Goodness gracious, I didn’t get a blog written on either Thursday or Friday, and here it is Saturday evening. I guess the reason I didn’t write anything is because we spent most of the last three days in the car.
Thursday we left St George and kept going north. There’s not much to look at until you get to Salt Lake City, and then there’s so much traffic it’s hard to look at anything except the other cars. We decided to press on to Pocatello, ID, for the night, and we got in there about 6 pm. That’s a long day for us.
We planned to get to Boise for Friday night, and while it’s not really that far, we also planned to stop and see the Craters of the Moon National Monument. There have been 13 separate volcanic events in the last 25,000 years – that’s right – about one every 2000 years. The last one was about 2000 years ago, so we can expect one any time. In fact, the ranger told us they are predicting one any time between the next 24 hours and 1000 years.
The Craters of the Moon is located on a Great Rift – an area of the earth’s crust that is weak enough to allow a series of eruptions and volcanic events periodically. This one is basalt based, so it throws out cinders like the volcanos in Hawaii. The active volcanos in Washington and Oregon are rhyolite based and throw out ash.
There’s an amazing amount of wildlife, even on this desolate landscape. You should be able to see a tiny ground squirrel on the path. There was a whole colony living in the crevices of the lava and foraging in the low-growing bushes.
This lava flow looked just like someone had dumped truckloads of black clay out and then run monster trucks through it. I’ve seen water soaked fields in Georgia or Alabama that looked just like this after a concert. You could get stuck in it up to your ankles. The only thing about this stuff was, it was hard, not viscous.
After spending a couple of hours in the lava beds, we pressed on to Boise. Funniest thing – the grass isn’t really blue there – it’s green like everywhere else.
Today we spent in the car all day driving to Spokane. I’m of the firm opinion that the engineers for the Department of Transportation in Oregon need to have their heads examined. They seem to think that it’s fun to go straight down a mountain, and then take a right-angle turn at the bottom. There was one three mile section that was so steep that they recommended the big trucks go between 30 and 16 miles per hour. Big Al took us down it standing on the brakes and trying desperately to keep the car under 85 miles per hour. We made it, but not without a few extra gray hairs.
I was able to visit the genealogy section at the Spokane Public Library. Spokane is where Papa was born and went through high school. We’ll drive around tomorrow and see if we can find the addresses where he lived as a boy. They are probably all gone by this time. Maybe I’ll get on the train after we get settled and come over here and spend a couple of days, particularly on the days when the Genealogy Society is meeting.