Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Geezer V, Driggs, Idaho - The Trip Home and Final Thoughts

The Trip Home

We were up early, had the cars loaded and were on the road shortly after eight as we both had long drives today.  Val and I were staying in Reno again tonight and had a 700 mile drive to get there.  Traffic was pretty light and except for some road construction, made good time, arriving in Reno around 6:00 PM.  We were in for a big surprise as this was the weekend Reno was holding its annual Street Vibrations fall motorcycle rally.  Streets were closed, there were motorcycles and people everywhere.  Normally this might be fun, but after driving 700 miles we were tired and didn't really want to deal with it.  We also found out the there was a promotion going on at Harrah's and we had free tickets to see Crosby, Stills and Nash, but to be honest, we were just too tired to bother; I guess that's why we're geezers.

Sunday morning we slept in a little and didn't hit the road for home until around 10:00 AM.  It's usually a pretty easy 400 mile drive home from Reno, but not this Sunday.  There was lots of traffic heading home from Street Vibrations plus the usual Sunday traffic and a long construction zone on Interstate 80 that slowed traffic to a crawl.  Once we made it to Interstate 5 there was less traffic, but still a little more than usual.  This was a reminder why we usually don't like to leave or return home on a Friday or Sunday.  We made it home by 7:00 PM on Sunday evening and the trip was over.

Final Thoughts

As always, we had a great time seeing our long-time friends and sharing a week with them.  As we get older we never know whether everyone will be able to attend the following year, which makes us cherish each other's company and friendship even more.  It was particularly sobering this year as just a week ago, a very close friend of Jack's passed away after a short battle with cancer.  He was our age and Jack had known him since junior high school.  I also knew him, but not very well.  It was another reminder as to how fragile life is and how we need to enjoy every moment of it while we can and there is no better way than with good, true friends.

Our stay in Driggs was great, the weather was perfect, the house we rented was the best place we have ever rented with everything we could ask for.  The only thing marring our stay was that smoke from fires south of Jackson Hole obscured the Tetons behind a brown haze, but we didn't let that spoil our fun.  The sentiment right now seems to be to return to Driggs and the Rim River House next year, but we shall see.

We will be on the road again for a short trip to Lake Tahoe with my Aunt Judy visiting from Michigan, and possibly a trip to the Northwest at the end of October, but that is not for sure yet. I don't know when the next blog post will be so you'll just have to keep checking, or easier yet is to sign-up to be notified of our next post. Just scroll down the right side of the blog until you get to "Follow by email", put in your email address, follow the security prompt and you're all set. That's all for know.

Geezer V, Driggs, Idaho - Day 5

Our last day in the River Rim House.  We spent the morning doing mostly nothing, but we did start to pack up things we wouldn't be using anymore.  We want to get an early start tomorrow and we have plans for the afternoon, so the more we get done early, we don't have to do tonight.

Jack and Steph wanted to treat us to lunch so we drove into Driggs and looked around a bit and then had a great lunch at the Pendl's Bakery & Cafe.  I would highly recommend Pendl's for the great sandwiches and even better bakery items, thanks Jack and Steph.  After lunch Jack and Steph visited a couple of fly shops to get some fishing supplies as they were going to try their luck again this afternoon.  After we got back from Driggs, we all went down to the fishing spot just below the house where Steph caught her fish yesterday.  Val and I don't fish, but we went along just to watch.

The fishing spot was beautiful; the trees and bushes were starting to show their fall colors and it was just perfect along the Teton River.  The weather was just right and Val and I took many pictures while Jack and Steph fished.

Looking upriver.
And downriver.
Steph and Jack putting on their waders before stepping into the river.
Val's looking relaxed.
Steph's entering the water.
It looks like Steph is sitting in the rock....
....but she's standing behind it.
Jack's set to go.
And in he goes.
The Teton River.
Steph is very focused, probably why she did so well yesterday.
Jack in action.
More of Jack.
More of the fall color.
Jack and Steph
I'm ready with my camera when they catch the big one.

Jack and Steph
Fall color down the Teton River.

Looks like Jack's got one hooked ... nope, only caught on a rock.

Jack and Steph
Time to call it a day, Steph's heading in and Jack's already in.
Well, it looks like Val and I jinxed them, not a in fish in sight, just a few nibbles, but it was just a beautiful day to be out on the river.  After packing things up, it was back to the house for our final evening.

For dinner we just tried to eat whatever left over food we had.  We did some final packing, relaxed a bit and talked and then it was early to bed as we hoped to be on the road by 8:00 AM.  What a great week we've had here at the River Rim House on the Teton River.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Geezer V, Driggs, Idaho - Day 4

When we got up this morning John and Greg were gone; they had left at 5:30 while the rest of us were still sound asleep.  The house seemed very quiet in the morning as our group was now down to four.  Steph and Val worked on some genealogy things online while Jack and I tried our luck at putting together a jigsaw puzzle (not much luck, we spent  most of our time looking for missing pieces).  It was a very quiet morning.  After lunch, Val and I went into Driggs for a presentation on the Sandhill Crane and Jack and Steph were going to try their luck at fly fishing again in the Teton River.

The Teton Valley is an important staging area for the Sandhill Crane migration.  There are abundant wetlands for them to roost in and large areas of cut barley and wheat fields for them to fatten up for there trek south.  They are large birds, about 37 to 45 inches long with a wingspan of 75 to 80 inches.  The program was put on by the Teton Regional Land Trust and consisted of a photo workshop by wildlife photographer Tim Mayo, an informational talk on the Sandhill Cranes by biologist and Teton Regional Land Trust Stewardship Director Matt Lucia, and a trip to observe the Sandhills Cranes.  Both talks were interesting and informative.  After the talks, we headed out to an area of cut grain fields near a wetland area where the cranes were roosting.  When we arrived, we could see many cranes feeding and hear their distinctive and loud calls to each other.  Here are some photos of the Sandhill Cranes taken through a long telephoto lens as we obviously couldn't get very close.

We waited and waited for them to fly off to their night roost, but they seemed content to continue feeding so we headed for home.  Here are a couple more pictures from the area where we were observing the cranes.

It was a very interesting evening and we were very impressed by the Teton Regional Land Trust.

When we got back to the River Rim House, we had more exciting news from Jack and Steph; the fish were biting!  Actually they were biting for Steph, but not so much for Jack.  They found a spot near the house where they could drive down to the river and it turned out to be a good spot.  Here are a few pictures of Steph and some of the fish she caught.

Just a little one, but bigger fish were coming.
One in the net.
Steph with her best fish.
Despite the successful outing, there would be no trout for dinner for us as they were doing catch and release.  Well done Steph, I was impressed.

After dinner it was back to the hot tub to wind down the day, tomorrow is our last day.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Geezer V, Driggs, Idaho - Day 3

We were all up early so we could get a good start on our trip to Mesa Falls.  Mesa Falls is a spectacular set of waterfalls on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River.  They consist of an upper and lower falls with the upper falls being 114 feet high and 200 feet wide and the lower falls slightly smaller at 85 feet high.  The lower falls is not easily accessible, but the upper falls has trails and viewing platforms making it an easy walk for anyone.  Mesa Falls is on highway 47 which is called the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway.  The south end of the byway starts in Ashton, Idaho and ends 29 miles later just south of Island Park, Idaho.  It was a beautiful drive through rolling farm lands and forest at the higher elevation.

We were on our way by nine o'clock and reached Ashton less than an hour later.  We decided to start at the northern end of the byway so we drove on up highway 20 where we stopped in Island Park and bought sandwiches, drinks and snacks for lunch.  Backtracking south a few miles we started our drive on the scenic byway.  Our first stop was an unnamed, unmarked pond we had read about in an off-road guide book.  The pond was in a nice spot and was worth the detour.

Hiking down to the pond.
John and Greg.

Trumpeter Swans across the pond.

Back to the cars.
From there it was down the road to visit the falls, but first it was lunchtime.

Our lunchtime entertainment.

The top of Mesa Falls
Mesa Falls

The turbulence at the bottom of the falls.
While we were there, a school bus full of kids pulled up for an outing and they swarmed the area.  They were well behaved, but they caused me a few problems with my photographic endeavors.  They didn't stay long so it was just a brief encounter.

Looking down river from the Upper Falls.
There is no access to the lower falls, so we drove a little further down the road to the scenic overlook of the Lower Mesa Falls.

Lower Mesa Falls
Another group picture at the Lower Mesa Falls overlook.
It was getting late in the afternoon, so it was time to head for home.  This was John and Greg's last evening as Greg had to get back to his business by Friday.

Jack, John, Greg and Val on the deck. 
For the last meal of our full group, Steph prepared a delicious dinner of Chicken Parmesan which everyone fully enjoyed.  Later, we all convened in the hot tub for some final talk and relaxing.  We were all sorry to see John and Greg go as it won't be the same without them, but real life calls and the bills have to be paid.  See you next year John and Greg.