Tuesday morning (6/6) we lifted our jacks a little early (8AM), hooked up the truck and were on the road by 8:30 on what we consider a long travel day of 238 miles.
Ok, we have made the comment (long travel day for us) many many times over the last almost 5 years and I’ve been thinking, we know a lot of people that travel many more miles per day than we do but as I was working our way through the twisties on some beautiful 2 lane roads I started thinking that a number of the people we hear talking about these massive mile consuming days do most of their traveling on freeways and don’t spend the time we do traveling the backroads. Not saying either is right or wrong but just saying.
We hoped on HWY 26 and drove through a number of small towns like John Day, Prairie City, Unity, Vale and a few others until after 138 miles of great country driving we hit I-84 at Ontario. (Now that I’ve talked about how little we drive freeways) Once we jumped on I-84 we drove south crossing into Idaho and after 96 miles rolled into our new home in Mountain Home Idaho.
Once we arrived at Mountain Home RV Resort Diane headed into the office while I unhooked the truck and before we knew it we were being lead to a nice long pull-through site where we planned to stay 2 nights.
This park is a very well maintained campground with some of the largest sites we have come across as far as privately owned parks go and we will certainly keep it in mind if we ever pass through here again.
After getting set up and having a little lunch we jumped in the truck for our usual driving tour to get a lay of the land and after driving around town we found ourselves headed to Anderson Ranch Dam and Reservoir.
Anderson Ranch Dam is an earth rock-fill type dam on the South Fork of the Boise River and at 456 feet high was the highest embankment dam in the world when it was completed in 1951. The reservoir covers 4,730-acres and has 50 miles of shoreline.
Fishing is a major drawing at Anderson Ranch Reservoir, kokanee, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, Chinook salmon, sockeye salmon, bream, bluegill and whitefish can all be caught. Bull trout are also present but must be released because they are protected.
We putzed around the dam for a while and drove along some of the river shoreline below the dam until we realized it was about 6pm and our bellies were starting or 27 mile drive back to town.
Once back in town we had dinner at Wingers before heading home for the evening.
Here is a link to a short video of the dam. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4y14JAGubr8
Thursday (6/8) after a leisurely start to our morning we drove to the Bruneau Canyon Overlook about 30 miles south of town.
This part of Idaho has a lot of flat land and the country you drive through to get to the overlook is no different. To get their take highway 51 south from Mountain Home about 26 miles until you cross the Snake River. After the river you will roll into the small town of Bruneau. As soon as you enter town, turn left on Hot Springs Road and keep going. After driving through some farmland you will climb just a little to a flat mesa that seems to be endless but just keep going.
After about 10 miles the road turns to gravel and roughly 6 miles further you will see a very small sign that says “Bruneau Canyon Overlook.” Turn right on that road and follow it for another 3 miles to the overlook.
** Warning, only a small section of the canyon rim is fenced and the fence is certainly low enough to climb over and a couple sections are just wood pools running horizontal so if you are traveling with kids or pets don’t let them just run off**
The gorge is 1300ft wide and 800-foot deep and the sides are as close to a pure vertical drop as you can get. At the bottom of the canyon flows the Bruneau River and it was really going from all of the snow melt.
Unfortunately for us it was a cloudy day but the sight was still pretty amazing but I bet on a sunny day it would be even more so.
OH, we should mention that once you hit the gravel section of the trip keep your eyes open for planes in the sky!!
There is an Airforce base nearby and we were lucky enough to see 2 A-10 Warthogs playing so we pulled over and spent about 10 minutes watching.
** Mountain Home Air Force Base, an Air Combat Command installation, is located 12 miles southwest of the city. Opened in 1943 during World War II, the base was originally a bomber training base and later an operational Strategic Air Command bomber and missile base (1953–65). It switched to Tactical Air Command and fighters in January 1966.**
After leaving Bruneau Canyon Diane wanted to head to Glenns Ferry to check out Three Island Crossing State Park so we headed back to Mountain Home and then jumped on I-84 and drove 30 miles east to Glenns Ferry.
Once we reached Glens Ferry we headed towards the state park but all of the sudden the truck acted very very funny and pulled hard to the left!!! I was worried until I saw that it wanted to turn into the Crossings Winery, but of course we were both ok with that LOL!!!
While doing a tasting the manager mentioned that they lost 90% of the grapes last winter due to the bad weather, wow. She also said that all of the plants were over 35 years old, that’s so sad.
We had a good time chatting it up with 2 other couples from California before buying 2 bottles of Sangria and heading on our way.
** Before we go any farther we want to mention 2 things.
#1, if you find yourself passing through this area and like golf and wine Crossings Winery has a small campground right across the street from them and there is a 9 hole golf course as well. So let’s see, a campground right across the street from a winery that has a nice restaurant AND a golf course,,, hmmmm,,,,, that sounds like a great couple of days to us.
#2, Diane always gets a headache when drinking red wine and always thought it was the sulfites but we were told by Angel (the manager at the winery) that it actually the histamines and red wine normally has more histamines than white. She then mentioned that by using a small amount of Benadryl Clear before drinking it reduces the chance of getting a headache (well unless you go overboard of course). We have not tested this yet but thought we would share anyway, hey what can it hurt. **
Ok onward!!!! From the winery we headed to the State Park which is actually right next door, we are talking walking distance right next door. (I guess with that in mind a person could stay at the State Park and still take advantage of the winery and golf course, we didn’t ask if there would be any advantage staying at the wineries campground price wise when playing golf, eating or buying wine.
The first thing we did when reaching the Stat Park was to check out the 2 loops of campsites. We liked the lower loop the best but with a rig our size we would need to be choosy but there certainly were a few sites that would hold us.
After checking out the campground we headed back to the entrance to pay a $5 entry fee so we could tour the Oregon Trail History and Education Center that is inside of the park (they let us in with no fee to tour the campground).
We spent about an hour going through all of the displays and sitting through a 10 minute movie before we finished and headed back to Mountain Home and our home. All in all a pretty good day.
Oh here is a link to some info about the state park in case you are interested. http://www.stateparks.com/three_island_crossing_state_park_in_idaho.html
We enjoyed our short 3 night stay in Mountain Home and looking back I would say we could stay busy there a few days longer. (For one I would like to spend more time driving around the Anderson Ranch Dam and Reservoir) but we are sort of on a schedule this year with us going to Michigan, it’s a somewhat loose schedule but a schedule none the less so we had to wrap it up and move on.
Friday morning we lifted our jacks, made our way to the fuel station and then traveled 238 miles to our next destination in Idaho Falls, Idaho where we are now and originally planned to spend 3 nights but because our next stop after Idaho Falls will be a campground with no hookups and there is a light dusting of snow in the forecast there I think we will extend our stay in Idaho Falls another 2 days. That will put us on the back end of that weather front and put us there during drier and warmer days.
When making our loose plans to make it to our first reservation in Wisconsin I build in a 10 day buffer just for things like this and I’m glad I did but because we stayed a couple extra days at Bob & Karen’s and now 2 extra days here we are whittling away at our cushion already.
Ok, that’s it for now.