Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Do Not Drink the Water

After one night each in Heyburn and Bruneau Dunes, we did two more one-nighters.

First stop was Bully Creek Reservoir Campground, a county-owned park about ten miles west of the tiny town of Vale. Vale was the first Oregon stop for pioneers on the Oregon Trail.

When we made reservations and again when we checked in, we were advised to NOT drink the water as it contains arsenic.  We were also told that it should take about 50 years of ingesting it before the water would probably cause any real damage.  But, added the camp host, "none of us drink it."  A flyer indicated that arsenic levels are nearly 30 times higher than what’s supposed to be safe.

So we didn’t drink the water. 

But we enjoyed walking around the tranquil, wooded campground, which has 40 campsites with electricity.

Next stop was Burns, Oregon, named for the Scottish poet Robert Burns, says the city website. Burns is the county seat of Harney County Oregon; the city website says Harney County is the seventh largest county (by area) in the US and bigger than some states.

Jim and I have driven through and near this area several times before, and decided that we would stay in as many new-to-us campgrounds/towns as possible.  So we looked for a place that had good reviews and chose the Burns RV Park. Only to realize when we pulled in that we had been there before. Oh well. 

Last time we didn't even unhook our tow car -- we just just hunkered in for the night. This time we needed groceries, so we found a nice Safeway and did some exploring.  But I didn't take a single photo in Burns. Sorry Burns.You are a very nice town.

On our way to Bruneau Dunes we drove behind a double semi truck load of straw, which created a windstorm of bedding until the truck exited I-84 after about 50 miles.  Then we followed the above big load of onions most of the way to Bully Creek, and onions flew off the entire time.  Jim was going to pass it, but stayed way behind because he wasn't sure how much windshield damage could be caused by a flying onion. If you look closely you can see the truck was still losing onions as it took the exit ramp.
Our camping spot at the Bully Creek Reservoir near Vale, Oregon.  Bully Creek is a tributary to the Malheur River, which in turn is a 190-mile-long tributary to the Snake River.
That's our rig and Bully Creek campsite near the center of the photo, which was taken from land that was once under water.  Obviously the reservoir  is way down. The dam that created the crescent shaped reservoir was built in 1963.
A boat dock at Bully Creek Reservoir is yards away from the water.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Going north for now

After a five month hiatus, we are on the road.  We had a great summer and I’ll blog a bit about that later.  But now I want to write about now.

We headed north from our home in Salt Lake City, pulling our shiny new-to-us tow car. Whose battery died after 100 miles.    

So we pulled off the road, detached the brake on the toad, pulled the lifeless car to the Riverside RV Park in Heyburn, Idaho, and called Triple A.  After a successful jump we settled in at a very pretty RV park. Then we explored Heyburn and nearby Burley.  Burley was named for a railroad official and has a population of about 10,000 people.  Heyburn has about 3,000 residents and was named for a former senator. Per Wikipedia, the region got a big economic boost when In 2012 Chobani opened the world's largest yogurt processing plant in nearby Twin Falls.

The next day we drove the car and the RV separately to Bruneau Dunes State Park near tiny Hammett, Idaho.  It was another lovely stop. 

Both days Jim did some research on our towing situation. Although our 2013 Honda CRV towed just fine when we did a test trip last month, apparently a fancier car needs a fancier brake set up.  So we'll work on that.
View of the Snake River from a bridge on US 30 and right next to the Heyburn Riverside RV Park.  What a great place to stay.  
Jim and Arlo on a path next to the RV park and along the Snake River.

Part of the path consisted of the Heyburn Arboretum, created about 12 years ago by the city and filled with 200 trees from all over the world -- including exotic ones like rubber trees that you wouldn't think could survive in southern Idaho.
Across the Snake River from Heyburn is the larger city of Burley, which is the county seat of Cassia County, Idaho.  Above is their very pretty courthouse.  When I first moved to Utah I heard a story on the news about "a Burley woman" and I thought "how rude."  But Burley is a well kept town and Burley women -- and men -- should be proud. 
People play on the big dune at Bruneau Dunes State Park, near Mountain Home, Idaho, and where we stayed the second night of our trip.  The big attraction is sand sledding; the park rents slides so people can cruise down the tallest (470 feet) single structure sand dune in North America.  Single structure means the sand hills are connected to one another instead of spread out.  Maddie and I climbed to the top of this one. 
View of our campground from the top of the dune.  At the right is a star gazing  observatory which we didn't visit as there was a full cloud cover the night we were there.
The pink and coral colored plants around the dunes were stunning. They looked soft and fuzzy but were actually hard and prickly -- but still beautiful.