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  • Writer's pictureKandy Thietten


On May 22, we ended up in Craters of the Moon. I don't have a lot to say about Craters of the moon. It was lava rock. Lots and lots and lots of lava rock as far as the eye can see.

We walked the dogs up one short, steep trail that peeked deep down into a lava pit with snow still in the bottom, not yet reached by the warmth of summer, but when we got back to the bottom we saw a sign that said dogs weren't allowed on the trails, so we took them back to the motorhome and locked them inside. Once we got to a spot where we were on lava instead of blacktop, we realized that it wasn't a good place for their paws, anyway.

We hiked around a bit, following a longer steep trail to the ridge of a large pit that was left behind in the eruption years ago, but it was cold and windy, so we didn't stay out too long before we were ready for the warmth of our RV.

We planned on hiking around more the next morning, but when we got up it was even colder so we decided to begin our drive to Twin Falls.

(I liked the texture of this rock)

On our way to Craters of the Moon, we got hit by a huge gust of wind. Abe was driving down a straight stretch of road when, all of a sudden, WHOOSH! We were a few feet to the right. A split second after we felt the gust, there was a loud THUMP THUMP. I didn't know what we'd hit, but neither of us could see anything behind us, so we kept going. It wasn't until we got to Craters of the Moon that Abe looked up at the roof. We were missing the front air conditioner cover. We climbed up and discovered what had happened. The front of the AC cover had broken loose from the screws holding it down, created a momentary sail (that is what caused us to move suddenly to the side), broken off, and taken out the refrigerator vent cover as it flew behind us (causing the THUMP THUMP). It was all good, though. We had a tarp and duct tape, and as we all know, you can fix anything with duct tape, so we folded the bright blue tarp to fit, wrapped tape around it and over it, and were good to go. I was proud of my husband's ability to fix things, but he was embarrassed by our bright blue and black "fix", so new covers, including one for the AC unit that was still intact, was our number one priority when we got to Twin Falls. We were both a little surprised that the tarp and tape didn't budge a bit on the 80 mile drive.

(Air conditioner)

(Refrigerator vent before)

(Refrigerator vent after)

Abe was born in Twin Falls, and has a ton of family that still lives there, which is why it was a destination. We parked in front of his Aunt Marlene's house, and his cousin, Rob (more like a brother, although I don't know of any siblings that are as close as the two of them), let us borrow his pickup for the week so we could run errands. We were planning on being there for two or three days, but when we showed up, we learned that Abe's great aunt's memorial was going to be on Saturday, so we decided to stay for that and fix things while we were there. We went to Bisch's RV and ordered parts, which we were able to pick up the next day. We also went to a couple of bike shops, hoping to find a new wheel to replace the one on my bike that had been hit by a car, but they didn't have any. A couple days later, Rob suggest we check Spoke and Wheel. Low and behold, they had accidentally ordered one two years ago and were happy to finally be able to sell it! It was a busy week of doing repairs, visiting family, and having Abe show me the area where he lived as a young boy, and spent his summers after he moved away.

I've had too many run-ins with ticks on this trip. First, there was the mass that got on me in Branson, MO. Then, I found one crawling up the back of the chair I'd been sitting on when I stood up in Yellowstone. And on this stop... Abe took me on a hike through some sagebrush and either gooseberries or currants to a pond that he swam in as a boy, where he showed me King Cliff, the 70 foot high cliff that he jumped off of twice, before getting injured and being done with it.

(King Cliff is the ledge halfway up under the trees on the right)

On the way back to the pickup, I stopped to use the restroom, and felt something itching my back. I reached back and felt something crawling on me. was a tick. I took off my cowl-neck sweater that I was wearing, and shook it out hard, inspecting it for any other nasty little creepy-crawlies. Finally satisfied that there was only the one, I put my sweater back on and went to the pickup. I told Abe about it, at which point he had me do an impromptu tick check on him, eliciting whistles from a lady who was drawing in the front seat of her car near us. He was clean. We went back to Marlene's and told her the story, at which point she warned me not to bring any ticks into her house. No problem. I'd checked myself thoroughly. Then I felt something tickling my arm. I looked, and without thinking grabbed the tick and threw it down on the floor. Fortunately, it landed on tile so I stood there while I had someone get me some tissue so I could pick it up and flush it. I decided I needed to recheck myself, so I went out to the RV and stripped my clothes off. I shook them all out, looked over every inch, and was satisfied that there was nothing else in them. Then I looked on the floor... After finding a third tick, I was done with those clothes. I put them in the hamper (washed them as soon as I could) and put on some fresh ones. I've had way too many of those nasty, vile, evil little things on me in the last few weeks, but thank God I haven't been bit!

(A family of geese and gossling we passed)

We drove to Shoshone Falls, the "Niagara of the West". Shoshone is about 1/4 the width of Niagara, at nearly 1,000 feet vs Niagara's 3950 feet, but it is 45 feet taller, at 212 feet vs 167 feet. I've seen it once before, but it was at the very end of summer and the water was barely trickling over the edge. Very unimpressive. This time around, it was early spring and the mountain snow was melting fast, and the waterfall was beautiful, powerful, and majestic. The mist was wafting up to us, creating a double rainbow down below, and it roared as it thundered into the river.

Shoshone falls is absolutely worth seeing in the springtime.

It isn't just Shoshone Falls that is worth seeing, but the Snake River Canyon that runs next to the town. I haven't seen the Grand Canyon yet, but I've seen some beautiful ones in AZ, NM, and UT. This one has them all beat. The dark gray cliffs with the bright green grass and trees in the bottom is striking.

It's not the biggest, and it's certainly not the most famous, but it is definitely my favorite.

I went for a few walks on the path along the canyon rim to the Perrine Bridge, and on my third walk there (Abe's first), we got to watch base jumpers as they floated down to the riverbank below.

We kept walking until we crossed under the bridge to the other side, where we could see the jumpers as they left the bridge, but by the time we got there, they were all gone. We watched a few jumpers climb the steep canyon wall back up to the trail we were on, and just as we decided to go back because they appeared to be done, we saw some men with parachutes walking along the side of the bridge. We stayed there for a very long time, but eventually our patience paid off, and we got to watch three jumpers as they dropped their parachutes down below before jumping over them and sailing down.

We finally went back the way we came, passing several jumpers that had their parachutes laid out on the grass so they could pack them back up for the next time. Perrine Bridge is the only man made structure in the US that is legal to jump from without a permit, so it gets busy. We were lucky enough to be there on a busy day.

We spent a lot of time visiting with Aunt Marlene over the week, listening to stories she told, and to her quick, boisterous laugh.

(Above: Abe, Aunt Marlene, and me)

She drove us to Miracle Hot Springs on Wednesday. After we left the relaxing warm water, we stopped at Gertie's Pizza for all you can eat pizza and salad, where we proceeded to stuff our faces until we were sick. But it was so good, and I'm a sucker for dessert pizza. On the way to Gertie's, Marlene took us by a farm she wanted to show us. They had goats, a horse, a zebra-donkey cross, and two camels. The camels were nothing like Roger that we met outside of El Paso, who liked to come up to give kisses and get pet. They never even stood up, let alone come over to us. But the horse was super affectionate. In fact, every time we started to pet a goat, the horse would come push his way between us and the goat so we'd pet him instead. Zebra's are known for not being friendly pets, so I wasn't surprised that he wouldn't come to us.

By Friday evening, family had shown up from all over for the memorial. Saturday was church, the memorial, and a huge picnic with all of the family. It was wonderful to see most of Abe's family that I know, and to meet a few others. I'm surprised every time I see them at how kind and loving they all are. They are a blessing to be around. They give Christians a good name.

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