Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Idaho

Taking a camping trip in December might not be most people’s idea of fun… But I’ve managed to cross the country several times in winter without much trouble. This time looks like it might be different.

Idaho, December 2019

We have an old beater van camper, a 1985 Chevy, with over 180,000 miles on it, and decided to give it a shot, trying to make the East Coast for Christmas. From Spokane, after a small front went through, it looked like there would be a period of calm dry weather extending out into the week ahead. So we decided to go for it.

So far, the trip has been both very fun and very frustrating. On the fun side, a couple days in Idaho with beautiful weather, open landscapes, good traveling.

Idaho, December 2019

On the frustrating side, at the start of the trip, we had a belt that squealed. We call the van a pig, partly because of it’s color, partly because it wallows down the road, and partly because it uses so much gas. So our joke was that the van was squealing like a stuck pig.

Just outside of Idaho falls, trying to make a run for the continental divide, Rachel suddenly noted that the power steering was no longer working. The belt had failed. We turned around, and made it a few miles back towards town before the engine overheated. We pulled into a safe pull out, and called a “mobile mechanic”.

The mechanic was great–stopped by after dark to look at the problem–“a real shitshow” was his assessment–one belt sliced, the other two twisted–and recommended replacing all the belts. He went to town, came out the next morning with the new belts–arrived just as the snow did. It took him about an hour to change the belts, and another hour for us to go back to Idaho falls to get more glychol for the engine. By the time we headed east again, the roads were snow covered and slick.

Fun, Fun, Fun

It took us 3 hours to drive through the snow storm–fortunately our smart phones showed us the edge of the snow just to the east of us–and eventually we drove out of the mess.


Wyoming, December 2019

We made it to Rock Springs and a hotel room–on I-70–but are currently worried about wind advisories between us and Laramie. But waiting means snow–so I think we are pressing on.

In Alaska, we used to joke that “having an adventure” meant really doing something stupid so that it became life threatening.  So far, so good–hope our luck continues.