A Travellerspoint blog

Welcome to the Dark Side of the Moon

Craters of the Moon National Park


We ride.

There is nothing here in Idaho. Not even endless fields of corn. The land isn't quite flat, but rolls gently and is filled with tiny bushes and sandy dirt. No wildlife to be seen. It's hot and the radiator leaks some more. We stop and fill it some more. The heat is scorching. We try to protect from the sun, so I ended up looking like an arab. I had my extra shirt and my bandana wrapped so that my neck and face were covered. Only my eyes were exposed. I think it might be getting worse, but I just need to find the right method of using stopleak and water. I also try keeping the radiator cap on one clip to reduce pressure. I'm hoping that it will plug up for a 1000 miles like it did the first time.

We ride at 45mph for over an hour and I'm enjoying the sights. The nothingness really hypes you up for when you get to something cool. We started seeing in the distance these great big mountains sticking out of flatlands forever. There were three of them in a row and I figured out that they were volcanoes.
The empty lands finally started turning into farms and we saw these cool buildings where they put dirt on the roof and let plants grow up over the building.
Mountains start to paint the horizon, just barely seen through a foggy atmosphere that blends into the blue sky over the flatlands.

We see a town off in the distance to the right and I ask Vanessa if we should go over there. As usual she's a tough one and says, "Keep going!" The lands are now farming but at this time of the year they are just growing and cutting hay: Endless fields of blocks of hay. It seemed almost as unusual as some of the grand sights we've seen on the trip. The blocks of hay were spaced about every 20 yards and the Sun, low in the horizon, cast long shadows. In some places you could see thousands of these hay squares and it was quite a sight. It made the land seem odd and alien. Perp takes us another 20 miles to the small town of Arco with their mountain towering right over town with numbers carved all over it. The giant block shaped numbers must've been 20 feet high (apparently I like the number twenty).
Now Vanessa tells me she's falling asleep and doesn't feel good. I ask her if it's stomach or head and she responds, "Everywhere!"

I have her sit at a cafe and look at the menu, but we have food so we agree that she should sit and have some water and then we'll leave. She needed to get in out of the blistering heat even at four in the afternoon.

I leave her there and go and buy stopleak. I pick her up and take her on a dinner date at a nice little convenience store. We got acai berry V8 splash and milk! We ate our food stores and it was off to craters of the moon.

We try the new headphones while riding listening to MP3's of Kenyan R and B. It ends up Craters was only another 25 minutes so it was a bit unnecessary to get out the head phones. We set up camp and rode around craters with the Kenyan R and B still playing.


Short story Long...
Wait a minute...
I can finish this up, hypocritical of me or not.

Craters of the Moon != Canyon of the Crescent Moon
(exclamation mark, equal sign is computer nerd for not equal)

Craters of the Moon Visitor Center display of Blue Dragon Lava:
Let me tell you, this stuff was everywhere!

Welcome to the "other" side of the moon.


In honor of the Blue Dragon Lava, here is Joe doing the Blue Dragon Taoist Postures on Inferno Point:

Then, improve:


And, for one of the first times on this trip, we were in the right place at the right time (for the most part). There is this guy who is a volunteer park ranger that travels from park to park and teaches astronomy, and that night he was at Craters of the Moon! It was really nice. He showed us a Power Point of some of his photos (really good) and then a video of his favorite Hubble photos that he titled the page: "Favorite Hubble Pictures Set to Music." He was sweet, and he set up his telescopes for us after the presentation about light polution which was really interesting. He showed us LA at night only 20 years ago, and LA at night today, and it was sad. He also showed us a picture he took at a national park 500 miles or so outside Los Vegas, and you could see the light ontop of the Lux (is that the one with the spotlight pointing up?). Anyways, I guess he is part of the movement to reduce light pollution, and Craters of the Moon was one of the only parks that has begun to fix their light pollution by capping their lights. This way all the light points down which reflects the 80% of the light that usually just goes to the sky where you don't want nor need it. More energy efficient, more useful, and moving towards a world where you can see the Milkyway from your back yard. I'm sold. Last little note, after seeing Jupiter's moons, I tried to cross over the telescope to where Joe was standing, and I knocked over this awesome little gadget that you point at the sky, and it uses a gps to tell you what star your looking at, and a brief discript of its significance. He said that when his wife got it for him it cost a small fortune, but now you can get it for about $175.00 at Radio Shack. He told me that it happens all the time (probably because it is dark and he plugs it in on the other side of the telescopes just asking people to trip on the plug). But I still felt really bad, and I think that me walking in the wrong place at the wrong time had to happen to balance the good fortune of being in the right park on the right night for the coolest telescope view I've ever seen of a star cluster!

Posted by - Rain 14:07

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


It was great to hear that you're warm at this point in the journey, even if it seems a bit extreme--glad you can adapt. Also nice to learn there's a movement to reduce light pollution. But what is Canyon of the Crescent Moon?

by Sheryl S

wow vanessa, so glad you got to do some astronomy stuff! remember when we tried to see Saturn from Mapleside's parking lot? that is still one of my goals in life, so find me a good telescope on a mountain in Hawaii - i hear they have a great observatory there, and also one in New Zealand! take care with the heat, you are related to Brittany - lots of water, rest and shade- remember when whe was getting heat stoke in Canada of all places (105 degrees) - we just submerged her in a baby pool, and she bounced back in like 3 minutes! love ya - also, p.s. it is wednesday here, about noon, and brittany made it safely to england, landed 7 am Cleveland time, noon England time. she was supposed to have to wait 6 hours for a bus to the college, but found one in two hours and she is being bussed there right now - a 6 hour ride. i expect she should be there about 3 pm. Cle time, 8 pm England time. her phone is working - so we can actually call her!

by georgi r

Did you break the GPS thing? Or just knock it over? Anyway, I know how you feel, I do that kind of crap all the time. AND the Kenyan R and B, is that my music from Susan (the artists are Nameless and Necessary Noise!)

by BritterBee

Umm, we didn't break the GPS, not sure what you're really talking about, but I'm glad I finally cleared it up. And yes, I borrowed Susan's cd and burned it to my iPod. I also burned your Gaelic Storm cd and Irish Dance cd. BTW, I was listening to the Irish Dance cd and I came up with a chapter for your character Autumn called Ireland After the Fall (if you haven't herd already).

by - Rain

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.