Day 41 – 10/10 Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho Potato Museum

Super nice day today at Craters of the Moon National Monument, then a quick stop to check our the Idaho Potato Museum hahahaha… and some greasy potatoes for dinner.

No alarms today, yeeeee!  I woke up at 7am anyway, but that’s sleeping in for me.  It was very cold, I think 64F is a bit too cold some days, so I’ll move the furnace to 65F again, that seemed to be the sweet spot.  We have exploration today, so looking forward to getting out there and seeing the area.  It is our last full day here in Idaho Falls, so we need to make the most of it.

I let everyone sleep in, and little by little they woke up.  Bia, then Bella and Carol was last, she seemed to have liked Bia’s bed :). They were all up by 8:30am so we started getting ready to leave, little by little, and with no rush or stress.  

I went outside to get something and noticed there was some water behind the trailer, and as I got closer I could see it was overflow from the fresh water tank, again.  Not sure how that’s possible with the new one way valve, but I’m guessing that valve is also getting stuck and the water from the street went through the pump again little by little and filled up the fresh water tank.  Dang it!  I am going to need another solution, so I’m thinking I’ll replace the one way valve with a manual on and off shut off valve, that way there’s no way for a mechanical malfunction to allow water back in there.  For now, I just turned off the city water and we’re using the pump to empty the tank so we don’t carry all that water tomorrow.

We got everything ready including Maggie, and were out the door by 11am.  It was a 1 hour drive to the Craters of the Moon National Monument.  The drive there was very cool, nice vast land with mountains behind it.  It was hard to see the mountains as there was smoke and or dust in the air, so it was covering the far away landscape.  But, we could see some of it.  It’s like a desert area almost, not much there, some low dry vegetation, some hay, and that’s it. 

As we got about half way, we some some interesting signs.  Atomic City, Nuclear Waste Management site, Idaho Energy Labs, roads only for official use, etc.  Very creepy considering the landscape we were seeing, and right around that point we started seeing darker soil, darker rocks on the ground, etc.  Left us wondering if they haven’t don’t some atomic bomb drops around here way in the past.  Anyway, we kept going and were soon at the park. 

We could definitely see how the landscape had darker soil and darker rocks as we approached.  We stopped at the visitor center quick to use the restroom and I got a map and recommendation on trails from the park ranger.  We used our national parks annual pass again here, totally a great deal, remember it was $80 and already got us into many parks and monuments managed by the National Parks Service (NPS). 

The park is very neatly organized, very clean, looks like it’s all new, roads, sidewalks, trails, everything looks new.  It is a very cool place to check out for sure, you drive around through the areas where two volcanos violently erupted and were destroyed while that happened, and lava was flowing, and fountains of foaming lava created some mounts, etc.  It is very cool. 

You get to drive by and walk through the rivers of lava that turned into rocks, you get to touch the rocks and see how some are super light as they were made from the foam of the lava and are very aired inside.  I got one and took some pics. 

There were two spots I liked the most, the first is the mount that you can actually walk up to, it’s a bit steep but it was super cool to be way up there, awesome views and cool stuff to look at. 

The second was a trail loop that went through some caves and leads you right in the middle of where the lave flows were, so you see right up close how the lava would flow, turn into rocks, and more would come over it and do the same.  We were talking right on it, it was really cool! 

The girls always wanted to go to a volcano, so they got pretty close.  They said it didn’t feel like one because the mountain and crater were not there, so they still want to go to a traditional one.  Oh, and again, the volcanos blew up when they violently erupted, so not much of the actual volcanoes was left. 

Bia was really into our last hike, walking and checking out stuff, chatting.  Bella… not so much.  She started crying that she wanted water, which was an excuse to go back as she didn’t want to walk.  She annoyed Carol for a good half of the hour hike, at at the last 15 minutes she came with Bia and I and we started walking a bit faster, and she was fine from there. 

At the end, everyone said this was a cool trail, especially at the end where we walked on the “river of lava”.  That was our last stop there, we were all very dirty, mainly dusty from the trail, and we could see it on Bella since she had white pants, she had dust all over. 

From there, we went to the Idaho Potato Museum, in Blackfoot. hahahahah… it was just for giggles, but since it was kind of on the way back, why not. 

It’s a small museum, very small, like smaller than most restaurants in town, but interesting to see some of the info on why Idaho is such a good place for potatoes.  Volcanic ash soils, long dry season, it doesn’t get too hot, warm days and cold nights, and access to water (Snake River).  Well, that explains why it’s so dry and dusty here, and why they plant that many potatoes :).

They had a couple of cool things there too that the girls enjoyed, like a Virtual Reality thing that takes you in the driver’s seat of a tractor on a field, and a potato car derby track.  It was a fun little stop, worth the stop if you’re nearby and have time, not so much if it’s out of the way. 

After all that potato talk, I found a restaurant that allegedly had the best potatoes in Idaho Falls, so we went there for dinner.  I’m the only one who got a dish with potatoes though, and they were amazing, rolled in bacon grease, served with bacon pieces, can’t go wrong! hahaha….

Carol went to Walmart after that and I took the girls to check out the slot car race place again, and they are closed… no signs, just closed, I think they’re closed for good and just didn’t update their site. 

We went back to the trailer and I had the girls shower so they could watch some TV.  That was the rest of our night, just relaxing, and some TV.  Oh, the wind picked up and we have a wind advisory until end of Monday, with winds of 25-45 and gusts of up to 55mph.  I’m going to watch that closely so we avoid it, or at least most of it.  Don’t want to be out there with the trailer with winds like this.  I’ll likely get everyone going early if that helps avoid the wind.

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