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Author Topic: Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)  (Read 1504 times)

hbelkins

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Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)
« on: August 22, 2021, 02:03:42 AM »

These two days have been spent exploring all sorts of backroads and desolate country, including the famed Magruder Road Corridor. We have ended up tonight at Arco, Idaho.

Day 8 (MT-ID)

Leaving Dillon, the plan was to drive the Pioneer Mountain Scenic Byway, then try to find a place my brother remembered called the Christensen Ranch, where he thought his geology class may have come in 1984. From Dillon we took I-15 south to MT 278, followed it north to the Pioneer Scenic Byway, which comes out on MT 43. A slight diversion off MT 43 took us on gravel roads (North Fork and Lower North Fork) back to MT 43, then US 93 north to local routes to the Magruder Corridor.

The Christensen Ranch did not look familiar to him, as it was more open country than mountains.

It's not signed, but maps indicate that MT 43 dips ever so briefly into Idaho as it comes to its end at US 93, so that gave me another new Idaho county for my collection.

We made surprisingly good progress on the Magruder Road. Once we crossed the river and started the really treacherous portion, we only met four ATVs, and two full-sized vehicles which were at a pullout. We ended up camping at a makeshift spot near the western end of the road, after finding that a campground listed in the Forest Service literature didn't have all the amenities listed (no running water or picnic tables) so we continued on a little farther.

He had a two-person tent and two sleeping bags and a small cot, but I decided I would rather sleep sitting up in the truck (I'm used to sleeping in a recliner at home). During the night, it came a thunderstorm. The water ran under the bottom of his tent since we weren't in a developed campsite, so his sleeping bag ended up getting wet because he didn't use the cot, but instead used a thermal pad and a small inflatable pad under his sleeping bag. Meanwhile, I was high and dry.

I honestly don't see the appeal of camping like that. It's not something I would voluntarily do, that's for sure. I know lots of people are into it, but not me. Unless I end up on another adventure with him sometime where that's our only overnight option, I doubt I'll be doing that again.

Day 9 (Idaho)

Much of today was spent driving in the rain or cloudy conditions getting from the Elk City area to Arco. We finished up the last few miles of the Magruder (a good gravel road), then FS 222, ID 14, and ID 13 took us to Grangeville. From there we picked up US 95 south, a good, fast route, then ID 55, ID 44, and a local street to I-184 to I-84. From there, we exited at Mountain Home and took US 20 (picking up US 26 and US 93) and ended the day at Arco after visiting Craters of the Moon.

Gas is consistently at or just slightly below $4 a gallon in Idaho, which seems awfully expensive. I'm really surprised it was as high as it was in Montana, but Idaho is even higher. Is it taxes? Other than one place with a captive audience that had gas priced at $5 a gallon, this is the most expensive gas I've seen in many, many years. I'd hate to live out here, considering how far you have to drive to get anywhere.

The roads here are quite scenic, even the ones that go through a lot of rolling prairie with occasional ridges like US 20. The 80 mph speed limit on I-84 is nice, but I didn't get to take advantage of it because I was driving in the rain in my brother's truck, so I exercised caution and slowed down.

Speaking of rain, the next time there are fires in this part of the country, just bring me out here. We have dealt with rain on and off for three days. A storm with lots of lightning was off to our east when we exited I-84 at Mountain Home.

Tomorrow, I think we're making a beeline for the Mexican Hat area.
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Rothman

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Re: Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2021, 09:17:34 AM »

A properly set ground cloth also helps with keeping water out from under you when camping (i.e., making sure it's totally under the tent and not sticking out anywhere).
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1995hoo

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Re: Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2021, 09:30:09 AM »

A properly set ground cloth also helps with keeping water out from under you when camping (i.e., making sure it's totally under the tent and not sticking out anywhere).

It’s also vital to use seam sealer on every seam on the tent when you first buy it. Never trust the manufacturer to say they did it. The stick type (similar in overall appearance to Chap Stick, I guess) always seemed to work the best; you run it over all the seams on the outside of the tent and you make sure there’s a good coating of it, then let it dry before putting the tent away.

I know it’s too late for hbelkins's brother on this trip, obviously.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2021, 09:34:07 AM »

A properly set ground cloth also helps with keeping water out from under you when camping (i.e., making sure it's totally under the tent and not sticking out anywhere).

Usually I bring an air mattress on top of a ground cloth.  One nice thing about our Forester is that it has an adaptor in the back I can plug my compressor into.  We use sleeping bags but having an air mattress underneath certainly is far more comfortable than just laying on the ground. 
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Rothman

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Re: Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2021, 09:54:09 AM »

A properly set ground cloth also helps with keeping water out from under you when camping (i.e., making sure it's totally under the tent and not sticking out anywhere).

Usually I bring an air mattress on top of a ground cloth.  One nice thing about our Forester is that it has an adaptor in the back I can plug my compressor into.  We use sleeping bags but having an air mattress underneath certainly is far more comfortable than just laying on the ground.
When you start talking about air mattresses, I think I'm with HB and you just sleep in the vehicle.  At some point, all the "cost" of setting up camp just makes it not worth it to me.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2021, 10:58:50 AM »

A properly set ground cloth also helps with keeping water out from under you when camping (i.e., making sure it's totally under the tent and not sticking out anywhere).

Usually I bring an air mattress on top of a ground cloth.  One nice thing about our Forester is that it has an adaptor in the back I can plug my compressor into.  We use sleeping bags but having an air mattress underneath certainly is far more comfortable than just laying on the ground.
When you start talking about air mattresses, I think I'm with HB and you just sleep in the vehicle.  At some point, all the "cost" of setting up camp just makes it not worth it to me.

The air pump and air mattress cost about $35 dollars combined.  I spent several fold more on the emergency gear I take on just normal road trips.  All my camping stuff fits into one Costco tote.  If campgrounds were more reliable in terms of getting a spot I would probably use them more often than hotels.  But that’s the perspective of someone who is comfortable camping outside and can set/take down quickly.
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1995hoo

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Re: Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2021, 11:11:29 AM »

I don’t know if they still sell these, but for many years I used something called a "Therm-a-Rest." It was a self-inflating air mattress. You just opened the valve and let it inflate while you set up your other stuff; I usually blew in a little extra air when it was done, but it was surprisingly effective on its own. (To deflate, you opened the valve and rolled it up to force the air out, then closed the valve.) If those are still on the market, I’m sure they’ve advanced a lot since my Boy Scout days in the 1980s.

Camping stuff certainly can get expensive if you let it. The key is to know when to spend the extra money for something that will last a long time (tents, sleeping bags) and when it’s less important (plates and cups and such for eating).
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

kphoger

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Re: Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2021, 02:07:33 PM »

I don’t know if they still sell these, but for many years I used something called a "Therm-a-Rest." It was a self-inflating air mattress. You just opened the valve and let it inflate while you set up your other stuff; I usually blew in a little extra air when it was done, but it was surprisingly effective on its own. (To deflate, you opened the valve and rolled it up to force the air out, then closed the valve.) If those are still on the market, I’m sure they’ve advanced a lot since my Boy Scout days in the 1980s.

We have one.  My wife brought it into the marriage.
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Rothman

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Re: Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2021, 03:32:30 PM »

I don’t know if they still sell these, but for many years I used something called a "Therm-a-Rest." It was a self-inflating air mattress. You just opened the valve and let it inflate while you set up your other stuff; I usually blew in a little extra air when it was done, but it was surprisingly effective on its own. (To deflate, you opened the valve and rolled it up to force the air out, then closed the valve.) If those are still on the market, I’m sure they’ve advanced a lot since my Boy Scout days in the 1980s.

We have one.  My wife brought it into the marriage.
"So, you married into it." -- Anton Chigurh
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2021, 03:35:09 PM »

I don’t know if they still sell these, but for many years I used something called a "Therm-a-Rest." It was a self-inflating air mattress. You just opened the valve and let it inflate while you set up your other stuff; I usually blew in a little extra air when it was done, but it was surprisingly effective on its own. (To deflate, you opened the valve and rolled it up to force the air out, then closed the valve.) If those are still on the market, I’m sure they’ve advanced a lot since my Boy Scout days in the 1980s.

We have one.  My wife brought it into the marriage.
"So, you married into it." -- Anton Chigurh

I often ask people at work if they “see me” and I’ve yet to into a person who gets the reference. 
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Bruce

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Re: Great Western Road Trip of 2021 (Days 8-9)
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2021, 03:01:24 AM »

Speaking of rain, the next time there are fires in this part of the country, just bring me out here. We have dealt with rain on and off for three days. A storm with lots of lightning was off to our east when we exited I-84 at Mountain Home.

I might have been caught in that same storm system (but at the far north end near Coeur d'Alene), if this was on August 20. The thunderstorms luckily didn't create even more wildfires, as they tend to do out here.

 


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