As you know, I went for a bike ride this morning next to the Boise River. The temperature was perfect, the view was great. What a wonderful start to the morning. I checked out of my hotel and entered "Craters of the Moon" into Google Maps.
Look at that! Right into the heart of it. So excited!
I drove for hours. If yesterday was all about straight, flat roads. This morning was about windy roads through beautiful prairies. And cool signs.
One of the radio stations was only playing songs relating to summer and in between the songs the DJ said, "Summer starts at 4:34pm today." (I inadvertently took a picture exactly at that time...I'll share it later in the blog).
I passed a sign that said, "Magic Lake and Hot Springs" or something like that and decided to turn around for a quick detour. Worth it!
|If there weren't other people at this destination, |
I reckon I'd have gone in for a swim. The water looked perfect.
Soon after the sandwich, I found myself already IN the Craters of the Moon preserve.
Google maps said, make a right, make a left and I found myself on a dirt road with 26 miles until my destination! I figured the dirt road was going to be short...just a stretch of the road...until the next paved bit.
I was wrong.
|At a rest stop, a sign for exactly where I was going!|
|On the dirt road. (This is a BEFORE picture of the car)|
Well, these gentlemen came from somewhere, so clearly, this dirt road was legit. And after 20 minutes of slow, clinking, clanking, rattling driving I came upon the craziest landscape I've ever seen. --- A Lava Field!!!!
|Feeling isolated, in a new world with rocky terrain|
(Still early yet on the dirt road)
Realizing I was only at the beginning, Google Maps saying I still had 20 miles to go, I decided to keep moving. The lava field disappeared and prairie took its place for a mile or two and then I came upon and even greater lava field. No vegetation at all.
I kept going and soon enough, I ran out of lava fields. When I had 10 miles to go, cell service cut out and I was ok with this until I drove over a rock. It was a biggish rock that I thought I could clear...until I hit it. Dead center and BOY did it make a noise and adjust the tragectory of the car, just a little. Like a shimmy or a shake. I immediately stopped the car, dust swarming over me and checked underneath - making sure nothing was leaking. No damage done. The car was fine. Not even a scratch.
It was at this moment that my mind began to disperse with the euphoric feeling of freedom and lovely isolation. It began crawling with doubt and fear, but I pressed on. I would be more careful of rocks. But I started thinking it through. The conversation in my head went like this.
Me: What's the first thing I'll do if I pop a tire or run into some other problem?
Myself: Don't panic. That's the first thing.
Me: Yes. True. But it's 104 degrees out. This is how people die.
Myself: Whoa, partner. You have 1/2 a case of water and plenty of food. It's ok.
Me: I don't know how to change a tire.
Myself: Someone will likely come along and you have water. You'll be alright.
It went on like this for a few minutes until I found myself no longer alone on the road.
I was distracted from my fears and decided to push on even though my adrenalin was pumping hard and my rational brain was telling me to turn around. There was a part of me saying, "Google Maps said so, there must be something AMAZING ahead. Only 6 more miles to go." And then...
It took me a minute to process the fact that I would have to turn around, and for all my "Go forth! Adventure awaits!" self-talk, all I could feel was relief. I would be heading back towards certain cell service, over terrain I was familiar with. AND I hadn't given up, given into fear! I'd pushed on and was forced to turn around due to something else. I wasn't the weinie who gave up (though I'm almost sure in another 500ft, I'd have thrown in the towel.)
So, around I turned, saying to myself what an amazing adventure I'd been on and how few people would have seen what I'd seen. How hard it was to drive that winding, rocky road, but how worth it to see those lava fields! So happy. So proud.
|This picture was taken EXACTLY at 4:34pm - The start of summer and the end of this crazy adventure!|
(This is the AFTER picture of the car)
My mood turned a little sour, but before I could do anything about it, LAVA FIELDS EVERYWHERE!! Next to the highway. Oh, for God's sake!
1) When using Google Maps, be sure to type in "Visitor's Center" or something similar.
2) Don't drive over big rocks.
3) Wear sunblock in the car. My face is all sunburnt.
|I did stop at the Visitor Center...it was sort of cool|
|The best part about it was the campground! You can camp in a lava field!|
(I thought about it but it was a billion degrees...no thanks)
(And I leave you with a couple cute cow photos)