August 5, 2016
The Sawtooth Mountains and Craters of the Moon National Park.
Yesterday, I left North Fork and drove the rest of the Salmon Scenic Byway (having started it at the Lost Trail pass en route to North Fork) to Stanley, Idaho. Two days of winds out of the northeast had blown the smoke out of the Salmon River valley, so the skies were clear. However, they weren’t in Stanley where I picked up the Sawtooth Scenic Byway. BOB took the Galena Pass like a champ, and we descend into Ketchum and Sun Valley where the rich people play.
I’m now at an RV park in Arco, Idaho, the first municipality to have electricity generated solely from nuclear energy. I'm afraid I'm going to glow after 72 hours here. There is absolutely nothing to see or do in Arco, so I have once again marooned myself. However, it is the closest town east of Craters of the Moon National Monument which was the last scenic vista on my drive. It's staggering how beautiful this country is and how the terrain along river valleys can change dramatically from narrow, rocky gorges to broad farmland and rolling hills. That, however, is nothing compared to finding yourself surrounded by fields of lava. The sage-covered hills in the distance were once volcanoes.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a geologist because I fell in love with the fault-shifted sedimentary rocks which streamed past my backseat window on our biannual drives to Philadelphia from Upstate New York. Although I was born in Key West, we left when I was two-and-a-half, and I wasn't reintroduced to the ocean until I was 10 or 11. Then I fell in love with the ocean which made me want to be an oceanographer. A couple of years later, I realized that I could be a geological oceanographer - Bingo! And, a couple of years after that, I realized that if I majored in chemistry in college I could study any physical science in graduate school, so I decided to hedge my bet. (I also majored in psychology because I had met a bunch of crazy people by the time I was 17.)
The lava in Craters of the Moon comes from a series of deep fissures known as The Great Rift Zone which crosses the Snake River Basin in a perpendicular direction. The eruptions from the fissures happened 2-15,000 years ago, which is yesterday on the geological time scale. Apparently, there are more to come. However, these eruptions would be nothing compared to the volcano that is Yellowstone National Park: if it blows, it will reset the geological clock back four billion years. Maybe Clinton vs. Trump won't happen in the great geological do-over.
When I rolled into Arco, I headed for a propane station to top off my tank. I use propane to heat water and cook, so it's pretty important unless I want to eat cold, dry food and take cold, cold showers. While I was paying for the propane, the woman who was handling the transaction complained about her allergies. "Have you tried Flonase? My friend Kate turned me on to it in May, and I haven't used more than a box of Kleenex since then. I used to use Claritin and a box of Kleenex each day." I offered. She said she'd try it. Her colleague added, "Flonase? That sounds like something you'd put on a sandwich!" I countered, "No, Flonase is what happens when the guy who's making your sandwich sneezes on it."
Kim has a label on his dash which indicates the height of his truck. He suggested I do the same for BOB. Since I have better than average numeric memory, this had not occurred to me. I have, however, offered the use of BOB to some friends when I am once again gainfully employed and BOB will be woefully neglected. Since I should not assume that they have my numeric memory, and I like to organize things, I bought a labeler. I have now labeled just about everything in BOB. I love my new labeler!
Checking in yesterday was a little slipshod. The park is also a restaurant and its specialty is ribs. The girl who checked me in was dining with her family when I arrived, so they and the endlessly ringing office phone distracted her from me. In between interruptions, she gave me a combination of verbal and hand-written instructions regarding the park. Most parks issue a brochure with everything on it (park map, Wi-Fi code, TV channels, rules and regulations, etc.), and the route to your site is highlighted by the person who does the check-in. Some places escort you to your site where they record your license plate and take blood and stool samples: those are the nicer places. The ribs smelled good, so I've pre-ordered a quarter rack for tonight. I don't eat ribs, so I don't know how large a quarter rack is or how much I should pay for them. And, I don't care.
Around noon today, I left BOB to walk to the office to pick up my package from Amazon. The occupants of the RV beside me were sitting outside and I greeted them by mentioning that they are a long way from home. It turns out that they are full-timers - have been for a year - and, like me, had never RV'd before when they decided to do it. They said the ribs are overpriced. They said they have been here for over a month. Put a bullet in my fucking head.
What are ribs, anyway?
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Siobhan M. Knox
In May 2016, I bought a five ton, 25’ long Class C motorhome because I like to drive, I like to travel, and it’s more fun and less expensive than living in a hotel. No prior RV experience was required, and I had none: perfect. I’m writing a book about my adventures which will come to an end when I get a job. The dogs will be sad.