Idaho Trip 2003

Diary of Linda, Meghan, and Roger's one month trip to Idaho leaving 7/12/2003

7/12/03 Linda, Meghan , and I left about 7:30 a.m. with the 5th wheel on our one month Idaho trip. We stayed in Mesquite Nevada at the Carte Blanco Casino RV Park the first night. It was deadly hot at 120 F. The 5th wheel AC finally cooled us down after it got dark. There is allot of green grass on this property to walk Meghan.

7/13/03 Arrived at the Frazier RV Park in Provo Canyon on the Provo River at 3:00 p.m. We immediately found out why the rate was only $9 per day. Our AC kept tripping in and out so often that I had to turn it off in spite of the 100 F. heat. Fortunately we had shade tree so it wasn’t too bad. We got lost looking for the Romano Macaroni Grill, but finally located it after a cell phone call with guidance from my niece Mollie. We had three great pasta dinners and two excellent deserts. The Romano Macaroni Grill has excellent food.

7/14/03 Linda shuttled Mollie and I, 7 miles up stream on the Provo River to a rafting put in spot just below the Deer Creek Dam. Mollie and I rafted down the swift and scenic Provo River on my Soar inflatable 14’ canoe. It was quite exciting with lots of hazards such as big rocks, logs, brush, and bridge pilings to be avoided. We made it with no problems. It was so much fun that we talked Linda into going with me on the Soar IF and we rented another IF kayak for Mollie. A rafting company right at Frazier RV Park shuttled us for $5 and rented the IF kayak for $20. What a bargain. The put out was right at our RV camp site. Linda really enjoyed the float and was glad that Mollie and I talked her into it. It was only class I & II but still lots of fun. We then packed up and drove to Strawberry Reservoir campgrounds located about 35 miles away and at 7,900’ elevation. The campground was beautiful with a view of the lake and the surrounding open countryside Aspen trees and the chaparral was in full bloom with wild flowers. The purple lupine was especially pretty. We had salad, fresh sweet corn, and Costco steaks for dinner.

7/15/03 Mollie and I went fishing today on Strawberry Reservoir. At 9:30 a.m., we rented a 14’ aluminum power boat from the marina for $85. The fishing license in Utah for one day cost $12. We went to the Renegade Bay area and had terrible luck, not even one bite. We quit about 3:00 p.m. as the wind was strong and we were both tired. Mollie had a late lunch sandwich with us and went home about 4:00 p.m. Linda and I took Meghan for a nice run off leash through the empty loops of the huge 500 site camp ground.

7/16/03 Got on the road by 7:30 a.m. Drove on hwy 40 past Park City, UT to 80 east and then 84 west through very scenic Weber River valley to Logan, UT. We then drove on into Idaho and stayed at the Anderson RV Park near Twin Falls, arriving at 2:30 p.m. We drove about 12 miles to Shoshone Falls City Park and dam on the Snake River. Linda wined to the ticket taker that she didn’t want to pay $3 if only a little water was flowing over the falls. The ticket taker man said MAME in that case I will let you in for free on me. The gorge was really deep and even the moderate flowing falls were very impressive and scenic.

7/18/03 Left at 8:00 a.m. continuing on I84, 11, & 12 into Clarkston, WA. Met Doug & Lana Willingham at the Granite Lake RV park. Its dreadfully hot and humid at 102 F. with high humidity. We stocked up on supplies at Costco & Albertson’s for our 2 week stay at Aquarius Campground in Idaho. I almost lost our bikes today because a U-bracket broke on my bicycle rack. I was able to find a new U-bracket at True Value Hardware Store and fixed it back up like new.

7/20/03 I met another camper next door named Joe who has the same Soar IF canoe raft which I have. We decided to go upstream 7 miles to a put in point just below Skull Creek. The NF of the Clearwater River is class 2 and 3 along this stretch of water. There are lots of rocks that must be avoided, because the current is fast and if you wrap your craft around a rock if could flip or destroy your craft. Joe had floated this river before and picked excellent lines through the tricky rapids. It was great luck for both of us to meet up and become rafting partners for safety reasons and the sharing of the shuttling of our boats. We negotiated the entire stretch of water without even coming close to a capsize. The last 3-4’ drop at Aquarius campground was the most scary rapids I negotiated. For dinner Linda made French Onion Soup for 7, which was excellent.

7/21/03 Woke up feeling groggy this morning probably mostly from rafting yesterday and the 3 glasses of celebratory wine I had last night. Stayed in camp all day, except for walking Meghan. Temperature at night between 55- 60 F. and during the day between 2 – 5 p.m., 95 –100 F.

7/22/03 Did rafting again today with more boats and people this time. Lana and I took my boat. Joe (from Idaho) & daughter did their boat. Joe Willingham did his small inflatable 9' kayak. Joe W. took in lots of water, so he used my portable bilge pump after the large rapids to vacate his craft of H20. We stopped had several sandy beaches to explore, relax, and swim. My untied dry bag was washed into the river after a particular big wave. It leaked , probably because I didn’t have it closed properly. The first aid kit got all wet and there was hell to pay when SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED discovered this mishap.

7/23/03 Dianna & Fred Rooney made a birthday champagne breakfast for the entire group this morning to celebrate Lana Willingham and Scarlet Willingham’s birthdays. Scarlet turned the dreaded 60th year of her life today.

7/24/03 Made sour dough huckleberry pancakes for 8 people this morning. The pancakes turned out very good and were woofed down by all. I did 3 mile walk on the SF Clearwater river trail with Meghan. Drove the truck upstream to find more rafting put in places and then stopped at the ranger station. The truck would not start with a jump or someone else’s new battery. I was very unhappy as I had just spent $1,000 on maintenance in SD.

7/25/03 I used the Ranger Station radio phone to call AAA towing service. It took 40 minutes of calls to finally get them to come 2.5 hours away from the closest town. The tow truck arrived in about 3 hours. I road into Orofino with the tow truck driver, a 2.5 hour slow drive on a very curvy treacherous knuckle wrenching road. We delivered the truck to Tom’s Auto Repair. He promised to have info for me by Monday at noon, 3 days from now. I then went to the Dodge Dealer the only place in town who rented cars. After having a hamburger for lunch, I drove the rental car back to Aquarius Campground, only taking 1 hour this time with the faster more maneuverable Espresso Dodge compact car.

7/26/03 Gretchen’s daughter Marin and boyfriend Matt arrived today. They both wanted to raft the river. We had a fun trip down the same 7 mile stretch. Marin & I used my blue Soar IF and Matt borrowed Joe Willingham's Stearns’s 8’ IF. The water level has dropped allot has we hung up the boats on one stretch of shallow water and had to drag them 10 yards to deeper water.

7/27/03 Stan & Joy Rey Ginger and the Segrets family arrived today. I enjoyed hearing about Stan’s two week fishing trip to Mexico. I made a pot roast dinner in my pressure cooker for 7 people, which turned out great.

7/28/03 Called Tom’s Auto Repair at 12 noon from the ranger station phone and was informed that the pickup truck was ready. Linda and I drove the rental car back to Orofino and picked up our pickup. Tom’s installed a new starter, alternator, and battery at a total cost of $565 (not at all out of line prices). Towing was free on our AAA service. The car rental for 3 days was $111. In all a very expensive unexpected travel expense. The battery I will get a warranty refund of $70 from Costco and hopefully a $275 refund from Pep Boys for the new starter which had just been installed 3 weeks prior in San Diego.

7/29/03 Linda, Meghan, and I drove one hour to Smith Ridge and hiked one way 3 miles and 1100’ up to the Mallard Larkin’s Wilderness goat ridge area. It was a very beautiful hike and was cool because of the 6,000’ elevation. Linda really whined about the constant elevation gain of the trail, but stuck it out for 3 miles one way with lots of coaxing from me. I felt the effects of the hike for 4 days as it seemed to exacerbate my MS symptoms.

7/31/03 Drove to Doug & Lana’s at Sandpoint, ID today. Hooked the 5th wheel up to Doug’s 30 amp service. We are in for a very limited diet as Doug & Lana are on a very strict Atkinson’s Diet. Its warm here but not as bad as the Clearwater was. Meghan and Ryder are having lots of fun playing together.

8/1/03 Doug invited Bill & Annette Bean over for boating and dinner. We all went out together on Lake Ponderay in Doug’s ski boat. Lana skied first using two skies with no problems. I decided to give it a try even though its been 25 years since I last skied. I was unable to get up in three tries, so I gave up. They said I wasn’t leaning back far enough! I was skeptical of the boats low end torque, the narrow skies, and all the people loaded in the boat effecting performance. Once the boat was up it could really move however. Maybe I am getting too old for this sport. The water however felt fantastic at about 80 F. The rest of the group did not try skiing. After boating Lana and Doug made a great Mexican Tacos & Beans dinner. We ate outside on the deck overlooking Boyer Slough Lagoon. It was beautiful scenery with great conversation and no bugs.

8/2/03 We went to the Farmers Market at 9:30 a.m. and purchased vegetables for tonight’s dinner. I serviced four mountain bike chains in the afternoon. I used degreaser to remove all old grease and then applied White Lightning a new anti dirt liquid wax formula that is suppose to work really well and yoy will never again get any dirt on your chain.

8/4/03 Departed from Doug & Lana Willingham’s house at 7:30 a.m. Stopped at the Hoot Owl Restaurant for a very excellent breakfast. Drove about 100 miles to Osborn and checked in at the Blue Anchor RV Park. Lana followed us and met us there. Lana and I drove on another 30 miles to Outlook pass and bought a bike riding ticket for the Hiawatha Train Trail. The 15 mile, down hill 2% grade, 90 minute descent on the bike trail was really fun and very scenic. The trail was an old railroad line over Outlook Pass on the Idaho Montana border. The trail had lots of tunnels and trestles. The longest tunnel was 1.6 miles long and was a bit scary, cold, and wet. You needed a good bicycle light as it was pitch black in that tunnel. I used a Mag-Lite 3 cell flashlight strapped to the frame which was really a very marginal solution. Fortunately I was usually able to follow other bikers who had more powerful lights. A shuttle bus at the bottom drove you and your bike out up a very scary steep NFS road. We saw a moose at close range in a beaver pond along a creek which I got a picture of. Lana road back out the same road uphill and beat the bus by 50 minutes. Drove back to Osborn with Lana and she continued home to Sandpoint.I drove to Kellogg 12 miles to see the Dave Smith Auto dealership who is the biggest and most famous Chevy & Dodge dealership in the Northwest. The salesman said that the Dodge Diesel pickup has the better HP and torque specs plus it cost less than the Chevy. Chevy has the best transmission with the Allison 5 speed. He also said that Dodge has come out with a new auto transmission which should hold up better than their previous ones. Dodge has a 7 year 100,000 warranty on all major drive train parts, which is better than the Chevy DuraMax 3 year 36,000 mile warranty. The sales person was very knowledgeable and did not pressure me. He recommended the Dodge 3500 one ton which equals the DuraMax 2500HD. The Dodge with the new transmission does not meet California emissions regulations. One solution is to register one year in Idaho using Doug’s address and then the following year register it legally as a used vehicle in California.

8/5/03 Linda and I got packed up and headed with the 5th wheel to Wallace Idaho about 6 miles away. This area has the leading silver mining production in the world. We did a very interesting tour of the Sierra Silver Mine, a mostly current mine that never made enough money to pay expense, so it was turned into a public tour mine. We enjoyed the tour allot and then had lunch at the hostoric 13 13 café & bar. We then drove to St. Regis Idaho to gas up. We then headed into the remote & wild St. Joe River - Conrad’s Crossing on the sometimes very rough, narrow, and steep 26 mile gut wrenching drive in. The drive took about 80 minutes. The trailer interior things got shook up pretty good, causing SHE WHO MOST BE OBEYED allot of cleanup including a can of dark Guinness beer which exploded in a cupboard. The 3 sites on the river were taken, so we found a very beautiful large forested site 1/8 mile away at the Upper Conrad campground. It is my favorite campsite of the entire trip. Joe & Scarlet Willingham and Gretchen had a site on the river, so we visited them allot.

8/6/03 Linda and I took a 12 mile drive upstream on the St Joe River to Spruce Tree Campground. The mostly one lane, curvy, hilly road took one hour to drive, but no drive anywhere could be more beautiful. The river along this road is class 2 & 3 but was too low for rafting. Some spring day in the future, I want to raft this beautiful 12 mile stretch of river. At Spruce Tree camp ground the road ended, but there was hiking trail that continued along the river. Linda, Meghan, and I hiked about 1.5 miles in. The mostly shaded trail was lush with wild flowers, high look out views of the river, and required several small stream crossings. Meghan loved to drink the stream water and rump around in them to cool her paws. We all ate together at the river camp site having steaks, salad, and asparagus. The forest is very dry this year and no camp fires are allowed.

8/7/03 Made Huckleberry sour dough pancakes for Joe, Scarlet, Linda, and Gretchen this morning. I let Meghan loose and she immediately went for Bella, Scarlet’s old Shiatsu dog. We had to separate them, but fortunately no blood was drawn by either dog. Meghan seems to be getting more territorial on this long trip. Caught up on my diary after breakfast. In the afternoon Meghan and I drove along the river north to Bluff Creek and then up a ways on a NFS logging rode that was not in use. I let Meghan run free and walked up the narrow steep road about ¾ mile with Meghan. I made ham vegetable fried rice for dinner. We ate together with Joe & Scarlet at their river camp site having a very nice time

8/8/03 We got packed up and left the beautiful St Joe River area at 10:00 a.m. after saying our good byes to Joe & Scarlet. I was very sick of driving when we finally arrived at the KOA campground in Butte Montana at 5:00 p.m.. We took Meghan for a walk along a very pretty creek trail starting at the KOA. She went crazy trying to chase all the ducks & geese. Had left over fried rice for dinner and retired early with that lovely AC running.

8/10/03 Arrived in Mesquite Nevada about 5:00 p.m. Checked into the Carte Blanca Casino RV Park. It was hot but not as bad as the last time we were here. We ate snacks in the trailer for dinner. After sunset, we took Meghan out for a walk off leash, on the huge Casino back lawn. She ran around like a mad dog enjoying her freedom and exercise.

8/11/03 Left about 8:30 a.m. After 1.5 hours of driving we stopped in LV at the Silverton Casino and had a nice breakfast at the Sunset Grill. Continued on driving while listening to the Count of Monte Cristo book on tape book a Christmas gift certificate from Char & Mike. It is an excellent exciting book, but we will not get through all 30 tapes before arriving home. I called the rental company and successfully asked for a 30 day extension. Arrived home finally around 4:30 p.m. to sultry hot weather. We began unloading and cleaning up the 5th wheel

Last updated on February 6, 2019