Snake Bitten

Posted on December 1, 2015 under Storytelling with one comment


Where “Evel” once lurked



“Two roads diverged in a wood …”

The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost

Most of us are creatures of habit.  We find a routine and we rarely deviate unless some external force compels us to change gears.  Our work routines, food habits and recreation patterns are well established.  We do best when life is predictable, even if it appears hum drum by times.  When a curve ball is thrown, most humans are pretty good at adapting.  And once in a while, consciously going down a slightly different path can yield amazing surprises.

When you drive 9785 kilometers in the United States you see a lot of diverse landscapes.   They are all interesting in their own right, but there are stretches of land where tedium sets in.  While not wishing to offend the good folks of Idaho, after you’ve seen several hundred miles of potato fields a certain level of boredom sets in.

Two days earlier on our latest cross country trip, my son, Peter, and I had witnessed one of the seven wonders of the modern world.  Actually, the Grand Canyon is not officially on that list but it should be.   It is one of those things that must be experienced first-hand.  It is not easy to describe.

Our route to Victoria B.C. took us through Utah the day after visiting the Grand Canyon.  This being our third expedition in less than a year, covering 39 States, we agreed that Utah was the most visually stunning.  So, it was a bit of a letdown as we trundled through the somewhat boring landscape of Southern Idaho.

When you have days that you’re putting on big miles, being efficient with stops becomes important.  Luckily, it is hard to go 100 miles in the U.S. where there isn’t a rest area or small town which is easily accessible from the Interstate, typically right beside the exit ramp.  You get gas; grab a quick bite and a bathroom break and you can be back on the road in well under thirty minutes.

As we meandered through the state, we discovered that we needed gas and food.  We could have waited for the next rest area but we decided to go into Twin Falls, 4 miles off of the highway.  Just as we were entering the town, we crossed a bridge and peered down into a very deep gorge.  Our jaws dropped.

The first place you come to once you enter the town is the Visitor Information Centre, perched on a ledge above the gorge.  We exited the car and walked over to a viewing ramp.  Below us, in all its majesty, was the Snake River.  The view was breathtaking and when Peter saw a golf course smack dab in the middle of the gorge, I thought our travel day might abruptly come to an end.

On September 8, 1974, Evel Knievel, with much media fanfare, tried and failed to leap the mile wide chasm of the Snake River Canyon on his specially engineered rocket motorcycle.  This happened just downstream from where we were standing.

We were quite exhilarated to find this amazing spectacle in the middle of nowhere; only because we had deviated from our normal routine.  We were doubly lucky to discover a top notch Italian restaurant a few feet away.  Our waitress was a seasoned pro and had the gift of the gab, so she filled us in on the canyon.  As we were getting ready to leave and pay our bill she came by and said, “Don’t be alarmed if you see someone trying to jump off the bridge into the Snake River Canyon.  They do it all the time here.”  I had this vision of Twin Falls promoting itself as a “jumping off spot” along the route.  She then quelled our fears when she said that this was a very popular place for base jumping.  I had to admit that I wasn’t familiar with the term but quickly received an education.    Maybe parachuting will be part of our next great adventure …

As we pulled out of Twin Falls, we both agreed that this was easily the best pit stop we had made on the entire trip.

“ … I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”


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