Thursday, June 6, 2013

Feelin' Otherworldly at Craters of the Moon, ID

{Insert obligatory excuse for not posting in far too long...yada yada yada, being busy living and working on the road, etc.} Now that we got that out of the way, let me tell you about our trip to Mars. Elon Musk invited us to go on a top-secret SpaceX flight to the red planet, where we drove Teslas and sent each other quadrillions of dollars via Paypal.

Alright, but seriously, Craters of the Moon National Park and its surrounding town of Arco, Idaho has to be one of the weirdest, otherworldly places in the lower 48 states. 

Don't take my word for it, President Calvin Coolidge described it as "a weird and scenic landscape peculiar to itself" before he established Craters of the Moon as a National Monument in 1924. Coolidge and I see eye to eye on just about everything -- alliteration, Vermont maple syrup and laissez-faire government (Spencer believes strongly in all three; I strongly support the American syrup initiative).

Craters of the Moon sits atop a lava field that was formed between 15,000 and 2,000 years ago. It encompasses the Great Rift volcanic rift zone. Although it's been more than 2,000 years since the last eruption, Craters of the Moon is still an active volcanic site.

Spencer and I climbed up a massive pile of volcanic ash known as Inferno Cone. 

It was incredibly windy; I was almost too scared to do a signature jumping photo. Almost. 

The lava tubes caves are one of the most unique features of the park.

We explored several of the caves, including Boy Scout Cave, which was discovered by a group of scouts and retains ice year-round.

Considered one of the lesser-known national parks, we enjoyed the peace and tranquility of visiting Craters of the Moon. We set up our RV atop a lava flow campground inside the park. 

Ellie, always quick to make new friends, was happiest playing in the lava ash. Her chocolate coat camouflaged how dirty she was!  

Not only we did love Craters of the Moon, but we couldn't forget the small town of Arco, just outside the park. With limited Internet, no cell phone service and no television, Spencer and I headed into Arco in search of a bar playing the Miami Heat playoff game. What we found was a faded gem called the Melodee Club, where we met the liveliest and loveliest set of locals. 

After I successfully converted them to Heat fans, we rolled dice to win free drinks and swapped stories until it was "dog time." For those unfamiliar, "dog time" is when the restaurant attached to the bar closes and you can bring your dogs into the bar. Pretty soon, about 6 canines were running around the bar like a group of wild teenagers with fake IDs. 

We ended up bringing home a dozen fresh eggs from a neighbor's chicken coop and some memorable tales for our travels. 

Being from the South (full disclosure: south Florida), I know a thing or two about southern hospitality. Nothing quite matches the hospitality and friendliness of Arco, Idaho. 

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