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June 27, 2005


We left Yellowstone on June 8th and headed south into Idaho – and we found sun!! 

We also almost found a moose in our front seat. 

As we came over the brow of a hill she ran from the left ditch across the road right in front of us.  We can now tell you with complete assurance that the truck brakes are working and they stop the truck and trailer with no problem.  We missed her by about 10 feet.

An interesting visit to the museum in Rexburg Idaho explained about the breaking of the Teton Dam in 1976 in the mountains to the east of the town.  It was an earthen dam (like the one in Garrison ND) that sprang a leak and then collapsed releasing 81,000,000,000 (that’s billion) gallons of water.  There were only 11 deaths in the immediate neighbourhood of the dam as the downriver towns had warning of up to an hour.

DSC_0001From Rexburg we went west, on local roads, across the north part of  the Snake River Plain as we were headed for Arco right at the foot of the Lost River Range of mountains.  It’s the closest town to the Craters of the Moon National Park, an area where lava rivers once flooded the surrounding countryside, leaving huge lava fields.  The most recent lava flows were only about 2,000 years ago. 

 We drove a loop road in the park and hiked various trails, including climbing Inferno Cone for a fantastic 360 degree view.  In the picture you can see our truck down below (it’s the white spot).  We saw many misshapen trees, weird lava rock formations,

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piles of lava and lava tubes that we climbed down into.  With all the rain they have had this year even the lava fields are in bloom.


Behind the town of Arco is the “hill with the numbers”.  Each year since 1920, the high school graduating class has painted their class year on the rugged cliffs. 


Before we left the area we visited the Experimental Breeder Reactor #1 in the desert about 20 miles from the town.  In December 1951 it was the first atomic reactor to generate a usable amount of electricity and in July 1955, Arco became the first city in the world to be lighted by atomic energy. 

In this area you will find both the Big Lost River and the Little Lost River that originate in the mountains to the north.  They both flow to the lava beds and disappear into the ground.  Apparently they show up again at Thousand Springs in the Snake River Canyon  near Twin Falls, where the water comes out of the canyon walls. 

We decided to follow the rivers and headed south stopping in Jerome on the north side of the Snake River.  We figured that we would only stay one night but ended up spending 3 as we found the area so interesting.


Sometimes it pays to have no plan.  Sunday afternoon we took off into the country to the east of Jerome. Of course, when you don’t know where you are going you can’t be lost but when you are on a dead end road and go to turn around you sure look like you are.  That’s when a couple in a truck stopped and offered us assistance.  We explained what we were doing, they invited us to their ranch house to give us suggestions on what to see and they ended up spending the whole afternoon driving with us to show us the area. 

Tim and Jan – thanks for making an ordinary day special. We’ll be back to visit you again one day.


We found out that there are about 200,000 dairy cattle in the county.  The farms have as many as 10,000 head and milking is a 24 hour production line 7 days a week.  We actually went in to one farm and watched one set of cows being milked.  Jan purchases day old calves and raises them to market weight of about 800 lbs.  She had to be home about 6 PM to feed her “babies.

Tim continued with us to Niagara Springs, the most beautiful sight with DSC_0083_editedthe water bursting out of the SIDES of the Snake River canyon.  All along the bottom of the canyon there are fish hatcheries.  A portion of the water from the springs is funnelled through the hatcheries and on into the river.  About 80% of the rainbow trout sold in the US are raised in the river canyon hatcheries.  Another interesting fact we learned was that the north side of the canyon has springs that are at 58 degrees F all year and the south side of the river has thermal springs that are used to heat the houses that sit close to them. 

We also had the BIGGEST ice cream cones ever!!

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 Monday, June 13th we headed south to Nevada – still in sunshine.

Posted by Bernice at June 27, 2005 10:55 PM