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Arco turned out to be the sleeper stopover of the whole trip. We needed a place to stop while going from Yellowstone to Boise. Arco ID was about halfway. The plan was to stay 3 nights, just to rest on our way to Boise. We had planned to visit the Craters of the Moon National Monument. On the drive, we passed the high security INL labs. I guess they put it out here in the middle of nowhere, so that if it went up in a mushroom cloud, no one would notice. As we drove down the highway passing the INL labs, we saw a sign for the Experimental Breeder Reactor One (EBR I) National HIstoric sight. It turns out that Arco has the distinction of being the first city to be lit by atomic energy.

IMG_2694IMG_2692Craters of the Moon National Monument was an eye opener. After the green and luscious scenery of Yellowstone, Craters was totally the opposite. The raw, stark beauty of the desolate landscape broken by the occasion bush or tortured tree, yet wildlife abounds, chipmunks, birds, beetles. Apparently the Apollo astronauts trained here to get familiar with the type of landscape that they might encounter.

IMG_2764The INL labs were on the forefront of reactor design, building small prototypes of various designs to evaluate the design. One of the things I learned about the Atomic Museum and the INL labs; they designed and tested the transport pods that needed to be used for transporting nuclear material. In fact there are 34 pods (or so) siting at the INL labs, containing the material from the 3 Mile Island reactor cores.

The Pickle Place serves really good food, featuring the Atomic Burger. The north side of the town is bordered by ‘Number Mountain’. Each graduating class has scaled the mountain to paint their ‘year’ on the side of the mountain. This tradition started back with the graduating class of 1920.


One of the other odd artifacts in the park is the conning tower of the USS Hawkbill. The submarine was decommissioned in 2000 and recycled. The town acquired the conning tower in 2003 and it was installed in the town park to show their appreciation of the nuclear force and reinforce their association with the development of nuclear power.


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  Arco ID/Craters of the Moon NM  
  Boise ID  
  Twin Falls ID  
  Brigham City UT - Golden Spike  
  Moab, Arches and Canyonlands  
  Cortez, UTE Mountain Casino and Mesa Verde  
  Durango and Silverton CO  
  Rough Plans  
  Goliad TX Spring 2013  
  Kerrville TX and NHOG 2013  
  Fredericksburg TX  
  Sanger TX Spring  
  Guthrie OK, Spring  
  Junction City KS, Spring 2013  
  Colorado and Woodland Park  
  Early Summer 2013  
  Yellowstone 2013  
  Late Summer 2013  
  Fall 2013  
  From Research to Leaving Home  
  2011, The First Season  
  2012, The Second Season  
  Our Triple D Adventures  
  Natashas Excellent Adventure  
  2013, The Third Season  
  2014, The Fourth Season