Destination: Victor, Idaho August 2017
We have wonderful friends, Laurie and Allan that live part-time in the Teton Valley in Victor, Idaho. They have a beautiful home and property that has an incredible views of the Grand Tetons. This year what started out as an idea to rent a RV and drive up to visit them morphed into purchasing a truck camper. We had always talked about waiting until we retire to purchase a weekend toy, but after Sam’s triple by-pass this past winter, we asked each other what are we waiting for? We planned to stop and see the sites on the way up. Nine days, Eight nights would test our desire to live in a studio apartment on the back of a truck. We spent months deciding on our route and where we would stop each night.
Just a few hours into our trip we came to a road block – the highway was closed and we were told that it could be a lengthy closure. We found an alternate route to get back to the highway and keep us moving toward Utah.
You know you’re in Utah when you see Church Rock viewed from US 191 in Southern Utah.
By the first night it became clear that we had overestimated how far we would get that night. We used a handy app on our phone that provided campgrounds that were in the vicinity of our location. Important to mention that when you don’t have cell service – the app will not work. Good thing we actually had paper maps. We stayed at Devil’s Campground South of Monticello, Utah managed by the Forest Service. Camp Host Mike was fantastic and gave us advice on the most secluded campsites. The campground was very convenient just off US 191.
We experienced a rainstorm in the middle of the night at the Devil’s Campground. I loved the sound of the rain on the top of the camper and I slept like a baby. We learned a valuable lesson to not leave our camp chairs out during the night. We had grand plans to drink our morning coffee sitting in our camp chairs and watch the sunrise but were met with puddles of water in the seats.
One of the highlights of the trip was the petroglyphs in Nine-Mile Canyon. Don’t let the name fool you – it is actually an all day drive if you stop to enjoy the scenery. We only saw a handful of people on this day. It is a very nice paved road – no problem for our truck camper. You can choose to turn around and return on the paved road or take a dirt road that leads up to Vernon, Utah. We of course took the dirt road. It is rare that Sam will turn around – we always move forward as a rule.
Several times in our wanderings around the Southwest we have come across places that feel majestic and have that feeling of holy. God’s Country comes to mind – you breath a little easier, and a sense of peace comes to you. These places convey how big and powerful the world is and where we fit in the puzzle. This spot in Nine Mile Canyon had that feeling, and it seemed others felt that way too. From the petroglyphs that covered the walls to the cross we found. Not sure if someone was buried here or possibly ashes were spread. Regardless, we knew this would be a place that we talk about for years.
Second night we camped at Steinaker State Park near Vernal, Utah. Before we drove out to the park we ended up eating dinner in town, because we were not sure how far out of town the lake was and not sure if we were going to get a spot. We learned our lesson to just cook at the camp ground. The restaurant was expensive and it didn’t hold a candle to Sam’s cooking. First time with a “full” hook-up, and I have to admit that it was pretty nice, because we were able to take showers and I could blow dry my hair. The campsites were close together, but the campers were all respectful of each other and kept noise to a minimum.
Camp site at Steinaker State Park. We really learned to appreciate the campgrounds at the State Parks.
Finally made it to Idaho. We set up camp in Laurie’s vegetable garden. They had water hookup and we really enjoyed the cool weather. They have a beautiful home and private guest room, but we were enjoying our camper so much we stayed the night in the garden. The camper was a bit cold in the morning so we turned on the heater – and set off the alarm in the camper. We had not had an opportunity to test the heater in Arizona (no need to, when it is 115 degrees).
View of the Tetons from Laurie’s vegetable garden. Sam and I were sitting in our camper drinking coffee and saw the sun peeking over the mountains. We both looked at eachother and I ran for the camera so Sam could catch this shot. The smoke from fires in Wyoming and Montana resulted in this incredible sunrise.
Next stop was Buffalo Campground in Island Park, Idaho. This campground is just 25 miles from Yellowstone National Park. This is a favorite campground of Laurie and Allan, and we could see why. We stayed two nights in this campground and had an incredible time.
Sam made getting into the hammock looks so easy. I had a bit of trouble getting in and out of it, but we don’t speak of it.
We visited the Madison River Canyon where an earthquake struck in 1959. The earthquake caused a massive slide that cut off the river and Quake Lake was formed within days. Many people who were camping and recreating on the lake and downstream along the river were caught in the disaster and died. One side of the lake lifted up and the other side went into the lake, which you can still see cabins that were once on the lake now sitting in the middle of a field. The visitor center is well worth the stop. I read a great book after coming home- The 1959 Yellowstone Earthquake by Larry Morris. Incredible stories of what occured, stories of the very ordinary people caught in this horrible disaster and how they helped each other. Very much worth the read. I asked my parents if they remembered this event, but neither remembered it. I have to remind myself this was before “social media”. My mother would have been 17 or 18 and getting ready to marry my dad.
We made it through the traffic in Salt Lake City – (I kept my head down and crocheted the whole time). Last night in the Camper and we stopped at Yuba Lake State Park for the night. Another State Park – great spot with beautiful trees and cool grass to walk in our barefeet. Sam grilled a great meal – salmon and asparagus. One constant at every campground was the sound of children playing and laughing. We can never get tired of hearing it. While we were staying in the Buffalo Campground I met a little boy whose name coincidentally enough was Sam; and he told me in the usual banter of a 3 year old that he dreamed the night before that he was running and running. At that point he started to run back to his own camp with pure joy on his face. We may not be able to run like a 3 year old anymore but we can remember and enjoy the memory.
The trip sealed the deal – we are hooked. Next step is setting up the jeep to be pulled behind the truck. Then the real fun begins.