Wednesday, April 10, 2013

US Hwy 20: Central Idaho

The wind finally eased overnight, and clear skies made for a beautiful drive out of Mountain Home. A brief stint to the northeast goes over some entertaining foot hills, approaching the southern edge of the major mountains that run north throughout the rest of Idaho.

Turning east, the road skirts the edge of the mountains to the north, and massive lava fields to the south. The geologic "hot spot" that is now under Yellowstone moved through this area over the past 14 million years, leaving a flat barren plain that is actually an immense caldera.

I stopped for a while in Craters of the Moon National Monument, to view the informative displays and lava expanse.

This photo doesn't capture the scene very well, but might give you the gist of it: Lava fields and hills for as far as the eye can see. After eons, enough soil has collected in spots to allow a few hardy trees to give it a go. Amazing!

Farther east, several buttes are visible, remnants of the many volcanos that have passed through. It's an awesome sight and experience. Your brain tells you there hasn't been any volcanic action here for at least a million years, but your instinct tells you to put the pedal down and get out of here!

I stopped for lunch in the little town of Arco, the first city in the world to be lit by atomic power. Yet another unexpected and peculiar experience on the ongoing Voyages of Macgellan!

Continuing east, the road passes through miles and miles of land with fences and signs denoting restricted areas, all emblematic of the nuclear research and development going on in the area.

Late this afternoon I pulled into Idaho Falls, where I plan to stay for a couple of days… Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

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