July 19, 2018 With the exception of the asshole neighbor screaming “F*ing idiots!” every few minutes, because of smoky campground, and my sunburn stinging like hell, it was a decent night. I woke to another beautiful, chilly morning. This time it was my 51st birthday. Yea! Current status in life: Single, unemployed with no f*ing idea what comes after this trek, camping in the insanely incredible Teton National Forest area, and craving coffee.
Packed up and parked by the restroom to visit with Dan and Carol while iPad charged. Carol shared her peach pancakes with me. I added butter, but no syrup. Feeling so much better with the weight dropping. Birthday starting so so good!
I also met Barbara this morning, a beautiful 71-year-young soul. She told me a story of how she’d been a tenter for years and went everywhere; outdoor enthusiast. She and my mom would get along beautifully. For comfort, she now sleeps on a mattress in the van. She was a joy and we shared contact info. Loved the invite to visit her in Kentucky!
Hit Hwy 22 and drove through Teton Pass; super steep with beyond gorgeous views. There was construction happening here and there, but none of the stops lasted long with pilot cars moving quickly.OMG, this was a fantastic pull-off location, at the top of a sharp curve. The views and trails were breathtaking. I wanted so badly to camp there, to wake up to what looked like Heaven to me.❤️
It felt hotter than hot when I hit Idaho. My a/c worked great, but I had a fear of truck overheating, so rode with windows down a lot. Ha! Around Victor, I passed a pond off the highway and turned around; hoped like hell it was for public use.
Overwhelmed with joy to find it was a public pond, with a vault toilet. Win, win! A large group with young kids were fishing, so I walked past them to a picnic table, where I dropped my stuff and shorts. Swam around with the soft, underwater greenery stroking my legs, then stretched out on the table to dry a bit. I felt amazing. Back at my truck, I noticed the family had moved to ‘my spot’. Guess I made it look inviting.😁
Spotted some teepees down the road and pulled in. I liked the mini patio area outside each teepee, complete with table and Adirondack chairs. Very cool!
In Swan Valley, off Hwy 31, is a great place for wine, beer, homemade food and specialty coffee called Ray’s Place. The young ladies here were friendly and helped me make my selection of a double espresso chai; so many choices! Strong and delicious.
I asked the girls about camping in the area and they referred me to the young men in the restaurant who suggested I check out the local falls and gave directions. A couple miles up the road, I took the turn-off after the bridge. The road changed from asphalt to gravel, with some steep areas, into Caribou-Targhee National Forest. At that point, I figured I passed the falls, but thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and also found a campground. The trees were super dense and short, more like bushes, so not much canopy for shade. It was muggy and the bugs were very happy.
Back down the gravel road to asphalt and I could hear the falls with windows down. Parked by other vehicles that lined the road, walked through the thin veil of tall vegetation and there it was. Beautiful and much grander than expected (video much better than the photo). Climbed around a bit on the falls, greatly appreciated the cold water, and enjoyed time with a couple Veterans also visiting. So wonderful how one stop leads to another adventure!
Enjoyed the Clark Hill Rest Area, where I took a walk and lingered a bit. I liked the building stone work and the views weren’t bad at all.
I landed at the Rodeway Inn in Idaho Falls for $101 (’tis the peak season) for my birthday. The lobby was a share-site for the Rodeway, but belonged to the Quality Inn.
The Quality Inn looked much nicer than the Rodeway, which needs exterior TLC, but the pool and interior of my room were super nice. Since it was my special day, I decided to wear the blue dress scored at Savers in Santa Fe. Swam, showered and headed out.
The layout of downtown is fantastic, with hotels and shops on one side and the park the other. The Snake River runs through the park and it’s gorgeous! There are colorful flower beds, a variety of artsy benches, wide-open spaces, paths for skateboarders, cyclists and walkers, and it’s pet-friendly; all very well maintained!
The most impressive feature of the park and downtown is the cascading waterfall that runs the complete length of the river downtown. In this photo, it’s shown between the back tree line and the rocks, like a wall.
Enjoyed a chat with this gentleman in the park. He’s lived in the area more than 35 years and is a daily park visitor. I liked his hair clips and appreciated the interesting info about the city and park.
Popped to the other side of the street in search of a/c, a cold beer and snack around people. Landed at Jalisco’s #2 on River Pkwy where I was treated to two beers, one from the bartender and another from patron, for my birthday. Snack was chips with fantastic salsa and bean dip. So nice!
This is the patron, known as the ‘tortilla man’; he provides the restaurant’s supply. I don’t remember his actual name. He was staying at one of the higher dollar hotels, off work and married (of course).
Our conversation was so easy and we carried it across the street to the park. Beautiful night! I provided unexpected entertainment with a hard, painful as hell crash on a slippery boulder, legs sprawled. My first thought was, “OMG, glad I wore underwear!” (yes, I go commando at times). Instead of laughing his ass off, like two of my kids would have, he helped me up, asked if I was ok and didn’t make a big deal about it. I gained composure as we walked on. The lights on what he told me was the Idaho Falls Temple and around the water looked beautiful.
I reminded myself he was married and bid adieu at the traffic light. Nursed my leg, talked to Britt, texted with mom, listened to Michael’s voicemail and noted missed calls from Matthew. Was planning on updating the blog, but journaled instead. Watched TV a few minutes, before I opting for silence. A very memorable 51st birthday. Cheers!