Camping Along the Snake River

We left Grand Teton National Park right when the FBI found the body of that poor #vanlifer, about a mile from where we were camping. I’m surprised we didn’t see the searchers, and very grateful. I assure you: Tracy and I are living in harmony in close quarters, but this lifestyle is not for everyone.

Melvin Brewery

From the Tetons, we followed the lovely Snake River to the Wyoming/Idaho border, to stay at a Harvest Host brewery.

What’s unusual about this place is how much land they have in the growing small town of Alpine: acres and acres right on the river, covered in scrub brush. I believe there’s free dispersed camping all along the river here, and when they bought the land for the huge brewery, they left the camping sites as is.

I’m learning that a lot of businesses that join Harvest Hosts don’t know anything about camping and could care less; they see an opportunity to bring in business. Which makes sense, but also doesn’t make it easy for the people arriving in the RVs.

For example, Melvin Brewing hadn’t been built when Google Maps collected the satellite data for the area, so we had to guess at how to get there, and we ended up at the back of the brewery, with no way to get around to the front. They didn’t mention that in the listing because they didn’t know how stressful it can be to tow your trailer along unknown, narrow gravel roads with potholes and no turnaround in sight.

Plus. they’d had a festival the day before which meant temporary fencing blocked some of the gravel roads in and sectioned off the parking lot. Crew was tearing down the portable stage and lighting/sound equipment, and they were blocking the road out to the camping area.

The brewery could have easily mentioned all this when they confirmed our reservation, but instead they sent out a copy/pasted pat response that they “have plenty of room for RVs.” They probably don’t even keep track of how many they have coming in.

It turned out to be a great spot to camp in, after we figured out how to get to the front of the brewery and after we waited for the festival stuff to get torn down and hauled out.

We found a huge, flat spot overlooking the Snake River Valley, and walked over to the brewery to stock up. Because the nights here are getting so cold, we stayed inside the trailer drinking freshly poured beer and and playing our new board game, with the window shades open so we could watch the changing clouds and snow on the mountains.

Well worth the slight hassle.

The Town of Idaho Falls

The truck needs routine maintenance (we’ve put a lot of towing miles on it the past year and a half) so we’re in what appears to be an interesting town for just three days we as get that done.

Tracy found us a city park in Idaho Falls, again right along the Snake River (we followed the river here, watching bald eagles and osprey fight for caught fish in the skies above us).

We’ve already gotten some errands done in town (groceries, cold-weather clothes shopping, laundry) and hope to use the bike trail tomorrow while the truck is being worked on; it goes right through this park and, we hope, into the old downtown where we’ll explore.

In the meantime, Banjo and I have been walking that bike trail and enjoying the sun and the moon over the river. It’s a city river here, and not the kind with landscaping around (more the kind with homeless folks living in tents on the banks). Heck, it’s cheap camping within a bike ride of the Ram dealership where Tracy has the truck appointment, so it’s a big score for us.

And I’m grateful day after day that we’re alive and healthy and enjoying this special lifestyle. But kids, don’t try this at home (you know what I mean; I’m trying not to make a joke here). My heart goes out to all the people suffering from that girl’s death and for her young life ended—because people use social media to show life on the road through rose-colored glasses.

You know you can count on me to complain here!

Ukulele Segment

I haven’t played this song in a long time so am very rusty, but a) I want to end on a positive note with a travel song, and b) I want to show off the Snake River right at our campsite. Today Banjo accidentally flung my empty camp chair into the river, and while I was telling the story to my friend Lucy, she said, “You’re that close to the river?”

Yep. See?

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