Duke and I are on great circle road trip. We haven't had Internet access the last few places we have stayed. But now I am sitting in our B&B in Hardin, Montana waiting for breakfast so I can do an update. The Internet here is very slow so I'll have to finish this and add more pictures later. Update: Now I am in Bismarck, North Dakota. I've added my pictures to Flickr here.
Day 2 – Monday Aug 25 - Boise, Idaho to Rigby, Idaho – today 391 miles – total 804 miles
From Boise we headed northeast around the Sawtooth Mountains and through the ski resort town of Sun Valley. The country is gorgeous with lots of mountain homes and ranches. We followed the Salmon River for a long ways and saw fly fisherman along the river and Orvis fishing outfitters in every town. As we left Sun Valley the terrain changed very quickly to high desert much like what we have around Reno.
Our next stop was Craters of The Moon National Monument. A whole line of old volcanoes created the terrain from Yellowstone, through southern Idaho to northeastern Nevada. The most recent volcanic activity in southeastern Idaho left vast expanses of black jagged black rocks and cinder cones. It is beautiful landscape but very forbidding. We climbed a cinder cone and explored a lava
The Oregon Trail passed right along the edges of the mountains where the lava beds ended. It was easy to see where sometimes it was very tight for the wagons to squeeze between the impassable lava formations and the steep mountains.
East of Craters of the Moon we stopped at EBR-1. As we approached it we had a guessing contest going to see what EBR stands for. It turns out that the Idaho National Labs in this location have built more nuclear reactors than an anywhere else in the world. EBR stands for Experimental Breeder Reactor. By the time we got there it was after 5 so unfortunately it was closed but it turns out EBR-1 was the world first nuclear power plant.
Monday night we stayed at the Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast in Rigby Idaho. The house was right on the Snake River. It was one of the nicest B&Bs I have ever stayed in. What a setting!
Day 3 – Tuesday Aug 26 – Rigby, Idaho to Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Today 145 miles – total 949 miles
Going north out of Rigby towards Yellowstone we decided to take a scenic byway that detours off to the east of highway 20. We passed fields of golden wheat, lush green potato fields and then forests and rushing rivers. We stopped at Mesa Falls. I am amazed that I have never heard of them before. Both Upper and Lower Mesa Falls were stunning. A giant river full of water just dropping of the
edge of a cliff. The view point is right by the drop off.
In Yellowstone we stayed at the Old Faithful Inn. What a stunning building. We took a tour. The hotel is over 100 years old. The lobby is 7 stories high and all made out lodge pole pine with a giant working fireplace in the center. The weather has really cooled off so we sat by the fire for a while and people watched.
Before dinner we went for a walk on the trail through the geysers. Wow! Every one if different. Giant Geyser only erupts twice a day but we happened to be there when it erupted. You get much closer to it than you do to Old Faithful. It erupts for about 5 minutes and shots well over 100 feet into the air. It is very close to two other geysers that go off at the same time. the whole show seemed like
a fantastic water fireworks show. When it finished the crowd applauded!
As we were coming into the park we saw several moose right along the river. We've seen one deer and one coyote. By far the most prevalent animal so has been the buffalo. I bet we have seen at least 1000 lt different times. They walk down the middle of the road and stop traffic. There seem to be herds of them in every open meadow. Every rock that moves as I look for bears turns out to be a loan bull.
Day 4 – Wednesday August 27 – Old Faithful to Canyon, Yellowstone National Park. – Today 71 miles – total 1020 miles
We moved from the Old Faithful Inn to a cabin at the Canyon village in Yellowstone. I never realized that the grand canyon of the Yellowstone was so stupendous or that it contained two amazing waterfalls. We did several hikes to the overlooks.