Canada 10, 5th July 2006

I'm behind with my travel reports. It's been the end of the month, time to reconcile my bank statements, check the current state of my finances, etc. It's been going slowly, I don't know why. It usually flies by. Plus I've been finding all sorts of small problems. Such as France Telecom who confirmed my automatic payments were changed from one bank to another, then took the payment from my original bank. My reconciliation on my US bank is out by $45. OK it won't cripple me but I wasted time trying to find where the $45 had gone. Companies house showed my correct UK address but stuck France at the end. I tried to correct it and now they have rejected my
annual return because, they say, I filled in part of the form incorrectly. Grrrr!

I think everybody gets these sort of problems!

To return to where I was, the morning started pretty good. There was no dust down the road, because of the rain the night before, I picked up emails easily, took a photo of a Mormon church

and I stopped at a roadside fruit stall and bought cherries and raspberries at a good price. I headed north on the I84 until I could turn off. Then I stopped at a little museum in Burley. It was 4pm and I was the first visitor of the day and the lady in charge was dozing outside! Turns out she had good reason. Her 24 year old son is in a wheelchair and can't look after himself. She'd just got him an $800 racing type wheelchair so she could take him on her morning runs, and she thinks she was a bit ambitious this morning.

It was a super museum. I dallied around until almost closing time, 5pm, when she said , what about outside? Apart from several original log cabins with varying contents and a caboose reputed to have carried the body of a man who assassinated a president (oops - I've forgotten both names) there was a huge building with a fire engine and all sorts of agricultural stuff. I asked, what about your children, she said I've already phoned to say I'll be late.

All in all, one of the nicest free museums I have visited. I pulled in to the Milner Dam recreational area for the night. Absolutely no amenities except a pretty view over the river

and at $2.50 for the night it just scraped inside my budget. ($5 list less my 50% discount for Golden Age)

I did even better at the Shoshine falls, in the Snake River, next morning. Normally $3 my Golden Age passport allowed free entry

I was lucky to see water, for the last 7 years the falls have been dry. The whole area used to be a desert, now all the water from the Snake River is taken for irrigation. More or less the whole of Southern Idaho would not exist were it not for the irrigation which is everywhere, huge irrigation booms.

I took a quick diversion into Twin Falls to look at the Snake River Canyon. The Salt Lake used to be much, much, much bigger then about a million years ago it broke out, carving routes over the containing hill, causing the biggest flood in the history of the world. Over a period of about 8 weeks a cubic mile of water carved out the canyon. I read somewhere there was more water flowing here than the combined total of all the other rivers in the world.

Do you remember Evel Knievel? One time, in 1972, he attempted to jump the canyon using a rocket powered motor cycle. There in the distance is still the ramp he built.

"Unfortunately" the safety parachute malfunctioned and deployed before he left the ramp, and he floated down to the canyon bottom where he was rescued unscathed. My informant at the Visitors Centre said she was there, she said Evel was convinced he was going to die, he was saying goodbye to his relations, she was certain that it was he himself who pulled the parachute release. Well, I can't say that I blame him! This is the canyon he was planning to jump.

I had a moment of near panic myself, my new credit card didn't work. I rely on my credit card for funds. I don't think I mentioned but before I left France I emailed my US bank and said not to send my new credit card, I'd collect it myself. The afternoon I called to collect it they told me it had been sent to the UK that same morning. Duh! The bank cobbled together an ATM card which they said would work almost as well. I tested it, it worked OK, then the old one ran out at the end of June, and the new one didn't work when I tried to buy petrol. Eventually a lady attendant showed me how to defeat the system and make it work. Thanks unknown lady.

I continued along a scenic route, the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway.

Whilst there are still lots of springs most have been diverted for hydroelectric schemes. Water just runs out of the walls of the canyon, it's presumed to be the outlet of a river which just disappears into the lave beds 90 miles away. A very large part of Idaho is smothered with lava beds, up to 5,000 ft thick.

I passed the place where they have dug up over 20 complete fossilised skeletons of an early type of horse.

Next call was an ice cave. The cooling lava caused caves to form. Some of the roofs collapsed and in this case a strange cooling airflow developed and ice was formed. Today it is around 13 ft thick on the floor of the caves, the photo shows an ice column that has been formed.

It was getting very windy and looking like a storm, I asked and it was OK to stay on the cave car park for the night.

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