After a long drive day from Cedar City, Utah, we made our way up Highway 50, which was first used by the Pony Express and is now labeled The Loneliest Highway in America.
We ended up settling in for the night at the Border Inn RV park, which is only a few miles from the next national park on our radar, Great Basin. The RV park actually sits in both Nevada and Utah. Dan asked if that benefited them some how and they laughed while responding with something to the effect that Utah laws are a pain in their behind.
Our friends @upintheairstream also put in some serious miles today in order to caravan with us into Great Basin, Idaho, Montana and Canada. They are on the fence about joining us all the way north to Alaska so it’ll be interesting to see which side of the fence they fall in the next few weeks together.
The kids really like caravanning with their buddies Ryan and Jack. They are growing up as traveling neighborhood kids, constantly asking to go outside to play together.
In the morning, we went up to the small town of Baker, Nevada in order to check out Great Basin National Park Visitor Center and drop the trailers there before heading into the park itself. On the way there, not only did they have a regular stop sign but also this HUGE one. Just in case, I guess.
Our first stop at the park was a visit to Lehman Caves. Discovered by Lehman in 1885, the caves use to be a place to tour by candlelight, where one was encouraged to break off stalagmites and stalactites that took millions of years to form. Eventually it turned to quite a destination to throw a party. There were bands, drinking and plenty of dancing. The caves were eventually protected in 1922 as a national monument and then in 1986, the cave was combined into the national park.
After the cave tour, which charged a small fee per person, we headed up to check out Wheeler Peak.
We were only able to drive part of the way up since the road was not yet open all the way.
The kids were hoping to see some snow again but the it was a no go at the highest driving viewpoint this time of year.
But that didn’t stop the kids from having fun.
Luka begged to try on his new rain boots. And try on his rain boots he did!
He wasn’t the only one either.
“You better watch out, Ava!”
“This is your last warning!”
After we hitched up the Airstreams at the visitor center and cleaned up the kids, we hit the road again with our sights on Bonneville Salt Flats. But due to an abundance of rain, we had to skip the sat flats and decided to head a Elks Lodge, just north of Twin Falls, Idaho. On our way into Idaho, our quiet two lane highway came to a sudden halt. There was a medivac helicopter in the middle of road. Someone *had* to get out of the van to watch it take it off.
There are a few options for us to camp at in Twin Falls but we decided to come north of town to check out the Snake River Elks Lodge.
We got there just in time for the kids to get some tag out of their systems.
And a few games of hide and go seek too.
In the morning, our caravan split up for a day. The @upintheairstream crew headed to Craters of the Moon National Monument, which we visited last summer with the Works family, and we headed to City of Rocks National Reserve. Once again, our first stop at was to the Visitor Center where we were allowed to drop the Airstream prior to entering the park.
As soon as we get into the visitor center, the ranger in charge of the park’s social media asks if he could Instagram the kids and posts a photo right away.
The kids know that today is a special day. If they complete the Junior Ranger program, they will officially have 100 badges under their belts. Well, not Luka but he still has his eye on a special gift for the occasion, as the girls do too.
WOOHOO! Badge number 100 for the girls!! Good work, ladies!! And Luka too!!
As a special gift for their hard work, Luka picked out a red fox, Ava picked out a coyote and Mila picked out a red-tailed hawk.
City of Rocks National Reserve is not on the way to anywhere nor easy to get to but totally worth the effort. It feels like a cross between Joshua Tree and the Eastern Sierras. How can you lose with that combination!?
The City of Rocks was the halfway point for many emigrants as they traveled west on the California Trail. It provided them plenty of fresh water and grass and they used the large boulders to record their names with their wagon’s axe grease.
Some of the emigrant signatures on Camp Rock are over 160 years old. At one point there were over 1,000 signatures here but some have been vandalized and all have faded. It won’t be long before they are gone.
Unexpectedly awesome parks are the best.
Part of the trail we took was closed off due to Northern Goshawk nests. We did catch a glimpse of one flying overhead which was exciting as the goshawk is not an easy bird to check off of your bird life list. (Yes, I’m a bird nerd and proud of it!)
Behind the scenes look at my little photo shoot.
The entire park has dirt roads, some of them washed out. It felt as if we were in one of the original national parks when the system began. I can not describe the feeling of this park. It was unexpected and it will always be one of our favorites.
Time to hitch up our wagon and head north. Montana, here we come!
And yes, this is Marlene blogging. I am as surprised as you are! Haha.
Thanks for reading,