Ok, so here’s the deal. You know how you have these great childhood memories of the vacations you took as a kid? The nostalgia of what was seems to overwhelm the senses and makes us think how perfect things were “back then”. You can’t wait to explore the area that produced those amazing memories. Then you go to those places and find you are shocked how things have changed.
That happened to both me and Mark on our recent trips to Idaho and Lake Tahoe, respectively. What once held such amazing memories has become distorted with what is now termed “progress”. Overcrowded with people who now run around in a frenetic pace; tons of new buildings where once there was farmland or forests. It truly boggles the mind.
While we enjoyed the chance to relive the memories, it also served to remind us that you can’t go back. On the other hand, by going to these places together it gave us the opportunity to create some fabulous memories as a couple, and for that we are truly thankful. We know while the memories from childhood may be blurred and distorted, the memories we are creating today will last the rest of our lives.
After a couple of days catching up on chores and rest at home, we ventured out to visit Idaho City. From our location it was a 75 mile drive (one way). Idaho City is located on Hwy 21 which runs through the Boise National Forest. Highway 21 is considered the “Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway”.
Idaho City was founded in December 1862 as “Bannock” (sometimes given as “West Bannock”), amidst the Boise Basingold rush during the Civil War, the largest since the California gold rush a dozen years earlier. Near the confluence of Elk and Mores Creeks, its plentiful water supply allowed it to outgrow the other nearby camps in the basin. (Source: Wikipedia)
At one time, Idaho City held 20,000 residents and it was said that you were more likely to die by murder than any other cause. Out of the first 200 burials in the new founded cemetery, only 28 people died of natural causes! It must have been a very rough and tumble place to live at its peak.
On the drive up Hwy 21 you will come to Lucky Peak Reservoir. This beautiful lake and state park offers swimming, boating and fishing. Located only 10 miles from Boise, ID it’s a great place to spend the day.
However, our destination was further up the road so we continued on. We climbed the rolling hills and before we knew it there were big Ponderosa Pines looming over us, as well as a beautiful creek running along the highway. We pulled over so I could get a few pictures.
About 30 minutes later we arrived in Idaho City and we were starving! So our first order of business was to get lunch. We stopped at Trudy’s Kitchen and had one of the best burgers we’ve had in a long time! It’s a quaint little place and had tons of antiques from the local area. Definitely a recommended stop!
After lunch we decided some walking would do us good so we parked the truck and headed into the “living ghost town”. It’s called such because as there are still 485 residents in the town living side by side by the old buildings (and some still being used). 20,000 residents at it’s peak and now only 485. It’s lowest population at one time was 120 people. Idaho City’s main source of income is hunting & fishing tourism.
Some of the buildings and sites we saw on our walk:
After walking around for awhile we decided to try to find the place that I used to camp as a kid. Located on Grimes Creek (just a little ways from Idaho City) in the Boise National Forest. The last time I was there I think I was 13 or 14 so over 30 years ago (eek, telling my age!). We had no idea if we would find it but we took the chance. It’s about 15 miles off Hwy 21 on Grimes Creek Road. The road starts off paved but after about 8 miles it turns to gravel.
As we headed along the road we saw lots of campsites. Mark kept asking me if “this was it”. I said “no, we went over a bridge and it was on the left. So we kept driving. At one point we thought we saw it but the bridge was blocked off and said “private property”. We drove a little further before realizing that the blocked off bridge must have been it. So we turned around and drove back. Before we made it back we stopped at a campsite right on the creek and got out. I just HAD to dip my toes in the water! 🙂
The water was very cold but SO refreshing!
After drying off we headed down the road and there it was! The bridge marked “private property” with a gate across. We got out and I looked around the gate and sure enough, it was the campsite we had used when I was growing up. Located right on the creek. So many wonderful memories! In a way I’m glad it’s privately owned and won’t be destroyed now. I hope they keep it just the way it is!
We headed home after that which was an hour and a half drive. We did manage to get more pictures and I will put them in a gallery in the bottom of this post. Feel free to browse! It was so much fun there and very entertaining. And I’m glad I got to relive some old memories.
We leave here on Sunday, July 19th and head to Oregon. Our plans are to spend the next 6 weeks or so there. At this time we are headed to the Crater Lake area. We will post from there next!
Oh and before I forget – check out this awesome shirt I found at TARGET (it was in the men’s section)!! I got the last one here locally so not sure they are anywhere else but I just HAD to have it!
And we are HERE! We made it to Idaho! Yeah, we know it’s been over a week since we’ve been here but we’ve been busy! 🙂
We left South Carolina as originally planned on June 29, 2015 and arrived on July 5, 2015! When we set off we had agreed to going about 300-350 miles a day, depending on traffic, road conditions, etc. We managed to do about 360 miles per day (on average) and made it here in 7 days. We stayed fairly close to the interstate every night to make it simple to get back on the road each day. We stayed at a couple of decent RV parks but for the most part they were pretty crappy. If it hadn’t been so hot we would have done the Walmart boondocking thing. But seeing how it was 85+ each day I just couldn’t do it (I can’t deal with the heat when I sleep).
We were very pleased with how our truck pulled our new trailer. We averaged about 10 MPG on the trip out here so all in all, that worked for us. We had no troubles at all and it was really a great trip! The gas did get more expensive the further west we went but other things got cheaper, so it averaged out, IMO.
I put together a list of the parks we stayed at and the price we paid, along with a little review of each. Granted, these were not destination areas but just a place to lay our heads each night. Photos of our travels out here are at the end of the post in a gallery! We didn’t take a lot as we were in a mad dash to get here but there are some fun ones.
The parks we stayed at along the way and the price we paid each night:
Easy access to the interstate. Very small park up a very steep gravel road. They have a pond in the park that made the bugs really bad but as it was only an overnight we could live with it. Would not stay long term. Also, the sites were not level with all of them going downhill.
Easy access to the interstate. The bugs were HORRENDOUS! Sites were very very close together. But what made me mad is we were told one rate and I had to give a credit card over the phone to hold the spot (due to the holiday weekend traffic) and we were charged a lot more ($27 versus $35). Would never recommend this park as I hate shady dealing. Also, the water pressure was almost nil.
Again, easy access to the interstate. This place was nothing more than a gravel parking lot with hookups. Spaces were so tight that the first spot they put us in we didn’t fit and our trailer is only 30′ with hitch. But again, as we were only staying one night it worked.
6th and final stop:
Snowville, UT (358 mile drive)
RV Park: Lottie-Dell Campground (no website) (435) 872-8273
Price paid: $26
Not far from I-84 right before the Idaho border. This rustic campground reminds me of what it used to be like before “glamping” came along. All grass spaces, very nice, wide and long with full hookups. This place is done on the honor system if you come in late and the owner is very pleasant. There is a driving range with golf clubs and balls located in the check in office! Sweeping views of the mountain ranges and far enough from the interstate that it was a very pleasant evening to stay here. By far my favorite spot of the cross country trip! Not sure I would stay here long term but it was very relaxing after 6 days on the road.
On our last day we drove 268 miles to our final destination in Caldwell, Idaho. We are currently at Country Corners RV Park and will be here another week before heading off to Oregon (I will do a review of the park when we leave). We’ve had a lot of fun visiting my mom and checking out all the wineries that have sprung up here in the last 30 years. It’s amazing how much this place has changed! But the wind is already calling to us and we are keen to be off. 🙂
Enjoy some of the photos from our travels that week!