Saturday, May 2, 2009

11-2009 Ely to Jackpot to Pocatello Idaho

Ely to Jackpot: 209 Miles

Jackpot to Pocatello ID: 162 miles

Campground: Cactus Petes Saguaro Rv Park. $13.00 a night, Full hook-ups w/cable Tv. If you make reservations ahead, they will put you in the back of the park with nice grassy lines campsites with evergreen shrubs and trees. The front is basically a concrete Rv park.

Campground: Sullivan’s Mobile Home and Rv Park. $10.00 Passport America park. Full hookup. An older park with old MH’s on one side and old Rv’s. About 10 sites for people just passing thru. Owners are friendly and they have square dancing weekly.

I just couldn’t get started on Sunday to head out to the next destination, so I stayed one extra day in Ely. Finally planning my next destination, I decided I would go to Wells Nv, about 130 miles north of here.

Well after getting an early start, driving through the northern end of the Great Basin, passing a sea of sagebrush valleys and snow capped mountain ranges some already devoid of snow, I reached Wells.

It’s a small town in the NE corner of Nevada and had had an earthquake about a year ago. Stopping at a crossroads gas station, I decided to check out another town called Jackpot. It was another 65 miles north and I really enjoyed driving today and since it was only about 11:00 in the morning, I decided to go a bit further.

209 miles total and I was in Jackpot, right on the boarder of NV and Idaho. Not really a town, more a community of casinos on the boarder of Idaho, but I found a casino that has an Rv park costing only $13 a night. You know, having an internet connection, I’m able to research a site on the spot. When I got to Wells and decided to check out Jackpot, I did a search on the internet sitting in my truck for “Jackpot campgrounds”. Within seconds I had a listing of sites for campgrounds in the Jackpot area. Made a call to Cactus Pete’s and had a site reserved on the spot.

Wednesday and I’ve headed out to Pocatello Idaho. Driving north on hwy 93 and west onto 86. Gaining elevation gradually, the sagebrush valleys gradually have changed to irrigated farms. Finally turning east onto 86, the farms become extensive with over 50% of them already showing rich green fields planted with potatoes, canola and wheat and the rest are just being prepared for planting. The Snake River is the main source of much of this irrigated farm land. Trees are budding and light green leaves have recently come out. The land is well maintained, the towns leading to Pocatello all appear well thriving.

Pocatello appears to be immune to the countries downturn in jobs. Houses are inexpensive, I’ve seen many listed in the local paper for 100K to 140K being the norm. Rent is low as well, about $345 for a two bedroom apartment. This is a college town with a vibrant town filled with many shops and restaurants. I’ve seen very very few empty or closed buildings. The current unemployment is 5.4%. Not bad for town of 55,000.

I had lunch at the “Food for Thought” restaurant today. One of many local restaurants in Pocatello. As I was enjoying their famous “Cobb Salad”, I chatted with two elderly ladies sitting next to me. We discussed the recession and she was wondering how it affected the rest of the country. I told her, it has been pretty harsh, as I’ve seen many stores in other towns go under. I mentioned I’d seen a billboard in town that stated that 1 in 5 Idahoans, lived under the poverty level. Her take on it was, that may be, but the cost of living in Idaho is much less than in other parts of the country, so those in the poverty category actually have it a lot better than you’d think. She was also upset about the number of people who expect the government to help them as soon as they have a baby. And too many poor folks were running over to Jackpot NV to gamble, squandering the little money they did have. All Food for Thought.

Decided to do my charity thing today as well. Loaded up 6 bags of “stuff” to give to the Salvation Army. Clothing, books, kitchen stuff I never use. Things I’ve had in the camper forever and was not using. It’s amazing the things we keep and just don’t use or need.

Someone told me a tip: take everything out of your kitchen drawers and throw them all in a box. As you use each item, put it back in the drawer. After two months, give the stuff still in the box to Good Will. You’ll be surprised at the amount of stuff you can live without.

This part of the country is steeped in history. It’s where Sacagawea  was born, Lewis and Clark passed through this area on their journey to find a water passage to the west coast. Trappers, hunters and pioneers searching for gold and silver all came through this area Wagon trains carrying settlers to California and Oregon all passed through this area. The Indian Chief Pocatello and his Shoshone tribe were pushed off their land onto smaller and smaller reservations. With no means for providing for his family, he at one point was forced to beg for food. Arrested and tried for “begging in a hostile manner”, he was sentenced to be hanged. The commissioner of Indian affairs sent a message to Abraham Lincoln during the civil war requesting a pardon. Lincoln did pardon him and Chief Pocatello went on to lead his tribe during a most troubling time.

Pocatello ID was named after the Chief and is the only town to have that name.

I’m heading on up to Montana next and then into Canada on my journey to Alaska. I have no idea what to expect. The adventure is both exciting and a bit scary as I go into the unknown. What will I find. What will I discover. What challenges will I meet along the way. At least I’m taking you along with me. So together we’ll meet the challenges head on.

1 comment:

RK said...

Hi Doug
Glad you enjoyed Idaho. We lived there for 5 years before retiring and just loved it. We lived outside of Boise. Idaho has SO much to offer, people would be amazed. Once or twice a year we traveled thru Pocatello to go to Yellowstone, our favorite place.
Take care and say hello to Idaho from us. Kim & Roger Hirschman