IDAHO

March 10-11, 2016

Thursday, March 10
I met Al Gaither in 1970.
The Idaho line to Mackay

    Welcome to Idaho at 11:30. Sky clouded over now, blue sky to the east, cloudy to the west. The Nez Perce Trail, snow piled up not quite as high as the car, mountains up ahead shrouded in cloud, the Salmon River Scenic Highway. Pretty breezy out there. Going downhill, 5% grade.
    Lewis & Clark, US 93: "On their way north searching for a route over Idaho's mountain barrier Lewis & Clark left this canyon and ascended to a high ridge to reach Bitterroot Valley Sept 3-4 1805. They met some Flathead Indians who surprised them by speaking a language stranger than anything they had ever heard." "Idaho Is Too Pretty to Litter." In a valley, pines on either side, some trees with orangish buds, the Salmon River to my right, pretty cloudy up there. "Deep Creek, where Lewis & Clark camped on September 2 1805."
    "Caution Elk on Road." Entering North Fork at 12:04, the North Fork Salmon River to my right, a big wider than the Muddy River at Village Road. Game Crossing sign made me think of a cartoon with a Monopoly set crossing the road, another magpie. Nice sharp-pointed snow-covered peak to the east, less sharp peaks also covered with snow, more or less hills to the west, snow on their slopes, lots and lots of black Angus, hundreds of them, some brown, in a flat valley between those two ranges of hills and mountains, snow-covered mountains up ahead, overcast sky, more cattle, a couple of calves, more cattle to my left, getting a little bit of rain, ranch gates, two poles up, one across, no name.
    Entering Carmen at 12:29, Lifelike Taxidermy. Salmon at 12:13, Pearson's Family Clothing (a faded sign on a brick building that is still Pearson's), Amy's Cowgirls, Lantern Bar, cream of broccoli soup and iced tea at Wally's Bistro, Whiskey Willy's, Salmon River Inn Lodge Dancing & Entertainment, Sacajewa Center, The Owl Saloon Salmon's Fun Spot.
    Back on the road at 1:54. Totally gray sky, no indication of cloud at all except that it's gray. Heading back into mountains, a lot of snow on their slopes. Rocky slopes with snow off to my left, Salmon River off to my right, beyond it mountains with snow on their slopes, patches of snow alongside the road and on the river, strange patterns of snow and brown grass on the hillside, where the snow has collected in small gulleys and folds, melted on flat slopes, river down below me, 45th parallel, halfway to the Equator. Entering Elk Bend at 1:33. Red rock cliffs and cattle along the Salmon River, a tower rock, a couple of girder bridges over the Salmon. It wouldn't take much to go off the road here. More massive cliffs coming up. A palisade rock cliff alongside the road out here in the middle of nowhere. Small log cabins, more orangey buds, a wonderful mountain towering over the road in the east, snow-covered mountains and peaks, rock cliff alongside the road, if manmade it's now weathered to the point it looks natural, a lot of stuff getting ready for spring, buds and leaves forming, meanwhile there‚Äôs snow in the mountains up ahead. Stark dropoff cliffs to the east, just past the river, peaks ahead of me, snow streaking down the slopes. Abandoned log cabin sheds out in the middle of nowhere. Royal Gorge, rock cliffs on either side with only the road and the creek in between, curving along to follow the path of the creek, big rock slides and scree. The Pahsimeroi River. Totally flat as far as I can see to the east some distance between two rows of mountains. The river way below me, vaguely dome-shaped outcropping, another rock finger, rolling hills and mountains to the west, some clumpiness in the overcast, mountains to the east with snow spotted down their slopes, red rock with dark green growths on the face, maybe lichen. No houses for quite a while, some aspen.
    Challis at 2:21, River of No Return Brewing Company, mountaintop ahead shrouded in cloud. A brief rain shower south of Challis. A lot more black Angus, a magpie, rolling country, basically pastureland, snow on the hillsides on either side, more mountainous in the east, wire fence on both sides of the road, heading into another canyon. Peaks to Craters Scenic Highway, big stone cliffs on either side of the road for some distance, rock towers, some red to the rock, into flat land with mountains on either side and grazing cattle.
    Wow. A range of snow-capped mountains marching off to the east from behind then up ahead, all slopes dotted with snow, some with slopes fully covered with snow, one peak after another. Rounded mountains to the west. Solid snow slope to the west, quite a bit of snow to the slopes in the east, overcast, Rolling Creek Summit 7160 feet, down into a bowl of darkness, snow-covered mountain past that, a dark gray cloud overshadowing everything. Road now goes straight under that dark cloud into a bowl of desert, small dark green growths, the cloud lying on top of the mountaintops to the east. Mount Borah to the east, the end of that straight stretch finally, road curving again, a lake off to my right, mountains marching down its shore, Mackay Reservoir. Black Daisy Canyon.
    Welcome to Mackay at 3:12. Into the Wagon Wheel Inn at 3:15, temp 45, odometer 124363. Nice room, large, well lit, two beds, lots of storage space, refrigerator, not much shelf space in the bathroom. Chefs salad and iced tea at Amy Lou's. I finished about half of the chef's salad. The stars would be bright here if it weren't overcast.

Friday, March 11
I first auditioned for the American Light Opera Company in 1963.
Mackay to the Nevada line
    On the road at 9:10, odometer 124364, 36 degrees. Rain had fallen overnight and there's a light rain right now. Snow-covered mountains to my right, probably some of it cloud in front of them, definitely tops are cloud covered, raining pretty good, not good weather for photography. Pretty much flat, can't see anything off to my left except for land, a big pile of hay bales, naked trees to my left, pines to my right, irrigation rigs waiting for spring, plowed land to my left, more naked land past that, a stand of naked trees with dark red buds, mountains still off to my right, lots and lots of rolled hay. Those mountains to my right are pretty impressive, not that far away, small wispy clouds in front of them, maybe mountains to my left hidden in the cloud, seems to be slopes over there but everything else obscured by cloud, up ahead to my left are some wraiths of mountains, ghosts in the distance. The Big Lost River. Lots more irrigation rigs standing silent. More stacks of rectangular hay bales, a big slope to my right totally covered with snow. I can see the clouds to my left (east) now, some snow, clouds in front of them and on top of them, not much ahead, still raining, still 36 degrees, road straight as an arrow. Antelope Creek, mountains to the east still gray and obscured by mist in between, they seem to march off in front of me, ghosts. Much more substantial in the west, turning into hills with patches of snow.
    Welcome to Moore at 9:33, temp all the way up to 37, King Mountain Watch Site, out of Moore at 9:34. The mountains to the east much closer, clouds still hanging in front of them, completely flat to the west as far as I can see, a railroad track to my right. Mountains to my east very close and sloping down to the desert, coming to an end. Occasionally houses, a prefab, a bunch of buildings, prefab, RV halfway to the eastern mountains, a barn or shed with a prefab house, flatland and dark yellow grass, rain has lessened.
    Into Arco, the first city in the world to be lit by atomic power (1955), at 9:48. $10 worth of $1.999 85 octane gas at a Mobil station in Arco. Rain seems to have stopped. Galloping Goose Ent., a rather down in the luck building across the road,

    Now on US20/US93/US26, having turned westward, flat territory on either side, farmland, grazing land, desert, whatever. A few stands of pines but generally empty. Watch for Stock. The road is heading straight for mountains to the west, to the north there's irrigation rigs standing silently over snow-covered fields, to the south it is more or less desert with patchy snow, the mountains up ahead are snow-covered slopes, not completely snow-covered but quite a lot. The road is slowly turning southwards, just enough moisture I have to turn on the windshield wipers for one swipe across the windshield. A big slope chock full of snow on a rounded mountain.
    Craters of the Moon National Monument Visitors Center at 10:17, temp 39. The road is closed so I'm not going to see the Craters of the Moon. The rain has stopped and the sun is trying to shine through the clouds. Mountains to the west, some with tops shrouded by cloud, desert to the east, a line of tiny cumulus clouds on the horizon up ahead, one after another like a train had been going past. Snow-covered slopes, snow-covered desert, snow everywhere. This is really empty country; I haven't seen a house for quite some time, except that visitor's center. More mountains up ahead, a good amount of snow on them, though I wouldn't exactly call them snow-covered. A lot of snow to my left, not much to my right, rolling desert, rolling prairie, the clouds have lifted somewhat, no longer on the tops of mountains, still overcast though, the sun shining through the clouds.
    A farm off to my right, houses to the left, more piles of baled hay, a John Deer tractor, more and more houses, a row of pines separating me from a field, wire fences on either side of the road, a house with several sheds, out of the desert into populous territory, the town of Carey Idaho at 10:54 (that's about an hour after I left Arco) pop 604, The Watering Hole (a log cabin), Express Cafe and Shakes, a tiny post office, a church with a wreath on it, Serenity Salon and Spa. US20 heads west, US93 and US26 south, the Carey Elevator and Feed store and lumber yard.
    Back into farm land, mountains no longer visible anywhere, black Angus, plowed land on either side, the choo-choo clouds on the horizon now dead ahead. A pond full of white swans. Still a lot of lava rock out here in the middle of nowhere, a flat plain with an occasional leafless naked tree against the sky, Pagari Bridge, Bear Track Williams (an access named after a close friend of Ernest Hemingway, according to Google).
    Entering Richfield pop 482 at 11:18 and out at 11:19. 4 or 5 houses out in small field, one brown and white, another one maybe a mule of a donkey, a raven flapping across the road, slightly rolling territory, farm country, houses fairly frequent, some distance from each other but in sight of each other, 6 or 7 visible for about half a mile (that's my guess anyway and I'm sticking to it), cemetery to my right, irrigation rigs to my left.
    Shoshone pop 11461 at 11:53, temp 57. Old style western houses, US26 goes right and US93 goes straight south past the Lincoln County Courthouse and the Shoshone Snack Bar. Out of Shoshone at 12:16, past El Rancho Costa Plente. $15 of $1.699 85 octane at a Flying J outside Twin Falls Idaho at 12:06, leaving at 12:25. I had to stop at a gas station to find out if I was still on US93. After making a right hand turn, there were no identifying signs until after I was out of town.
    3 or 4 more piles of baled hay, 10 long, 4-5 high, 4-5 wide. Balanced Rock 20 miles to the west. 4 horses out in a field, a bunch of cattle, including calves, flat, overcast sky, farming country of one kind or another, a field of stubble, green fields, pastureland, a yellowish field on the other side of the road. Low snow-covered mountains stretching out to my right as far as I can see. Coming down into Nevada down below is a plain with a number of houses and farm buildings.