Sunday, June 30, 2013


June 29, 2013

Before we arrived in the Sawtooth Mountains, we assumed that Idaho was full of potato fields.  We realized that there would be cities, towns, farms, cows, mountain passes, rivers, etc but the vast amount of area set aside as scenic and wilderness is impressive.  

Today we explored the Bay Horse mine.  About 30 miles east of our camp site. This ghost mine is off Hwy 21 and 4 miles up a narrow dirt road.  In 1864, prospectors met a man with two bay horses who told of rich mining ground.  They couldn't remember his name so they called the site "Man with Two Bay Horses and then it was shorten to Bay Horse.   Silver and copper mines brought many people and the town was created.  Today, you can see old mines, mining structures and buildings.

There was one stone building.  The marker said that it was a Wells Fargo store.  In the background is the mill and smelter site.  It was built on the hill side to use gravity to process the silver and copper.

Notice the storm clouds - it started raining half way through our walk.  Huge rain drops - even though we paid $5, we abandoned the tour and ran for the truck.

There were several buildings to view.  Most of buildings were saloons, cabins, boarding houses, etc.  It was common to have fourteen saloons in mining towns...that is until women and children arrived. . .

It was five by the time we reached the RV.  The rain had stopped and it was 95 degrees.  Ray moved the chairs to the edge of the campsite to relax and enjoy the view of the Salmon River while I prepared dinner.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


June 27, 2013

Yesterday was fix windshield and clean trailer day. Nothing to write home about.  Ray traveled about 30 miles to Tunnel Rock Glass and Tire Store  in Challis and replaced the windshield.  He came home with several stories about bigger rocks and bigger problems.  I tried my luck fishing about 5 pm and Ray watched with the dogs.  He was exhausted.

We do laundry about every two weeks.  Typically this not a subject for a blog....but this has turned into an adventure.  We traveled 11 miles to Stanley (pop. 63) for an afternoon of laundry, shopping and poking around.  We past more people fishing on the river than we had seen all week and wondered if we should postpone laundry and fish instead.

Stopped at the one grocery store in town  for soap, because Ray left ours in the basement of the RV, and I searched on the Internet for the coin opt laundry location.  Ray returned to the truck with soap and fishing spinners... Asked if I knew where the laundry was.  "Yep, next to the pizza place."  Ray smiled and said "It burnt down."  Here comes the adventure in doing laundry in Stanley.

Next stop was the Fly Shop where we stocked up on more flies and purchased a cute pair of socks.  (I mention this  because I usually purchase flies and Ray is the one buying glasses, shoes, anything but flies.) While there,  we found out the closest place is Redfish Lake for laundry.  Another six miles down the road.  I become instantly worried about how many people from the area as well as campers will be doing laundry.   I had visions of people lining up to do laundry.   

The directions were to go to the horse corrals and turn right.  Of course, laundry next to the horse stables.... I knew that?  Two young women pulled in right before us and Ray said a bad word.  Now it was going to get competitive.  Everything turned out fine.  There were six washers and we shared them.  Some boys had left their laundry in the washers but I had no problem putting them on the counter.  Felt like I was back in college.  The girls were worried about pulling out the boys laundry so I figured the must be cute boys. 

And again we got through another crises.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


June 25, 2013
Halfway between Ketchum and Stanley is Galena Summit (8,701 feet).  This is the highest summit of a highway in the Northwest (according to Wikipedia).  Ray commented on the way to Ketchum that this was not a friendly road for RVs our size (24,000 lbs truck and trailer total) and he was glad we didn't select this route to Stanley.  He always comments "Put that in your blog."  Ray is confident 1000's of full time RVers are reading my blog -- I don't think so.
One the way back to Stanley, Ray found another reason to dislike Galena Summit. A falling rock hit our windshield and shattered it.  Neither of us saw the rock hit.  Ray saw a bright light as the windshield shattered and I just heard the loud noise.  There was a pullout 10 yards away and we pulled off - far enough away from the cliff so no more rocks could hit us.  I spoke first and asked Ray if he was alive (Of course he was alive, he was driving but the noise was that loud).  
The windshield had huge sunburst. I looked down in my lap and there was pieces of glass.  Ray and I jumped out of the truck and assessed that we were ok and went into cleaning and shoring up the windshield.  

What I love about Ray is he always has stuff tucked away that we might need.  Out came duct tape and we used it to pick up glass and stabilize the windshield.  We were lucky that we are self sufficient and were not hurt because NO ONE stopped to see why we had emergency flashers going.  A total of seven trucks/cars passed us including three forest service rigs.  A courtesy stop to check we were ok or offer to relay a request for emergency services would of been appreciated.  
We had no idea where to go to get the windshield repaired.  So we decided to go to Stanley (home) and figure out our next steps.  Its a little unnerving to travel with a shattered windshield but what choice did we have?  This was not the type of adventures we were talking about when planning our year of full-timing travels. 

 We arrived in Stanley at 5:30 p.m. Mountain Time.  Thirty minutes before our insurance company closed in Oregon (pacific time).  We met up with our friend, Mary Ann, who went into overdrive to help us find resources to repair the windshield and a place to sooth our nerves.

The insurance company emailed us a name of a glass company.  Ray called them Wednesday morning from the land line at Torrey's office (no cell service at the RV park) and believe it or not, they had a windshield in stock.  It is twenty or fifty miles away -- Ray kept on changing the story.  He grabbed his rod, some flies from my box and headed for a day of windshield repair and fishing.

 I'm finishing this blog entry and going to do the laundry.  I might go down the river at Torrey's RV to see it I can catch my first fish.

NOTE:  Ray says 20% of his retirement has been dedicated to repair.  First the slide on the RV and now the windshield.  He is feels this is not the retirement he was expecting.  I reminded him that we could be sitting in a house and that would lower the risk of repairs but also lower the excitement of visiting new places and experiencing all sorts on new things...including a rock in the windshield.


June 25, 2013 - high of 55 degrees

Today we are heading to Ketchum/Sun Valley.  It is about 70 miles from Stanley.  Our goal is to get some great pics of the Sawtooth Mountains, experience Sun Valley, and see the Hemingway Museum and Memorial.

We head south of Stanley and immediately we can see the majestic Sawtooth Mountains to the west.  Today,  clouds kissing their peaks and we are hoping they will burn off by the afternoon.  


Redfish Lake was recommended to us while we were in Nampa as a great destination point while in the area.  The lake is just five miles south of Stanley.  There is a lodge and several campgrounds.  There are many indicators that this is a busy place during July and August.   We saw horseback riders, jet skis, walkers and fishermen.

Mt Heyburn (10,299 ft) and Grand Mogul (9,733 ft) are in the background.  There is a ferry service at the lodge that takes you to the south end of the mountains.

Hwy 75 has many turn outs and there are markers for historic events, creeks, gultches, and hot springs. This area has several hot springs.  We haven't explored them yet, but they are on our list.


Next stop was a quick photo opt on the north side of Galena Pass.  From this vantage point you could see the beautiful valley where the town of Stanley resides.   The Sawtooth Mountains are to the west and the White Cloud Mountains slightly to the east.

We also had a quick history lesson on the headwaters of the Salmon River:  In 1824, while searching the mountain wilderness of what is present day Idaho, known to them as Columbia District, for beaver, Alexander Ross came up the Wood River and discovered Galena Summit on September 18. Leading a large brigade of Hudson's Bay Company trappers, he wondered if he could get through unknown mountains and rocky defiles that obstructed his passage back to his base of operations at present Challis. Unwilling to turn back he pressed on to exploreStanley Basin and the difficult canyon beyond. When he reached Challis on October 5, 1924, he had traveled the route now followed by Idaho State Highway 75 from Bellevue to Salmon through mostly unexplored land.  (Thank you Wikipedia)

Ray's photo of the valley.

My photo of what I thought was the head water of the Salmon River - Ray disagrees.  He is might be right.  My second guess is a hot springs.


You know immediately that you are arriving in to an area of rich and famous...cell service.  Also, there are beautiful houses lining the highway to Ketchum.  My interest was Ernest Hemingway Museum and Ray's to replace a bike battery (The bike was manufactured in Ketchum).  We both failed.  The museum was closed just for the day - there was a note on the door.  The bike company was out of business.  Darn.

Ketchum reminds me of a town on the Oregon Coast.  It is full of shops catering to summer and winter recreation.  It also has galleries, restaurants, real estate, bookstores, and of course a Starbucks.

In the middle of Ketchum we take a left, stop at the first traffic light we have seen in 200 miles, and we're in Sun Valley.  The sign side the two towns were four miles apart but I think its more like one mile.


Best of all he loved the fall 
the leaves yellow on cottonwoods 
leaves floating on trout streams 
and above the hills 
the high blue windless skies 
…Now he will be a part of them forever.

Hemingway prepared this for a memorial he gave for a dear friend.

View behind the memorial.  Memorial is located on Trail Creek Road just beyond the golf course and shooting range.  


Our last stop was Sun Valley Lodge.  It was created in 1935 by the Union Pacific as the perfect American resort.  The lodge is grand. There is an ice skating rink, bowling alley, as well as restaurant, gift shop, etc.  We were not disappointed with our visit. 

Many celebrities visited the lodge over the years and their pictures line the hallway on either side of the lobby.  Ray is checking out the last letter written by Hemingway.  We really enjoyed looking at the pictures and seeing famous athletes and movie stars.

The village is next door to the lodge.  We did a quick walk though.  It is full of restaurants, gift shops, candy store and a fly shop.  Guess where we shopped?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


June 24, 2013 - Yankee Fork Idaho - nine miles down a gravel/dirt road off State Highway 75, thirteen miles east of Stanley


The dredge was brought in by the Snake River Mining Company in 1940 to mechanically recover gold left behind by early prospectors.  The  Gold Dredge operated for about twelve years. There is huge mounds of gravel and rock alongside the road that you drive  to where the dredge currently rests. The dredge recovered an estimated $1,200,000 in gold.  The Yankee Fork Gold Dredge remains the largest self-powered dredge ever to operate in Idaho.


Couldn't help ourselves, we saw a perfect spot.  Ray's first and second casts hooked fish.   The sunk was least for Ray.  Unfortunately, the camera was in the car.  It started raining and fish were jumping but not biting.  

WELCOME TO CUSTER (excerpts about Custer)

Custer, was founded in early 1879 by speculators who laid the town out right below the General Custer mill site. During the 1880's it was second in importance to nearby Bonanza, reaching a peak population of only 300. In the 1890's however, Custer superseded Bonanza as the most important town of the Yankee Fork. Economically supported by the operations of the Lucky Boy and Black mines, Custer reached its peak population of 600 in 1896.

Custer was (and still is)  a one street town. The town extended for half a mile from the Centaurs Dairy and the General Custer mill at the upper end, to the Nevada Hotel and the Miners Union Hall at the lower end. Chinatown, with about thirty residents, was situated right below the lower end of Custer.  

Nearby Bonanza was a sister city and the business and social center until fires in 1889 and 1897 destroyed much of the town. Many merchants re-established their businesses in Custer, gradually making it the new business and social center for Yankee Fork area. Custer sported a new school house, jail, Miner's Union Hall, post office, and baseball team.

By 1903, the glory days of mining were slipping away as the mines played out one by one. Business slumped and by 1910 Custer had become a ghost town.  


Bonanza was established in 1876.  By 1881, it's population was 600.  The town was established in a grid fashion and had tree lined main street. When you drive up to Bonanza, you notice there is not much left of the town.  Bonanza has only two remaining buildings.  But a half-mile drive up the hill behind Bonanza is the cemetery and well worth a stop.

The cemetery has tombstones made of wood as well as the granite and marble.  There are stones of young children, multigenerational family plots, and unknowns.  Most graves have a picket fence around the plot.  Some have iron fences.  One has a fence that looks like a baby carriage.

One person buried here is Agnes "Lizzie" King who ran Bonanza's Arcade Saloon and Yankee Fork Dance Hall. She is buried between her two husbands. Lizzie and her second husband were mysteriously murdered just a week after their wedding. Following that tragic event, the original founder of Bonanza City, Charles Franklin, was found dead, clutching a gold locket containing Lizzie's photo. 

On top of hill is a large tombstone that had a masonic emblem decorating the stone.  The man was only 41 years old.

Monday, June 24, 2013


June 23, 2013

This is the first time I have been to the Sawtooth Mountains.  My first thought was hiking, rafting, fishing, camping... lots of tourist.   I was wrong.  It is better than I ever dreamed!

INTERESTING FACTS courtesy of Visit

The Sawtooth NRA has four mountain ranges, the Sawtooths, Boulders, White Clouds and Smokys with 40 peaks 10,000 feet or higher.

There are more than 300 high mountain lakes and four major rivers, the Salmon, Payette, Boise and Big Wood.

First sighting of a deer is always exciting.  We saw eight on our first day.

We're thinking this is an eagle.

SUNBEAM DAM  (excerpt from the link)

The dam and the power plant were constructed in May of 1910. Power from the plant was utilized by the Sunbeam Consolidated Gold Mines Company at their mine and mill located 13 miles up the Yankee Fork at Jordan Creek. It didn’t last long, just 11 months, before the company realized their upside-down venture and the power plant and dam were sold at a Sheriff’s Auction in April of 1911.
In 1934 the dam was partially blown up. There are various reports with broad discrepancies outlining the details of how the dam eventually met its demise. One report, from the then-former governor of Idaho, Cecil Andrus, states “a party or parties unknown ran a dynamite-laden raft into Sunbeam Dam.” Another report reads, “In 1910, miners built Sunbeam Dam on the Salmon River east of Stanley, cutting off the sockeye’s migration route. They were thought to have gone extinct in the 1920s. But the fish reappeared in 1931 after sportsmen blew a hole in Sunbeam Dam.”


Here is our campsite at Torrey's Burnt Creek Inn.  It's Sunday afternoon and we have the park to ourselves.   The owners went out of their way to welcome us.   More views of Torrey's coming soon.

Alright, it is time to fish!  I haven seen my gear since we packed it two months ago.  We haven't had time to fish for a year.  It was time! We grabbed our gear out of the truck and it exploded on our picnic table.    I couldn't find this and Ray was hunting for that.  Normally, we are pretty organized but this gear was a mess!  We were long overdue.

The day ended with us on the river.  We saw only two fisherman the past two days so we were not hopeful that we would have any luck.  What we were hoping for was the enjoyment of being on the river and casting our stress and worries away.



June 22, 2013

Heading East again.  That always makes us smile.  We called Torrey's RV to see if we could come in early but vacancies.   Anne from Torrey's recommended we travel to Stanley on Hwy 55.  Problem is this is not the route our GPS wants us to go.  We turn right in Boise onto 55 like Garmin said only to realize it was taking us in the wrong direction.  This was our first "How do we turn the big rig around crises?" A couple of twists and turns through parking lots and we are headed in the right direction.  

Our travels took us along the Payette River.  It was beautiful.   We parked along the river and had lunch.  Ray did his good deed for the day and helped a dad with a young family change a tire after he hit a huge pot hole and broke the rim of his wheel.  We followed the Payette another hour watching rafters.   Then turned left in Garden Valley and headed up Hwy 21.  Garmin was happy and we were too.

We both were a little nervous about where we were going to stay without reservations.  Our experience in Oregon was no reservations, no camping.  Since Torrey's RV was full, we assumed we would be lucky to find anything available.  Not true, we found several campgrounds open and vacant.   Can't assume anything ...

We were the only campers in this particular park.  This was exciting and a little nerve racking for these city folks.  Ray was in love.  He set about making a big fire.  Sydney was off leash and enjoying new smells.   We used our Passport discount card and paid $2.50 for the night.

For a day with twists and turns, we ended up just fine.

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