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!



  1. I’ll say fun and more fun along with a few WOWs! Gorgeous drives, lakes and gurgling hot springs, twisty roads with never ending vistas, valleys and and a ghost town! Even the clouds cradling down the mountain slopes sounds/looks exciting! Your always find the bestest places to explore! I love the view thru the arch doorway of Dave and Rocky and the bricks are so awesome…I love old bricks! The ribbon walls are cool and glacier curved valley is quite picturesque. Safe travels to BC…

    1. Thanks Gay. It's always fun finding interesting things in new areas!

  2. That scenery is absolutely beautiful! Love the pictures of the hike around the lake. I wish Barb liked wine. She has tried every variety and has not found any that she likes. She still indulges me by stopping by a winery now and then though.

  3. That area was surprisingly beautiful, who knew?

  4. Such a scenic area to explore from your home base and 'personal' vegetable garden.
    Idaho does have some good wine, it's disappointing your expectations were not met.

    1. I think we were just "wined" out by the time we got to Caldwell. Perhaps if we hadn't just come from Walla Walla we would have been more interested in trying more Idaho wines instead of stopping at one meh.... Always next time though!

  5. Wow, you hit the jackpot in terms of grand landscapes, solitude and peace. We drove through 93 before from Utah to Idaho and you captured Nevada's hidden gem. I was gonna say your wine expectations are getting higher each state you passed by, unfortunately Idaho wines did not hit the mark. Oh well, there is Arizona wine :) - ML

    1. Grand landscapes and're exactly right. I'd read about the Ruby Mtns., but I guess I wasn't expecting such beauty.

  6. The Ruby Mountains are now on my bucket list--we have a habit of just driving to a destination, not stopping, (we drove NINE hours yesterday) and I want to change that! Could you drive the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway in a truck?

    1. We had always driven through this area, bent on getting somewhere else. I can WAY recommend stopping for some explorations....Lamoille Canyon SB was paved the entire way - piece of cake! The Success Summit Scenic Loop, near Ely, is graded gravel and dirt but doable in a truck. It's another beautiful drive....

  7. We love the Ruby Mountains, and not many people seem to know about them! Our first camping trip there was in a tent many years ago. We almost washed away in a huge thunderstorm and had to spend the next night in a motel drying out our camping gear. Our second visit in our trailer was much better. :-) Lamoille Canyon is stunning, and you captured it beautifully in your photos. Angel Lake is also a sweet place...and once again, your photos are great! What a cool campground you found with the pick-your-own veggies...including corn!

    1. I'm happy not many people know about the Rubys! We had thunderstorms in the area too, weather was very unsettled but it made for exciting drives! There were so many beautiful and secluded camping spots on our next day's drive to Success Summit.....I almost wished I had a tent (not really) or a truck camper to take advantage of those spots....almost!

  8. At least the views and grounds were lovely at the winery, but clearly no one has their heart in either the product or the service. Those canyons are stunning and I definitely worth the drive to get there. Your IPhone definitely did justice to the shots! Love the drama of the storm clouds and glad you were able to watch the storm from the safety of the Jeep. Metropolis' school was certainly "fancier" than the one we visited in Gleeson - wow! I guess Superman couldn't save this one :-)) I always wonder what the tribes and early settlers made of the seemingly random hot water in the middle of nowhere!

  9. That's a great description of the Caldwell Winery - no heart in either their product or service.
    I'm sure the tribes used that hot water to their advantage and knew where every spring was....the settlers? who knows. Good thought.

  10. I'm glad you got to the Ruby Mountains! We also experienced volatile weather there -- warm and sunny to snow-covered in the same week. I was waiting for you to say you'd spotted the Himalayan Snowcock -- I would've fallen off my chair! Too bad that hot spring wasn't more user-friendly. That would've been a great capper to this leg of your journey!

    1. We looked for the Snowcock, but no such luck!