Road Trip Day 2
Day Two; Jackpot, NV to Pocatello, ID
We ate fruit and yogurt in our room and got out early. Just over an hour and we arrived at Shoshone Falls, just out of Twin Falls. The Snake River jumps at you from behind the door; it just doesn’t seem like a river should appear when riding on the flatland for dozens of miles. But there it is; a huge, beautiful waterfall cascading into the green water at the bottom. We took a 1-1/2 mile hike to see the place where Evel Knievel made his Snake River jump attempt. The dirt ramp remains (photo 2) with no sign or anything to commemorate it. My comments on this at the end.
We met a couple who is returning from a Gold Wing rally in Montana. That sounded like a bunch of fun. It’s always great to run into people (allegorically speaking) who share your enthusiasm for riding.
We head off once again, north and sometimes east. The southern area of Idaho has a rural feel. Lots of land, pickups, tractors and grain silos.
Idaho is known for its potatoes. A day care sign reads, ‘Tater Tots.’ Very clever. And there is a ton of farmland out here. Signs frequently commemorate the pioneers and innovators who subdued the river and irrigated millions of square miles of desert. It is marvelous to witness. And the smell of freshly cut hay, cornfields, even the aroma from the cattle remind one that this is America’s breadbasket. Unable to identify so many crops, I am convinced I am a raging city slicker.
Now, Evel Knievel;
My brother and his brother-in-law and I went to the theater in downtown Seattle to see a live, closed circuit TV live showing Evel’s attempt on his ‘Sky Cycle.’ It really was a rocket, set on a ramp and designed to fly over the Snake River canyon.
Evel Knievel was the ultimate showman; he wore white leathers to differentiate him from the Hell’s Angel type of bikers. Then he always wore red, white and blue, and a cape. He connected with his audience. And the man could entertain.
At the Snake, he launched the rocket, and the parachute immediately deployed. The Sky Cycle crashed on the launch side, but Evel survived it. It caused a maelstrom of speculation; did Evel deploy it to stop the launch? Looking at the gap, the river so far below, and so many rocks, I am now, 36 years later, leaning to believe that he did it. But Evel is now gone, and the truth will never be told.
So who is Robby Madison? He’s a guy that set the world record for jumping a motorcycle, over 300 feet. And almost no one knows who he is.
But everyone knows Evel Knievel.