Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its sixth year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

September 5, 2014

AD & DAD: IDAHO WANDERABOUT

... we've been working at it for several years, and it's down to the final push ... as of a few weeks ago, adrien only needed four states to complete the list:  idaho, alaska, arkansas, and tennessee ... so, cameras in hand and no baggage to check, monday morning of this week we headed for las vegas, our goal to scratch idaho off the list ...

... other'n a broken airplane on the first leg of our trip, all went fine ... as we flew into las vegas adrien used my camera to snap pictures of the grand canyon and parts of lake mead ...

... our first driver change stop ... already i was having to explain to her the concept of "public land" managed by the federal bureau of land management ...

... we made it to wendover in time to drive out to the bonneville salt flats ... this is the very end of the pavement, the "speed stuff" takes place on the flats stretching from the right to the center of the picture ... the current record for a car is a bit over 640 miles per hour ... we met these two, who had arrived early for september's "world of speed" ...

... adair, originally from alberta, canada, now tuscon, arizona ... he is extremely proud of his vintage harley davidson motorcycle ... "over 100,000 miles with nothing but routine maintenance ... i'm going for 200,000" ... i'm not really a harley fan, but when i see one with this much mileage driven by such a dedicated rider i tip my hat in admiration ...

... about 14,000 years ago lake bonneville was a huge inland sea, over 1,000 feet deep and covering an area larger than present day michigan ... then, when red rock pass broke through, the lake drained away most of its volume ... in the first two weeks of the flood over 1,000 cubic miles of water gushed out ... now, except for the much smaller "great salt lake," all that is left is a huge plain of salt ...

... rainwater sitting on the surface of the salt can make for treacherous going ... adrien watched a car head out onto the flats, we both then decided to take a pass on doing the same ...

... we met tex deville, owner of "rat rods inc," who is dedicated to building motorcycles and spreading the word of jesus ...

... adrien walked over to take a picture of the public facilities ... one whiff and she quickly scurried away ...

... even in this seeming inhospitable environment, life takes hold ...

... we found bonneville salt flats to be a most intriguing place, the sublime simplicity making it so that one can become simultaneously lost and found ...

... prospect, nevada, we crossed into idaho, but not before taking a rest break at a casino sitting right on the border and walking out with a fresh ben franklin portrait ...

... the last time my heart stuck in my throat like this was when little liz hung herself out over the edge of zion's great arch ... adrien decided it was finally her turn ... i managed to take this before i almost passed out from not breathing ...

... taken on our return trip, you can see why i was faint ... the very tip of the arrow shows where adrien sat down ...

... at the "craters of the moon" national park we toured a surrealistic landscape ... the lava field the park encompasses is approximately 9,000,000 years old, but there are many cinder cones and lava vents that were active as recently as 4,000 years ago ...

... fall comes to the high country ...

... patient like the wind and rain, life takes rock fresh from planet's mantle and ever-so-slowly transforms it into earth ...

... everywhere is evidence of rock hardened so swiftly as to retain evidence of its molten birth ...

... again, life takes hold ...

... crossing through a pass on route 20, adrien yelled to the wind, "once there were trees as far as you could see" ... [private joke, you'll have to ask her] ...

... we found a most excellent bakery in boise ... their sourdough cinnamon buns were quantum levels beyond the ones you get at the fancy store in the mall ...

... finally, after all we'd seen and done, we reached our goal, the turn-around point of our little wanderabout, the famous "boise fry company" ...

... we made it just in time for supper ... an all-time great hamburger, and small helpings of three different kinds of fries ... the root beer was brewed and honey sweetened, refill free ...

... the next day we went to the newest boise fry company for lunch ... my stomach was still happy with the hamburger from the night before, so we tried some different kinds of potatoes ... the purple ones are from south america, and are very, very potatoey tasting ...

... adrien navigated us to the idaho's capitol building ... beautiful grounds, a nice looking structure, but, from my point of view, not all that unique ...

... until we got inside, that is ... then the reason for the building's name, "the capitol of light," became very, very clear ...

... not marble, but scagliola, a sort of a stucco mixture much less expensive than real marble which allows for the use of lighter sandstone columns ... in other words, fake marble, but so perfectly done as to fool me completely ...

... inside the capitol is a beautiful gold stature of george washington ...

... the stairwells are architecturally fascinating ...

... idaho's house is almost 50% female ... for a few minutes adrien took over the state government, enacting legislation providing for "two cars in every garage, a chicken in every pot, and free forever french fries for all citizens and visitors" ... idaho's capitol building is the only one in the united states that is heated using a geothermal source ...

... adrien took us to "julia davis park" to see the abraham lincoln statue ... it was sculpted by gutzon berglum, who also created mount rushmore ...

... we took turns, i think adrien gets the win ...

... julia moved to boise in 1869 ... she was noted for helping emigrants on the oregon trail ... after she died her grief stricken husband deeded the land for the park, that it be kept "forever in her memory" ...

... i took the shotgun seat and adrien took over the navigation of our wanderabout ... we went a bit off track to see the bruneau dune, at almost 500 feet the largest solitary sand dune in north america ... at the visitor center we debated renting a sand surfing board, deciding that if it turned out we wanted to do so we could return to the main gate ... at the dune we saw a man flying down the steep slope ...

... we struck up a conversation with him and his wife, and he offered up one of the boards they'd rented for me to give it a go ...

... ever so talented, adrien recorded on both still and video cameras my first ever boarding experience ...

... roger and marlene, from holland, who, like adrien, are on a quest to visit all fifty of the united states ... a very nice couple, and, in my opinion, roger is an excellent sand boarding instructor ...



... i sledded the small dune in the left foreground ... if you look very, very closely you can see roger and marlene ... someday i'd like to try the giant dune on the right, but i'm thinkin' for that i'll schedule a helicopter to get to the top ...

... adrien then took us a "wild goose" chase ... or pelican ... or, perhaps, sand hill crane ... while wandering some unpaved roads we found what looked like the original oregon trail ...

... the more adrien wandered these back roads, the more it became apparent she carries a good measure of my pa's "i-wonder-where-this-goes" gene ...

... apparently there are a thousand springs along this stretch of the river ...

... much later in our journey, we ventured past the "no gas for 150 miles sign" and headed down the "alien highway" to see what all the fuss was about "area 51" ...

... not on our gps, this is literally the "middle of nowhere" ...

... at the "little a'le'inn" we enjoyed a nice lunch ... i spoke with the rancher who owns the famous black mailbox ... he was having a cold beer, taking a break from riding up into the hills to get salt for his cows ... "all them people're ruining my mailbox with stickers" ... talking with him, it seemed to me that i was as close as one can get to america, but i didn't want intrude into his work day by taking his picture ...

... my little olympus tucked beneath my arm, as we left the building i surreptitiously snapped this picture of what i believe to be one of the little a'le'inn's regulars ...

... what a wonderful back corner of our nation ...

... we drove back to vegas, the "low gas" light merrily blinking all the way ... "how far do you think this car will go on reserve, dad" ... "hmmmm, well, hopefully as far as the next gas station" ...

... we made it to vegas ... i drove us the wrong way on a one-way street, not on purpose but good enough to give adrien a fantastic demonstration of my high-speed u-turn skills ... at the bellagio we won, then we lost ... then we came home ...

... this, clearly, was a most wonderful wanderabout ...