Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 18, through Tuesday, July 26, 2011: Off to Victor, Idaho, the Gateway to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone:
The first stop after McCall on our way to Victor, Idaho, where we will be leaving our trailer while we visit Grand Teton National Park and go to Yellowstone National Park for a family reunion, was the Fort Running Bear RV Park, located 23 miles outside Mountain Home, Idaho, next to the Little Camas Reservoir.

There is nothing---not even a ghost town or closed gas station---in that 23 miles, and the last 3 1/2 miles are not paved. We arrived with a rather dirty truck and trailer. We were told we couldn't wash them due to a water shortage, but that it didn't matter because they would get just as dirty on the way out. Sound advice. The RV park is nice, considering its remote location and rural setting, and the owners are very nice people. I share a picky attitude about the abuse of English with one of the owners, a former teacher from Arcadia, California. We were originally scheduled to stay four nights, but decided to cut it to two and make a stop in Sun Valley on the way to Pocatello. Because of its remoteness, there was little to do at Fort Running Bear but read (which I did) and walk the dogs (which Becky did).

On Wednesday, we made the short (85 miles) trip to Sun Valley, Idaho. Very uneventful, except for about an hour of aggregate delays due to road construction. We are staying at the Meadow RV Park in Ketchum, which is adjacent to Sun Valley. Wednesday afternoon, we biked 11 miles (round trip) through Ketchum to Sun Valley,

stopped at the Sun Valley Inn, had a drink at the Sun Valley Lodge, and a magnificent steak dinner at the Pioneer Saloon in Ketchum, a local favorite.

Thursday morning, we had a nice breakfast at The Moose Girls Cafe & Bar in Ketchum with Lois Ukropina, a former Citigroup client of Becky's. Lois happens to be the aunt of Bill and Rob Ukropina, who went to high school with Becky. Lois moved to Ketchum several years ago. I had never met her before. She's a kick.

Thursday night, we went to Kirk Dushane's house in Bellevue (15 miles south of Ketchum) to have dinner.

Kirk was a long-time client of mine.

He served us elk that he had hunted himself. Yummy. It was good seeing him again. It's been quite a while. He has a new dog (he loves black Labs) named Rip (the grandson of another Rip that Kirk had), who is as cute as can be.

Friday day was a travel day---165 easy miles to Pocatello. On the way, we went through the Craters of the Moon National Monument---a 50+ mile long lava field. Fascinating.

We called Bill Wheeler on Friday to check up on him. He and Pat are still in Michigan, visiting their family. Bill was scheduled to have one of his knees replaced on Friday. Apparently, all went well and he expects to be ready to play pickle ball in a few months.

We are staying at the Cowboy RV Park in Pocatello. Nice place.

We decided there's not much to do in Pocatello, so we watched two movies from the Red Box: Cedar Rapids and The Lincoln Lawyer. Both were well worth the effort.

Sunday was a travel day, 115 miles to finally land in Victor (Population:840). Between Idaho Falls and Victor is beautiful Swan Valley. Spectacular scenery and a graceful country road cutting through it.

We are staying at the Teton Valley RV Park in Victor. It's a nice park in a nice rural setting.

Today we met up with Frank and Pat Vonau, Denver-based RVers we met on our Peru/Ecuador trip 2 1/2 years ago.

They are staying at the same park. Becky has been in email contact with them consistently, trying to figure out how we can match our itineraries enough to see them. It finally happened.

On Sunday night, we went with the Vonaus (and two of their three children and four of their I-don't-know-how-many grandchildren to a "cowboy barbecue" on Sunday at the Bar J Chuckwagon (21 miles away in Wilson, Wyoming), on a large horse and cattle ranch. The barbecue operation is quite an institution, running only four months a year (Memorial Day weekend through the end of September) serving 600 people a night with barbecued chicken, beef, ribs, etc.,

and with entertainment following dinner. As corny as it sounds, it was actually fun.

On Monday morning, we went with the adult Vonaus to the Grand Teton Brewing Company to taste some of its wares. Naturally, we bought some. Fortunately, it is located only two miles from our RV park, so we had little difficulty getting home.

Tuesday was a rest day, preparing for the Yellowstone adventure.

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