Traveling to Island Park, Idaho

Jagger and I are up early and start to pack up camp.  This is the second time I have “dry camped” and again only for one night.  I listen carefully to the groans of the battery as the slides are pulled in and the stabilizing jacks are pulled up.  I did all this without plugging in the workhorse to see how the batteries hold up.  I am nervous to camp more than one night even though I purchased a second battery when buying my coach.  It did seem to groan a little, but everything did work as designed.  I definitely will need to purchase a generator or solar setup before I take on longer stay.  The battery may be okay, but I won’t.  Call it peace of mind.

With the coach all hitched to the workhorse, Jagger and I say good-bye to Bannack Ghost Town and head South-East to Island Park, Idaho.  This will be my first camp in this area and I am looking forward to the drive.  My long term goal is to explore Wyoming next, which I have never traveled to any extent, as I make my way south to Arizona to meet my family for a camp at Fool Hollow Lake, Arizona.

Bannack Plains Near Dillon

Bannack Plains Near Dillon

As we drive from Bannack through the dry plains valley, Jagger and I see some wonderful scenery passing by our windows out in the middle of God’s creation.  Up ahead I see someone standing on the side of the road with a big STOP sign and we pull up to a stop, with Jagger growling.  The road worker greets us with a pleasant hello and I apologize for Jagger’s behavior. We visit for about a half an hour waiting for the pilot car to return and the road worker explains they are doing a major repaving project before winter sets in.  Before the pilot car returns we accumulate several dozen cars and trucks.  Up ahead I see the pilot truck coming as the road worker told me how slow John drives, he’s a new guy.

We take off following John for many miles of gravel covered road before he turns around to take another group back West and Jagger and I continue on to Virginia City.

It’s a commercialized ghost town with plenty to see.  I had the pleasure of strolling the streets here and having lunch about five years ago on my way to Yellowstone (my first visit) with my friend Beth.  The pictures above are from that visit in 2008.  This time Jagger and I just pass through, driving slowly as there are many tourists today in spite of it being after Labor Day.  Since the main street is the highway we are traveling, I get to experience the flavor of the area and I remember things, like where we ate lunch five years ago and walked the town main street.

Virginia Valley

Virginia Valley

As Jagger and I head out east of Virginia City, we continue the steep climb going between Hollowtop and Baldy Mountain.  Then we travel down the other side and a beautiful view opens over looking the Virginia valley, the Madison river, and in the distance the city of Ennis.  It’s here we take a brief break over looking the valley to have our lunch before continuing on to Idaho.

After lunch Jagger and I head out continuing down the steep road into Ennis.  Here we stop for diesel fuel at a station much to small to be pulling the Coach through, but no choice at this point as the Workhorse has used most of the fuel I purchased in Hamilton before I left two days ago in preparation for the trip.  Of course after fueling I prepare to leave and someone squeezes in next to me blocking my exit.  Hmm, I think I can make this, but it’s the closest I have ever had to negotiate pulling the Coach.  I ease forward and make it with inches to spare.  I notice the driver, who was in a rented RV.  He looks over at me with the look of apology or maybe unbelief on his face.  I wave and off we go.

Hail Storm, impending Winter

Hail Storm, impending Winter

We arrive in the Island Park area and inadvertently take the wrong road (thanks Google) to get to the RV Park where we would stay for the coming week.  The road turns into dirt, then mud and we spend the next twenty minutes bouncing around and dragging the Coach through the mud.  We continue around the north end of Henry’s Lake and the road turns into a paved road about a quarter of a mile before we see a sign, “Red Rock RV Park“.

Red Rock RV Park

Red Rock RV Park

After checking in we are escorted to our nice camp, well maintained with all the amenities you would expect from a full services park.  Island Park advertises itself as the city with the longest main street and only has a population of several hundred. It was founded during the prohibition days, as it was right on the border of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.  It’s also in an ancient volcanic caldera.

To be continued…

Until next time, safe travels, Gary

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