July 31, 2010
We drove that long road #93 in Nevada and Idaho North, with nothing by the road except for chains of mountains. it would be kind of boring, except that the road was being fixed on several parts and we had to stay and wait. Several parts of it had only one lane. Also – there were a lot of trucks on the way and it wasn’t very comfortable to drive, to pass them, etc. But once of a sudden we had an attraction – there was sign on the road that there are hot springs only half an hour from Twin Falls, Idaho, called Nat Soo Pah – Magic Mineral Water:
It was very good to have break in driving, to have a rest, pleasure and to cleanse our auras. And all that fro only $5 per person (versus $40 per person in the hot springs closest to Zion – in La Verkin, Pah Tempe Hot Springs – which I am not advertising at all).
Then we passed Twin Falls, there are real falls there, but we didn’t go to see them, saw them several years ago on the way to Oregon. Since Twin Falls there landscape was strange – no mountains around, just flat lava fields, rough black lava fields, that can’t be used in agriculture in any way…Like a devastated land…I didn’t even take pictures of it. We were wondering where did the lava come from – then we realized there were some tiny hills in the horizon. What an amount of magma burst into the surface some very long time ago. It left some caves under the lava surface. One of them is turned into museum – called Ice Caves. We didn’t visit it – it was too late, but saw some pictures and talked to rock shop keepers – it is really ice there covering the floors of the cave. The ice s so smooth that sometimes people skate there. But there are no stalactites or stalagmites as we would expect in a cave. As the ice is there – it is cold inside and they advice to dress warmer while going down. It was amazing that on that very hot day it could be cool somewhere without AC. Especially under a black lava layer… But you should never assume -that is my rule I have developed during my life span.
When we started seeing mountains in the distance, some even covered with snow – this was towards Sun Valley, where we were planning to stay the night. Once we entered the canyon where this well know ski-resort-rich area is – the mountains around it where not white at all and they were not spectacular. Just mountains, with rather even surfaces -maybe it was the reason fro ski resort. I would say Brian Head ski resort is much more beautiful. OK, not speaking about the resort buildings. Approaching Sun Valley you start getting the feeling that there is a lot of money spent or invested (depends on who and why) in every inch of the land. The trees and lawns by the road are already irrigated, everything is green, luscious pine and spur trees, lots of flowers, lots of fancy condominiums and houses. However – very few motels or lodges. So that tourists wouldn’t disturb of some people’s rest . When we stopped to ask in one motel about where can we find a no-vacancy sign – the woman started laughing at me. She looked at me and said I have to reserve a year in advance to get a room. That only very rich come here and have a good time, meaning it is not my place to have a good time, I didn’t look i belong to that class. Sorry. Not for myself, but for her – the woman was not old at all, but already had very few teeth in her mouth. But at least she was serving very rich people. I asked – what celebrities like to come here, besides Schwarceneger – who we all know has broken his leg while skiing here. She said – celebrities like Bill Gates. Wow, and they stay in that pretty simple looking motel? Well, I kept this question to myself, I was already too sorry for that motel manager.
So being simple and not too rich as we are we drove back towards the airport that big airliners as well as celebrity air crafts are using to make their trip to Syn Valley a piece of cake. And in the town called Hailey we found a room in a simple motel called Hitchrack. By that time we have already done 606 mi. the room was very comfortable, small, but had even two beds, could sleep 3 people, had two pictures – a photo of a wolf who was staring at me on the bed and a drawing of a sheep – to whom the wolf didn’t pay any attention. The room also had a small kitchen, which we didn’t use. There were lots of restaurants around and some of them had quite interesting menus, healthy choices, local veggies – I guess they were all trying to please the celebrities’ and their flocks’ pallets. So ingeneral – it is a nice area. But fro pictures - I made only one I really liked:
This is how some people make fences by the ski lifts. And how good those skis looked to me: while still in my country when I was young, full of energy and into mountain skiing , I could only dream of skiing on Atomics, Roosignols, Salomons – but at least I heard of them. So you can imagine – I had a bit of sentiment there…:-) . This was unexpected thing to see. But there was a thing I planned to see and was happy I managed – the skating arena, where I heard that lots of Olympic skaters train and the Lithuanian dance couple Povilas Vanagas and Margarita Drobiazko are sometimes training the young generation. This time they were not there, but it was impressive to see others dancing, men throwing women, then either cathing or not, singles doing triple axels, toulups…etc.
After watching for a while we drove towards Sawtooth National recreational Area – and that was impressive:
At first we drove up the pass, “up above the sky”, and then landed into a very green valley by Salmon river:
I think it requires no explanation why this mountain range is called Sawtooth.
This is the watery and fast Salmon river. Stanley the town is seen at the foot of the mountains. It is spectacular to spend some vacation there! Here is another view of the Salmon river that we followed for a long time on RT 93 and we parted with it only in North Fork when we started going up a pass and towards Montana.
You can see some people by the bank – it is where a hot spring is entering the river. People are wading, some kids are even immersing into the warm waters. We didn’t find enough space to immerse…:-)
The views all that way by the river were very pleasant, the slopes of mountains had a lot of loose morena and it seems lots of them were shaped by glaciers long time ago…
(to be continued)
July 26, 2010
They say it is not safe to write about your trip while you are on it, so here we go – we managed to get out of our home , garden, irrigation, cats and fish two weeks ago – and travel for 6.5 days North. To cool off. So we headed towards St. George in order to start the cooling process – to dip into the emerald Quail Creek lake as it is shown in my previous Blog. Then we drove towards Nevada border, towards Enterprice. And on the way – here was the Mountain Meadows Massacre site…A very sad place. Though the valley is beautiful:
Here in 1857 a group of some 150 people from Arkansas stopped for a rest on their tiresome way to California, at that time – a land of opportunity. They met the Mormons who lived close by and asked for their permission to rest for a couple of weeks. Even gave them a good horse for that. There are several books written about the case but they all have the same conclusion – the Mormons killed those innocent people, except for several kids who were not of 8 years or up. There is something in their religion that forbids killing young kids…I wish there was something that forbid killing, period…Why? I guess even the nowadays Mormons are not quite sure, they explain it in fear, but isn’t fear the main cause of all the killing in the world? Not to expand on the subject – this is the darkest spot in Mormon history. they built a monument on the grave sites, but…On that monument they as if praise themselves – the Church built and dedicated the monument, preserves it…but the fact that they killed and even the number of people killed – is not reflected on it. Also – a note: the killings were very brutal, happened at night and the killers pretended they are Indians. dressed like them and painted their faces like them…
It sais that it happened on September 11, 1857! Another 9/11… And like Alcaida – the Mormon Church never said: “Sorry”…
Then we drove and drove for some 4 hours over a mountain range, then through Nevada and reached Ely, the first city on the Loneliest Highway in America, that goes through Nevada West-East. It is an interesting city as all of the very few on that road. It has a grandeur in its past, the grandeur of a mining town. But the mining is almost gone, the gambling is also not very big there, far from metropolitan areas, it is depressed. We stayed in its biggest hotel – wow – 6 story high!, called Hotel Nevada. The hotel was the first such a tall building built in Nevada in 1929. Before all the hotels were built in Las Vegas. In its time it had prominent visitors such as Lyndon Johnson, the president of the USA, Ingrid Bergman, the actress and many more celebrities from the entertainment business. Including Stephen King who came here in search of the three ghosts who live in the hotel. I wonder if he met them, we didn’t.
A view from our window and our room:
Rooms are not big, but cozy, furnished in old style, but the facilities are modern and clean. It was funny to see this flat screen TV in our room. The lobby and corridors have a lot of character created by Wild West artifacts:
Though I am very much against killing animals those chandeliers looked very impressive:
I hope they are made from shed horns…
There used to be a bigger collection of miniature scenes of various activities people were doing here, but at least there are still some 4 left:
I guess this is a jail guard working hard.
I am not sure if we went to this or another bar for beer…But here is the Woman’s bathroom door in that bar:
I specifically checked the door on men’s bathroom – there was nobody peeking…:-)
And in the morning I walked the meditation labyrinth with all those abstract statues or constructions around:
While two crows were kissing endlessly on the opposite roof:
From there we drove up towards Idaho, Twin Falls.
July 1, 2010
I decided to post the main events of each month once. At the end of the month. Unless we go onto some exciting trip…
So here we go – we went for an overnight stay in Vegas, the beginning of June. It was so hot…like in an oven. But we wanted to have a little break between guests, gardening, irrigation and sitting by computer (the last one is obviously not applied to me). Besides swimming in the pool at ours now liked Tuscany Suites we visited Bellagio with its excess of flowers, as always:
Had a curious glimpse at the chocolate bar there (we don’t indulge – it is unhealthy…) – the eagle is made of chocolates:
And the rest of the evening we spent walking and admiring or just wondering under this super modern architecture in the newly built City Center:
We almost bumped into this construction once we entered The Crystals – the shopping area over there… At first it was hard to understand what it was. Then we saw a restaurant in the middle wider part of it and a reception desk in the bottom part:
Because it looked so bizarre, we took one more picture from another angle- maybe that will reveal its beauty better..:
And here are shapes of their ceilings – wherever you look at – it is intriguing:
And the floors:
And the decors on the floors:
there was an island of glass tubes with colorful hurricanes in them:
You could walk around them, touch them and get the feeling of the humid air they were emanating.
On a different note – when the weather cooled off for several days we went on a Coal Pits trail which has a positive feature to be not popular among tourists. There some rather exotic plants were blooming:
Also we had a lot of blooming around our house:
Which leads us to another adventure – the King snake:
Here she is trying to climb a tree and find birds’ nest…She didn’t find on this tree but found on a bush by our door and that was really sad…I noticed finches flying desperately around the bush, we both came out to see what is going on and until we noticed her in the bush – it was too late… So all Andrei did was heroically catch the snake with a stick and place it into a bucket, cover it, we then relocated it to its natural habitat called desert. For God’s sake, why are they coming to peoples’ gardens, is it safe enough for them? I don’t think so. There are worse ways of getting rid of those pretty but not very friendly creatures.
And finally – while on the way to St. George for once a week shopping we picked cherries in M&I Farm in Hurricane. This is the main fun of June! Their cherry orchard is huge:
This year the crop was big -when I saw how many cherries were hanging on the branches – I thought they could feed all Utah citizens and still have more left. They have ladders, buckets prepared for picking. It was a pleasure to see such abundance and to pick them:
To tell the truth lots of them went to waste…left for the birds to feast on. Not enough demand for them…
Here is the Quail Creek lake at the end of Hurricane – it is a reservoir, but of very beautiful green color amidst the red mountains and a very good place to swim and cool off before diving into the shopping frenzy in St. George: