The week I scheduled in the Pocatello, Idaho, area was the bridge between leaving Southern Wyoming and beginning my workamping job in Oregon. Things started off beautifully and went from bad to worse. The scheduled week turned into almost two.

That second week turned out to the be single worse week in my RV life, one I hope never to experience again. But I’ll save the harrowing tale for the next post. It affected all aspects of my life: heart, psyche, confidence and pocketbook. It left me questioning everything, including myself.

But let’s start with the actual scheduled week which was mostly wonderful.

The Plan

You know, whenever I get the grass-is-greener feeling about other RVs, it is almost always for a Class C. My Class C envy was in full swing as the heat ravaged the west during my time in both Wyoming and Idaho. Why? Because the larger motorhomes come with a generator so, when boondocking, the air conditioner can run. The boondocking system (solar/battery/inverter) on the Oliver isn’t enough to power the AC which means weather is my biggest consideration when parking somewhere without power.

In Wyoming, I ended up cancelling my reservation to attend the 60th Annual Escapees’ Escapade. I was so looking forward to it but I’d booked a boondocking site because a site with hookups meant needing additional hoses and a cord because some hookups were quite away from where the RV would park. I didn’t want to buy that stuff for a one-time use and then have to find a place to store it. It was a sound decision when I made it.

But when temperatures were projected in the low 90s with beating down sun, there was no way I could keep the site. The event was sold out so a site with hookups wasn’t an option. The event center would be cool but the cat would be left in the RV during the day and I just couldn’t risk it getting hotter than she could tolerate.

That was part of the reason why I didn’t get the reservations I wanted that I talked about a few weeks back. Deciding to cancel the rally meant I was hooked up each place I stayed in Wyoming. Not so in Idaho. With temperatures projected in the high 90s, my plans changed multiple times.

The original plan was simple: three Harvest Host stops, three nights in a national forest and two nights plugged in at an RV park, arriving at my workamping job August 1. The reality ended up as one Harvest Host stop, three nights in a national forest, three nights plugged in at an RV park and four nights in a motel (yes, that’s part of the harrowing tale), arriving at my workamping job August 3.

Getting to Pocatello, Idaho

I checked out of my Wyoming RV park as late as I possibly could. I wanted to arrive at the Museum of Clean in Pocatello, Idaho, after they closed, hopefully as the day was starting to cool off. Then I’d tour in the morning before things heated up again.

It was nice. I was able to park in the shade of the building, set up a chair outside and take advantage of a breeze.

White van and trailer parked in front of a brick building with lots of windows.
It worked perfect to park in the shade of the building on a very hot day.

Coolest Museum Yet

One of the things I love about Harvest Hosts is the chance to see and stay at really unique places (which meant I was sad to cancel two of those planned stops) and the Museum of Clean has to be the most unique museum yet.

Like so many people before me, I just loved this place and this stop. I toured for almost two hours and could’ve stayed longer but needed to be on my way.

Signage for a museum. It has a white gloved hand and says Museum of Clean.

History of the Museum of Clean

I cannot talk about this Pocatello, Idaho, treasure without explaining how the museum came to be. The man who envisioned it is Don Aslett. At the age of 18, Aslett needed to make money for college so he put an ad in the local paper for cleaning services. It grew from there. He started a full cleaning business and hired many fellow students. And it grew more. He ended up opening a national chain of cleaning services.

Aslett would celebrate his 86th birthday the day following my visit. In the years between, he became of King of Clean. He wrote more than 40 books on the topic of clean and made over 6,000 personal appearances over the years.

He had the idea for a museum in 1985. “In 2006, Don decided to make the 300-piece collection a national monument–a destination museum in Pocatello, Idaho. He purchased a city block which included an original 1915 six-story all-concrete building, adding a new environmentally friendly addition to house 75,000 square feet of exhibits.” Currently three floors are open to the public with three more to expand to, including the vision they have for a roof garden.

Philosophy of the Museum

I love this. The place and Don’s philosophy is so much bigger than how-to clean. Let me quote it:

This is a “Be Clean,” not how to clean museum—teaching the value of clean. Clean Air, Clean Water, Clean Teeth, Clean Mind, Clean Arteries, Clean Language, etc. May you find education, entertainment, inspiration (& some humor) herein. Good Cleaning!

Don Aslett

A few Photos from the Museum of Clean in Pocatello, Idaho

An old vacuum hanging on a wall in a museum.
The world’s second vacuum cleaner. The Whirlwind was patented on June 8, 1869. Due to a factory fires in Chicago in 1870, and in Boston in 1872, the Museum of Clean has one of three known to exist in the world.
A huge room filled with vacuums.
An entire floor dedicated to vacuums.
A display of boxes of soaps.
A display of boxes of soap.
I enjoyed the displays that showed the history of certain items and products such as all these soaps.

More Days in Pocatello, Idaho

After I left the Museum of Clean, I headed to a small RV park for three days. Then, I headed up a mountain outside of Pocatello, Idaho, and into a National Forest. I’ve driven through many National Forests but this was my first stay in one. I was nervous because it was without hookups but the trees provided shade so it wasn’t too bad. The campground had vault toilets and spigots though I used neither.

It was quite lovely. I stayed three days.

Then it was time to be on my way. I left the campground at 5 a.m. in the dark to get to my workamping place before they closed for the day. It was a little eerie but the campground was small so it was easy to find my way out and down the mountain. Why so early? I made an appointment at an RV repair place because I hadn’t gotten my hot water heater up and running since I de-winterized it. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, just needed a little assistance so I booked an hour with this place and was going to have them help with several little things I had going on.

Caribou National Forest Campground sign for Scout Mountain against the trees and mountains and blue sky.
On the way up the mountain to the campground.

And Then Things Went South

And ninety minutes later, the harrow tale began. I never made the appointment because soon I was stranded on the side of the road. And that was just the first in a series of bad things to come.

Stay tuned.

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