Sunday, August 4, 2013

Living Life Around Idaho Falls, Idaho

           Good morning! Today is our 47th day on the road and time is flying by. It is 2:30 A.M. on Sunday, August 4th. I laid down for a nap at 7:30 P.M. last evening and didn’t wake up for seven hours. I didn’t think I was that tired but I sure feel refreshed now. Only problem is - There is no one to play with at this hour of the day. Quiet is the order of the moment as I don’t want the mommy bee to wake up and sting me! 

We moved the 280 miles from Springville, Utah to Idaho Falls, Idaho back on July 24th. The drive took just over five hours. The weather was clear and bright the entire trip up Interstate – 15 and the weather got a little cooler as we moved north. That is cooler and more electrical as dark clouds move in for a couple hours each day now.

Interstate 15 runs right through the middle of downtown Idaho Falls as does the Snake River. Idaho Falls was founded in 1864. The elevation is 4,705. Population is 56,813 in 2010 with metro population at 136,108. Idaho Falls is the principal city and business hub of eastern Idaho and western Wyoming. This is an agricultural area and has become one of the most productive regions of the United States. Due to its relative economic vitality, high quality of life, and proximity to world-class outdoor recreation, it is often featured as on of the "best places to live."
We are in Idaho Falls to visit my brother-in-law, Gary, and, as usual, site see and play a little golf.

Idaho Falls has three very nice public golf courses. So far we have played two of the three courses as we got rained out at the third course last week. My favorite is Sand Creek. I played this course in 2005 when we visited the area and it is now fun to see the changes. The tree are very much more mature and they really define the entire layout. The greens are smooth and run quick and true. The length of this course is around 6,400 yards and that is about as much as my game can handle at this time. It plays longer because of the lush fairways. Janet continues to improve and is probably only frustrated by my frustrations in pushing her improvement. Her true talent is showing with some of the nice shots she hits. She has made great strides in her pitching and putting last week. Practice – Practice! She made three putts in the 15 - 25 foot range in our last round!

Gary and Jackie invited us over for a Bar-B-Q back on our second night in Idaho Falls. It was fun catching up. Their neighbor, Tony, came over with an exquisite bottle of 2007 Justin cabernet that hit the taste buds just right. We will have to go looking for the Justin Winery on the California central coast when we get in that area in November. 

Our infatuation with Mexican food continues. Gary and Jackie joined us at Jalisco’s last Sunday evening and we have since tried Garcia’s here in Idaho Falls. All are measured by Mi- Casa in the Silverton Hotel & Casino back in Las Vegas. We lived in Las Vegas for 19 years. Too bad it took us 18 years and 10 months to find MiCasa. Don’t forget – Monday night is Seniors Night at MiCasa. Half price on everything with your player’s card. Don’t forget to remind them! 

Actually we have been eating out much more than our plan. All of our old haunts have been in our path. IHOP, Red Robin, Olive Garden, Burger King, Appleby’s, Sizzler’s, Chinese, and Pizza Palaces. We have many weaknesses! 

Over the years Janet has perfected her pancake making ability into the best I’ve tasted. It is an easy breakfast to make on the coach with a non-stick pan on the Amana three burner stove top. You might be interested to know that we (Janet) really doesn’t do a lot of cooking onboard the coach. We decided early on that the coach is too small to support major cooking. (Pasta ISN’T major cooking!) We are trying to keep the furniture, carpets, and clothing free of the greasy food odors. Our onboard meals are cereal, oatmeal, fresh fruits and pancakes for breakfasts. Finger food such as cheese/crackers or chips and salsa. Sandwiches for lunch or dinner. Janet discovered how to make a superb hot dog by cooking the hot dog in a plastic bag in the convection-microwave. Excellent! Of course we have a portable propane gas grill for outdoor cooking. 

I don’t think we are losing any weight! 

A couple nights back we had an electrical storm at midnight. It never did rain much but we had thunder and lightning for about 45 minutes and the winds really shook the coach. That is somewhat un-nerving because the coach weighs 13 or 14 tons! 

Idaho Falls is the western gateway city to Yellowstone National Park. It is a 110 mile drive over good two or four lane highways to get to West Yellowstone, Montana. Averaging about 60 MPH the drive took us just short of 2 hours this past Friday morning. I received a tip that told us to get there early or we would face some delays with the mid-morning rush of humanity. It was a beautiful day and we entered the park through one of three 20 car lines at 8:20 A.M. Yes, we got up at 6 A.M. and left Idaho Falls about 6:35 to make the drive! 

The main driving loop within the park is probably 150 miles long. We planned an abbreviated visit that took in the first 30 miles of the main loop and ended at Ole Faithful Geyer. We stopped at three or four points of interest in this 30 mile stretch to visit the geologic activities that were taking place and the serenity of a running river with tranquilizing pools. Many fisherman working different spots. 

Ole Faithful Geyser didn’t disappoint us. It spews approximately every 91 minutes. We arrived at the lodge and viewing area at 10 A.M. and found out the next spew would be around 10:25. It gave us time to visit the lodge, gift shop, and prepare for the spew. I would estimate there were near 2,000 – 3,000 visitors in the spectator area as Ole Faithful went off right at 10:25. Like somebody flipped a switch. Naw, you don’t think . . . . naw! 

A site to see but somewhat anti-climactic as the spew lasted barely 1-1/2 minutes. The spectators went reverently quiet, but I couldn’t help thinking each of the spectator’s thoughts was something along the line of, “I came how far to see that?” Japan/Germany! For sure a beautiful sight, and especially when considering the years of geological circumstances.  I had something more in mind, but what the heck – we were there and we saw it! Maybe it will hit me harder later. 

We retraced the 30 mile route back to the western park entrance outside of West Yellowstone, Montana. About 23 miles into this drive we passed a car going into the park that had pulled off the side of the reasonably wide road with a flat tire. Consequently traffic on that side of the road was backed up virtually all the way (7 miles) to the entrance gate. Reminded me of 5 P.M. traffic on an L.A. freeway! The backup at the entrance gate extended another half mile into downtown West Yellowstone. My thoughts were the same as I had for the spectators at Ole Faithful. We are now certainly happy about getting up early and into the park early. We spent the next few hours in West Yellowstone having lunch and visiting the various curio shops.  Quality goods, inexpensive T-Shirts, and ice-cream parlors. It was all there and nicely presented in a pristine atmosphere. We enjoyed the experience. 

Under the heading of “What’s New”, we went to IHOP (not new!) and then went back to the coach to defrost our refrigerator for the first time yesterday morning. We turned it off and opened the doors to let the room temperature do its work. It took about 2 hours to get the frost out and the drainage cleaned up. I don’t remember defrosting a refrigerator after about 1965! Janet was reading and I was watching the Tiger Wood’s show from the WGC in Akron along with the Dodger’s baseball game from Chicago. Busy day on the coach. No wonder I needed a nap.  

Until next time, we are doing just fine, and hope you are also.

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