Bear Lake’s waters were Caribbean blue and clear to the bottom. It was a joy to behold and projected a sense of tranquility. Bear Lake State Park Campground was anything but relaxing. It is sad that a minority can spoil the enjoyment of so many.
The lesson learned here was to avoid park campgrounds on weekends and holidays if possible.
We continued to enjoy the spectacular view of the lake and stopped for a second breakfast.
Food drives our engines and we were looking forward to Montpelier, Idaho which had a full grocery store, the first since we left Ogden, Utah, several days earlier. Our stock had been depleted and the small stores we encountered were limited and expensive.
We arrived late in the afternoon, on a Sunday, only to find both grocery stores closed in Montpelier. Luckily, we found an ALCO open (ALCO is a chain of discount stores that stock a small amount of canned and boxed food among other household goods) and managed to put together a meal and lunch for the next day. Additionally, we learned the definition of a “real town”.
I must digress for a moment. Back in my early teen days, my friends and I would discuss “what if” and “versus” scenarios involving movies and television shows. For example, ‘Who would win in a dog fight? An X-Wing from Star Wars or a Viper from Battlestar Galactica?”
As part of those discussions we came up with the criteria for the perfect (in a teenage boy’s mind) movie. The perfect movie would contain gangsters, a helicopter, a little person, explosions and fire, lasers, pizza and smoking hot lesbians. The plot was an afterthought and was never really hashed out, which also puts “the perfect movie” it in the category of adult films. To my knowledge, this movie / skin flick has not been made. If I scrape the funding together perhaps I could get Uwe Boll to direct.
The point to this aside is that the perfect movie was defined at one point in my life. It gave my pubescent mind a sense of comfort in an otherwise hormone and mood driven world. Likewise, we now know the definition of a “real town”.
As we were checking out of the ALCO, we were commiserating with the clerk about everything being closed in town and inquiring about the existence of grocers in towns along our route. In addition to learning where we could find the next grocery store, we received the bonus of definition of what qualified as a “real town”
Afton is a real town! They have a Burger King, a grocery store, and you can buy moonshine!
Our immediate goal after stocking up was to find a National Forest Service campground for the night. There were two listed on the topographic maps along our route. The first was in poor shape, nature had completely taken over and it was difficult to find the sites amongst the weeds and saplings. The concessionaire operating under the license of the Forest Service had obviously neglected their duties.
The second campground was a “ghost campground”. Although it appeared on our map, Whitman Hollow no longer existed as a functioning campground. That did not stop two tired, determined bicycle tourists from climbing the massive pile of boulders at the narrow road.
It does not take long for nature to reclaim a space.