I arrive at the Inn at Elsmere in Hailey, the innkeeper has no record of my reservation and is full for the night, she calls around, everything else is full as well, Hailey is not a big place. I phone Hotels.com, they admit their mistake and offer a free night in the closest vacancy, which is in Boise, 3 hours away and past the Sawtooth. I give Hotels.com a piece of my mind, thank the innkeeper for trying and head out to try and find wifi downtown.

Hotels are all booked for sure so I try Airbnb because you never know, even in a small place, Airbnb has several listings but they are either crazy money or full, I prepare to sleep in the car or under the stars.

Suddenly! I get a response from an Airbnb request, she tells me she is booked but understands the pickle I am in and would be willing to let me stay in her spare room!

I head over to the address and meet an amazing lady, she takes me in and gives me coffee. She is wonderful, a children’s book illustrator. I am exhausted at this point and fall asleep almost immediately.

In the morning my hostess is up when I pop my head out of my room at 6:00 and offers coffee, we end up chatting a couple hours she give me tips for food and things to see in the Sawtooth and sends me on my way.


Getting Tired

After visiting the moon I am starting to get tired, I come to the sad little town of Carey, ID (there are quite a few sad little towns like this when you don’t drive the interstate) and am getting tired.

I pull over and search Hotels.com for a room nearby, I find one in Hailey and book it. Then I notice that Hailey is the start of the Sawtooth Nation Forest, I actually know this place, where Hemingway did his outdoorsy stuff (and where he shot himself) and home to Sun Valley (famous ski retreat of the rich and famous). I almost drove right across the bottom of the park without noticing. 

Westward Ho!

After seeing EBR-1 I continue west, avoiding the interstate, I’m driving on highway 20 and now start seeing signs for the Craters of the Moon!

Craters of the Moon turns out to be an entire valley made up of nothing but very recent volcanic rock and soil (around 2500 years old). The whole place looks like something from The Road, really neat.

Continuing West

After Rigby I drove another hour or so and started seeing sign for EBR-1, 20 miles ahead!

Turns out that out in the middle of desert scrub sits the site of the world’s first electricity producing nuclear reactor, the EBR-1.

Stopped in, took the tour, very cool as well, the first nuclear plant and the invention of TV, within an hour of each other in the middle of nowhere!

Heading West

Driving kinda randomly west at this point, about an hour after leaving the mountains I see a sign announcing the upcoming Town of Rigby – Birthplace of TV!

Yup, the town of Rigby, population not very much at all, is where a 14 year old Philo Farnsworth dreamt up the idea of using vacuum tubes to hold a video image.

I couldn’t pass this one by. Stopped in, paid my $2, was curtly informed that the museum “Isn’t just Farnsworth you know!”.

The museum also had a nice, unrelated, collection of barbed wires of the ages!