Thank you very much to my good friend Aaron
Bear and the Mountain Home Assembly of God
in Mountain Home, ID
Starting on August 17, 2002, 3:35:24 PM
Well, I apologize for starting my trip through Idaho with these weird bugs. Feeling a bit drowsy I stopped in a small town and found a nice little park to relax in for a while. As I sat down at one of the picnic tables I found these little bugs crawling all over it. This group looked like they were all in a huddle. Probably all plotting against the guy on the motorcycle. (uh, oh!)
The lower, southern part of Idaho seemed pretty dry and barren. However, when you look more closely you can find all kinds of life. What might look like a barren wasteland can actually contain more life than you could imagine.
As I drove into Mountain Home the sun began to set so I got some nice shots of it as it dropped below the horizon.
Right on the edge of town I found these signs. I don't think that I'd feel comfortable taking my pet to the clinic there.
Now for the real weird bugs. If you thought the ones at the top of the page were strange then check this out. As I was driving out of Mountain Home, about 15 miles to the northeast I saw what I thought was rocks all over the road. But then I noticed all the strange spots on the pavement. Then I began to notice that the little black rocks were actually moving. I had to stop to investigate and that's when I saw the largest crickets I have ever seen. These things were huge and there were millions of them all over and alongside the highway. And more creepy than that was the fact that they were eating anything they could find, including their own dead.
I stopped and got off the bike to get a better look at them. They immediately jumped off into the sage brush and hid. After I stopped and paused for a moment they began to come back out. Not only did they come back out but they immediately began to come towards me to see what new food had been left for them. In the next picture you can see them all facing me as they were coming towards me. It really gave me chills so I got back on the bike and left. As I drove down the road, amidst all dead along the road they gave off that same putrid, dead bug stench that I referred to back in the bug swarm in Michigan.
On down the road I was in aw of the scenery. Although, dry and seemingly barren, the rock formations kept changing, revealing all the various colors and shapes that I could imagine. Throughout the ride the hills and rocks turned into a canyon with nice winding curves along the Salmon river. It made for quite an entertaining ride.
Some of the valley I was riding through began to be quite hazy from the smoke of a brush fire up in the hills.
Up and around some of the mountains the scenery kept changing. From dry, desert to beautiful wooded mountain roads, to low valleys and prairies, the scenery never bored me.
I took a detour off of the main highway to go visit a few real ghost towns. Down a dirt road from Sunbeam lies the remains of Bonanza City and then Custer.
Custer became famous for its rich ore deposits that were discovered by three prospectors. They actually stumbled upon this famous mine due to a snow slide that exposed the rich vein of ore. For more than 30 years the town of Custer stirred with excitement and grew until it finally went bust in 1911 and all the people eventually abandoned this once thriving town.
As I wondered around the remains and ruins of these two ghost towns a sense of loss overwhelmed me. I could almost imagine all the stories and adventures that must have taken place in these two towns from a more simple era. So many moments and memories all lost in time. My imagination began to stir and wonder how it would have been like to live there. What would a day in the life of Bonanza City be like? Would we take a carriage ride over to Custer, a few miles down the road for lunch? Or would we go down to the creek to catch a few fish for dinner later? Or would we just hang outside the local saloon again to watch ole' Buckeye Wheeler get drunk and start another fight that he can never finish? All kinds of thoughts went through my head as I then wondered. Were these my thoughts? Or were they the actual memories of a time long gone. The memories, still floating and echoing on the wind and through the air of this mystical place?
Bonanza City was quite a thriving town with a population of about 600 people until several fires devastated most of the town and the growing attention to Custer stole much of the population.
I left the mystery of the ghost towns and got back on the main highway. The hills kept changing and I kept feeling myself compelled to take picture after picture to try to capture each and every different formation.
The occasional deer sightings are always exhilarating. Sometimes seeing them off in the distance while other times coming right up on them right on the side of the highway. Sometimes I think it startles me even more then it does them. Unable to capture those moments, I just can't seem to get my camera out and ready within that fraction of a second that they jump and are gone.
All along the Salmon River the hills and mountains outline this rugged countryside. Every once in a while I catch a farm nestled within a small valley or clearing. Somebody had found just enough open area to cultivate and harness the environment and grow a crop or two.
As I head into the night I leave behind hills, mountains, and bluffs that I would love to explore more. But time keeps pushing me onward as I feel the need to see more of the country.
Up the hill to the pass that leads me back into Montana, I ride on. Enjoying the changes in scenery but not the changes in temperature.
Its getting colder. Maybe its the night falling.
But maybe its the north. Taunting and threatening me. "Turn back!" it
calls out to me. As I feel the chill of the north pass through my bones I sense
the reluctance in my heart. My logic tells me to listen to the cold and go back
But the adventurer keeps pressing me onward, speaking to me
"Don't listen to them. This is your home. This is America."
So I Go North.....
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