Mountain Crossing


Our campsite is officially in the rear-view mirror.  After packing up the Chevy, we headed south towards Grand Teton National Park, our last major detour off Route 20.  Though we thoroughly enjoyed the three nights we spent camped out in Yellowstone, it soon became evident that we misplaced our priorities.  The Tetons are incredible.  Towering before us, I at last saw the Rockies in their full glory.  We snapped a few pictures and Paul vowed to return next summer to conquer Grand Teton, the tallest of them all.


We picked up 20 after driving into Idaho in what was the most perilous border crossing to date.  The road wound its way up and down a mountain, testing our little Sonic with its sharp and sudden turns.

The state license plates here read “Scenic Idaho” and “Famous Potatoes”.  The view was pleasant enough but we found no reason to stop for several hours, so I’d say that’s an apt description of the eastern half of the state.  We reached Idaho Falls before nightfall (I know it’s the peak of summer, but daylight lasts for over 15 hours out here!) and crashed at a motel, granting me a reprieve from sleeping in the car for what would have been a fifth straight night.

Before leaving town the next morning, I caught sight of a distinctive building in the distance.  It turned out to be the local Mormon temple.  I walked in and soon encountered a man named Elder Ward.  Asking about the unique architecture proved fruitless, as he immediately jumped into proselytize mode.  Mark this down as the first conversion attempt of the trip.

Mormon temple of Idaho Falls

Mormon temple of Idaho Falls

Our lunch stop came in the tiny windswept town of Arco, Idaho.  The town’s claim to fame is the nearby nuclear reactor, which in 1951 became the first of its kind to generate electricity.  Though now decommissioned, the townies know how to capitalize: the restaurant’s signature menu item was the Atomic Burger.  It was great and I’m not even glowing.

Traveling through the foothills of Idaho on our way to Boise, temperatures climbed past the mid 90s, topping off at 100 degrees.  Of course, this had to be the day that our A/C gave out for unknown reasons.  Oh well.  If the pioneers were able to reach the Pacific without climate control, then so will we.


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