Day 26 – Missoula,MT to Idaho Falls,ID

Happy Independence Day everyone! I don’t know if we can stay up for the fireworks here in Idaho Falls tonight at 10:00 PM but we did stop by the Fourth of July Creek while crossing the Lemhi Mountain Range! When we left Missoula this morning we decided to take the more scenic route down old Highway 93 instead of the quicker route down IH-35.

In going this way we followed a winding 2 lane road through the Bitterroot and Lemhi Mountain Ranges. We went high enough into the Bitterroot Mountains to reach the snow at a bit over 7,000 feet. The Lemhi Range route kept us mainly in the valley following the route of the Salmon River. Highlights included passing both the Lotta Sweat Ranch and the No Sweat Ranch. We also crossed the Continental Divide and the 45th Parallel (said to be halfway between the Equator and the North Pole). The only wild animal we saw was a Pronghorn antelope. We saw very many pretty horses though. This is real cowboy country.

When traveling down 93 along the Lost River Mountain Range we were delayed by a cattle drive of at least 500 cattle being herded down the side of the road (and some in the road!).

We passed through Arco,the first community in the world ever to be lit by electricity generated by nuclear power. This occurred on July 17, 1955, powered by a reactor at the nearby “National Reactor Testing Station” (NRTS), which is now the Idaho National Laboratory (located in the nearby desert). NRTS made further history on January 3, 1961, when the SL-1 reactor melted down, causing three deaths. It was the world’s first (and the U.S.’ only) fatal reactor accident. In town, the most striking physical feature is Number Hill, a rocky hill with numbers painted all over it. Butte County High School has a tradition of each class since 1920 painting its graduation year on the face of hill.

The mountains and rock formations were very nice. We are now transitioning from totally snow-capped mountains to more arid Southwestern style formations. Tomorrow Utah!

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5 Responses to Day 26 – Missoula,MT to Idaho Falls,ID

  1. gopigs15 says:

    I have a relative building a plant near Richland, Washington to handle the waste from the Manhattan project. The government housing still stands in town. These are tiny little houses.

    What timing. You must have orchestrated this one, coming back into the U.S. on the 4th of July. I did not venture outside. This has been a family tradition in recent years. It is cool here and the picture is HD with Dolby 5:1. No mosquitoes. If you did not see the celebration, the 1812 Overture was stunning. Of course, it always is to me. But, thank God, I never heard Lee Greenwood singing this year.

    So, please, document what I never got to see on my darkened bus ride. I remember seeing Salt Lake City. It was so beautiful.

  2. David Whitten says:

    God, I am sleepy.

  3. David Whitten says:

    Must have been a malfunction in my brain. What I wrote did not make it to print. I am only on my second cup of coffee.

    Nice timing. You must have planned this well coming back into the U.S. on the 4th of July. I learned to enjoy the fourth with the HDTV & Dolby 5:1. You can hardly tell any difference. No crowds, Yankee Doodles dressed in American flags, Lee Greenwood songs, or mosquitoes.

    Please, chronicle what I did not get to see. When I awoke on my trip from Washington to Waco, I was in Salt Lake City. What a progressive city, indeed.

    I am anxiously awaiting pictures.

  4. Pam says:

    That’s pretty novel… Tom in the snow in July and Paul at the Fourth of July Creek on 4.11.2011! Like the Number Hill – y’all have seen some pretty unique sites, besides all of the awsome views.

  5. Pam says:

    Errrr… don’t know where I got 4.11.2011!!! Make that on 7.4.2011!!! Maybe I need to fight the insomnia and get to bed!

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