Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Teton Valley to Portland

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I think the longest I've gone between blog posts is about four months back in 2015. At the time, we were more in love with adventuring and our new fulltiming lifestyle rather than writing about it. Since I'm not looking to break that record, I'd better get going, right?

Speed Blogging

I'm going to speed by some of our stops so that I can get caught up, mainly because either we've been there several times and I've written about them over and over, or because we didn't do much worth writing about. I will, however, lean on Steven to include a fair number of his fabulous photos for your viewing pleasure.

The Big Eddy

What's this? Another Top Ten camping spot??! Indeed it is, and it's located in the Teton Valley just 80 miles south of Henry's Lake. I wasn't kidding when I said we've been here before and I've written just about all there is to write about the area. See here. Here. Here and here.

The special part about this return trip is that we were still traveling with Bill and Kelly and we got to show them all around our beloved valley and, of course, the fabulous Lot 5, our property. The Big Eddy was the perfect boondocking spot. I mean, really, what's not to love about wild camping in the foothills of the Grand Tetons? We stayed there for 18 days, visited Jackson Hole and the Grand Teton National Park, twice. We revisited our favorite restaurants in Driggs, Victor and Tetonia and celebrated Bill and Kelly's 33rd anniversary at Teton Thai - fabulous! We had a Great Horned Owl who entertained us endlessly, lots of eagles, hawks, ospreys and sandhill cranes squawking overhead. There were moose, deer, coyotes and cows. Steven enjoyed early morning photo shoots and Bill managed a couple of solar installs. Mostly, though, we just chilled in the shadow of the mountains and enjoyed happy hours, lots of good food and great company. This is the part we love most about our fulltiming lifestyle.

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Our side by side spots at the Big Eddy with incredible views of the Tetons.

What follows are some of Steven’s favorite sunrise and sunset (and some wildlife) photographs taken during our fabulous stay at the Big Eddy:

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With Bill and Kelly at one of the elk antler arches in Jackson Hole.

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T. A. Moulton Barn near Grand Teton National Park.

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This photograph embodies the fun we had together at the Big Eddy.

Parting Ways

From the Big Eddy we moved about 60 miles to the Juniper campground in Ririe, ID. I'd like to say that we spent our three days here out and about, but it turned really windy, so we were kind of stuck going back and forth between rigs. In some ways, it was kind of nice to just hang out some more before going our separate ways. But, after 39 days, three states, five campgrounds, countless happy hours, dinners and memories made, it was time to say goodbye. Bill and Kelly left to make their way south, while we stayed one extra day in Ririe before heading to Boise. It was a bit of a sad day but Kelly and I always talk about looking forward. In that sense, we both felt a lot of excitement. There's always something fun down the road.

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Our cozy and somewhat picturesque site in Ririe.

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We had an amazing time with Kelly and Bill and it’s sad to say goodbye.

Scratch That

Sometimes what you find down the road isn't fun at all. For example, when your two-day stay in Boise turns into a two-week stay at Camp Cummins. It's a long story, but suffice it to say that Scoopy got a new fuel pump and a new hydraulic motor. It was the latter that took a bit of searching to locate and get it to Boise. In the meantime, we were just hanging out in the parking lot with water, 50 amps and gorgeous sunsets. It's not like we had any pressing matters to attend to, so we were actually quite happy there. We took the time to begin our downsizing and dropped off several loads of household goods to Goodwill. We also purchased a bit of gear for our upcoming hike in Spain.

As we were finally preparing to leave after our two week stay, the mechanic took Scoopy out for one last spin. A dog ran in front of him and the impact knocked out our drive light! The poor dog was transported to the local vet's office, our mechanic was devastated and our departure was delayed. We still do not know the fate of the dog, because they found a drive light and by the next morning we were on our way. We did ask before we left, but they did not yet have an update. So, even though our stay in Boise morphed into an unexpected lengthy one, we were quite content. That said, our overall contentment with our stay at Camp Cummins does not include the final bill, of course, but as my Mom is fond of saying, "Oh, well."

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Sunsets and sunrises galore made for a not so bad stay at the Cummins parking lot.

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While waiting for Scoopy’s parts, we managed to catch up with two for our favorite peeps, Dustin and Laci.

These Boots Are Made For Walkin'

We made our way from Boise to Sherwood, OR, just south of Portland. We had planned to stay a month and were only a couple of days delayed by the time we arrived. We like to travel with lots of wiggle room and it really paid off for us this time.

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The photogenetic gazebo at the Sherwood Elks Lodge.

We made a beeline for REI where I purchased a new pair of hiking boots. Steven had gotten his in Boise, and at the time, I chose Salomon Trail Runners. We did a couple of walks and I never stopped agonizing over my choice. The day before we left Boise, Steven returned them. I just couldn't commit to trail runners, and certainly not those Salomons. I went back and forth, trying to decide if I wanted sturdy boots or trail runners for my Camino. Either way, a decision had to be made because we needed to start walking and break in whatever shoes we were going to take with us to walk 500 miles. Still, it's no willy nilly decision.

Once at REI, I ended up choosing the same hiking boots that Steven got in Boise, OBOZ Sawtooth Low Shoes, not quite a boot, more hearty and supporting than a trail runner. Then, we started walking. And walking. We were settled into the Elks Lodge in Sherwood, which was surrounded by hills. We scoped out a six mile path through woods, parks and the cute downtown area, which we walked three or four times a week.

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Training for the Camino along a trail in Sherwood.

Overall, we've put about 120 miles on our new boots and while Steven loves his, the jury is still out on mine. Well, I love the shoes, it's the size I'm worried about. I got them one size bigger than usual because feet swell when you walk 15 miles a day, so that's the advice. I hope they work out, time will tell.

Portland Peeps

The main draw for us to stop for a while in Portland is our friends, the Vegans, and their neighbors, the Vegetarians (mostly). Steven likes to say we are meat-eating vegans, but regardless, we eat very, very well when we are with them. I think I say this every time we visit, if Kris would cook for me, I would become a vegan. Well, maybe not 100%, but close, and by close I mean about 50%. That would be good, right? Steven says the thing about becoming vegan, it's like anticipating a new Star Trek adventure and then finding out it's all about the Klingons. That made me LOL when he said that, because I get it. The thing about going from being a carnivore to a plant-based eater is that I'd have to learn to cook all over again. Even though I am a pretty good cook, I find that kind of intimidating. That said, our move to Europe opens up a slew of opportunity, so we'll see what happens. LOL, y'all don't hold yer breath, though. :)

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Kris and Glenn joined us along the Sherwood trail.

Next Up: Seattle