Our summer trip to Oregon has been great! We left Craig, Colorado traveling to Manila, Utah and the Flaming Gorge. Manila is a junction in the road on the Utah-Wyoming border close to Washam, Wyoming with a KOA, True Value/grocery store, gas station, and this really nice restaurant that makes wonderful chocolate malts. From the KOA we could see Kings Peak (13500 feet) the tallest mountain in Utah and down the road was Flaming Gorge lake. Pretty and well run campground by very nice folks, we would stay there again. The Uinta Mountain range certainly determined our weather. Using Manila as our base we travelled to the Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River, to various spots on the lake (we had a nice lunch at the Lucerne Valley Marina), and traveled the 50 miles up to Green River, Wyoming for groceries. Manila is a very remote beautiful part of America. Coming up here on Utah 44 took us through the middle of one of the world’s largest phosphate mines which is an interesting drive and it seems that once you get beyond the tourism business, mining is the main driver of the economy.
The Sheep Creek Canyon Geological drive is worth the side trip. Amazing rock features and quite a climb up through the mountains. We met a couple who were dropped off close to the highest point on the road so they could ride their bikes down to the bottom. I was jealous of their plan to just ride down, save a lot of that hard peddling and sweat! We were here just at the start of the tourist season so it is hard to know how busy it gets, but my impression is that it is pretty hard to make a living here. This album is a collection of the pictures taken in this area https://www.flickr.com/photos/sjharshman/albums/72157692382844360.
From Manila, we traveled up Wyoming 530 to Green River then east on I84 to Rock Springs where we picked up US 191 for the drive into Jackson. This was one of those wonderful road trips with gorgeous scenery and an interesting view into the ranching, mining and oil business in this part of the country. As we closed in on Pinedale, the Wyoming Mountain Range came into view giving way to the Wind River Range as we traversed Bondurant and our wonderful friends, Tom and Ginger Rooks place. 191 picks up the Hoback River in Bondurant and follows it closely as it cuts through the peaks on its journey to the Snake at Hoback. I have been here twice and the drive into Jackson through the mountain passes is always a treat, not always easy, but always rewarding. And to top it all off, The Valar Horse Facility with our host Pia Valar! Peg and I always feel at home here. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, took a couple of bike rides, one from Wilson to Teton Village and one from the Teton National Park entrance to Jenny Lake. There are paved trails all over the place in the Jackson area so bring your bike and prepare to have fun. We were fortunate enough to spend an afternoon with Tom and Ginger plus a bonus lunch in downtown Bondurant. Took in water aerobics a couple of times and put Scout in daycare once. He played for a solid ten hours or more and was exhausted. It took him two days of rest, stretching and walking gingerly to recover. Always nice to relax and enjoy friends. Enjoy the pictures. https://www.flickr.com/photos/sjharshman/albums/72157668265172127
Arco, Idaho was a two day stay to see Craters of the Moon National Monument. Arco is famous for being the first nuclear powered city. In the 1950’s a breeder reactor was built east of Arco which made history in 1961 by being destroyed by an operator maintenance error. Three people died in the accident which were the only people ever to die in the United States from a nuclear power plant failure. Peg and I were much more focused on Craters of the Moon and the Big Lost River. The Monument is very interesting and easy to navigate. Nice new roads and paved trails. The lava flow occurred in the 1500’s or so and is well preserved in the high desert climate. We continued on from Craters to travel the scenic byway through Sun Valley Ski Area up to the summit above Stanley. Beautiful and interesting drive (very long). The trip took us through the gold mining areas along the Salmon River, now mostly river rafting and fishing. It made for an interesting day and you may note in the pictures that Scout is getting pretty good at posing! https://www.flickr.com/photos/sjharshman/albums/72157695012054772
Arco to La Grande, Oregon was a long day on rough roads. US 20 is very bumpy and I was thinking I84 would be better but not by much. Now we are in Oregon for the summer! La Grande Hot Spring RV Resort is a great place with a real hot spring spa! We have been doing things and taking some of the sites around here and I will update with pictures on a later post.
Some thoughts on our journey so far. As always, the people we meet are very nice and become friends easily. On this trip I think this is particularly so due to the fact that our travels are have been through working America. The people we run into are ranchers, farmers, miners and small business folks. All working very hard to be successful. It is great to talk with them and share our adventures. Another observation is that we have seen so much hay! Good Lord, the hay that is grown out here is unbelievable. Hay has been our constant companion. Big fields of hay, almost all heavily irrigated, big stacks of bailed hay, big trucks of hay, big rows of mowed hay drying out waiting to be bailed. And the rivers, the Colorado, Salmon, Snake, Hoback, and Big Lost River all cutting through mountains and full of spring runoff. It has been an introduction to part of America that I had not seen before and I am very impressed.
Thanks for reading and look for posts of Oregon coming up!