Atlanta, Idaho - population: 26... or Pop. 37 when first established in 1864.
Bet you didn't know there even was a town called Atlanta, Idaho - well, more of a 'hamlet', or much like a 'bump in the road'...but, it does exist.
Before we get there, though, we stayed at Fort Running Bear RV Resort. David told Connie while we were on the way there that he had called to confirm the reservations and the girl at the RV resort 'reminded' him it was nudist, ie: Running Bare. Now, Connie knows David extremely well, but she still wasn't completely sure about this one...He really loves to 'push her buttons'!
It was a very nice campground. The main problem was that it was a four (4) mile driveway, dirt, into the campground. By the time we got there our two Jeeps we were towing were Covered in Dirt! On my back window of my Jeep I have a Cavalier King Charles sticker and a CR(conch republic) sticker. The whole Jeep was so covered in dirt you
could not tell there were even stickers back there! You had to laugh - except Connie was a little undone as her Jeep had never been that dirty before.
The RV Park is on the Camas Reservoir which is said to be one of the finest fishing lakes in SW Idaho. The reservoir has receeded so much, people were actually camping on the dry water bed. The reservoir was built for the farmers and ranchers in the area, but there is little water left now.
We were told by one of the campers about a Ghost Town and we were given a general direction on how to find it. We set out one morning, David drove since he didn't mind if our Jeep got dustier. Pretty drive, went up a mountain, and there were abandon wood buildings; however, there were also construction crews and utility crews. We decided that could not be the ghost town, even though I saw through a window a table with chairs and it looked like place settings still on the table.
We hung a right and all the workmen looked at us in puzzlement - oh, well. We continued up this unpaved road. We saw a sign that told us 'Road Narrows', but kept going. We then came on a sign that said 'Road Closed'. It looked to us that the road kept going, even though by then it had narrowed to a one-lane road. So, we kept on going. The road was dirt and rocks, very narrow, no guard rails and no signs, just twisty scary road. The next sign we came on said 'Bridge Out'. Well, Connie and I got out and we were checking out the bridge (like we knew what we were looking for), and there went David, Ron and the Jeep across the bridge - they made it so we felt safe walking across.
David had to get out and taste the water in the falls and small river - said it was the best water he ever tasted. We told him it was probably down-hill from the Ghost Town and therefore poluted - didn't phase him.
We drove, and drove, on a consistently narrowing dirt road that barely clung to the side of the mountain. Without any to-do we found a dam and reservoir, then next a sign stating, Atlanta, Idaho. Following the road 'into town' we first saw what looked like a town tavern. I got out of the car to take a picture of it and noticed a man sitting outside, just staring - him and his beer. I asked, "Are there really only 37 people in town?" He did not nod, nor blink, nor acknowledge me in any way - I scooted back into the Jeep.
We hung a left and slowly rode through the town, looking for some signs of life. At the end of that road was a building marked 'Library'. I got out of the Jeep and asked directions, telling them we were lost and looking for a ghost town. The 'librarian', an older stout woman, and a younger bird-like woman looked at me like I was crazy. How did you Get Here? You came up What Road? In the meantime, a young boy and a teenage girl were carrying stuff from the bird-like woman's car into the Library. They told me they were going to have a rummage sale in two days and the stuff they were unloading was for the rummage sale. (With so few people living in the town, do they just trade the stuff back and forth at the 'Rummage Sale'?)
The women walked over and explained to David we could not have come up the road we came up on, that the bridge was out and the road was closed. They did slow down long enough to tell us the only place in town we could 'get a meal' was at Beaver Lodge that we had passed coming in to town.
We turned around and as I went to take a picture of 2 houses, a man in the doorway jumped out of site (except for his elbow). That gave us some hesitation, but we went on back to Beaver Lodge. The man was still sitting out front, staring straight ahead and did not acknowledge any of us. We were greeted inside by the teenage girl who was the waitress at the Lodge, and had beat us back from the Library.
The owner came out and she started sweeping the floor - the waitress told us the menu was: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, French Fries or Tater Tots. That was it - They had not had electricity for 7 (seven) weeks! They had a generator that ran the cooler to keep the hamburger patties, french fries and tater tots frozen, and another cooler that kept the beer and cold drinks cold. No fans, no lights, no warm water - nothing. We ordered from the extensive menu, and it was suprisingly good (or we were just very hungry).
By the time we were eating, half the town had drifted in - asking, "You the folks who got lost?" "You came up on what road?" - you get the general drift. One older woman walked in with a tank top, shirt over it, shorts, socks and hiking boots - told the owner she wanted her 'regular' (a shot and a beer). She took it over to a table where an old man was sitting. In also came the 'librarian', her black dog Fred, and her 5 year old grandson who was spending the summer with her there in Atlanta.
The 5 year old asked if he could go sit with John outside - she told him, sure... I followed, wanting to see if John would talk. The little boy walked up to him and said, "So, John, did it rain on you today?" John had no reaction. The little boy sat down opposite him and told John he would just sit a while with him.
We discussed the population with the Lodge's owner. She said the populaton was now 26 people. They didn't count the 5 year old as he had to 'go down the mountain' for school soon. There was an 18 month old baby, but they 'guessed' that wasn't counting her. However, the waitress was 3 months pregnant.
After being stared at like bugs in a jar and answering the much repeated question of "You got here How" and talking with the very nice population, we told them we needed to go back down the mountain. They gave us another way to go - only two roads in and out and we had come up 'the bad one'. Going down the steep grade, the Jeep overheated and we had to stop for a while. David and I placed 3 rocks along side the road.
On the way back, we went through what we guessed now was the Ghost Town we had been looking for. There, we saw a road sign pointing to 'Atlanta'. Quite an experience! We were almost back to the campground - and there goes a small herd of cows wandering across the road (the 'open range' cows). Along side, keeping a very close eye on the Jeep was the bull - we just kept on going, back to our rigs. We all agreed though, we wished we could have spent more time in Atlanta, Idaho, asked more questions about the town and how people ended up there and why was John, the drunk, just sitting outside, and sometimes in the rain...