Good day to you all! Coming to you this week from beautiful Ketchum, ID, where we’re parked right next to our fellow full-timer friends, Kym and Kevin, for a few days. This is been a fun week of socializing and hanging out with other full time RV’ers, something we wish we’d done more of while on the road.
When we last left you, we were spending a productive and relaxing afternoon in Jackson Hole, WY before we would continue our drive to Idaho. On Wednesday, we woke up in beautiful Jackson and immediately started the journey toward Idaho Falls. It’s only about 90 miles, but it’s a slow drive through mountains and on the windy two lane highway. We hadn’t planned to stay in Idaho Falls for very long, mainly stopping to do a few errands and to see the downtown area where the “falls” of Idaho Falls are located. It was a pretty riverwalk and downtown area, but outside of that, there wasn’t much to see in the city. We set up next to the river for the afternoon so Jim could get a run in and Heather could do some yoga. While we were there, we had posted a photo on Instagram and it turns out that an old friend of Jim’s from Phoenix (Luis) had moved to Idaho Falls earlier this year for a job. He invited us over to park at his place for the evening, in his really nice neighborhood (Bertha definitely helps property values in neighborhoods like this). It was nice to catch up with him, his wife, and his daughter, all whom we visited with last year when we passed through Yellowstone.
We woke up in their front yard on Thursday morning and began preparing for our drive to Stanley, ID. We did a load of laundry in their home, cleaned Bertha up a bit, Heather got in a run, and we refilled our water tank from their hose before finally hitting the road around noon. We had a few more stops to make on the way out – groceries, Walmart, hardware store – before hitting the road. It was another slow 200 miles to Stanley and after everything was said and done, we rolled into our boondocking spot close to 8pm that evening. We pulled into camp to find about 12 other rigs already there and an eclipse flag flying high over the group. This was a semi-coordinated effort, with most people knowing each other in some capacity through the full-time lifestyle and through connecting via social media, like Instagram. We were invited by our friends Kym and Kevin, who happened to have started their full timing adventure from L.A. about 2 weeks before we did last year. We had been communicating with them since the start, but our paths had yet to cross, so it was very exciting to finally meet them face to face, and now we’re BFF’s. We happened to know a few other people in the group as well – Tori and Skyler, who we met in Jackson Hole last year, and Marshall and Kelly, who we met in Moab, Utah just a few months ago. It’s a close little community! We pulled in that evening with our La Cucaracha horn blaring, got Bertha all set up, and joined the rest of the group, getting to know the ones we hadn’t yet met.
Friday was a low key day around camp, milling around and socializing mainly, with a little work on the side. We did squeeze in a run with Kym at Stanley lake in the heat of the afternoon, it was a short but hot run at 6200 feet elevation.
On Saturday morning we headed out with a group of 7 of us, plus Belle the dog, for a 10 mile round trip hike up to Sawtooth Lake. It was a beautiful hike and a lot of fun with the company. We stopped a few times for photos, to have a snack, dip our feet in the lake, and to fly Skyler’s drone (Jim was so jealous he didn’t bring his). The hike started around 9:30 am and by 3:00pm, we were shoving our faces with pizza in the town of Stanley.
That evening, the talented photographer friend of Kym and Kevin, Gio, set up his equipment to photograph Bertha under the Milky Way. The stars out in the in the middle of nowhere Stanley were incredible, and Gio was making the rounds taking photos of different rigs every evening. We were blown away by the results and so thrilled to have this photo of Bertha, the fact he made her look so good shows just how talented he is! Once this journey is over and we have a sticks and bricks home, we plan to have this printed and hung on our wall.
The next day, Kevin and Kym wanted to get in another hike but most of the group wanted to relax after the prior day’s adventure. So just the four of us set out that morning to hike to Alice Lake – a 13+ mile round trip hike with 2500 feet of elevation gain. This was a long hike; we didn’t get back to camp until 5pm that evening and we were all a bit spent. Some of us had blisters and various soreness in different parts of our legs/glutes. It was a great hike though and definitely worth it! It was hot and exposed for much of it, but other parts were lush and shaded by big trees. We had river crossings, log crossings, really rocky areas…it was a pretty diverse hike. The higher we climbed, the more amazing the views behind us became. As we finally approached a lake (which we thought was Alice Lake but wasn’t, and has now been dubbed Not Alice Lake), we were rewarded with incredible turquoise water and views of the Idaho version of El Capitan. It was stunning and actually became our favorite lake over the past two days. We walked the next half mile up to Alice Lake, which was also really spectacular. There were a lot of campers up there preparing for the eclipse the next day; what an awesome spot they all had for the show! We found a spot to sit and have a snack, the boys also decided to go for a swim in the frigid cold, but crystal clear water to cool down before we headed back down the mountain.
Upon our return to camp, Kevin, who is a professional sommelier, was called upon to lead a wine tasting for the group (throughout the weekend, various members of our RV community put on classes for everything from lock-picking to drone flying to cross-stitching and more; a truly giving and unique community of nomads!). One of the couples we were camping with had been holding on to some vintage Port for many years and decided that now was the time to open them up and share them with the group. Kevin’s presentation and knowledge of the subject blew everyone away, he really knows his stuff and lead the tasting with an ease, keeping everyone very engaged in the process. Quite the classy bunch of RV’ers over here!
Finally Monday came around – the big day we’d all been waiting for…Eclipse day!! It was scheduled to begin around 10:30 that morning, so Jim got up and started prepping his GoPro equipment…only to discover his memory cards were missing. It was a bit of a frustrating prep time for him and didn’t result in the videos he’d hoped for, but luckily, a few other campers got some great footage, including a timelapse of the whole thing. The group had started the party with mimosas around 10am and we all settled into our camp chairs to watch the big event. Starting at 10:30 you could see just a sliver of the moon covering the sun and for the next hour, we could sit and watch it moving. As the moon began to overpower the sun, the temperature began to drop quickly, taking us from tank tops and tees to hoodies and jeans. The light became really eerie as the sun dimmed, it had an artificial feeling to it – very different from a normal sunset glow. It continually got darker until eventually, it was almost completely dark, with only a low glow near the earth. With Dark Side of the Moon playing in the background, we took off our protective glasses at totality and were able to stare at the incredible ring of light in the sky for over two minutes. The entire experience was so surreal, emotional even. No one seemed to be entirely prepared for how amazing it really was. As we milled around waiting for it and watching the light dim, everyone and everything just stopped as totality hit, there was a collective gasp from the group as everyone stopped and just stared in awe. Though it was only two minutes, it was such an amazing experience; something everyone should try to see in their lifetime. There are really no words to describe the feeling of that experience and there’s already talk of penciling in our next rendezvous for the 2024 North American totality.
The photo of the total eclipse was also taken by Gio (a seriously talented photographer and filmmaker – check out giorgiolittphotography.com if you can!), he had been preparing for this for over a year and worked hard to get everything set up. His hard work paid off and we got so lucky, we don’t think it could have been any better – in Stanley we had perfectly clear skies and 100% totality, it was arguably the best place in the country to be!
After the eclipse, as the sun came back out and it began to warm up again, we decided to spend the afternoon at the lake. We borrowed a stand up paddleboard from one of our neighbors (thanks, Jase and Lori!) and headed out with a couple of special eclipse beers (Total Eclipse of the Hop, thanks Kevin!). The guys had a good time swimming (brr) and trying to get all three of them on the paddle board, while Heather and Kym relaxed on the shore, each taking their turn to paddle out on the lake a little with Summit, Kevin and Kym’s dog. As we arrived back at camp that evening, the group was keeping the party going! We joined them for a few drinks as they started the dance party to 90’s hip hop, and as we went to bed around midnight, we could still hear the party going strong from our neighboring RV friends. They sure know how to party for an eclipse!
Tuesday morning we packed up and said goodbye to the camp. It was such a fun few days with a group of like-minded people all living on the road and creating this community. We drove from Stanley about 60 miles south to Ketchum, where we plan to stay through the weekend with Kevin and Kym. Tori and Skyler are also parked a stone’s throw down the road and we’re expecting a few more to trail into the area throughout the week, keeping the RV community alive in Ketchum. Tuesday was a productive day of work, laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping to prepare us for the next 6 days of boondocking. Our view is pretty awesome from here, plus we’re close to town and have access to miles and miles of paved trails for biking and running…we think we’re going to like it here! We’ve said it before but Idaho has been one of our biggest surprises and we think it’s maybe the best kept secret in the US. Idaho is awesome and full of beautiful places just begging to be explored!
Total RV Trip Miles: 20,295