June 17 - Near Lowman Idaho

Grayback Gulch CG to Mountain View NFS CG near Lowman ID.
41 miles

Jig-saw puzzle bark of the Ponderosa Pine
Last night we tried a different sleeping arrangement. This camper has whats called sideways sleeping, also referred to as east/west, which means we’re oriented crosswise or side to side when sleeping. Of course we’d prefer lengthwise (north/south) accommodations (easier to get up at night without disturbing a partner, right?) but that’s one of the compromises you make for “light and nimble”.

The first few nights in the camper Dar slept in the forward spot which meant she had to crawl over me in order to get out of bed. (I should note here that little campers can have side-benefits if you have the right attitude and frame of mind. ;-) She became so adept at that little maneuver that most of the time I didn’t know she got up.

Well, last night it was my turn to try the forward spot. I guess I did alright as I was invited to try it again for another night. I have a hunch this may be one of those things that was more of a concern in theory than in reality.

Chilly. It’s the middle of June and it’s still darn cold up here at 4,000 ft. Someone later in the day today said they had 20-something at their place last night. We don’t have an outdoor thermometer in the camper (yet) so I can’t say what we had at Grayback CG. I do know it was chilly. And there's a good chance of rain the next day or two before a front passes and it gets much warmer.

After a quick breakfast snack we were up and rolling by 8am. Our first stop was the NFS ranger station in Idaho City for ideas and tips, followed by a light exploration of Idaho City itself. They like to say it was once the largest town in Idaho… just after gold was discovered here in 1862. Everyone from miles around who had a notion that it might be pretty cool to get rich quick moved in. And a short time later pretty much all of them left again about as poor as they were when they arrived. Only a small handful of miners made any significant money… as well as the whores, gamblers, and purveyors of ardent spirits who found a motherlode of a different vein.

In some parts of the USA being weird is OK.
What remains today is an interesting mixture of the old and the new, dilapidated old historic buildings surrounded by a few rehab’d or new ones, modern day merchants mining tourists, a museum, self-guided tours, and an old pioneer cemetery atop a nearby hill. With a partner who’s into genealogy and looking for ancestors wherever she goes, you can guess where we spent a good chunk of time this morning.

After a late breakfast/early lunch at a local diner called Trudy’s, we were back on ID-21 toward Lowman. I did top of the tanks before pulling out… as the next few hundred miles are through remote parts of Idaho and I’d like to avoid empty-tank syndrome at all costs.

If there was one curve in the road today there had to be a thousand. With our normal poking of noses into NFS CGs, overlooks, and sideroads, it took us almost three hours to go more than 35 miles. In that distance there were two mountain passes over 6,000 feet, and more switchbacks than you’d find at a modern political convention. There was very little traffic. We did run into a state (or county?) road crew that must spend all their time clearing rock slides and snow from this stretch. You really gotta wonder what the motivation was to build it in the first place. Had to be a monumental task.

We arrived in Lowman. And just a short distance down from where the ID-21 starts following the South Fork of the Payette River, just outside town, was a NFS CG where Dar unilaterally decided to drop the anchor. Just 41 miles of progress today… but that’s what this style of travel is supposed to be all about: no rules, no reservations, no expectations… just let things happen. Go with the flow. We’re in a fantastic site along the creek in rustic and rugged Idaho, writing and working on photos, listening to the rushing, tumbling, rolling water, and trying to decide if this is fantasy or reality.

Along the South Fork of the Payette River near Lowman.

Minds under mild stimulation from legal adult substances sometimes wander to strangeness and the just plain weird.

We’re near the city of Lowman Idaho and I wondered, for just a moment, if this is where the bottom guy on native totem poles originated? You know… the low man on the totem pole?

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