I can’t tell you what it is about Idaho. And no it is not the Potatoes. Something about Idaho has been calling us for years. There is a show on the National Geographic Channel called Aerial America. A few months ago they had a one hour show on Idaho. Seeing this only added fuel to the fire. Idaho was destined to be a on the itinerary for this trip. Crossing over from Oregon into Idaho the landscape unfolded like an Alpine postcard. It was quickly living up to our expectations. We were headed for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. In National Forests and National Recreation Areas, you are generally allowed to set up camp just about anywhere that you want free of charge. Our first stop was to the Ranger Station to ask for a recommendation. Ranger Rick was a nice slow talking mountain man who went over ALL of our options with very detailed descriptions of the 673 different regions of the park we should look at. After 7 hours or so we thanked Ranger Rick and started out the door.
Just as we were about to leave he yelled to us “Don’t forget to check out the unlimited speed exotic car road rally”. I stopped so fast in my tracks that Kristi thought I ran into a glass wall. I did a quick 180 and skipped right back to Ranger Rick. “What did you just say” I demanded. He went on (and on..) to explain that Sun Valley is hosting a unlimited speed time trial out on highway 67. There are million dollar supercars from all over the country vying for the title of fastest car on the street. Apparently, the current record holder was a Bugatti Veryon that went 260 MPH last year. Now for those of you that know me, it goes without saying that I was suddenly very happy. I kissed Ranger Rick on the forehead and headed up the mountain to set up camp so that we could get to the important stuff. We found a great spot right on the Green River, unhooked the tracker and headed to the race.
Fifteen minutes later my joy quickly faded as I learned that we were too late. The racing was underway and they were not allowing any more spectators in. We were so close that I could hear the horsepower echo off the canyons, yet too far too see a damn thing. After trying every scam possible to talk my way in, I finally conceded defeat and headed into town. I did get a good look at one very cool car while in Sun Valley. It was the brand new 2015 Porsche 918 Hybrid which is now the worlds quickest production car that goes zero to sixty in 2.3 seconds with the help of electric motors.
After doing the tourist thing in Sun Valley, we headed back to Dottie for some fishing and sight seeing in the Sawtooth Mountains. The scenery was awesome and Idaho did not disappoint. As the sun was going down and after several very strong local beers, I got the bright idea to take Colby tent camping in the real wilderness on this beautiful evening. We quickly packed our tent, sleeping bags, some water and granola and headed for the hills leaving the modern conveniences of the RV behind. We hiked a couple of miles into the thick forest and began the process of setting up camp. Colby gathered wood and we made a makeshift fire ring out of rocks. I took the opportunity to teach Colby the lost art of starting a fire with the assistance of sulfur dipped sticks and a friction pad. We spent some quality time by the fire as the sun set over the mountains. By 11 PM my plug was pulled and we headed into the tent. This is where the theory of tent camping clashed with the reality of tent camping. From the last time that I was in a tent 30 years ago to now, the ground has gotten much harder. The rocks are sharper and it almost seems as if I weigh more. A sleeping roll would have been a great idea. Instead gravity punished me all night. My portly frame crushed down on the rocks and gravel under my sleeping bag all night long. By 2AM it was very tempting to wake Colby up and head back to the RV. However he was having a great time and I would hate to disturb him mid slumber. So I sucked it up for another 4 hours of sleepless agony. At the exact stroke of 6AM I began to break down camp, put out the fire, and collapsed the tent on Colby’s head in an effort to wake him ever so gently. For some reason he was startled as the tent fell on his head. He did quickly realize that we were headed home. Like two dirty zombies, we marched quietly through daybreak back to the old gal. After I long hot shower, I congratulated myself on living through this great wilderness adventure with my son and swore to never do it again.