A Trip Across the USA
Jon Vermilye's Photo Page

Trip Index

May 9 - The Sawtooth Mountains & Craters of the Moon

First - Happy Mother's Day to All - well, at least to all mothers!

After a long night of checking email & my bookmarked web pages (after all I needed to get my $10.00 worth of WiFi time) I found that George, one of the RV Full Timers that has an interesting web site ( http://vagabonders-supreme.net/blog/blog.html ) will be traveling on the same road today that we are going on.

Well, we never ran into George, but if he drove his RV up & down Idaho Route 21, he is amazing. My van felt like a huge vehicle. Many hairpin turns with 20 mph speed limit, and miles of 6% - 8% grades, both up & down. It is a beautiful road, but enough to make anyone dizzy. Most of the drive follows small to medium rivers with many cascades & rapids. Lots of kayakers & rafting outfitters along the way.

After reaching Stanley, ID, we switched to Idaho Route 75 for the trip back to US 20. I know, 20 runs from Boise to where we are now, but we never drove through the Sawtooth Range, and both of us felt the trip was well worth the day it took. The Sawtooth Mountains are as rugged as the Tetons, but you don't get as close to them so they are not quite as impressive. Still, a great drive.

We stopped for the night at The Craters of the Moon National Monument. Although it doesn't open until the 15th, the campground is open - no water & only one vault toilet ( a euphemism for pit toilets) , but finally, a campground we can stay in and, it's free!

If you haven't seen Craters of the Moon, you should. It is a strange place that photos don't manage to capture. It really does look like a moonscape with a little bit of greenery. It is filled with lava rock, much of which is so light you can lift huge boulders. There are walks through lava flows, ice caves formed by lava tubes that hardened around the outside then emptied, forming tunnels that stay frozen all summer, mountains made of fine black ash. And the trees are terrific! I love trees that appear to struggle to stay alive, as well as those that didn't manage to. Again, the light was iffy, so although I did get a few images of trees, it would be nice to be there long enough to have things just right.

Again, a great place to camp, specially for those with tents. Most of the sites only fit tents or very small RV's. The only problem is is going to get a bit cold tonight. Craters is at 6000', and it has already dropped 10 degrees while I'm writing this update. Check out the visitor to our site (Photo below).

The Sawtooth Mountains from Galena Pass?
Out Tent Site at Craters of the Moon Campground
Carol Builds Muscles
Tree & Rock - Craters of the Moon
A Visitor at Craters
Tree - Craters of the Moon

May 10 - Back to Missoula

Well, it's "Morning Time", at 45 degrees, no water, and the nearest bathroom 1/4 mile away; time to remind myself why I love tent camping. Actually, it was nice to have the quiet, and fun to fire up the camp stove for morning coffee, even though I had to use cooler water to make it. There are about 10 other campers here, about half in tents, some with kids, one one with a very small baby.The "high/ low thermometer in my car says it went down to 40 degrees last night. We all survived.

No photos today - the trip up US 20 & US 93 did have some nice scenery, but few places to stop. We did see a very well maintained BLM campground that runs $6.00 per night.

As we entered the Bitteroot Mountains, we could see the remains of the forest fires Montana suffered a few years ago. Many miles of burned stalks of trees, but lots of new growth as well.

We are now settled in Missoula. On the other hand, Brian & Karin are settled in Wyoming. Their truck broke down on the way back from the wedding. They hope to get it fixed today or tomorrow & return to Missoula.

We are picking up Don & Anne Guido at the airport tomorrow, and will be at the Sleep Inn through Brian & Karin's graduation on Saturday. The plan is for Don & Anne to rent a car & the four of us to leave Sunday for Washington State.

May 11 - Page Update

Not much happening - We are taking the day easy, doing a little shopping, dropped off a couple of rolls of film - yes, I still use that stuff. Found an internet connection at the Mountain West Cyber Cafe - Not free, but inexpensive at $3.00 per hour.

Till next time...


This page is maintained by: vermilye@oswego.edu
Last Update: March 25, 2012