In THE GARDEN OF…Bat-man, Car-yenta, Two Bit Lifts and stalactites – YES, REALLY!
"The finest workers in stone are NOT copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure…"
Lehman Cave Orientation Video
"Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived that distinguish one man from another."
Ernest Hemmingway - Ketchum, Idaho was his final home and resting place; while there he wrote portions of 'For Whom the Bell Tolls,' 'Islands in the Stream,' 'The Garden of Eden,' and 'A Movable Feast'
HIWAY-TAILING it outta of town. We left Oceanside, Ca. on the morning of July 1st to continue our RV travels. We drove our daily average of about 300 miles to Las Vegas, found a nice RV park, did a little grocery shopping followed by a brief pool swim. But due to a quickly approaching lightning storm, we 'dipped then dashed' back to our Motorhome and bedded down for the night. No, we didn't partake in any casino visits or gambling - As Gary sez, every day he opened the front doors of his animal hospital was a gamble, so why do it in our free time…
GREAT BASIN NATIONAL PARK:
As we continued to head north to Idaho through Nevada, we quickly realized that there's a small little known National Park situated near the Nevada/Utah border in east/central Nevada. So when we were parked at the Border Inn RV Park, our motorhome was literally half in Nevada and half in Utah! We planned for 2 days and happily stretched it to four in the "Great Basin National Park" and we were really glad we did! The Park has a beautiful mountain range including the Wheeler Peak at 13,063 foot elevation, 4000 year-old bristlecone pine trees, lots of sage brush, wild afternoon thunderstorms, the darkest of night skies (astronomy heaven) and the signature beauty of the Lehman Caves.
It derives its name from the Great Basin, the dry and mountainous region between the Sierra Nevada ad Wasatch Mountains. The Park gets only about 100,000 visitors a year (Grand Canyon gets 4.8 million visitors yearly). The Lehman Caves with it's Ranger-led tours, 50 degree year round temperature, and over ten species of Bat visitors, create a vast tortuous and twisted collection of marble and limestone stalactites (ceiling formations, C for "ceiling") and stalagmites (floor formations, G for "ground") are fascinating and really beautiful to see up-close. There are only 12 hiking trails in the park, including the 8.6 mile Wheeler Summit Trail starting at 10,160 feet and climbing through the strong wind gusts and weather exposed peak of 13,063 feet. The trail is quite strenuous and the altitude presents some challenges so you have to be prepared!! We were and it was a really challenging hike, and at times, seemingly climbing just off vertical and around and through countless rocks.
IDAHO: Sun Valley, Ketchum, & Hailey
About 75 miles north of Twin Falls, Idaho are the resort towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley and then just a few miles south is Hailey which is a small charming mountain town but without the buzz of a major resort destination. We think these mountain valley towns, rimmed by the 'Sawtooth Mountains,' are just about the MOST beautiful post-card picturesque outdoor adventure locale that we've seen—and we've seen a lot!
MATCHMAKER, MATCHMAKER: In Ketchum, we were 'driveway' guests of Carol Swig. Laura and Carol were pals when Laura was working at Rancho La Puerta Health Spa 25 years ago - seems like only yesterday… Here's a little "Love Story" that we'll pretty sure you haven't heard before. On the rainy stormy night of Laura's & Gary's FIRST date in '91, actually a Blind Date. Carol not only prettied-up Laura's hair but ALSO loaned Laura her car to drive the 30 miles on a tortuous mountain road from the Ranch to meet Gary in her 'skimpy' short black dress… and the rest is history!!! Isn't this crazy!
Well, needless to say, Gary insisted on finally meeting up with Carol to settle a longstanding score with her--providing the 'tool' Laura needed to first meet Gary
"How Dare Her!!
MY LOVE, I'm only joking, really!!
The Sun Valley area, at an elevation of 6000, feet offers a mouth-watering plateful of seasonal world-class activities for the outdoor enthusiast, including: downhill (aka Alpine) and cross country (aka Nordic) skiing, ice skating, golfing, hiking, ski lift rides up the mountain in summer for mtn. bikers, hiking, fly fishing (Saks family take note), cycling and the list goes on. "Gee, who in the world could these activities possibly appeal too?!? Bald Mountain, "Baldy," at 9,150 feet elevation is the primary ski mountain. (SKIERS: With it's abundance of constant-pitch terrain, at varying degrees of difficulty, coupled with it's substantial vertical drop (3400 feet) and absence of wind, 'Baldy' is considered one of the better ski mountains in the world). The world's FIRST EVER, chairlift (at only 25 cents a ride!), was installed there in 1936. A little trivia: The design engineer for this ski lift actually got his idea from seeing Banana-loading conveyer equipment.
IT'S A SMALL WORLD…. Gary met up with one of his veterinary school classmates, Karsten Fosveldt, who practices in Ketchum for a tour of his hospital and a beautiful scenic mountain hike. AND THEN (we couldn't make this up), while Gary was cycling on one of the areas over 50 miles of pristinely-maintained bike paths, he recognized another fellow veterinarian and long time runner. It was Darien and along with her husband, Alan or "Mac" MacMillan, both veterinary ophthalmologists, who practiced in San Diego for many years, were actually the ones from whom we bought our Canyon Road HOME in Escondido 13 years ago. The same home we just recently sold - how about that!! They split their time between Sun Valley and Maui- one tough life….! We had a truly wonderful Japanese dinner with them at "Zou 75" in Hailey, toured their home, and promised to meet up again soon -- down the road or bike path- whichever comes first. Mac, was also Gary's ophthalmology professor at UC Davis. Another great example of how many wonderful people we are meeting on our journeys - some planned and some not!!
Laura met some wonderful new friends in the community, Anne Yellow Kidney who does wonderful Cranial Sacral therapy along with Aura Soma work. Laura was fortunate to be able to study with Anne in the Aura Soma work which was a fascinating blend of color, healing, plants, herbs, and meditations. She also connected with Amy and Oliver who own The Gateway which is a center for Martial Arts, Yoga, Accupuncturist and Anne's work as a very highly trained clinician. Laura and Amy teamed up with crystal bowls and meditation for a celebration of life for a friend of Amys. Meeting them was such a highlight!!!
Where have all the -'potatoes' -gone…? Idaho grows one third of America's potatoes, but except for French Fries, the occasional stuffed/twice-cooked potato, or the "Wicked Spud" Bar & Grill in Hailey, we just couldn't find any other starchy signs of this being the potato capital of the USA.
SMOKED SALMON: We love it and savor it frequently and always when it's fresh and local. Here's our BEST BITES:
BEST in the USA: ***Seattle Pike Place Market
Amazing, seemingly right off the boat and soft as soft butter… $33.00/pound (so it should be!!)
Honorable Mentions: **Idaho Sun Valley Smoked Salmon
(actually we never associated Idaho with salmon, but they've got 'em and the SALMON RIVER to spawn!!
*A Key West Fish Market (Overseas Hiway, about mile marker 193)
$11.00/pound (terrific bargain, made fresh in am every morning, ate it like candy!!)
So what's it REALLY like 'making a home' with another human being in a Motorhome? Well, where to begin? So much to say and soooo little space…. But, first & foremost and then some, is you gotta get along with that other person!! At the end of the day, month or year, you're either gonna love 'em more, or well, you know! COMMUNICATION-- which comes super natural to Laura and is a bit of a developmental anomaly for Gary is tantamount to living together 24/7, and in somewhat cramped quarters. We still do have our moments - our disagreements, and we'll leave the magnitude of these 'moments' to your imagination! We, especially Gary, have learned to, not so quickly react to comments from the other person (let the 'sleeping dog' sleep) and not let things simmer so we start talking about , whatever was the 'trigger,' much quicker then in the 'old days.' Usually peacefully, but sometimes you just gotta 'agree to disagree. AMAZINGLY, this gypsy-life style of ours has brought us much closer and certainly much more dependent on each other. REALLY - HONEST!!
NEXT UP: Montana- Big Sky Country
MANY THANKS to all of you who take the time, and have the interest, in keeping up with The Gallerstein's! As you can tell, it's NEVER boring, always a new experience awaits us and we never know what's going to be behind the next … you know!
We hope all of you are doing well and enjoying good health!
All the Best,
Laura & Gary