Idaho. Oh, Idaho!

Our time in Idaho was challenging, if nothing else. Don't get me wrong, it's a state with plenty to offer and the people we met there were possibly the most friendly we have encountered so far. However, the eight days we spent there on our first pass through the state were not the most enjoyable or productive days of the trip so far.

We drove into Idaho via I15 from Utah to the south. Our plan was to stay for a couple of nights in Idaho Falls before heading into Wyoming to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Now, let me take a step back here and mention that we were planning on visiting these parks at this time to experience them in the winter (albeit, a mild one) and avoid the crowds which flood into the parks during the other seasons. The first problem arose when I checked the weather forecast for Grand Teton on the days we intended to visit. Snow was forecast and temperatures were expected to hit a low of -5 degF (-20 degC) during the night and not rise above 23 degF (-5 degC) during the day. So, we had to postpone the trip for almost a week. Fine, at least we could visit Grand Teton National Park when the weather improved - which is more than could be said for Yellowstone. I called the Park service in Yellowstone to find out which parts of the park we could visit at this time of year and they told me that nearly all the park's roads and entrances are closed during the winter - despite the fact that they hardly have any snow. So, places like Old Faithful and Yellowstone Lake can not be visited unless we go on an organized snow vehicle tour (very pricey).

The next setback we suffered in Idaho was due to the fact that most of the campgrounds and RV parks in the state are closed this time of year. It's a shame really, because the weather for the most part has been reasonably warm during the day - ideal temperatures for hiking and sightseeing. For the first time on our trip, we've had to double back on ourselves. After spending three nights in Idaho Falls we wanted to move on in order to position ourselves closer to Grand Teton ready for when the weather improved. So, we drove north a few miles before realizing we weren't going to be able to find a suitable campsite. In the end we turned around and headed back south through Idaho Falls to Pocatello where we stayed for five days.

Oh, and before I forget, let me mention the flat tire I discovered on the front wheel of the RV as we were about to drive away from the campsite in Idaho Falls. I think it was caused by Ford when they serviced the vehicle. It turned out to be due to a loose valve extension, rather a puncture (I guess I should count myself lucky). It took me about 30 minutes to pump up the tire to the required 92 psi using my standup bike pump.

Finally, when we left Pocatello this morning to drive the 200+ miles to Grand Teton. Within the first 2 miles of driving on the freeway I heard a crack and Nina and I both looked up and spotted a chip in the windscreen. It took us 4 hours, and about 50 extra miles of driving to sort things out with the insurance and return to Pocatello to get the chip repaired. Fortunately, I didn't have to pay for the repair and the person who fixed it was great.

Things we did enjoy in Idaho were visits to two hot springs - Heise Hot Springs and Lava Hot Springs. We all really enjoyed soaking in the natural hot springs - especially at Lava Hot Springs. We also visited Craters of the Moon National Monument and took a short hike to see some of the formations created by lava flows there.

As I mentioned, today we left Pocatello in Idaho to enter Wyoming and visit Grand Teton National Park. The drive, which follows large sections of Snake River, was beautiful and almost (I repeat almost) made me forget what a pig of a time I had earlier in the day. Right now, we're boondocked in a small viewpoint parking lot in Grand Teton National Park. Last time I looked outside the RV, there was nobody within miles of us (literally).