Our recent adventures took us to Santa Fe N.M (you can read about it here), but we had just as much fun during our journey there and back. We started out with our trailer in the early morning and headed towards Colorado, with a short stop in Driggs, Idaho.
Driggs is an adorable down halfway between Big Sky and Jackson WY. We have stopped here many times in the past, most frequently to go to the Soda Fountain at Corner Drug which dates back to 1906. Upon our arrival we noticed it was the last day for their Lime Freeze Shake, so we had to order that. It turns out that it was fantastic, a perfect combo of fresh lime juice and rich creamy vanilla ice cream. I’m not sure about you, but there is just something about an authentic Soda Fountain, everything just tastes better. After the Lime Freeze we picked up some breakfast at Provisions Local Kitchen , a local Tex-Mex spot that produced an incredibly tasty “Ortega Bowl” complete with scrambled eggs, chiles, cheese and fried potatoes. It sustained us on the remainder of our journey.
Along the way we scouted out the best place to re-caffeinate which appeared to be Pine Coffee Supply in the picturesque town of Pinedale, WY. Pine Coffee was delicious, with the proprietors finding there way there from Austin TX. The town has a bit of an identity crisis- on the one hand there are the Hipsters at Pine, and on the other those who believe Trump is still our President. It is a special situation when everyone can comfortably coexist.
Our original plan was to spend the night at a KOA in Craig Colorado, but when we stopped for dinner we found the door of our Bowlus Road Chief wouldn’t open, no matter how we tried to coax the lock. After about 30 minutes of frustration and too many curse words to mention, we checked ourselves into a nearby Hampton Inn. The staff at the desk was happy to accommodate us with their most spacious suite (?!), though we were too tired to care about the extravagance of our sleeping quarters. We did our part to augment the security system a bit (not sure what was making us nervous), but our sophisticated barrier system was sure to keep out the bad guys.
When we woke up we contacted Rifle Lock & Safe who stated they could help us solve our unfortunate lock issues. We arrived in Rifle in time for a quick slice of (gluten-free!!) breakfast Quiche and tasty cup of coffee at the Whistle Pig Coffee Stop. When we finally met with the Locksmith, he was able to miraculously open our door and play around with the bolt a bit to hopefully ensure we wouldn’t have such aggravation again. He was a bit of a character and regaled us with some dramatic tales of other folks’ lock troubles.
As it happened we did not have to test out the lock that evening as we spent the night with some friends at their spectacular ranch in Montrose Colorado.
The road then led us to Durango where we appreciated some stunning scenery along the way, and stopped at Taste Coffee housed in a repurposed garage replete with an admirable collection of hubcaps.
Our plan for the evening was to spend the night in Moab, Utah. We booked ourselves at the KOA Moab Holiday which was an impressive spot to say the least. It was like a small city- well organized, crowded, and immaculately clean. Before we settled in for the night we explored Moab and decided to have dinner at 98 Center, an Asian Fusion restaurant a couple of streets off the main drag. Luckily for me they specialize in both vegetarian and gluten free dishes, my husband even admitted that the Tofu Banh Mi was pretty tasty. The Banh Mi along with some Deviled Eggs and a Tofu Rice Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce were winners.
After dinner we set ourselves up at our deluxe campsite at the KOA (it included a lovely patio area) and when it came time to open the door of the Bowlus we both held our collective breath with trepidation. Would the door open?? Thankfully as we eased the key into the lock, it turned smoothly and we were able to exhale (and give a nod of thanks to our Locksmith friend in Rifle Colorado). We took some time to let the interior cool down, because much to our chagrin the air conditioning seemed to be malfunctioning. Luckily, as it got dark the 90 degree temperatures started to drop down to the mid 60s. At least we had a place to sleep!
My husband got to pick the activity in Moab, and it was a 4WD Off-Road Tour in an area called Hell’s Revenge. This tour had come highly recommended by a friend, and it was not for the faint-hearted. Luckily my husband was the driver, but there were moments, specifically in an area called the Devil’s Backbone that I wanted to get out and walk back to the car. It was exhilarating and beautiful, and our guide did a great job of making sure everyone was safe and accounted for while pointing out the areas of significance. One tip, be sure to book an early tour as it gets HOT in the desert. We set out at 8:15 am, and by 9:30 it was getting close to 90 degrees. This is an activity I would most certainly recommend if you find yourself in Moab.
After we returned to our car (thankfully in one piece) we cooled off and put our next destination into the Navigation. This was one stop I was really excited about- Diamond P GrassRoots Bison Farm in McCammon Idaho. We learned about the Diamond P Farm on Harvest Hosts, so not only could we visit the Farm, we were also able to spend the night. Harvest Hosts is a network of Farms, Vineyards, Breweries and Museums where you can spend the night in your RV (it must be self- sufficient, needing no hook-ups) in exchange for supporting the establishment with a purchase. Diamond P is relatively new to Harvest Hosts, but their reputation is growing, and it is a bit of a challenge to reserve one of the 3 spots available nightly.
The real highlight for me was the opportunity to learn about the Bison, and then head out on a wagon to get up close and personal, and feed them treats. The owner of the Farm, Jenny, offers guests an educational session before the Bison meet and greet where she enthusiastically teaches the group everything you need to know about these incredible animals. She charges a nominal fee to cover her gas expense ($8 per person) which in light of the enjoyment received is the bargain of all bargains.
Encountering Bison in the wild (in Yellowstone National Park for example) can be incredibly dangerous, but the Bison at Diamond P. have been around people their entire lives, and come to expect this nightly treat. Each animal that approached the wagon had their own distinct personality, reminding me of tremendous cartoonish dogs. A little known fact- the Bison’s tongue feels like sandpaper, and they have no front teeth, only teeth on the sides, so snacks have to be placed in the corner of their mouths.
When the tour came to the end the guests were led to a small shop inside the farmhouse where a whole array of items were available for sale, including Bison meat. I had a hard time with this, but am confident that Jenny gives those animals the best possible life before they are headed to someone’s dinner plate.
By this time it was dark and we needed to set up the Bowlus. Confident that the lock was now fixed we were dismayed to find ourselves locked out once more. As we prepared to Google the nearest hotel we decided to reposition the Bowlus on an uphill slant so that there was no pressure on the dead bolt. This seemed to solve the problem, which we were grateful for, but it was an aggravating end to a most perfect day.
After a good nights sleep (temps in Idaho got down to the 30’s) we set out to the last iconic roadside attraction of this trip, The Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot, which honors the history and importance of the potato in Idaho. Not only was it informative and interesting, but there was a café attached where I was able to feast on a perfectly baked spud buried in a generous serving of butter for a late breakfast. On our way to Blackfoot we strolled around Pocatello, which is a very appealing small city and home to Idaho State, definitely worth a re-visit.
Aside from the Potato Museum Blackfoot didn’t have too much to offer apart from a lot of Saloons and Blackhawk BBQ which smelled so enticing we were led there by our noses. My husband was the first customer in the door and ordered a “Big Tex” a pulled pork sandwich crowned by a ring of smoked sausage. This BBQ joint was worth the stop!
I really loved all the adventures we experienced on this trip, and even with all the aggravation the Bowlus has given us, am grateful for the fact that it has prompted us to explore the small towns in the U.S that we never would have discovered otherwise.