After waking up to the sound of the river and preparing a quick breakfast and some tea, I broke camp and continued down Highway 93 and out of the Salmon River Valley. It breaks into a wide valley after the town of Challis, which was my first fuel stop for the day. Here, I began riding the section of Highway 93 dubbed the Peaks to Craters Scenic Byway and the very broad valley heads toward Craters of the Moon National Monument.
Shortly past McKay, after turning on to Highway 20, I saw an interesting warning sign: “No hunting either side of highway - next 10 miles”. Where the hell am I? Well, apparently I was close to the Idaho National Laboratory. The highway flew across the plain toward Idaho Falls, but presented some learning opportunities along the way.
In Idaho Falls, I stopped for lunch at The Hi-Way Cafe, near downtown. I highly recommend this stop if you’re traveling through the area. From Idaho Falls, I continued on Highway 26 along the banks of the Snake River until I entered Alpine for the second time. It’s another somewhat tame stretch of highway, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the view. Once in Alpine, I briefly connected back to Highway 89 until I could get to Highway 191,which would take me into Rock Springs.
Highway 191 never disappoints. From the Hoback junction, it first drops into a canyon with spectacular views and twisty roads. I was met with a wicked thunderstorm just past Bondurant which slowed me down, but the roads weren’t nearly as curvy as what I had left behind and the rain didn’t last for long. Getting fuel at Daniel Junction, I kept riding and got caught in another storm that was a bit weaker than the first, but lasted longer. Still, the plains of Wyoming were colorful when the sun broke through the clouds and gave me a dazzling display for the ride into Rock Springs.
What I Learned
The Nuclear Navy was born in Idaho at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). In the 1950s, navy sailors trained at the INL on prototype reactors to pilot the world’s first nuclear submarines. Today, the INL is constantly researching peaceful uses of nuclear power.