Friday, September 8, 2023

Through Caldwell, Idaho and into Wells, NV - we've moving on!

 We were in Caldwell, Idaho for 3 nights, which gave us 2 days to do a little exploring and wine tasting.    Didn't we taste enough at our last spot?   Maybe. 

We've stayed at the Country Corner's RV Park before, usually just for an overnight.  It's a nice, small, green park with friendly owners and good services.    We've never seen grass as beautiful, green and totally weed free as their lawns.   The park maintains a rather large vegetable garden for it's guests enjoyment and I took some delicious sweet corn and tomatoes back to Beluga when we checked in.   A very welcome perk!

tunnel of cucumbers!

I had recently heard that little Caldwell supported a number of wineries, so we set off for lunch and a tasting at St. Chapelle Winery.    It is a beautiful place, the tasting room itself is beautiful as are its expansive views.

After waiting inside, we were finally told to sit wherever we wanted and "they'd find us".      We took a nice table for two outside on the raised patio and waited.     They never found us and after awhile I went back inside to remind them.    Blah blah blah.    Finally, our tastings came without ceremony or explanation and we were left to have at it.   

 The views were spectacular, the weather delightful, the company perfect - but the wines were not to either of our tastes and we left without finishing or buying a single bottle - a first for us.       All in all, a meh experience.   Perhaps we'd had enough tastings for this trip.

On to Wells, and new route for us.    We took I-84 south to Twin Falls and off onto Route 93 into Nevada.     The weather wasn't good.   The further we drove, the worse it got.  

uh oh

The wind picked up, rain dumped on us, then retreated, then poured again.   Route 93 is a good two lane road but there are no shoulders to speak of on this section and the road itself is built up about 10 or 15 feet above the surrounding desert, making driving a bit nerve-wracking.   Not much traffic at least, but what there was kicked up a wall of water as we passed....

Needless to say, we were happy to pull into our rv park in the small town of Wells.   It was Sunday afternoon so there was no one in the office.    A sign on the door told us to find a spot and settle in - so we did.    Gin and tonic time for sure.

We've been here for 5 nights and have been really enjoying exploring the area.  First up was Angel Lake, only 12 miles from our campground.   Since it rained the entire day Monday, we were anxious to get out and "see" so we took a chance, packed a lunch, and drove up to the lake the next morning.    The forecasters were saying that it would rain in the afternoon, so we hoped we'd get in some outdoor time before then.  

The road was paved and in good shape.   The views were beautiful and expansive as we climbed to 8500 ft and the pretty Alpine tarn.     The clouds were building, oh well.

We were completely alone at the lake, there was one vehicle in the nearby campground, we suspected it was the camp host.   Before lunch we set off to hike around the lake, with an eye to the sky.   We certainly did not want to get caught outside in a storm like we experienced recently.

the falls were just around those boulders

Our goal was to get to the waterfall at the opposite end of the lake, but decided to backtrack, eat lunch, then hike around the lake in the other direction, weather permitting.    It turned out to be a good choice.

darn....those clouds again!

By the time we got back to the Jeep, the dark clouds had definitely moved in and looked like they meant business.    We ate our lunch inside, watching the sky as we were being watched by this little guy.    His intentions were clear....we kept our windows closed!

guys, guys, I LOVE turkey sandwiches...

We never finished our hike back around the lake.  Instead, we decided to head home and were glad we did.   Just a few miles down the road the sky opened and it began to hail, or was it graupel?   I'm not sure I know the difference, but it was white, and round and bounced off the Jeep's hood.   Clouds from the mountains above seemed to crawl down the slope toward us.   It was absolutely mesmerizing to watch.

Another day we drove on the 12 mile, Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway into the Ruby Mountains.    This was an area that I was anxious to see.   I read an article about this glacier carved canyon years ago and had kept it in the back of my mind for the next time we passed through this part of the state.   The drive to get to the 12 mile long Byway was long, almost 80 miles but was totally worth it.

  We were blown away by the scenery, the rushing stream, beaver dams, the craggy mountain tops, swirly rock formations, the ribbon waterfalls, the obvious avalanche scars everywhere, aspens shimmering in the breeze....oh my.    I phone pictures just do not do it justice.  

beaver dam

glacier carved valley

The Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway ends at a trailhead to several alpine lakes and, after a short hike along the stream, we turned around and retraced our "steps".    I usually try to make our drives into a loop so we don't see the same things going and coming, but in this case, there is something to be said for seeing the landscape from the opposite direction.    We enjoyed the drive out as much as the drive in!

Once off the Byway however, we did not follow our original route home, opting instead to drive a longer, but interesting route back to Beluga.    A long, but very satisfying day.   

Yesterday, our last day in this area, we decided to find the small ghost town of Metropolis, just 10 or 12 miles away.    Pam and John had checked it out some time ago and it looked like our kind of place.     Out in the middle of nowhere, off a dirt road with an interesting story to tell.     When I say "in the middle of nowhere", I really mean it!

Was it a land scam, a serious miscalculation, a hairbrained and grandiose dream, perhaps all of the above?     Who knows, but the city of Metropolis, planned for 7500 residents with sidewalks, streetlights, a three-story hotel and large school,  ultimately died, never fulfilling its inhabitant's dreams.    If you're interested in what part Morman Crickets and Jackrabbits had in its demise, Google "Metropolis".... interesting reading!

all that is left of the beautiful school below

evidently, the town still has some residents....

We drove around the muddy dirt roads for awhile, locating the old cemetery, etc., before heading off on a BLM road towards home.     After enjoying the huge vistas, the small birds, the pretty Burnt Creek, we passed an area that caught my eye.   A large, whitish hump of ground in the middle of sagebrush covered plains.    Dave backed up (as he often has to do when he hears.... Stop!  What's that? Back Up! Please?)    No gate, no NO TRESPASSING sign, why not?

We passed a few head of cattle, faces turned to watch us, and parked near some large white humps of rock.....a strong Sulphur smell and cheerful bubbling sounds greeted us.   It was a hot spring!

small "lake" of very hot water

No place to disrobe and soak.....not that we're prone to doing that, but lots of bubbling and popping and interesting rocks everywhere.    Fun!

evidently grass loves seeping hot water

interesting mineral colors

Another day of small pleasures for us.    We leave Wells this morning, ultimately heading to Boulder City on Tuesday.   Stay tuned!