huckleberry scones. Yum! We asked the bartender if huckleberries are usually sweet. He retrieved out of his stash and put some in a bowl for us. Nope, they are not sweet. He said sometimes they might be a little sweet but sweetener is added.

Our evening walk-about gave us a smoky sunset

Smoky skies still prevailed. It does make beautiful sunsets.

Moonbeam through the window

Next time, on our blog, our favorite place to visit…and we didn’t even know about it before a campground host recommended it!

Glacier National Park

22nd trip – days 105-122 July 16-Aug 1, 2021 VACATION Glacier National Park, Montana, Idaho, and Washington

Sign off a little road on the northwest side of the park.

Sunday 07/18/21 We sure didn’t want to leave Jim & Mary’s RV Park. So far, it is our favorite campground. The tall pine trees made a nice canopy all around. Kevin spoke with a gardner this morning and he said they water every flower and plant every single day. We headed north on Hwy 93. We drove through several Native American Reservations. At one point, I looked up the elevation on my app. It should 3200 and I didn’t believe it. I looked at Kevin’s phone and it said the same thing. I said Apple must be messed up so Kevin asked Siri. Sure enough! This is very low. We looked up West Glacier and it is only 3300 and the highest road in Glacier NP as 6100! What?! The funny thing is, Kevin said from the time we left home that he thought we were continually climbing. Goes to show how parents say they went up hill, both ways, in the snow, going to school. HAHAHA  We saw Flathead Lake and it is very big. Lots of nice areas to boat with several marinas all around. There are quite a few little towns and shopping areas and campgrounds. The whole way up this road, we can’t tell if there are mountains around us. This is due to smoke from the Oregon fire.Next we drove to our campground in West Glacier. West Glacier is a tiny “town” with a gas station, bar, gift store, and a deli. There are a few more buildings but not many.

West Glacier RV Park

We got to our campground where at check in we were told there is no water. But they are working to fix it. Oh boy. This campground has no tall trees, dry grass but it all nice long pull through 60 ft sites. We are on the end and have a “back yard” and a “front yard”. HAHA Kevin would later say, “meet me in the back yard” because there was shade from HOWE (our Home On WhEels), or “meet me in the front yard, at the table, for card game.”

West Glacier RV Park

The campground is surrounded by thick forest. We got set up, drove to West Glacier to use the bathroom (since campground didn’t have water) and then drove into the park. The road goes through very thick forest and you can’t see anything.

Getting his National Park Passport stamped. It is set outside, due to Covid.

We stopped at Apgar Visitor Center. Sadly, there isn’t a place to learn about the park. I think it is due to covid. There were Rangers behind shields outside where you could ask them questions. We have seen this at other national parks.

Looking through the smoke. View of river and road below.

From there we drove more into the park. We could get tiny glimpses of Lake McDonald. We drove through Apgar, a tiny “town” in the park. No places to park so we kept going.

Sign for church at Glacier National Park.

We saw the amphitheater and there was a sign saying “worship service” tonight at 5:30. Other days they have Ranger talks and star information at night. After driving around but only seeing trees, we went back for the worship service.

Church service. What a glorious setting!

It is ministry called ParkLife Ministry. It is a Christian Ministry in the National Parks and has been serving in the since 1951. It is an interdenominational ministry and doesn’t receive federal funds. One lady lead the music with a guitar and then later gave her testimony. Kevin enjoyed it (I am deaf). There were probably 20 people there. I liked watching the lake behind them and seeing people kayak and boat past on the water and others just walking a trail. By the time we got back to HOWE, our water still wasn’t there. We walked to the office and they said we had to turn some valve. Glad we asked! We had a little water this evening.

The famous Going-To-The-Sun Road.

Tuesday 07/20/21 Today was on our own. Bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. We got on our way at 8:00. We drove the Going-to-the-Sun road from west to east.

Waterfall with a Red Bus crossing the bridge.

It is a little clearer and we could see some rocky areas on the mountains. A lot of the pull offs were completely full. The view is nice once you start up the side of the mountains. However, the smoke makes everything mainly just an outline of mountain tops. Got to Logan Pass and Rangers had the parking lot blocked because it was full. We learned later at St Mary’s Visitor Center that Logan Pass had filled up completely at 6:30 AM that morning. Crazy!!! Tried several other pull offs but all were full.

Even in destruction, beauty is seen.

Going down the east side and the landscape changes somewhat. There was a fire through here so you see tall posts of former trees. The nice thing is you can see through them and to the views. Besides the smoke. Stopped at St Mary’s Visitor Center where it was extremely windy. Very desolate looking. People here call it the plains. We saw an eagle carrying a fish to a nest. That was really neat to see. Kevin got out his binoculars and saw some “poop” go flying out of the nest and arched all the way down. 🙂

East side of Glacier National Park.

Continuing on, we drove to Swiftcurrent Lake. This is on the east side of the park. The smoke was still thick but it looks like a neat place to come back to for a visit.

Of course, Kevin saw this at a shop and got a great laugh out of it. 🙂

Kevin laughed about this!

Next time you will read about our hike, boat ride, and yummy Huckleberries.


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