We got up, broke camp and headed to the SLC airport to pick up Grandma at 10:30. As soon as she got in the car we hit the road to ID. Our goal was to go to City of Rocks and then overnight at Craters of the Moon, ID. According to our GPS, City of Rocks was 180 miles away. 3 hours give or take.
We had no trouble with the car or the trailer, but we decided to name it The Hole Day. We stopped for lunch 14 miles south of the ID border and had a down-home lunch at the Ranch House Cafe. The kids and Grandma went out to take a look around while we waited for our lunch, and they found a mouse hole, surrounded by dead mice and two live ones. Very exciting! The girls especially wanted to discuss it during the entire lunch. Lovely.
We left lunch, walked back to the car/trailer and as Mom was getting into the passenger seat, stepping over a mud puddle, she lost her balance and fell backwards into the mud hole. It was actually pretty frightening. I was scared to death she broke her hip or something, but she injured her pride more than anything else. She landed smack in the middle of a mud puddle. She was COVERED in mud, from her shoes to her shoulders. In addition, she whacked her head on the ground pretty hard. She has a small cut in her scalp, but Dr. Dean determined that it did not need stitches. As we continued our drive, we monitored her pupils and level of clarity and she was fine.
It was a good thing she was fine, because we were in the middle of NOWHERE. I mean nowhere. The last 21 miles of our drive to City of Rocks was a dirt road. We were positive that we were going the wrong way, and almost turned around with 14 miles to go. Even worse, when we looked at the GPS, we had to come back out this way to get to Craters of the Moon...which was listed at 4 hours away! We thought they were right next door! The whole time we were driving alone on this dirt road surrounded by empty, broken down farmhouses every 3-4 miles, I kept thinking, "What if we break down out here?" "What if Mom is really hurt badly?"
We finally arrived at the booming metropolis of Almo, and checked in at the visitor's Center for City of Rocks. The two guys that worked there had a combined IQ of ~100. They told us that these were GOOD dirt roads we were on! OMG. So, we ventured up into the Park, and found the rocks. They are the remains of lava flows from up to a billion years ago, out in the middle of rolling plains. Very odd. This is a mecca for serious rock climbers, evidently. The kids put on their hiking shoes and wanted to try it out. They LOVED it!!! If they had their way, they would have just climbed the rocks all the way to the top every time. If Grandma had her way, they would have stayed on the ground. Her vertigo while looking at them was so bad she had to put her head down and stare at the floor of the car. The girls specialized in finding holes explore while the boys climbed even higher. All kids said it was their favorite thing they have done the entire trip. From an adult perspective, it was not very pretty, a very boring drive but on the positive side: it was very weird.
For our final hole of the day, as we picked our trailer back up from the Visitor's Center, the kids had to check out the outhouse. They were mesmerized by the "poop hole." "Mom, you could really see the poop, it doesn't flush!" Yes, we are not the most out-doorsy people.
We now decided it was too late to drive to Craters of the Moon. We stayed on a "hard road" and headed to Pocatello, ID. When we tried to check in to a campground, we found out that the Western Wrestling Championships were this weekend in Pocatello, and that all campgrounds were full! It was 9 p.m. They told us there was a brand new campground about 15 minutes north, so we headed that way. We took a spot, paid for it, and had dinner. It was scary. It was on the grounds of an Indian Casino, and the people that were gambling and eating were downright frightening. On top of that, there was little to no security at the RV park. They said someone would come through at 3 a.m. When pressed, they said maybe someone would come around every couple of hours. We asked for a refund and hit the road at 10 p.m.
We had to drive 45 minutes north to Idaho Falls, and at 11 p.m. we checked in to the Holiday Inn Suites. So much for camping! The beds feel pretty good though. :-)