Day 4 Drive Idaho Falls to Boise, or Craters and Fossils

Tried to get up this morning, and despite dawdling to stock up on pop at Wal-Mart and wash the car, we were on the highway by 900. First we drove to Craters of the Moon National Monument. It has little to do with the moon, it’s a gigantic lava bed. It turns out if you need terms to describe different kinds of lava flow and terrain, you use Hawaiian words like Pahoehoe and A’a. There’s a nice seven mile drive through the area that shows off some of the most bizarre terrain, but the real shocker is that when you leave, you drive past lava formations for miles and miles. Met a couple from Saskatchewan in the parking lot at the visitor center. They’re driving to California. We’ll wave if we see them again.

Haven’t mentioned trailers versus roofracks lately. On day three I took advantage of the Montanan’s love of kayaks and bicycles to reverse the trend and beat Caroline about 250 to 100.

Today the traffic was very light, and there were few of either. Call it a tie.

Our second stop today was at the Hagerman Fossil Bed. We were disappointed because you don’t actually get to visit the fossil bed itself, just a tiny museum mostly oriented towards children. It turns out that the ‘Hagerman Horse’ is a common ancestor of both modern horses and zebras, and the first species of horse to be called Equus. Also there were ‘camelops’, a beast that gave rise to llamas, and much later and very far away, camels.

Curiously, the best exhibit was one about the internment camps for Japanese Americans during WWII. Even 1/16th Japanese ancestry was enough to get you taken to a crude camp. Despite this, the residents managed to landscape the properties with Japanese gardens, and many joined the US armed forces.

Found our hotel early this afternoon, but even a simple expedition to buy gas was nightmarish. What used to be through streets, at least in Lara’s memory, are now private loop roads through condo parks with a speed bump every four car lengths. Resolved to take a taxi to dinner.

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