Wednesday, June 30, 2021

A Ride Down Memory Lane

 Sugar City, ID    High 87  Low 57  Windy


We headed for Sugar City, ID but the wind was ferocious. We made it to Arco and decided to call it quits and pulled into Honey's RV Park once again. We spent two nights waiting for the wind to die down so we could move on. The Sugar RV Park was more than willing to work with us when we called to change our reservations.

The wind decided to cooperate a little bit so we headed over to Sugar. Our GPS wanted to take us directly to the rv park but that leads into a private drive way. I do believe that many folks have tried to go that way based on this sign in his driveway. It's blurry but it says - Private Property - Private Driveway - Keep Out.


There were a couple of rv signs that we followed around and found the park. The camp host came out to greet us and lead us to our site. It's not a big park (25 sites) but the sites were long and level and everyone was so friendly. Rexburg, ID is only a mile away.

There is also a motorhome parked to the right of us but it is parked way back on the site.

 Loved the looks of these clouds as we left the park one day.

The main reason I wanted to be here was that 54 years ago,  I went to college in Rexburg at what was then called Ricks College. At that time it was a two year college. It has definitely changed in those 54 years.

This building is the student union building.

It is now called BYU-Idaho and is a four year college. The enrollment when I arrived was 3,500 which is the largest enrollment the school had seen. Today the enrollment is 21,000 campus based students. 

Not much is recognizable from when I lived here. However, these were the brand new dorms that I lived in. There were four of them - two for the guys and two for us girls. Our dorm room was two bedrooms with a kitchen and I had three roommates. Lots of fun memories. The trees were all planted after I was here.

I performed with the New Freedom Singers and played an oboe in the orchestra. The pictures aren't very good because they are taken from our yearbook from so many years ago.

Class photos - my maiden name is Mercer and I am in the first row, second from the right.

Maybe the fun was the problem but I decided that college was not for me. After one year, I spent the summer working in West Yellowstone (back when bears wandered freely through the town and into our garbage). From there I headed to Salt Lake to LDS Business College and graduated with an Associate Degree. 

It's strange how your mind works. As we drove around campus, nothing looked familiar but I could still picture how things used to be so clearly. There was a small restaurant just off campus that used to serve the best scones with honey. It is no longer there, of course. But wonderful memories.

In 2008 the Rexburg Temple was dedicated.

 While in Sugar we ate at Ole's Diner a couple of times. Jim had a hamburger and I had french fries. Really healthy. But they were so good. So we had them twice.

It's time for us to head into Montana. We want to visit with my sister and brother-in-law for a few days before we head down to Canyon Ferry for our two month stay.


Sunday, June 27, 2021


 Bayhorse, ID   High 88   Low 53

There is a buffalo jump on the road to Bayhorse. Before the miners were the Native Americans who roamed this land. The buffalo provided them with food, clothes and shelter.

If only these old buildings could talk. The stories they could tell. Jim and I love wandering through ghost towns, trying to put ourselves in the place of those who once walked the streets. What was it like to live there? I, for one, am glad I never did live back in those days. I like my indoor plumbing, heat, air conditioning, food at the grocery store, doctor's available with hospitals close by. Being able to order online and have stuff just show up on my doorstep. Not having to make my own clothes. And my list goes on and on. I admire the fortitude of our ancestors who settled new lands and started cities. 

But most mining towns were started by the possibility of an easy payload. The ever elusive silver or gold that would bring fortunes to many. Then when the veins died out, the towns were deserted and left to rot.

Bayhorse, ID is one such town. But it is lucky because it has been preserved for those of us who want to explore the past.

The road to Bayhorse is dirt and narrow in many places. We kept our fingers crossed that we wouldn't meet a vehicle coming from the other direction. We lucked out and didn't meet anyone coming up or down the mountain as we traveled back in time.

Jim checking out some of the equipment used at the mill and marveling at how they were able to transport and build these things.

In 1864 prospectors met a man with two bay horses who told them about a rich mining area in a canyon where two creeks merged  This man's name is long forgotten but people remembered his two bay horses and thus one of the creek's became known as Bayhorse which led to the town that soon grew up near the creek being called Bayhorse.

It wasn't until 1872 that a lead-silver vein was discovered and the town of Bayhorse started to come alive. They were able to mine 10 million dollars worth of  metals during it's heyday. 300 people called Bayhorse home at one time, but as the prices for silver fell, people moved away and Bayhorse became just another ghost mining town.


Sarah Vance owned both the Nevada Hotel and the Bayhorse Hotel. Quite an enterprising woman. 

The Stone Building was owned by Jack Gilmer and Orange James Salisbury. They were the owners of a successful state company headquartered in Salt Lake City - Wells Fargo.


Jack and Orange also owned the Bayhorse Mill. The mill relied on gravity to move the rock through. It was built on a hillside and ore was brought to the top of the mill and moved down through the grizzly. Rocks too large went to the jaw crusher. After another fine crushing the ore moved across sluice boxes to settling tanks.


When you consider how far up into the mountains the mill was located and how harsh the winters were when the people were snowed in for months, it's amazing that they were able to survive for as long as they did.

Bayhorse is now a part of the Idaho State Park system and work is underway to preserve the heritage of the area. 

Maybe we didn't meet any ghosts but their stories came alive for us as we walked in their footsteps.


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Yankee Fork Historic Area

The next morning we headed out. Some folks were rafting the river but it looked cold to me.

You can't get away from road construction even on dirt roads leading to ghost towns. 

The Yankee Fork Gold Dredge

The dredge is 988 tons, 112 ft long x 54 ft wide x 64 ft high and has a draft of 8 ft. How they were able to haul the parts into this area back in the early 1940's is beyond me. This thing is huge. 

It really has a fascinating history which you can check out at this link.  Yankee Fork Dredge

Welcome to Custer, ID

Custer, was founded in early 1879 by three guys who discovered gold in them thar hills.  Custer had one street which stretched for about a half a mile from the mill to the hotel. At one time Custer had a school house, Miner's Union Hall, post office and baseball team. The population of Custer peaked at 600 men, women, and children in 1886.

The following picture is from the Western Mining website Custer ID. The Mill was completed in December of 1880. It was a steam powered dry crushing reduction plant. A 3200 foot aerial tram brought ore from the mine to the mill below.

General Custer Mill - likely between 1881 and 1888
General Custer Mill - likely between 1881 and 1888

The 1880 census lists 213 people in Custer, including 49 Chinese. The Chinatown section of Custer included laundry services, a harness and shoe shop, stores, and a joss house (Chinese place of worship).

Lots of rusty stuff for Diana

But by 1903 the mines were being played out and by 1910 Custer became a ghost town. The Forest Service took over the area in 1966 and through the years, the effort has been made to preserve this historical area (called the Land of the Yankee Fork Historic Area).

The museum which is the old school house.


These instructions for riding in a stage coach were very interesting.

The old saloon has been turned into a visitor's center with chairs on the front porch for visiting. The woman working in the saloon told me that on Saturday of Memorial Day Week-end they had over 400 people drive up. They also hold Custer Days during the summer and usually have over a thousand people a day show up. I'm glad we were there with only three other people.

Jim found a couple of bottles to bring home.

We had a lot of fun but didn't have any luck with ghosts. Maybe tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Road to Challis, ID

 Challis, ID   High  83   Low 54

The drive from Arco to Challis was really pretty. You drive through the valley with mountains on both sides. It's also a short drive - 80 miles. A couple of windshield pictures for you to enjoy.

This is Grand View Canyon

 Main Street in Challis, ID

We stayed at the Round Valley RV Park. The sites are huge. Long and wide but not level because it is built on a small hill. 

This was our neighbor in the next site. Notice the distance between us.

 Lots of empty sites. The park was never anywhere near full the four nights we were there.

 We did have fun visitors wander through one morning.

Tomorrow we go looking for some ghosts.


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Honey's RV Park and Memorial Day Remebrance

Honey's RV Park. This is not your typical RV Park. It belongs to a guy named Scar and his dog Ruby. Ruby rules the park. Several times a day she roams her park making sure the prairie dogs and other critters are behaving themselves.  


Scar has installed some electric sites and invites you to visit his home free of charge. But before you head to Honey's you really need to visit his website so you can know what his rules are.  

Honeys RV Park 


 After reading his website you really don't know what to expect when you get there. He does play reveille and says the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. He appreciates if you join in. You will find that Scar is a really generous and nice guy.

He allowed us to spend Memorial Day Weekend because we just wanted a place to be off the road during the very busy week-end. We found a level spot and plugged in. 

Scar has a campfire (if the wind isn't blowing) every night and everybody is welcome to join in. Jim went down several times. There weren't very many rigs taking advantage of this place to park over the week-end but we did have a few over nighters. 

Scar is also creating a pet memorial area where you can plant a tree or just put up a post with a picture to honor your pets. We bought a cardinal dogwood for Scooter, Rocky Joe, and Skittlez. Scar planted it for us along with our post. He also put a solar light on the pole. After we left, he put our name on the post. He waters all of the plants and trees every day. 

If you do go to Honey's please be sure to leave a donation to help him out with his electric bill. We will be visiting Honey's again on our way back to Arizona.

On Memorial Day we went to the museum which was open and free. There was a gentlemen at the park who had served in the Navy. He was very knowledgeable and had some interesting stories to share.


This submarine was named the USS Hawkbill but was often called the Devil Boat because of the number on her hull.

This was a wonderful way to remember all those who have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy.

From Arco we ended up in Challis, ID for some ghost hunting.