Likely Place Golf and RV Resort

Likely Place Golf and RV Resort Review

Just outside of Likely California

On our way south to visit our daughters and their family in the Sacramento area after staying at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument near Bend Oregon, we stop at Likely Place Golf and RV Resort.

Fires in Northern California

Usually we travel down 97 to Interstate 5 and take it south, however because of forest fires as well as the closure of I-5 we decide to take a more easterly route to Alturas on US 395 to Interstate 80.  We had not traveled with Lola along US 395 in Northeastern California, so it was a new area to see.

Our halfway point according to RVTripWizard (our trip planning software) is Likely California.  We found an RV Park close by called Likely Place Golf and RV Resort and decide to stay there for a one night layover.

Likely Place Golf and RV Resort

Likely Place Golf and RV Resort is a great place to stay.  Besides being a half way point in our travels south, it has an 18 hole golf course.  It is in a pretty remote area in Northeastern California yet close to US 395 to make it a convenient stop.

Dark Skies

There are 5 or 6 cement pads and a few more grassy areas all with power for telescope setups.  With the dark skies and high elevation Likely Place Golf and RV Resort is perfect to do some stargazing.  Since we are only here for one night, Jeff set up the tripod and camera to get some practice getting some Milky Way pictures.  He focuses on Cassiopeia and Andromeda Galaxy and uses Deep Sky Stacker (DSS) to process the images.

Other Activities

Besides stargazing, the resort offers a host of other activities such as fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking and nearby places to ATV.  California’s Lava Beds National Monument is close by and many other attractions to explore.  Several scenic drives are listed on the Lively Place Golf and RV resort sure to keep any family busy while staying here.  See more here.

Likely Place Golf and RV Resort is on our list of places to come back to – as a matter of fact we plan to revisit the resort next spring on our way north to Alaska.

Happy Trails!

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Bruneau Dunes State Park

Sand and Stars at Bruneau Dunes State Park

Bruneau Dunes State Park

August, 2018

Bruneau Dunes State Park in Idaho has the ‘highest single structured sand dune and a public observatory with a 25 inch Newtonian reflecting telescope.  The park has two RV sections – almost empty during the heat of July.  They also have an equestrian area and several day use sections.  Christine decided to walk up  one of the big dunes almost to the top before the heat set in and warmed up the sand.  Several people were sand-boarding down the side of the smaller dune.

The park offers electricity and water but no sewer.  But there are gray water dump locations scattered around the park.

Bruneau Dunes Video

Bruneau Canyon Overlook

A short drive from Bruneau Dunes State Park is the Bruneau Canyon Overlook.  It is managed by the BLM with input from the local Shoshone Indian tribes, ranchers and environmental groups to protect the area that has been used by the Native Americans for centuries.  It is a remote and spectacular canyon well worth the drive.  As a side note, you drive through a U. S. Airforce bombing range where… you guessed it… “objects may fall from aircraft”!

Castle Rocks

There are two Castle Rocks in Idaho – both have crazy rock formations.  We visited the Castle Rocks on Castle Rocks Creek east of Mountain Home on Idaho highway 20.  The other Castle Rocks is near the Utah border!  Regardless – the Castle Rocks near Mountain Home is a fun drive and the early afternoon light on the rocks brought out some amazing natural erosion relief.  Other than a couple of forest service guys, some cows and a few ranchers we are alone on this trip.  The dogs enjoyed walking on the dusty road while Christine and Jeff take pictures.

Mountain Home

Mountain Home is the largest city around.  With Mountain Home Air Force base close by it is a busy town with most conveniences available.  Jeff utilized the library and Walmart for picture and video uploads and we visited the grocery store too.  Also went to the local farmers market which had some great fresh fruits and vegetables, but the best were the fresh farm eggs.

There is a winery (Cold Springs Winery) close by near Hammett, Idaho, which we visited.  Even though the sign indicated it was closed, we had called and their message said they were open, so we drove up to the house / winery on the hill.  The wine master was there wrapping up some things and opened the doors for us to do some wine tasting.  Excellent wine, spent a few dollars on quite a few different varieties and you just couldn’t beat the views from the top of the hill.  Spectacular!  This winery is also a member of Harvest Hosts, which allows you to stay one to two days for free with no services, but you get to experience the place first hand.

Stars, Stargazing and an Observatory

Bruneau Dunes State Park is set up for the amateur astronomer in mind.  It is considered a Dark Site.  There is a limited amount of lighting around the campsites, and the two campgrounds are situated well away from the highway.  The lights around the restrooms are red-lights.  Mountain Home – the closest town is far enough away and blocked by hills that there is a limited amount of horizon light.  Unfortunately there is a big fire north of Boise and some nights the sky was blocked by smoke and clouds.  Fortunately, since we are staying here for 8 nights a number of nights were clear.

I am not using a very sophisticated astrophotography setup.  A Canon 60D is great but I’m using lenses that I picked up for real estate and hobby photography.  I have an f4.0 medium zoom (17mm wide open) for Milky Way pictures.  And I used 1600 ISO which is probably too high.  800 or 1000 would have less noise.  But I am learning and with practice hope to get better.

Here are some AstroPhotos!  If you look closely at the center of the picture marked Cassiopeia you can even see a smudge for the Andromeda Galaxy.

Milky Way  Pictures from Bruneau Dunes State Park

Bruneau Dunes Observatory

For $5 anyone can view the stars using the big Newtonian Reflector telescope at Bruneau Dunes.  It is one of the largest observatories that is set up for public use only.  We also got a blue light flashlight so we could chase tiny scorpions busy during the night on the dunes.

Scorpion Pictures

Designs in the Sand

Happy Trails!

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Massacre Rocks State Park

Massacre Rocks State Park

Near American Falls, Idaho…

July 2018

We are camping at Massacre Rocks State Park for a week after attending the FMCA Rally in Gillette.  We have water and electric at our campsite, but no sewer – no big deal as they had really great bathrooms with wonderful showers.  There are gray water dump stations scattered around so no worries about dumping.  Our new sensors come in handy to monitor the tanks.

Dawn at Massacre Rocks

 

Skywatching

We spent lots of time watching the stars – from ‘ol Sol’s sunrises and sunsets to the stars and Milky Way.  Even with smoke from fires near Boise we had a few really nice nights where we watched the stars.  We used the binoculars for most of the viewing, but Jeff also set up the telescope for some stargazing.  No camera work this time though.  Jeff is getting better setting up the German Equatorial Mount telescope and hopes a “Go-To” motorized telescope is in his future!

Massacre Rocks

The name is a bit of a misnomer.  There was no actual Massacre, although a few settlers  (10 by some accounts) were killed by Native Americans who felt threatened by all the wagons coming through their land.  It was actually named Massacre Rocks in the early 1900’s as a way to promote the area for tourism.   The area did have a lot of Native Americans along this part of the Oregon Trail, and settlers were wary of meeting them, fearing Shoshone attacks.

Area Map

Pictures

The Great Flood 14,500 Years Ago

No, Jeff did not witness this flood.

As the glaciers were retreating from the last Ice Age melt-water formed a great lake called Lake Bonneville.  The Great Salt Lake is the largest remnant of this ancient lake and this is where Bonneville Salt Flats gets its name from.  At its largest the lake was bigger and deeper than Lake Michigan.  About 14,500 years ago erosion ripped open part of the lake disgorging 1,000 cubic miles of water in the space of months.  For a while it created a huge waterfall on the other side of the Snake River from Massacre Rocks State Park.  The gorge from the waterfall is impressive to see.

Register Rock

This area of the Snake River provided Native Americans and pioneer settlers a natural route to travel east and west.  The Shoshone Indians populated this area in the 1800’s when pioneers were heading west.  Wagon ruts can still be seen around the area of Massacre Rocks – the interstate actually runs along the Oregon Trail here.  Register Rock has  many carved names of the pioneers that were heading west on the Oregon Trail.

Walking, Exploring, Relaxing at Massacre Rocks State Park

After a hectic week at the FMCA Rally in Gillette it was nice to enjoy the sites around American Falls and Massacre Rocks State Park.  We took the dogs down to a boat ramp for an old-dog swim (they got wet, then back to shore).  There are trails where we walked and biked, flew the drone and caught up on reading.

The park has lots of walking and biking trails along with Register Rock.  It is close to Interstate 86, and we got a spot up on a hill overlooking the Snake River that is a little farther away from the freeway.  The campsites are spread out, campground very clean and nice.

Next up – we are excited to go to another Idaho State Park – one that has an observatory!  Happy Trails and see you on the road.

 

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