Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Victor, Idaho to Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Tuesday, June 10

Today ended our second week on the road. Doesn't seem that long and in another way it seems forever. We fought the wind and weather all day today in addition to walking a LOT at 7,000+ feet so we are a bit tired tonight. As a treat, we baked potatoes and grilled a steak in the TC convection oven, the first time we'd tried that. Worked great until the smoke alarm went off.

We left Victor,Idaho in thick snow and travel led up through the Targhee National Forest Reserve into what can only be described as wilderness. The Reserve is split by a level, fertile valley called Swan Valley, filled with herds of horses and cattle. Many outfitters take pack trains out of the valley and up into the wilderness for both scenic rides and for hunting. There were also row after row of snowmobiles for rent. Asked the young clerk at a diesel stop how much snow they got last winter and he said over 18'.

From Alpine, WY south, Tiny town after town are spread out down Route 89 with nothing in between but prairie and distant snow covered mountains. This is what Route 89 looks like.

It is a stark land with almost no cattle, wildlife or houses. Took us a long time to figure out that the big storage tanks inside of chair link fences were not part of an oil pipe line but were natural gas. Looks empty but wealthy underneath.

Across the main street of Afton, WY is an elk antler arch with two fighting elk on top. Raining too hard to get out and examine it a bit closer but sure catches your eye!

We switched over to Route 30 and headed for Fossil Butte National Monument just past Sage, WY. Both of us have a high interest in geology and paleontology. The education center is in a beautiful wooden building nestled into the side of a hill and heated/run with solar. Why nestled? because of the almost constant fierce wind. This area was once an inland sea/lake and the fish and other life was preserved in very thin layers that will break apart in thin sheets. Really amazing to seethe actual preparation of a fish for exhibit. We drove a long, dirt road up to the top of one of the buttes to picnic and then walked up the rest of the road to see the view. We chickened out on taking the TC up a 17% grade but walked part of it. Ouch!

Tonight we are camped at the end of Anvil Draw Road in Flaming Gorge Reservoir. There is no sight of any human habitation or structure, only a long dirt road, fiercely howling wind and three pronghorns who just walked by. I've never in my life been in such a remote place. The TC is working perfectly, generator to run the oven to cook a steak for supper as it is too windy to even think about cooking outside. Finally broke down and got an air card and it worked here so can upload tonight. Pitch black dark outside, raining and windy. You got to love a TC. This is what it looked like when we set up with legs firmly down to keep from rocking in the wind.

Tomorrow we head to the southern end of Flaming Gorge Reservoir to see the story of how it was created and to see the dam. Then back roads to Arches National Park and Canyonland to start our Great Circle route of the National Parks in UT, AZ and CO.


Ted White said...

Anvil Draw Road - Now that's my kind of campsite. Too bad you didn't have a wind turbine eh? Wasn't that road through Pine Creek Pass into Swan Valley just one of the prettiest drives you've ever done. I bet I've crossed that passed 15 times and it awes me with it's beauty every time. What a dream trip.

Anney B said...

I just happened across your blog today. I grew up just outside of Victor, ID and now live in Green River, WY... just a hop and a skip from Anvil Draw. Your descriptions of the Valleys and the routes I travel when I go home were spot on. So glad you enjoyed your trip and that you put a (home sick) smile on my face.
Ya'll come back and see us again soon. :)