Since we had done all we wanted to in Yellowstone, and we were SO disappointed with the KOA, we left stop nineteen a day early and added it to stop twenty – The Willow Bay Resort and Marina, American Falls, Idaho. When you leave West Yellowstone, you are in Idaho (a new state for us) in less than a half hour. Although we drove through the pouring rain, it was an easy ride over Route 20 to I-15. Yes Kathryn, we are back on interstates again. In fact, when we reached the town of Chubbuck, we headed West on I-86 another twenty-three miles into Idaho to reach American Falls. We chose The Willow Bay Resort because it was the best rated campground we could find in this area to break up the drive to Salt Lake City.
As originally planned, this was just an overnight. As it turns out, the added day was most welcomed. We relaxed inside and let the rain pass. Then we went back to Chubbuck. The closest Walmart to West Yellowstone was eighty-six miles away! The prices in the two local grocery stores were astronomical. i.e. a pineapple was $4.99, a tiny rotisserie chicken was $12.99! So Kathryn was thrilled to go back to Chubbuck and stock up on supplies at fair and reasonable prices.
The Willow Bay Resort and Marina is family owned and operated and the pride in their resort shows. The marina is on The American Falls Reservoir a bay off the famous Snake River. They offer affordable day rate rentals of paddleboats, paddleboards, fishing boats, wakeboarding boats, and jet skis. Of course they sell fishing supplies and whatever else you would need. They have a small cafe with a deck to sit on while you enjoy your food overlooking the river. That is until the end of July. Then the bay is used for irrigation for the neighboring farms. While we were there, the river was low by fifteen feet. The water was about a half mile from the boat launch, now a steep cement slope into a grassy field, which a few months ago was underwater. I walked out on the beach, which again was not a beach at all but the sandy river bottom.
The RV resort had fantastic level sites. All roads were paved as were the well spaced sites, with trees for shade and well manicured grass between each. Our site was one hundred twenty feet long! We could have parked two motor homes in this one site.
As you drive into the resort through fields of wildflowers and see the river off in the distance, there is a sense of calm and a feeling of peace settles in. UNTIL THERE ISN’T. This seems to be a common occurrence with campgrounds. Just off the property line is a very active railroad line. Six or seven times a day, long freight trains passed and the ground beneath us rumbled! Strangely enough, Kathryn and I found this somewhat entertaining. We said to each other, “Cousin Vinny, Cousin Vinny!” I started a new hobby counting train cars. The record long train? One hundred and seventy-six cars!
Our ratings: Kathryn 6, Paul 6, out of 10.
On to Salt Lake City and another new state Utah!