Thursday, June 21, 2018

Repositioning: Utah to Idaho


Having given up on a longer stay in Bryce National Park due to weather, we decided to start heading north and put some miles behind us.

As you know, we stay at quite a few Elks Lodges as we travel. We're big fans because often we are able to stay in a safe, secure and inexpensive place in areas that might otherwise bust the budget. Lodges near water or with extraordinary views, in and near larger cities seem to be doing well but, in a state like Utah with a sparse population, many struggle to stay open and some of them don't succeed. I just read today that the lodge in Moab closed.

We travel with a very outdated set of Lodge books, from 2009. The trouble with that is when we are on the move to reposition and plan a series of one night stops, sometimes we find that the lodge no longer exists. This is what happened when we left Page and arrived in Richfield, south of Provo. We tried calling but there was no answer.

Then we drove past the weed-infested building with a barely hanging on sign flapping in the wind and a faded For Sale sign. So off we went for an overnight at the local Walmart Supercenter instead.

The next day, we stayed at yet another Walmart near Ogden, UT, this time so that we could meet in person a long-time Facebook friend. Joann and her husband Mel were fulltimers for many years before Mel's illness forced them off the road. They were part of a big gang of folks that headed to Alaska in 2008 and we followed a couple of blogs of folks they met up with. I think that's how we became friends on Facebook. Sadly, Mel passed away last year. Joann is just now looking at future travels for herself, although not in an RV. It was so nice to finally meet her in person, and thanks again for the hats, Joann!

IMG_5048   IMG_5049
Not too shabby of a view at the Walmart in Ogden.         Joann poses for the obligatory Chouter's selfie.

At our next repositioning stop we planned to stay put for three days. There is only so many one-nighters we can do before we start to get cranky. Our travel day was partly spent on a lonely Idaho road. It was a grey, miserable day, making us feel like we were alone in the world. Then it started to snow.

The last time I drove through this area was in 1981. My BFF Cindy and I were moving from Alaska to Texas and we decided to make our way down south in Cindy's un-air conditioned car, Hazel. I think it was a Pontiac Astre. She was a rough ride and drove like a tank but after more than 6,000 miles, she got us to our destination safe and sound! I'll give Hazel that much. :)

Hazel, the Incredible.  On the back window we had written Texas or Bust! (Thanks for the photo, Cindy!)

We visited a ton of places along the way, but as we made our way to Yellowstone, we passed through this desolate area of Idaho where the earth looked as though it had all been tilled, but in a massive way. We could not figure out what kind of earth-mover had churned up all this land, and for what purpose? We didn't know it at the time, but we were looking out at Craters of the Moon National Monument.

It was fun to be coming back, although the usually black lava fields and cinder cones were now covered in a beautiful layer of white snow. It was amazing! The snow only lasted a day but we toured around and saw the area, basically white one day and black the next. Very unique!

Early on our first morning at Craters of the Moon

At the exact same place a few hours later and all the snow was gone!




craters_008  craters_009




Craters of the Moon National Monument feels like being on a different planet (except for this cute deer).

The vivid colors we saw on a day trip to nearby Sun Valley stood in stark contrast to our campsite.

Quick story, then I'll wrap this up. Are you familiar with the whole Painted Rock phenomenon that is happening across the country? People paint rocks and then place them out in public places in hopes that they will be found and reported on the group’s Facebook page. Each participating town has their own separate page. Well a few weeks back, while we were in Temecula, I found one. It was a grey rock with a pair of boy's underwear painted on it, in bright red. On the back of the rock was a message to report the finding, then I could keep it, or re-hide it. I immediately became attached to the rock and really didn't want to re-hide it. But when we got to Craters of the Moon, the red paint really popped next to the black cinder. So, after a couple of days of indecisiveness, I let go of my rock and hid it in the campground. To this day, no one has reported finding it, which makes me really regret leaving it behind. I miss my undies rock! :)

IMG_5081  IMG_5086
Our underwear-wearing rock up for adoption once more.

Next up: Hello Oregon!


  1. It's too bad about the Elks lodges. We're not members but I bet it is quite convenient for over night stops. Craters of the Moon is a unique place. We visited there years ago with our daughter. It was fun exploring some of the caves (lava tubes) in the area. Cute rock-I hope it gets logged sometime.

    1. The caves were closed when we were there! I'm not sure if that's a permanent thing or just because it was so early in the season. Would have been interesting for sure!

  2. Fun to see snow on the mountains that are outside our window without any today! Love the before and after pics of the crater - mother nature is never dull! Painted rocks found by rangers in public parks are being tossed as vandalism. I hope your undie rock was rescued or is still in hiding!!

    1. Ugh. I did not know that about painted rocks in National Parks. Now my heart is broken and I miss my little Undies Rock even more. :(

  3. Love that Astre! A good ol' Chevy Vega with Chief Pontiac's nose on it. Sorry...I'm from Detroit; cars are peeps to us. Good time of year to see Craters of the Moon. Summer must be ungodly hot there.

    1. Cindy loved Hazel, I was not all that fond of her, mainly because we were traveling into Texas and Arizona in the summertime and she had no air conditioner (most cars in Alaska didn't...) We poured bottles of water on ourselves to keep cool. :)

  4. The Craters of the Moon photos are wonderful. We'll have to put that place on "the list". I'm sure someone will find your underpants rock soon. That's too cute to leave alone.

    1. My friend Jodee has informed me that when park rangers find painted rocks they dispose of them. Since no one has reported it, I fear it is lost forever. I am utterly heartbroken. :(

  5. I read your post before heading to Craters of the Moon today. We hiked 6 miles and no undies rock.

    1. I left it right outside our door in our campsite. I can't remember the number, but it was near the rear of the first section just in front of all the trash cans and across from the bathrooms. One of the few Scoopy could fit into. I'm sure a ranger found it shortly after and disposed of it. Basically, I killed the Undies Rock!! :(

    2. Site number 43! That's where we were parked!

    3. Well, shoot! Steven says I should put out a reward. LOL. Thanks for looking! It's a fun place, six mile hike sounds like fun because there is so much to see there.

    4. Unfortunately this is the case with geocaching too. I had hid a trackable in Sacramento. Someone found it, took it to the DC area and put it into another cache. Then it 'disappeared'... Hopefully it isn't lost forever!

    5. It never even crossed my mind that it could be against NP rules. Live and learn, I guess. :(

  6. I see you've created a fitting memorial for your undies rock in your banner photo. I'm glad you have such a great photo to remember him by. :-((
    Lucky you to see Craters of the Moon with a dusting of snow (without having to be in a big snowstorm). It looks like powdered sugar.

    1. Yes, a fitting memorial for my little Undies rock. See what I mean about how the beautiful red color just pops on the black rock? That's why I left him there. :(