June 2022 – Our western states RV trip delivered us to Idaho right in the heart of the bustling city of Idaho Falls, and even though we had plans for quieter adventures further north in the state, we hung around the city for a while enjoying the River Walk.
We savored the scenery each time we strolled the paths, but the only thing our pup, Buddy, ever noticed was the big population of squirrels that scampered up and down the tree trunks.
The squirrels taunted him mercilessly, chirping at him from safety high up in the branches.
He wanted to catch a squirrel so badly, but they were just out of reach!
From Idaho Falls, we wandered northwards towards Salmon for a while, keeping an eye out for an easy-in / easy-out gas station where we could fill the gas tank on the toy hauler (which gives us gas for both the RZR and the generator while we’re camping).
Filling up the toy hauler with gas requires pulling the trailer very far forward at the pumps because the gas cap is at the far back end of the trailer. End-to-end, our truck and trailer combo is about 50 feet long, and not that many gas stations have sufficient open space at the end of the pumps for a vehicle to stick out 50 feet!
Mark looked at a few city gas stations in Idaho Falls and decided they were all a bit too busy and too tight. We’d end up blocking traffic in the whole gas station while we filled up!
Luckily, as we traveled through the countryside, we found a gas station with no other customers, no overhangs to hit with our tall rig, endless room in front of the rig to pull forward, and a cute store to boot.
Inside the store were the usual gas station goodies, but they also had lots of small animal pelts like foxes and an antique sewing machine!
We strolled the back streets of town for a while and spotted a pretty church framed by snow covered mountain peaks. Classic!
Later, we played with some of our images of that church and made one look like the photo was taken a long time ago.
That was pretty cool, so we did it to another photo of the long defunct “Bit & Spur Grocery Store.”
This is just a matter of applying Sepia tones to the image but the effect is great… Perhaps a little crinkling across the image from the photo being folded and maybe a handwritten note with a date like 1885 would help cement it as an authentic antiquity, although Buddy would have to ditch his harness and I’d need to don a long dress and a hat!
We carried on with our journey, and as we rolled slowly down the road, we just loved the views. This was ATV / UTV country and we rode around on the RZR looking for photo ops. There were plenty!
A rocky creek sparkled in the sunlight.
This was the perfect spot to play with smoothing out the rushing whitewater by keeping the camera shutter open extra long on a tripod (about 1/6 to 1/15 of a second). With moving water like this, you could take a dozen photos of each scene and every one would be different because flowing water makes constantly changing patterns!
When I wrote an article about Idaho for Highways Magazine many years ago, the editor titled it “America’s Alps,” which was very apt because the snowy peaks are certainly reminiscent of their European counterparts! Mark grabbed a plastic stool and his guitar, and as he played for Buddy and me, the scene was right out of the Sound of Music!
A crown of soft clouds began to form around a mountain peak, and we fully expected to see Julie Andrews come pirouetting down the hillside, arms flung wide with radiant joy as she sang her heart out.
Instead of suddenly seeing an ebullient Julie Andrews dancing down the mountainside, we noticed that storm clouds were beginning to fill the sky.
The weather forecast had called for a big storm to come sweeping through with a 70% to 90% chance of rain for two days and a night. We’d already experienced mornings in the 30s and afternoons in the 90s in our short time in Idaho, and one of the locals we met had jokingly told us that Idaho is bipolar when it comes to weather.
Were these clouds the beginning of the expected tempest?
We decided to go for a walk, kind of storm chasing in a way, but on foot. Suddenly, Mark said, “Look at that cloud over there!” A huge black cloud was bearing down on the valley and traveling at a good clip. The odd (and beautiful) thing was that the sun was still out in patches here and there.
We ran for cover, collecting a few shots of the wild skies (and fast puppies) on the way.
The wind was whipping like crazy, but there was no rain yet, and the menacing skies changed minute by minute as the clouds unleashed a thick veil of rain and snow on the mountains.
The big black cloud began to rumble. Despite its threatening noises, however, there were bits of blue sky and sunshine here and there. Suddenly, a rainbow appeared.
We ran out again, cameras in hand. All around, the billowing clouds seethed and frothed, from low down on the ground to high up in the sky. It was spectacular — and there wasn’t a drop of rain in the sunny spot where we stood!
And then, as quickly as this summer storm came, it disappeared down the valley, leaving blue sky and receding clouds in its wake.
Later, as the sun set, memories of the afternoon drama were still visible in the sky. We were treated to shades of orange and black followed by soft tones of peach and gray.
This was one of those beautiful occasions where the adventure came to us. We weren’t out sightseeing or looking to discover new things. Instead, Nature dropped in on us and treated us to a thrilling show of roiling clouds battling with rays of sunshine.
This big “two day” storm blew through in an hour or two and eventually misted us with a fine spray that lasted all of 90 seconds! But the spectacle left us totally wide-eyed with wonder!.
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Other blog posts from our travels in Idaho:
- A Backcountry RV Roadtrip in SE Idaho – Quiet Splendor!
- An Idaho Panhandle RV Trip on US-95: Sandpoint, Moscow & McCall
- An RV Cruise Along Idaho’s Salmon River on US-93
- Bovill, Idaho – An Early 20th Century Classic
- Craters of the Moon + Cataclysms from Sun Valley ID to Alpine WY
- Ice Queens of Sun Valley, ID
- Idaho Falls River Walk – A Glorious Garden Stroll by the Snake River!
- McCall, Idaho – Summer Beach Fun on Pretty Payette Lake
- Mesa Falls Scenic Byway, ID – Pretty Waterfalls
- Movin’ On Up to Sun Valley, ID
- Northern Idaho – Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes
- Sawtooth Scenic Byway and Stanley, Idaho – Picturesque!
- Sun Valley & Ketchum ID – Beauty & Fun in the Mountains!
- Sun Valley Idaho – An RV Traveler’s Delight in Ketchum, ID!
- Sun Valley Idaho – Music, History & Celebrities
- Sun Valley Idaho – RV Camping, Car Racing & Skating Legends
- Sun Valley Road Rally – Go Granny Go!
- Sun Valley, Idaho – A Joyful Return to a Favorite RV Spot!
- The Artsy Side of Sun Valley, ID
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