Sunday, July 12, 2020
60 degrees in the morning, got up to 99 on the drive
I was able to schedule an oil change at Rob Green Buick GMC in Twin Falls on Monday, which is a 7-hour drive. I woke up ready to go and quickly packed up. As it goes in campgrounds, I got to talking to my neighbors as I was getting prepared.
On one side was a gentleman hooking up to go home. He was putting his ATV in the back of his camper. I always wondered what was in the back of that type of camper and commented. “Yeah, it’s better than pulling two trailers.” He is from Utah and had something about being a grandfather on his t-shirt. The grandkids like to rodeo and compete for their high schools, so he loves to go and watch and help out. They will be in college soon and will compete there. He had to get back to water his fields, saying it is tough moving those big watering pipes on wheels.
As I preparing the other side of the trailer, I noticed a 9 year old boy watching. He looked a lot like my buddy Josh. His mother and father are Dutch, but living and working in California right now. They were hooking up and going to Arches today, doing the canyons tour. A nice family, we had a good chat. As I returned to checking air pressure on the tires, the boy continued watching. I almost let him help before having a vision of an exploding tire.
I went up to say goodbye to Harry, owner of the campground. We hadn’t talked much, but he had been helpful on several counts. I don’t know how it works, but sometimes you just like someone. He practices perfect social distancing, and no doubt, running a campground can be risky in this environment. I shouted to the upper balcony, “Harry?” A head peaked above the railing. I thanked him for the nice campground, the great WIFI, the great TV and power for air conditioning.
Mostly, I said I loved watching Grit TV. He laughed and said he loves to watch it too. He said the reason they get 21 stations is there is a big digital TV tower just up the road. He asked where I was headed, and I said I was going to Stanley, Idaho to float the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. “I used to guide there. Did it for 20 years. Who are you going with?” I told him Steve Zettel and the Idaho Wilderness Company. “Steve Zettel saved me one time”, he said. He was in the big, heavy provision raft and got stuck in the middle of the river. He said he would still be there if Steve hadn’t come along and helped. They both had a “come along”, a unique ratchet-operated wench, and they were finally able to get the raft out. He said he is very grateful to Steve, but Steve probably wouldn’t remember him, as there are so many companies and guides.
Harry said it was tough work, and he was one of those guys who had to do everything himself, not depending on others to help as much as he should have. His body finally just couldn’t take it any more. Mostly, his back gave him trouble. He said running a campground is different, but has its own challenges. I knew I liked this guy for some reason. Now I knew. I thanked him very much, and hope to camp there again.
I finally got on the road at 9:00 heading west then north on 24, a beautiful drive. In this area, you could just drive Rt. 12 and 24, and I didn’t drive 12. So many things I have missed! Then up interstate 15, which is also beautiful across a very high plateau/mountain area with beautiful farms and long views. A sign warned of deer herd migrations. What!
The speed limit is 80 on this road. A red Corvette with the top down passed me doing more 😊. Another sign warned of dangerous dust storms. “Do not stop in the road during a dust storm”. Down the mountain and into the valley, there is a long approach to Provo and Salt Lake City. Traffic got heavier and more crazy even though it was Sunday. A hot Sunday at 98 degrees, there was still snow on one of the mountains to my east. Dan wanted to tell me the way around all this, but it didn’t seem urgent at the time. My strategy is to get behind a good driver of a tractor-trailer, and that’s what I did. Still, you have to leave stopping distance, which just gives the crazies room to switch lanes. I’d hate to be here Monday morning.
Finally getting north of all that, I got on I84 west. It was much prettier here. I passed Snowville, elevation 4,547, population 172. Descending the mountain, I entered Idaho, soon crossing the Snake River, one of the great American rivers. There is tremendous irrigation leading into Twin Falls, and the river splits into many parts, leading to very green, productive fields.
By 4:30 I entered Twin Falls, population @ 50,000. I had looked at three highly-rated campgrounds, but they were booked on a Sunday night, so I had called Rock Creek RV Park yesterday. Campground host, Ron, said it is first come, first serve, but he thought there would be room. It wasn’t full on Saturday night, so that’s a good sign. Still, I was tired and not sure what I would do if they were full. There’s always Walmart, but it was 94 degrees. I didn’t even know if they had hookups, but I didn’t care right now.
The park sits in a little bottom area in the middle of town in an oasis along Rock Creek. Creeping down the winding road into the park, I saw a couple of empty spaces. there was no office, so I drove slowly in. The campground host’s huge, beautiful motor home sat in the middle. There was an instruction board with envelopes: select a site, fill out the form, put your money in and insert it in the post slot.
I pulled forward, opening the window, and Ron approached the truck. He, his wife and another couple sat in the grassy shade next to their trailer. there are no showers, but vault toilets and full hookups for $20/night 😊. Driving down the road, I saw an empty spot next to two other Airstreams, so I pulled in, set up, fixed dinner, a bourbon, put up the tv antenna and found Grit TV. My new neighbors were out, but I was content.
I walked the envelope back up to the post and talked with Ron and his friends. They were quite nice, telling me all about Twin Falls and what to do. It’s a beautiful, swift creek running through the park. Some say there are sturgeon in it, like the Snake River. Ron’s friend told me to go back behind the Costco, and there is a kayak rental company for the Snake River. They also suggested Shoshone Falls, which I had already intended to see. They pronounced it “show shown”. I signed up for two nights, since I didn’t know what might happen with the truck tomorrow, and there were things I wanted to see. I also needed three days worth of food before the Middle Fork trip. I need a fishing license, and I need to go through the recommended packing list for the trip. It’s $2350 for the trip plus tips for the guides, but I am going to be very happy to have them do all the work while I just go along for the ride. I’m getting excited!