Craters of the Moon: Journal Entry 13

After a good nights sleep, we ready ourselves for the trek through some of the most forbidding, and unusual country yet. The Craters of the Moon is an area of approximately 75 square miles of nothing but lava. The highway we are on will only skirt the very northern reaches of this dismal landscape. I can see how folks who just drive through here might find a certain beauty to this. As someone who has been experiencing just a small portion of what the pioneers must have been through, I find it forbidding. I can only imagine how hot it can be here. The lava has a reputation for absorbing and holding heat. I can’t imagine trying to cross it with livestock and a wagon, or on foot. This stuff is rough.

Picabo to Lava Lake Ranch: Journal Entry 12

This morning we get a late start. Wake up calls weren’t available where we stayed last night as there are no phones in the rooms. Bill and Lone talk for a few minutes and Loni loads a couple of bales of hay and some oats to help us on our journey. Blackie is sure receiving the royal treatment from all of his fans. We say our goodbyes and head out for Cary. Bill makes good time getting here. I guess Blackie is in that trotting mode again. He loves to trot when he gets bored. I’m not too sure Bill likes it very much though. Blackie can be a little rough when he trots. As I wait at the second pull off, Cheryl Bennet, the operations manager of Lava Lake Ranch stops to be sure we will stay with them tonight. She is on her way to the Farmers Market.  gallery

Hailey to Picabo: Journal Entry 11

This morning starts at 8:00 a.m. We need to wait this late so Larry Clark of the Hailey police department can get us through a short stretch of traffic to a place where the shoulder of the road widens out. After he gets us to that point he drives ahead of me to Bellevue so he can show me where to turn toward Picabo. Again, I am grateful for all the help and consideration we receive from law enforcement.

Hailey Idaho: Journal Entry 10

In the morning, Bill rides Blackie back to the point where we loaded him up the day before. He wants to make up for those miles and keep the ride on track. By going up and back from the summit he actually gains some “credit miles” to make up for the ones we missed because of the fire outside of Vale, Oregon.  Today’s ride is about 9 miles to our stopping point. We are met at the park by Larry Clark of the Hailey police, and one other officer. They escort us to the Sawtooth Rangers rodeo grounds. There sure is a lot of traffic in town. I hope we don’t upset anyone too much. This is easier with an escort rather than braving the scurrying multitude of traffic in town.

Over the mountains to Hailey: Journal Entry 9

Fairfield to HaileyWe have an audience when we are preparing to ride on this morning. Of course Bill loves to talk to all the folks who want to spend time with him. So it’s a little later when we leave town. After fueling up, and buying a few things at the local market, I head on down the road. I haven’t even gone one mile yet and come upon Bill talking to someone. This gentleman is the J.T. Stroder, Superintendent of the school district in Fairfield. He is a rather pleasant person and Bill is really enjoying the conversation.

The trek to Fairfield: Journal Entry 8

Fairfield to Summit Coy CreekToday’s ride is really short in comparison to others. The trip to Fairfield, where we will spend the night so we can meet with reporters from Twin Falls Times-News (link to their article about Bill), is uneventful. As I wait at one point by another historic marker, a deputy stops to see if I need any help. I explain our journey to him and he is really interested in following our progress. I also ask him about the shortcut we want to take to avoid all the traffic going into Hailey. He tells me that it is a passable road but could be pretty rough in spots. By rough, he means washboard rough. After a brief conversation, he wishes us luck and returns to his duties of trying to help keep us all safe. gallery

As I pull into the Prairie Inn where we will stay for the night, I realize that Bill is only about an hour behind me. This really is a short ride today. I check us in and look for a place to set up the pens for Blackie. The owner of the hotel tells me to put him at the west end of the building and we will have a room where we can look right out the window and see the horse and trailer. The couple who own and operate this establishment are accommodating and are mindful of our fading budget. This is yet another jewel in the wilderness. You wouldn’t really expect to find such nice, comfortable accommodations this far from a big town. We are really pleasantly surprised by the clean, affordable comfort available here. The Prairie Kitchen is just across the parking lot. If you want pizza you can take the short drive into the historic city center. This town is growing because of a ski resort being built at Soldier Mountain. I sure hope that with this growth the town can keep its charm.

Scouting Trip to Hailey Idaho: Journal Entry 7

This morning we get up early for the drive to Hailey, Idaho. We stop in Fairfield at the Prairie Kitchen for breakfast. What a treat, I don’t have to cook and we get something other than spam for breakfast. The food here is really good, and the service is good also. After breakfast we head on to Hailey. We are keeping track of the mileage and note that it will most likely take three days to make the trip. Our first plan of action is to find the Chamber of Commerce and see what their recommendations are for us. LOL, it takes us about and hour just to finally find the location of the Chamber of Commerce. It is in the community college building, and sure enough when we get there it is locked up tight. We chat with the lady at the community college, and she informs us that their hours are slightly irregular. We are informed that our best bet for obtaining community information is to go to the police department. We had planned on this visit also so off we go.

Castle Rock Road and on to Paul Miller’s: Journal Entry 6

CastlerockWe get up before the sun today, ready to travel on a dirt road for this part of our trip. Dirt roads are much easier going with very little traffic. From the back of a horse, the scenery is great. The rock formations here are truly beautiful. The white road winds up through the hills. It’s amazing what you can see if you slow down and get off the main road. There is an abundance of wildlife that most people don’t ever get to see as they speed along the blacktop. The landscape is beautiful and pristine. No garbage here to mar the natural beauty of our great land. gallery

I only hope that others who discover this place will respect it enough not to trash it up. I really don’t understand why folks who drive our roads and streets feel as if they can just throw their garbage out wherever they please. How hard is it to just keep it in your car and use a garbage can at a gas station or other stop along the way.

Mountain home to Camas - Journal Entry 5

Mountian Home to Little CamasThis morning we wake up at 4:30 a.m. Bill is ready to go. I am enjoying this great room. I take some time to work on the computer while the internet is available. The reception on this Sprint connection is not really what we had been told it would be. There are very few places where we travel that have connectivity. When it is available it is tortuously slow. It can take up to 1 hour to e mail a group of pictures to Jon, even though they have been compressed or zipped. Dallas comes to the room for a minute while I am trying to connect to the high speed available in the hotel. I just can’t seem to get it to work. Jon is much better than I am with computers. He is missed on this leg of the journey and I hope he can join us again soon.

Blackie was looking a little tired today at the second stop. The last few legs of the journey have been longer than planned. This stop came after almost 6 miles. Clarence Miller stopped there with me to wait on Bill. As he topped the hill we could see he had picked up an escort. Two Idaho State Troopers were with him with their lights on. I missed that shot because I was busy getting water and feed for the horse.

When they arrived we talked with them about our project. One of the guys got on Blackie for a photo. These are some really nice troopers and seem very concerned with the image of America that is being portrayed on the major news channels. They offer to escort Bill for a ways on this road full of high speed fools. Why can’t people see how dangerous speeding is and how harmful it is to our environment? They can’t find happiness in their back yards so they run around looking for it. gallery