Cottonwood, the Heat Wave

We’re having a heat wave, and unlike that tropical heat wave in Grumpy Old Men, this one is not being welcomed like Ann- Margret to the Walter Matthau- Jack Lemon- Burgess Meredith neighborhood.  We’ve had highs in the upper 90’s three straight days with forecasts near 100 to July 3rd.  This is hot for Idaho, hot for 4,000’ elevation, and even hot for 40% humidity.


Running batteries-only means no air conditioning.  Luckily we have a shady site that gets direct sun on the stern of the trailer for a couple of hours in late afternoon and on the starboard side maybe three hours around midday.   Our awnings block much of the sun in both situations.  The nights get cool by midnight, so starting the day with a 70 degree house means it’s comfortable inside until early-afternoon.  Then we sit in the shade beside the river, hoping for a breeze while watching the fish jump. rig cottonwood

Conventional Canoers
Conventional Canoers
Second - Lining on the Salmon!
Second – Lining on the Salmon!


We take our morning wildflower walks.  Everywhere we’ve been has wildflowers, usually of local or regional species, but some thrive from Louisiana to Idaho.  Today we spotted a few yellow dandelion blossoms.  We have seen them somewhere in every week on the road since late January.   It has been a long, lovely spring.

Nearby thunderstorms broke the heat just before sundown Saturday.  Our campground lies amid a rain-free strip between two storms which brought rain nearby, and the cloud cover cooled us down early.  Then we watched an incredible sunset with two light sources.   The storms behind us broke up but the clouds caught the late low sun and reflected a reddish glow onto the hills and buttes on the west bank of the Salmon.  Above them the other storm’s clouds set up the classic pink, blue, and brilliant white sunset.  It was something.

Coolin' Off

Coolin’ Off

Summer here has one sure advantage over spring:  cowboy baths.  Yesterday near dusk I put on my trunks and waded out into the river.  That cool, clear water comes at you fast with a current of five or six mph.  Nobody sober swims it.  I found a rock big as a bowling ball to use as an anchor.  Five minutes later that clean water had dissolved all my salt and sweat, and cooled away the heat of the day.


6 thoughts on “Cottonwood, the Heat Wave

  1. Isn’t the heat awful?! I thought we left Louisiana to get away from all this! We stumbled in Idaho from lovely cool Wyoming, without bothering to check a weather forecast. Big mistake. We were in Boise, planning to spend a couple days, but left early because of the heat. We’re in OR now – slightly cooler, but not much. Glad you have the river to cool you down!


    1. Heat’s hard to dodge when it covers multiple states at once. Elevation helps, but when you’re in route to somewhere that means going out of your way to get high. Cool running water is a blessing, as is shade. I suppose that no matter where we are, in summer, one should expect some heat.

      Keep RV’ing,



  2. Hi,

    Great post. The cowboy bath stuff made me laugh, and reminded me of something similar from my past. 🙂

    The gorgeous photos, and detailed written descriptions are much appreciated.

    I’m enjoying your site, and have been replying over on Facebook, but I thought I’d come here to say hello, too.

    By the way, have you considered some sort of contact page or opt-in box here?

    Feel free to drop me a line via the e-mail I used here.

    Where in the world are you now? Wherever it is, I’m sure it is spectacular, and I hope a bit cooler. 😀



    1. I don’t know what an opt-in box is and as I understand it, Life on the Blue Highways is our contact page.

      Thanks for reading us.



      1. An opt-in box is something some blogs have if they want to collect e-mail addresses for a newsletter, or other types of mailing lists.

        There are so many new and amazing adventures since I was last on here. What a wonderful journey. 🙂



      2. Thanks for the info, K. I don’t expect to ever make a dime from this and in truth just enjoy writing. So opt-in boxes are probably too commercial for us. Again, Kat and I are glad you read our stuff.



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