If you ever get the hankering to visit a place that is completely alien, I highly recommend visiting Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve. It’s located off State Hwy 20/26 between the small towns of Arco and Carey, at an average elevation of 5,900 feet above sea level. The protected area’s features are volcanic and represent one of the best-preserved flood basalt areas in the continental United States. The Monument was established on May 2, 1924.
The Monument and Preserve encompass three major lava fields and about 400 square miles of sagebrush steppe grasslands to cover a total area of 1,117 square miles. The place is HUGE. All three lava fields lie along the Great Rift of Idaho, with some of the best examples of open rift cracks in the world, including the deepest known on Earth at 800 feet. There are excellent examples of almost every variety of basaltic lava as well as tree molds (cavities left by lava-incinerated trees), lava tubes, and many other volcanic features. They estimate 15,000 years for the first lava flow to the most recent of 2,000 years ago. They feel future events are likely. I’m hoping NOT to be at the park that day…
I was on my way back from a trip out to Mackay, ID to inspect an RV that had a blow out & decided to stop for a look. I’ve past this park dozens of times & decided it was time. Little did I know how large the park was. So I only got to see a small fraction of the place in the 2 hours I was there. Past the visitors center, there is a small area for camping & past that, there is about 13 miles of asphalt roads around the park & dozens of miles of hiking trails. Some paved, Some not.
Walking around the trails you can’t help but picture yourself on some kind of bizarre Tim Burton movie set. Just about everything is black with bits of greenery popping out here and there. The place is just so strange & alien. But it’s when you come across old lava flows like this…
That it really starts to sink in, that you’re standing in the middle of an ancient volcanic lava flow. This very spot was once so hot, that melted rock was flowing thru this area, and yet amazingly, life has found a way to survive in this place. Small plants were everywhere. Nature is completely amazing! Check out this old tree!
At the rear loop of this particular trail is the Cinder Cone Fragments. These giant monolithic rocks were carried here by lava from who knows where?
The lower trails are very well maintained as you can see above, some are cement with curbing & others up top are simply gravel paths running along the top of the rifts with steep drop offs to either side. But back to the sink hole…
The above is a mini cavern created buy a bursting lava bubble. The rock looks fluid, but is rather sharp to the touch. I left this place with several cuts on my hands from simply touching stuff like this. But how can you help yourself? When do you ever see stuff like this? With the clear skies, it was extremely bright out, which is why some of the pics looks washed out. Check out the light reflecting off the hood of the TSX! I almost went blind taking this picture…
All in all, it was most definitely worth the stop & the $8 to get in. My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to check out more of the park. There are lots of trails I’d like to see & several cave sites as well. But that will have to be another time. I’m sure my travels will bring me back this way again eventually and give me the chance to see more.
An inspection of note was this grain hauling trailer. The owner inadvertently overloaded it and the floor and frame rails buckled under it while it was on the scales. They had to cut the side out of it to get all the grain unloaded to another trailer.
It was also time again to drop off the TSX for another oil change, and to take care of the rest of the items on the 400k checklist. When I dropped off, I was informed that they had a special loaner for me. Check it out…A pearl orange Lamborghini Aventador! About 700 Horsepower with a new MSRP of almost $400,000. What Up Sucka’s!
Then Sawyer tells me, No. Not really… It’s another customers car that was in for a new tire. Which by the way, are over $650 per tire. I guess 700 HP will just run over a nail faster than most cars on the road. I don’t think I’d want to drive this car with out 30 mins of instruction and practice on a non public road anyways. Plus, if anything happened to it, well… Lets just say I’d have to die in the crash so my life insurance would cover it. As for the owner? He’s a local & apparently, there’s still money in farming boys and girls! But I guess not enough to pave the road he lives on!!!! (Palm to forehead)
So I settled for this 2014 Pearl white on Parchment RDX AWD w/Tech. Just like the princess’s, only in the color scheme I would have picked for me. It was kind of cool having “His & Hers” for a couple days. Kinda made me feel like a rich guy for some reason. Granted, I would have felt “richer” if it were the Lambo on the right instead.
So after a couple days, Master Tech Chris made it thru my laundry list of things that needed to be done. Here’s the invoice…SCAN0003(4)
You’ll notice that one of the items was finally having the front lower control arm bushings replaced. The front end was getting pretty noisy going down the road & most notably at slow speeds. Lots of clunking. But the new bushings fixed that right up! I definitely feel a difference in the handling. So far the original struts are holding up just fine! I was also told that the valves were in pretty good shape and needed only minor adjustment. Not bad considering they haven’t been adjusted before now.