Sunday, April 28, 2019

Another Day

We are camping at a familiar park down near Provo, Utah.  Utah Lake State Park is a good third-night stopping spot and we have taken advantage of it quite often. The showers are great and it gives us a chance to clean up after a couple days on the road.

As you might remember, yesterday Linda and I drove down through Boise and had some truck problems just outside of Jerome. We stopped at the Les Schwab and it looks like they have fixed our problem. No warning lights today at all! Wahoo.

We were a bit late so we crashed a Mexican fiesta at the Jerome County Fairgrounds. There were lots of people and cars surrounding us, but they were relatively quiet and both Linda and I slept well as the tubas and accordions played on.

We got up early and drove into Twin Falls where we decided to take a short detour and view Shoshone Falls in the early morning light. The wind was blowing so hard that it sent spray from the falls all over the parking area and overlooks. You got soaked out there, but the spray provided one wonderful thing, rainbows! We got as many photos as we could. There was no way to hold the camera out without the lens getting soaked. Yes, it was misting that hard.

From the falls we drove east to Interstate 84 and blasted on down into Utah. The wind was behind us and we got 16 mpg for that leg of the trip. As I said we found our campsite in the park and are all set up for the evening.

Jodi and Steve reserved our camp spot for us when they arrived. It was nice to drive in and have it available for our visit.

During the afternoon and evening, Steve and Jodi went to visit Steve's son who lives in Draper.  We will be heading south tomorrow in a caravan of two.  Should be a fun drive.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Goin' South

“I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.” - Walt Whitman

It is always exciting to get the truck and camper ready for a new season of exploring. Linda and I have been itching to go for about two weeks after we arrived home from Mexico.  The tasks and all the appointments we schedule upon our arrival back home keep us busy, but that only lasts so long and then we start dreaming of travel.

This next adventure has been in the making for at least eight months. It came about when we were having dinner with our next door neighbors, Steve and Jodi. We were chatting about their purchase of a used fifth wheel and discovered that they have always wanted to travel to and explore some of the same areas that we have on our bucket list.  As we talked about the different National Parks we wanted to see, we started forming a possible spring trip.
By late fall we had committed to take our two rigs and head south. The potential departure date was set. Jodi, who still is working, got her vacation request in and approved. Linda and Steve started planning the route mapping out a path to the various places we wanted to explore. We had a couple of dinner/planning sessions, did some research, and set a couple of firm destinations that we would plan around. Yosemite National Park looked to be our focal point of this adventure. As we did our research, we found that getting camping spots for this park was a very tough task. In December we all went online and tried to secure some camping dates. This process turned out to be a mess. We were attempting to reserve spots from our internet access while in Mexico. It didn’t work for us. The outcome was that Jodi and Steve were able to secure two camp spots for four nights in Yosemite National Park. With this in mind, we built the rest of our trip and, though most are not set in concrete, have a good idea where and when we will be for most of the nights during this adventure.
For this trip, we basically have three route choices we could make and our final route was based on weather and projected road conditions.

When you head south there are three possible route choices we can make. On one route you drive through Washington to the Tri-cities then cut back to Penelton Oregon and then to Boise, Idaho (452 miles). The second choice is to take I-95 through the heart of the Idaho panhandle to Riggins, New Meadows and then on to Boise (378 miles). From Boise, we continue on to Twin Falls and finally Salt Lake City (347 miles) for a total of 725 miles via Idaho and 799 miles through Tri-cities.
With the final choice, you drive east to Butte, Montana (290 miles) and then drive down to Pocatello, Idaho (254 miles) it is 540 miles to this point. Your convergence point from the other routes would be Salt Lake City (164 miles) for a total of 704 miles. There are other variations you can drive after Twin Falls or Pocatello, we have driven them all, but in the end, all roads lead through Salt Lake City (Except Hwy. 93 south through Nevada, but that is another story!)

Is all this too boring and confusing? To help you visualize this entire trip, I found a new toy, I mean an application that tracks our route and allows me to post photos and information about the photos on my own web page. The phone app is called Polarsteps and our Canyonwren Travels page can be found at To follow this trip Follow this link. I will try to keep things up to date on the site, but my blog will be my number one priority. Remember that I am using this experimentally, so let me know what you think.

The first leg of the trip took us south on I-95 through the heart of the Palouse.

We rumbled on down the road, Linda checking her maps, while I kept the Dodge at 60 mph. We took a short stop at the restrooms located at the beginning of the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes just north of Plummer. Then it was non-stop down to Grangeville where we filled up with diesel.
Our plan was to stop at one of the campgrounds on the Salmon River. Twin Bridges campground had two big rigs set up for the weekend so we shot on past and wound on down to Slate Creek. The campground there was empty so we chose the best spot and called it a day.
We were early stopping, about 2:15 PM, so we spent the afternoon walking around the area and watching the muddy Salmon rushing by. The river is very high and moving very fast. It is going to be a big run-off year.
Linda fixed dinner and we played Mexican Train and Cribbage. It was a fun night and we hit the sack early. Up and on the road by 8:00 AM, we had our sights on an early evening around the Twin Falls area. The trip down through McCall and New Meadows is spectacularly beautiful this time of the year. Snow still covers the peaks and the valley is green and vibrant. The Payette River was really raging. We reminisced about running rivers in the spring and how that was such a big part of our lives. We definitely don't miss the cold water and unpredictable spring weather. Our interests have grown mellower, that's for sure.
I still find it hard to believe that I-95 is the only road that connects the panhandle of Idaho to the flatlands of the south. Those roads are curvy, narrow and rough. If the scenery wasn't so darned beautiful, we would only travel via Oregon.
As we made our way down into the Boise Valley, our ABS sensor alert on our front brakes started sounding. Now, if you remember back to last fall we had the same thing happen on a trip to the coast. The alarm bings and a light flashes. We have had it in for repairs twice, but they could not diagnose which wheel had the fault. Today we got a reading and we pinpointed that it was definitely the front left wheel causing the problem. As before, we ignored the alarms because we have been told that it does not affect the braking of the truck in any way.
Today, 20 miles out of Jerome the darned alarm kept sounding. It bonged about every two seconds and continued to do so for several miles. I got nervous and so Linda called Les Schwab in Jerome and asked if they could get the thing fixed. They told us to shoot on in and they would see what they could do.
The repair took a little over an hour and cost us about $150, but we hope that it solves our problem.
Because we were a bit behind on our schedule, we decided to check out the free camping offered at the Jerome County Fair Grounds. We pulled into the parking lot and noticed several spots with electrical hook-ups in the parking lot. I chose a nice spot and backed in. Two minutes later we were level and ready to stay.
We walked around the place and noticed about 10 cars in the lot. As the evening progressed, the number of vehicles increased. Boy, did they increase! It looks like we chose to camp in the fair parking lot on the night of a Latino concert in one of the pavilions. There are at least a hundred cars and trucks, all packed with Mexican folks. As the night gets darker, the noise level has been steadily increasing. Leave it to the Bennetts to camp in the middle of a Latino Coachella.

Monday, April 08, 2019


We have been home a couple of weeks now, the first few days were sunny and very nice. Then the rain came and we have settled into the gray of North Idaho. Projects that needed to be attended to are the focus of our days. Vehicle maintenance, home repairs, and planning for our next outing keep me busy.

It is nice to get back home. Our bed is fantastic, the sower in our house is amazing! There are many good things about being home, but that doesn’t stop us from thinking about our little winter hideaway. Since our return there hasn’t been a day that we haven’t talked about the Melaque, the people or the warmth. Here is a quick couple of lists I made.

The things I miss about Melaque:

The ocean
Waves crashing on the beach
The perfect weather
Walking everywhere
Passing smiling people on the street and saying “Buenos Dias”
Skip Bow
Jacquie and Grant
Waking up, avoiding eye contact and saying good morning
Pool volleyball
Pollo Asado and food smells throughout the town
The breeze coming off the ocean
Buen Gusto, Pedro’s Tacos, Maui Burger, Pechecane Pizza
Chelly, smiling from his cash register any time you walk by
Mexican Train
Reading, after climbing 36 steps up to the palapa
Rosita’s for breakfast or a torta
Watching Linda examine the entire menu and then choose “Una quesadilla con Pollo, por favor.”
Shower before bed
Being able to buy five sprigs of cilantro from Chelly
Drinks and games under the palapa.
Listening to the ladies order “Margaritas en las rocas, sin sal” during beach time
Walking around the Zocolo
Riding the “chicken” busses
The vendor that sells “Tamales!”
Listening to Zags games or cuddling and watching movies in Linda’s bed
Paying 110 pasos at Pedro’s for a full dinner for two with drinks
Pelicans flying two inches over the ocean waves
Evening treats, cookies, Ice cream or churros

Things I don’t miss:

Dogs barking at night
Uncomfortable chairs and small beds
A few hot, very humid, days
Small bugs in the evening if I forgot my spray
Loud fireworks at 4 am in the morning
Bands at night with Tubas
Motorcycles with no mufflers
Real bad street smells

The good things far out weight the bad. Guess we will be going back!