Boise and Cousin Aileen’s House


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 30-09-2008

We took off for Boise and the “On the River” RV park. Just across from us was the Boise River and an amazing 27 mile bike trail. Ken and Andrew stayed only a night before heading out to Southern California to visit his mom. So, it was me and the girls for four nights!! Veronica lives just 5 minutes away so she was very sweet, bringing us maps and muffins.

I took the girls into the beautiful town of Boise for a little espresso before school each day. (Except for the morning Lauren wasn’t feeling well). If you haven’t been to Boise, I highly recommend it. It has it ALL – a historical area, parks, restaurants and of course, lots of great espresso places! One day, the girls and I went to the mall. I forgot how much we love to shop! At night, I took the girls to the Cheesecake Factory and we had such fun, just being girls and eating “whatever!” without too much thought to calories or nutritional content!

When we were all together again, we went to lunch at “Donnie Mac’s Trailer Park restaurant”. It was so funky (okay and trashy) and FABOULOUS! We had sweet potato fries while being served by a guy who had to pull the shower curtains back to serve us our food. TACKY!! 😎

We left our RV park on the river en route for Nampa and the Ellis’house. They live in a beautiful area with houses on acres plus lots. There was plenty of room for our RV in front of their house.

Andrew woke up early and went fly fishing with Uncle Craig to Oregon on the Owyhee river. They got a lot of bites but no “hits”. Guess just getting bites is a big deal as these are smart fish and they know how to escape!

Meanwhile, Aileen took the girls and me to Boise Farmer’s Market. This is one of the best Farmer’s Markets I have even visited. Samples included wine, cheese curds (yum), and lots of little sausages. We had the BEST little donuts ever! We came across this guy making beautiful lanterns (think paper lanterns but make with sheer plastic). We got to talking and we figured that he could make a string of them for our RV. We were so excited as we have been looking for special lights for our RV for some time. Most are fun but let’s admit it, a bit tacky and we are trying hard not to embrace the white trash mentality!! So now we have them hanging and they are so pretty. The idea for these lights started in Brazil of all places so we knew they were for us!

We had the most beautiful weekend for our stay in Boise. On Saturday night, Aileen and I took the kids to the local farm to the big corn maze. The kids were so excited and took off into the 3 mile maze. Aileen and I went a mere 10 feet in mushy ground and realized we would rather sit this experience out! The last night, we all went to a whirl famous local pizza joint for some great pizza!

Off to McCall Idaho and Ponderosa Pines State Campground – a favorite of many Idahoans!!


Bruneau State Park, ID


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 22-09-2008

From our very adventurous trip to the mountains of Idaho, we came down 1000s of feet to Brunea State Park, about 30 miles outside of Boise. We chose this location so that we could have Ken’s cousins family (the Ellis gang) and our friends (who we met in Brazil – the Wilson family) join us. We had three camp spots all alongside each other. It was a great way to get together with people and just relax as no one had house chores they had to worry about! The kids had fun sliding down the sand dunes – the tallest in North America!

Aileen (Ken’s cousin), Craig and their daughter McKenzie lived in Long Beach California and moved to Idaho a few years ago. They could not be happier. They fully live the Idaho lifestyle, from fishing to hunting. When I told Aileen about my encounter with javalinas in Arizona, she asked if I shot them for dinner. “Ahhh, NO!” Apparently, they make good food!!

My friend Veronica, husband Scott and kids Matias and Sophia also came for the weekend. I met Veronica in Brazil while we were both pregnant. It was so great to see her after many years and we picked up just where we left off in Brazil! Sophia is an amazing and beautiful little girl, having survived a brain tumor 18 months ago. (Many of you offered your support throughout this very difficult time). It was great to get to see her play, ride her bike, draw and write. She’s a true inspiration!

Now off to the city of Boise!

Hit by a Microburst in Stanley, ID


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 19-09-2008

When we learned the population of Stanley was a mere 100 people, we weren’t expecting much. Boy, were we surprised. This is such a special town, with a group of people who call themselves “anti- city folk”. Our MotoSat (mobile satellite) wasn’t working so we had to take the RV into town to get cell phone coverage AND free WI FI. We parked in front of one of the coolest java places, Trillium Coffee House. The kids and I sat inside this super cool place, doing our school work while Ken chatted with MotoSat in the RV.

We met so many interesting people!

First, the gal Jamie who owns this java place owned this land on the river for years and followed her dream to open a little coffee place. She had two black labs and let them run free to play with our kids (during recess of course) and chase a Frisbee across the river. We let Hobie out to join in the fun and it was a field day for all!

We chatted with a great guy, Joe, who lives in Yosemite in the winter and Stanley (doing rafting trips) in the summer. He had such a fresh perspective on life.

During our pizza lunch, we met a handsome guy, who pulled up in an expensive Mercedes convertible. I asked him if he was on road trip and he exclaimed, “How did you know??” (Was it the maps in his lap of the fact that he looked like “city folk!” ) We shared stories back and forth for an hour, ending with him telling us THE place to go in Lugano Italy (complete with hotel name and room number – his favorite place on Earth!)

Then there was Karen, a journalist. She was 52 years old and had her 3 year old son along her side. Such a interesting gal!! She was on her way to interview Jamie Lee Curtis as part of her series on “strong women” She booked an apartment in Paris for a year and found 12 women to stay in the apartment for a month each, sharing their experiences for a future story. (Pick me, pick me!)

Then there was the famous MICROBURST! This weather event was unbeknownst to us until this day. Andrew and I were with Hobie, taking pictures of beautiful Red Fish Lake. We loved watching the white caps on the lake as the wind picked up. Then the wind got VERY GUSTY and it happened!! TWO large 60 FOOT tall lodge pole pines fell to the left and right of Andrew and me. We then ran quickly back to the RV, with Andrew exclaiming, “OH MY GOSH!!” We got to the RV just in time to see a 60’ pine tree FALL ON TOP OF OUR RV! “OH MY GOSH!” is right!! The girls were inside and thought they were in the middle of an earthquake!! As quickly as it came, the wind became calm. Then came the cleanup. Ken had to drive to the Forest Ranger for help and the ranger returned with his chainsaw. Amazingly, there was minimal damage (costly but minimum) and we were able to leave Stanley Idaho the next day. Won’t forget this town anytime soon!

North Fork, ID


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 16-09-2008

After a beautiful drive of many hairpin turns, we arrived in a little town called, “North Fork Idaho“. It is a town rich in history as Lewis and Clark made their through this area and along the Salmon River on their way to the coast of Oregon. The campground we stayed at, “River’s Fork Lodge and RV park” was stunning. It was owned by a native Californian who wanted to get out of good ole’ CA. He looked exactly like Eric Clapton (in fact, was invited into many concerts with the bouncers thinking he WAS Eric Clapton!) and was so hospitable. The RV park had only eight spots, each being right on the Salmon River. What a view to wake up to each morning!

The town of Salmon was about 20 miles down the road. This little town’s claim to fame is that it is the BIRTHPLACE of Sacagawea! Pretty darn cool! We visited the town and took an interactive tour of the Sacagawea Center. We all learned so much and feel like we knew the gal personally! Next door to the RV park was a funky little coffee shop that was a favorite stop for all the local hunters and fisherman. We had desert there one night and enjoyed homemade pie. Yum!

Lewis and Clark State Park, MT


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-09-2008

We left Yellowstone with so many wonderful memories. We were excited to visit Montana as we had pictures in our minds of “BIG SKY COUNTY”. Montana truly lived up to its name.

We drove far back into the beautiful rolling mountains to find this small and beautiful campground, “Lewis and Clark State Campground.” We were in the middle of nowhere and it was great! We were one of four other campers and could see rolling mountains from every window. The temperatures were in the low 80 which began to melt the chill of Yellowstone.

Fishing in Yellowstone was non existent (much to Andrew and Ken’s dismay) so Andrew was excited to get out to the Jefferson river across the small road to catch us some dinner! BINGO!! He caught the first fish in 20 minutes and it was a 20’ brown trout!! Then a 16” and 18’ brown trout. (Measurements are very important to fisherman as I have come to learn!) Andrew was the happiest I have ever seen him!! We had an amazing dinner of trout sashimi, sitting outside in the warm breezy mountain air.

That night, Ken and Andrew wanted to keep fishing (were they thinking fish muffins for breakfast??). The girls and I sat by the fire, roasting marshmallows with Hobie alongside checking things out. Then we realized, Hobie was not with us! According to eye witnesses, Hobie took off after three deer and ran far into the mountains. With some help from camping neighbors, we called him loud enough to find him and get him to run back to us. He ran back as if he was in the movie, “Born Free!” It wouldn’t have been too cool to tell Ken and Andrew we lost Hobie while he was under our watch!!

The next day, we ventured to the Lewis and Clark Caverns. I wasn’t sure what to expect and had a mental picture of climbing through these tight, cold, damp and dark tunnels, mostly doing it to say “Done that!” Well, these caverns were some of the most beautiful places we have ever experienced! There were different “rooms” with amazing snapshots of the earth we have never seen before. I am so glad we make the effort and we will go to every cavern we get a chance to see from now on!



Yellowstone National Park


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 11-09-2008

We made our Yellowstone reservation six months before we set sail and made it for a whole two weeks.  (The longest we have stayed anywhere so far!)  The kids think this qualifies them to say they have LIVED in Yellowstone! 

Who needs to visit a zoo when you can have bison, elk and deer as close to you as your van window!  Our initial greeting to Yellowstone was crossing over Fishing Bridge along with about 20 bison.  Hobie was going NUTS as they were so close to us.  Later we learned,  from the park ranger, that bison are “directional” so once they are headed in a certain direction, they keep on moving forward.  One little guy (a teenage we imagine) kept being “NON directional” and was loudly scolded by his father!

We arrived to beautiful days of 70 to 80 degrees.  Ken and I celebrated our birthdays at Yellowstone Lodge and the “cafeteria”.  Don’t laugh – it was GOOD food!  Before dinner, we sat out on the big porch in rocking chairs, overlooking Yellowstone lake, watching a bison act like he was going to charge a freaked out family in a minivan and just enjoying being in Yellowstone! 

The weather changed dramatically as a front from ALASKA came through, bringing the HIGHS down to the mid 40s!  We were completely unprepared for this change in temperature (our goal was to follow the WARM weather!!) so Ken, Andrew and Lauren had to take a TWO HOUR trek to Walmart in Coty Wyoming.  While they were gone, Nikki and I bundled up and took Hobie on some long and beautiful  walks. It’s so great to have one on one time with a single child, asking them what they want out of life. 

We took two long drives – one on the lower loop of Yellowstone and one on the upper.  We left in the morning with temperatures in the low 20s.  The fog swirled mysitcally about the Yellowstone lake.  Then there are the geysers.  They really defy words.  It is amazing to see the earth IN ACTION!  The kids were not happy about the smell of sulfur but came up with a way to plug their noses while still seeing the beauty.  It was really something to finally see a place that we learned about in 4th grade!  Old Faithful was amazing – erupting every 90 minutes -each and every day.  It was SO fun to have the anticipation build.  And the waterfalls were spectacular! 

Despite the cool weather, we did manage to take a lot of picnics.  It was during these picnics that we got to see bears!  In total, we saw a total of 5 bears which is a bit scary but also really cool!

We left Yellowstone, we so many memories in hand and a hope of warmer weather in Montana!