When I first started this blog one of the things I promised was I wouldn't post up family pictures. Usually they really don't mean much except for other family members and in some cases only serve to embarrass the person in the picture. After this past week I hereby rededicate and reinforce my promise not to post pictures of family members – mostly for the later reason. (There you go, you are safe for another year.)
After leaving Salmon we traveled north and east to Virginia City, Montana. Virginia City is an old mining town turned roadside attraction located in the Ruby Valley. Chris and I have been there on several occasions in the past so didn't feel like battling for parking or doing the tourist bump. Instead, we continued on, eventually turning south on highway 20 outside of West Yellowstone.
Once we got on this highway it became readily apparent our timing was messed up. Almost every campground and RV park was either cramped or full or both and contrary to our desire of watching weekenders we wanted to continue the feeling of tranquility carried over from Salmon. We left the busy highway and opted for a lesser traveled one heading south in the general direction of our destination. We knew we probably wouldn't find a campground or park but we also knew that in between plantings and harvests there were other places we could set up for an overnight stay. About 15 miles from Tetonia on the way to Driggs we found it at an old seed potato silo. The stay was very quiet with only the passing thunderstorm to disturb the crickets and cooing of morning doves.
Waking up we realized this was the first "real" boondock or dry camp we had done in this motorhome and really wondered why we hadn't done something like this before. Hassle free, comfy and we got to choose instead of being assigned a site. Lesson learned and will be repeated often in the years to come.
That brings us to our destination and the reason for traveling in so odd a manner - Family Reunion. You know, that event where you eat way too much comfort food and then have all the stupid things you ever did in the past recounted over the nightly; campfire. As you get older the reunions never seem long enough and I firmly believe it is all due to time and supply contraints - not enough campfires and certainly not enough firewood.
Each year my wife's side of the family gathers for several days to reacquaint ourselves and to celebrate how life goes on. My mother-in-law is the matriarch presiding over our rowdy bunch; almost always knitting something, smiling, and surprisingly, keeping track of who belongs to who. Age, and two knee replacements may have slowed her down a bit and sometimes the number of great-grandchildren can get confusing but behind those sparkling blue eyes the great dame I met 37 years ago when I married her daughter still resides.
We come together at a small, dusty recreation area called Twin Lakes which is about 10 miles outside of a small town called Preston Idaho. This reservoir which primarily serves as a water bank for the local farmers offers no amenities other than a vault toilet, (don't go there – ever), and the usual water sports. If the number of fishermen are any indication, the fishing is not bad either. As I lay in the hammock, hat over my eyes, I just realized this is one lake I've never fished despite the number years we've been here. Its a mystery I tell you, and one I will endeavor to solve; perhaps next year.
The town of Preston was the location for the cult classic, low budget movie Napoleon Dynamite. I'm not saying the town or the people are like the movie but there are some glimpses of the culture. With a desire for self preservation I will refrain from commenting further. They do have good cheese though.
Chris was fortunate enough to travel south of Logan Utah with her sister and visited the American West Heritage Center located in Wellsville, Utah. This is a living museum, cultural center and general rendezvous center filled with exhibits, activities and special events year round. Something not to miss if you are in the area. Fair disclosure: our brother-in-law is the coordinator for the Center but please don't hold that against him. He really does have something special going on out there for you to see.
Two weeks have flown by with little to nothing happening suitable for a blog yet the time has been enriching for us. We've caught up with family and made plans for our next reunion what more needs to be done?
If you have stuck with me this long here are some traveling tips/hints for the area:
Riverside RV Park. Next to the Bear river just north of Preston. $20/day $100/week. 12 full hookup, 50amp back in sites. Just a few steps bring you to the banks of the river for small mouth bass and carp. The river was running high and dirty following several rain storms while we were there so no fishing.
Lava Hot Springs is not too far away and well worth the trip if you are like us and enjoy soaking old bones in hot water until you prune up.