“I love the feeling of the fresh air on my face and the wind blowing through my hair.” ~ Evel Knievel
We will be firmly in place for the next couple of months with our busiest Spring Season ever. And it all starts pretty much this week. Spring fever. Here we go. And we seriously cannot wait. So we’re channeling our inner Evel Knievels as we take a huge leap forward, visualizing the end but always, always enjoying the ride. And funny we should segue using an EK reference because that is exactly where we find ourselves today. Back on the road this time headed to the heart of Evel territory. If you’ve been following our recent USA road trip installments rest assured the bison are firmly in the rear view mirror for now. But then again… you can never say never.
The beginning of this chapter is without photos for a reason. We sadly farewelled Yellowstone in the early hours of dawn taking the express bombardier with buckets of coffee. It was a swift ride out, with promises of a return trip…soon. We arrived back at West Yellowstone without much drama. Because, of course that was still to come. And lots of it. Just up the road. And around the corner.
It was a grey day. The sky kind of brooding, a bit like we felt as we pondered leaving West Yellowstone. It was cold. The road as slick with ice as you could imagine. With no TV, internet or news for 3 days we had just heard of Whitney Houston’s passing. Yes, it was a grey day. So we kept with our drivingascarefullyaspossibleandtryingnotofreakout road mantra and keeping at least 2-3 car lengths between us and E & E. Of course you can do very little if a big-old 4WD decides to pass you on a slight curve. And then right in front of you, like it’s slow-mo and something out of a movie, suddenly, almost elegantly… loses control. The invisible black ice and possibly too much speed (?) forcing the SUV into an ice-twirl. The car now facing us, before continuing to spin-out and slamming into the the snow bank on the right. The force enough to send it skyward where it flipped at least 3, maybe 4 times. Right in front of of us. Before finally coming to a dead stop, twisted and mangled, passenger side down. And of course we are on ice, too. And we couldn’t stop quickly. At all. Thank goodness we weren’t even 10 meters closer…seriously. We may have all closed our eyes at this point. The SUV was on it’s final flip as we all slid past in horror and came to a very controlled stop. We called 911 with not much clue where we were. The navi helped pinpoint us. There wasn’t much traffic on the highway but a trucker in a big rig who had seen everything rolled in behind us to help. There was just one driver in the car, a young girl. She was alive and moving, in a state of panic and yet by some miracle was able to stand up in the car. We couldn’t open the doors, so the trucker climbed up, worried about the gas line but was able to get the back door open. The girl was hauled out, unbelievably without too many injuries. In complete shock we kept her warm until the police and ambulance arrived. And that was how our day started. And we haven’t been quite the same since. And are now not fans of ice. On anything.
Shaken and perhaps still reeling from a little shock of our own it was a very quiet, focused leg of the trip. And until we were over the pass and back to non icy surfaces there was not a lot to say. If we’re keeping it real we didn’t really exhale until we reached Idaho. That’s when white-knuckles found some color. Thank you Idaho. We are fans. And the roads were finally nice and dry and the bleakness behind us.
We carried on and took a brief look through Massacre Rocks State Park. We would like to take a longer visit sometime. If we are ever back this way. In SUMMER. The park features a famous configuration of boulders along the south bank of the Snake River along the trail, known alternatively as Massacre Rocks, “Gate of Death”, or “Devil’s Gate”. Emigrants gave this name to the narrow passage of the trail through the rocks, from the fear of possible ambush by Native Americans. Many emigrants carved their names and dates on the rock face, which is now protected by a shelter. AND there’s access to remnants of the original Oregon Trail on the south side of the highway. Only as we exited and trucked on down the highway did we see the beautiful reflections in the river further down the park. We didn’t u-turn. We could feel Evel’s energy.
We sailed straight over the Snake River Canyon. To the east, along the south rim of the canyon, lies the dirt ramp used by Evel Knievel when he unsuccessfully attempted to jump the canyon on his steam-powered “skycycle” in 1974. Knievel crashed on the jump because of a parachute malfunction; it opened right after his take off. He survived the crash with only a broken nose. The ramp where he made the leap sits on private property about two miles east of the bridge and is visible from the bridge… apparently. We tried in vain to find the ramp. AND in vain to find the Evel Tribute statue that is supposed to be erected somewhere behind “The Outback Steakhouse”. Alas, our amazing skill of seeking out and stumbling upon the most fabulous of Roadside America was on the blink. Blame it on the ice.
So after a quick refresh a the hotel (and copious amounts of complimentary cookies…), it was time to see if we could find Shoshone Falls about 5 miles out of town.
After putting it in the navi, we were sure we were passing through people’s backyards. It just didn’t seem like a road that would be taking us to the “Niagara of the West.” Shoshone Falls is 65m high – 14 m higher than Niagara Falls they say… and flows over a rim 1,000 feet wide. We could hear them before we could see them. And Emma was especially happy to find out the Shoshone Falls were actually massive and beautiful… and not the little trickle down the rocks we were passing on the roadside.
When we arrived we had a few seconds with the sun making tiny rainbows before the light dipped behind the rocks.
And then with a little time on our hands Trace played around with some more HDR images… 9 different exposures to create one image. The photo on the left is HDR and the photo on the right is a regular image. Love that photo drama (real-life drama, not so much).
And our favourite of the day. The sky not bringing the colours that we had hoped for – but a beautiful golden sunset instead. And classic and timeless is something that always speaks to the heart. Here we are looking straight down Snake Canyon.
And so it was time to leave. The sun set. And we wearily made it back to the hotel. And we crawled into bed. And we thought of the day, from start to finish, and of our lives. In the words of Evel Knievel, I am a lucky, lucky person. ~ Evel Knievel
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