Wednesday, May 28, 2014

#162 - Family, Holiday Camping, Allergies, and Road Trips

(NOTE: I know that for many, spending time in a RV does not constitute camping. However, at my age I appreciate no longer having to get up from a tent floor after trying to sleep on an air mattress while it loses air through the night.)

Let me start by saying I understand that the true purpose of Memorial Day is not so people can have a three-day weekend. However, the fact that it was a three-day weekend, coupled with the fact that two of my wife’s brothers were visiting from out-of-town, made it an opportune time to take the RV out of storage. So that’s what we did, taking the truck and fifth-wheel about 90-minutes outside of Boise to Bruneau Dunes State Park.

The good thing about a holiday weekend of any kind is that it provides an extra day away from work and the demands of daily life. The bad thing about holiday weekends is that even the nicest campground can begin to resemble a Wal-Mart parking lot, packed with dozens of other rigs, all of whom are now your neighbors (if not your closest friends). If you’re lucky, most of your fellow park residents will be courteous and not see your site as the perfect shortcut to the bathrooms, the visitor center, the picnic shelter, the hiking trail their friends told them about. You get the picture. This past weekend, we were lucky in that regard, although I suspect our site location – not close to anywhere campers might be interested in walking to – had much to do with that success.

Early evening view - 1st night
The weather was almost perfect for the last weekend in May – mid to upper 80s and sunny, though it was a bit breezy at times. However, the wetter than average spring we had (at least by Idaho standards) caused my allergies to interfere a bit with my enjoyment of being out with the RV. On the other hand, dealing with allergies in a scenic location, albeit it still miserable, is more enjoyable than dealing with allergies and still having to go into work.

While the park was too crowded for my tastes (to be expected as the holiday weekend usually marks the start of camping season here in Idaho), the weekend was enjoyable and relaxing but too short, as always. My wife may disagree, but I also think the packing up and hitching up to leave process went as smoothly as it ever has. (More so than our arrival as I again managed to forget something we planned to bring. I guess one of our trips isn’t complete unless that happens.)

Teresa and I also took the Tuesday after Memorial Day off from work so we could spend an extra day with her brothers before they began their trip home. Both brothers are into photography, so we decided a day trip was in order to see if we could find some location worthy of their cameras. (Plus, after driving the day before, who wouldn’t want to get back behind the wheel and drive some more?)

After a little thought, we decided to drive to Leslie Gulch, an area still fresh in our minds (at least in mine) as it had been mentioned a week or so prior in a local newspaper article as a worthwhile scenic drive. Leslie Gulch is located in Eastern Oregon just inside the Idaho border near the south end of the Owyhee Reservoir, about a two-hour drive (or thereabouts) from Boise. We ended up in a campground at the end of the dirt road, where we took pictures, had a snack, and met a couple from Georgia who seemed to know more about out of the way scenic Idaho locations than we did, and we have lived in Idaho since 2003!

Leslie Gulch offers up some
interesting rock formations
If you like out of the way locations with interesting rock formations, then Leslie Gulch is worth a visit. The dirt road in from U.S. Highway 95 is fairly well maintained (except, perhaps, in winter) and can be traveled in a regular passenger car, although a Jeep or Honda CR-V (or something similar) might make for a more enjoyable drive. The way in is basically also the way out, so there is also a second opportunity to capture any pictures missed the first time around or to retake shots with a little different lighting.

As I write this, Teresa’s brothers are somewhere between Boise and Western Wyoming. We enjoyed their visit and hope to see them again before too much time passes. I also hope they found some sights worthy of their cameras with which to remember their visit.

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