Idaho, a quick trip

We have good friends that moved to Burley, Idaho a few years ago.  Life seemed to keep getting in the way and delayed our visit. Finally, the timing was right.  Southwest Airlines had some great fares and we decided to go visit them last week.  So glad that the weather cooperated too. It was clear and crisp and perfect for flying from Oakland, CA to Boise, ID then renting a car for our visit.  It has been at least 20 years since we have been to Idaho.  I’d forgot about the driving distances.  Luckily with good friends, good roads and good weather we enjoyed the trip.

Southern Idaho is high desert.  Lots of open space, beautiful skies and large gorges created by the Snake River. We spent a few nights with our friends.


Steve and Karen in front of their remodeled house in Burley, ID

A big thank you to Karen and Steve for having us.  Thank you for your hosting us and for a great visit.

Then two nights in Twin Falls at the Fairfield Inn and Suites.  A nice location, quiet and good service.

We had a nice dinner in Rupert, ID at Henry’s at the Drift Inn.  While in Twin Falls, ID we went to Elevation 486 for dinner and highly recommend it.  Go early, and you can have beautiful views of the Perrine Bridge and gorge.

Here are photos of the highlights:


Beautiful evening sky, Burley, ID


Bright morning sky, Burley, ID

Hansen Memorial Bridge, pioneer builders.


Hanson Memorial Bridge


Snake River gorge under Hanson Bridge

Shoshone Falls, near Twin Falls, ID.  We were happily surprised at the amount of water at the falls.  We had been warned that sometimes after June, the water slows dramatically.  But the heavy rains last winter really have helped with the water flows.


Bob and Vicki


Perrine Bridge, the gateway into Twin Falls from the major highways.  The bridge is almost 486 feet above the canyon and spans 993 feet across the gorge.


Perrine Bridge

Base jumpers jump from this bridge regularly.  It is quite interesting to watch.


They jump from the top


They hope to land in this clearing

Driving Highway 84 towards Boise, we stopped at Malad Gorge State Park.  Here, right next to the highway is a state park and large gorge that cannot be seen from the highway but is right next to it.


Follow this trail to the gorge


The landscape hides the gorge


One side of the bridge over the gorge


The other side over the gorge

Driving up Highway 75 via Highway 93 from Twin Falls we made our way to Sun Valley.  Being skiers and so close, we had to see it!  The route crosses more high desert, small river gorges and large sections of volcanic rock.


Volcanic rock drifts in the landscape


Highway 75 with the snow capped Sawtooth Mountains in the background

We went first to Ketchum as Bob’s great-grandparents had had a cabin there along Trail Creek which he was hoping to find.  Unfortunately, he was last at the two story log cabin in the 1960’s and didn’t have an address.  We covered all the roads near the creek but everything appears to be much newer than a cabin that he had been told was built before 1900.  But we saw some beautiful homes and enjoyed seeing how much Ketchum had grown.

Sun Valley Lodge and area was built in 1936.  The lodge is beautiful and the inside is even more exquisite.

We drove back to Twin Falls for a dip in the pool and hot tub, went to a great dinner and got ready to head back to Boise for our flight Monday evening.

On the way we stopped at Three Island Crossing State Park near Glenn’s Ferry exit.  This park has many amenities for today and shares an important history of settling the west.


Idaho historic marker for the Ferry Crossing and state park


Statue to honor all the pioneers


Wagon display with history descriptions near the Interpretive Center


Conestoga Wagon, restored. This is in front of the interpretive center which was closed for winter.

Glenn’s Ferry was built upriver  from the Three Crossing site.  The Snake River surrounding areas vary widely across Idaho.  Here and near Burley there are many easy access points and other areas just the deep, steep gorges.


Replica of Glenn’s Ferry, set near the river where it would be dragged into the river.  Across the river, the Oregon Trail is worn into the mountain side and clearly seen.


A better view of the trail across the river


One of the ends of the Ferry anchor, another can be seen across the river.


Beautiful Snake River area

We made our way into Boise and went to the UP Train Depot.  It was restored about 20 years ago.  It is no longer used as a train station but is set up as a museum and event center.  We were happy to find it open on Mondays for visitors.  Even if it wasn’t a Southern Pacific Depot, Bob knew I would want to stop!


Boise Depot, UP Railroad


Inside the beautifully restored depot. Many small RR displays with full descriptions.

Outside the have a steam engine, displays and lovely gardens.


Engine 2295


Information Display


History of trains on the route

We drove around the Idaho State Capitol Building and the old part of town.  Then we went to the Bittercreek Alehouse for a hearty lunch before our early evening flight back to Oakland.  Great restaurant, excellent service and interesting building in old town Boise.

Overall, a great quick trip.  Love being able to pick up good fares on Southwest Airlines and escape to someplace completely different!

Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki and Bob

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Autumn, goes so fast!

Fall slips up on us just when we think Summer is perfect.  Soon the warm days and evenings turn to the chilly mornings and cool evenings.  The colors and lack of crowds are nice, so here’s to October and great escapes!

Pacific Crest Trail near Sugar Bowl and Truckee

Our friends suggested that we try out the PCT trail section  from Sugar Bowl (Old Highway 40) to Boreal Ridge (Highway 80) by leaving a car at each end which is about 8 miles.  We just had one car with us so we started from near Sugar Bowl Academy and hiked in for a few miles and then back.  Beautiful scenery and lovely fall colors.


Looking down on Donner Lake, CA

Being a Tourist in San Francisco & Monterey Area

We had friends visit from Switzerland and Australia in October.  So we had a great time playing tourists with our friends.  We spent two days seeing the San Francisco sights, one day using BART and public transit and the other day driving.

First in San Francisco, we took a walking tour with Emperor Norton’s Walking Tours that started at Union Square and ended at St. Mary’s Cathedral.  About 3 hours, great fun and wonderful guide.  Highly recommend this or one of their other tours!


One of the many SF Heart Sculptures, this in Union Square, painted by Tony Bennett


Emperor Norton at the Clock at the Westin, St. Francis, San Francisco

After our tour we visited St. Mary’s and then walked up to North Beach.  We stopped for a snack at The Stinking Rose.  We sat at the bar with model trains above the bar.  We also took a look at the Chianti Room which is reserved for groups and has many signed photos and empty Chianti wine bottles.

Washington Square in North Beach was full of beautiful sunshine and everyone seemed to be enjoying the clear skies.

Just the day before the sky was filled with smoke from all the Northern California fires before the wind changed.  Our hearts go out to all those affected by the fires.  Our other visitor from Australia was with friends in Clear Lake and had also been evacuated but luckily they were able to return home safely.


Beach Blanket Babylon show-this way

We ended the day attending the evening production of Beach Blanket Babylon.  The longest running musical revue in San Francisco which changes every season and is truly a delightful show.
We had dinner at a lovely restaurant in North Beach, Trattoria Contadina

More San Francisco sights

Another day we drove so that we could come up from Pacifica, CA along the Pacific Coast Highway to visit Ocean Beach, the Cliff House, Sutro Baths, Golden Gate Park, the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.  Then drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Fort Baker at Horseshoe Cove in Marin County.  The day was foggy along the coast but beautiful sunshine in parts of  Golden Gate Park and at Fort Baker.


Sutro Baths near the Cliff House

Golden Gate Park


Wind Mill at Golden Gate Park, Maggi, Vicki & Chrissy


Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park


Dahlia Garden in Golden Gate Park

Flowers in the Conservatory

The Butterfly Exhibit was open and we were able to see many different butterflies emerge and fly in the exhibit.



Palace of Fine Arts.

A lovely part of San Francisco to walk around.  You can see the nicest houses near the Palace of Fine Arts.


Palace of Fine Arts

We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge in complete fog but were rewarded with some nice views from Fort Baker.


The Golden Gate Bridge


The fog moving in from the coast to Fort Baker

On to Monterey Bay…

We had the luxury of staying at a friends condo in Capitola, CA so we had time to visit Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Carmel before our friends headed home.  We drove Highway 1 from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz.  On our way we stopped in at Duarte’s in Pescadero, CA.

In Santa Cruz we walked the beautiful walkway along the ocean and enjoyed watching the surfers.  The Boardwalk amusements were quiet since it was a week day and late October.


Seagull with Santa Cruz Boardwalk in background


Natural Bridges State Park, near Santa Cruz

Both Santa Cruz and Monterey are on Monterey Bay, which is a very large bay.  While Santa Cruz is know for beaches and the Boardwalk, Monterey is steeped in California history.  It has a large pier area, beaches, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row and a lot to keep you busy.


Monterey Bay Piers

We had lunch at the Fish Hopper which is the restaurant below.  Back when we did SCUBA diving in Monterey regularly it was called the Outrigger.  Still great food and even better views.  We watched the sea otters all during lunch.


Monterey Bay

Capitola, a beautiful town that keeps the quaint seaside village feel near the beach and offers upscale shopping and dining in town.


Capitola Houses near the beach


Capitola Art Deco apartments

Don’t miss Gayles Bakery if you go to Capitola; it has the most wonderful cakes, pastries and sweets!

Back to Truckee

We love the coast, but we also took our friends to two new hiking areas near us that were just beautiful with the fall colors.

Weber Lake was recently opened to the public in June 2017 by the Truckee Donner Land Trust.  A beautiful natural lake that offers camping, hiking trails and boating on the lake during the summer months.  We hiked the Lacey Meadow trail and then up onto the forest service road to have a view of the lake on the way back.


Lacey Meadows


Weber Lake thru the trees

Independence Lake is another recently opened area that is just beautiful.  We hiked the South Side trail and it was filled with fall foliage and views of the lake.  An easy hike with a picnic table at the lookout point to enjoy lunch.  The map looks like you can go all the way around the lake but they prefer that you don’t as it is a fish breeding area for Lahontan cutthroat trout and crossing the creek can disturb the hatchery.

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View as you enter lake area

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Trail views of lake


Fall leaves

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Independence Lake

So, as you can see, we have had a busy fall.  Loved having our friends choose to visit us from opposite ends of the globe and share time with us.

Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki and Bob

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Australia’s Bibbulmum Trail

Here is the link to this blog

The Bibbulmun Blog by Ian K. Brown is a beautiful and informative blog about hiking the Bibbulmun Trail in Australia. I’m a day hiker so I really appreciate this perspective of someone willing to backpack a trail like this!

We are on the trail. The two of us kicked off from Kalamunda , the Northern terminus of the Bibbulmun . There should be a straight pathway that leads us 1008km in a generaly Southern direction , and we are hoping to be walking for about 50ish days .We were like a pair of kids […]

via Day 1 Km 1 — The Bibbulmun

If you scroll all the way to the bottom there are previous and next buttons to just continue reading (after the comments section).

They are up to day 25 and many posts cover multiple days so you can catch up quickly and then sign up for updates. Beautiful descriptions and pictures in his blogs.

Last year he did a blog about the Pacific Crest Trail along the ridges of the US West Coast and published a book with amazing pictures.

Here is the Amazon link

Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki and Bob

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Featherdale Wildlife Park

Source: Featherdale Wildlife Park

We recently came back from a trip to Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia and Hawaii.  I plan to start blogging about the trip soon.

For now, wanted to share our picture at Featherdale Wildlife Park outside of Sydney where we had our picture taken with a sleeping Koala Bear.


Australia was wonderful…great people, great sights and wonderful landscapes.

More soon.  Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki and Bob

Salt Point State Park, California

Salt Point State Park and nearby areas

In late November we were back at one of our favorite places, the north coast of California.We drive thru Petaluma, CA and out to the coast on the Bodega Bay Highway until we connected with Highway 1.  After going north, we reached a beautiful spot where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean at Jenner, CA. The beach changes with the seasons and is not always open to the river.

During this trip while doing some work on our cabin, I had the opportunity to join some wonderful ladies that have an unusual hobby. Particularly considering that most of the group is past retirement age!


Salt Point Visitors center sits above Gerstle Cove

Below, the view from the back of the visitors center looking at Gerstle Cove which is a Marine Reserve.

The women try to get together weekly to put on their wetsuits. Grab their fins and masks and hike down to the Salt Point State Park Gerstle Cove shore.  From there they swim out into the cove, snorkel, ‘bob’ around and spend an enjoyable time checking out the seals, fish and underwater views in this protected cove.  After their ‘bobbing’ the ‘Bobettes’ as they call themselves, hike up to the top of the hill to dry off, and have a cup of hot tea and snacks before heading off for their workday in the local area.  I find it quite amazing that they do this almost weekly all year.  They have no concerns that no one is on shore waiting for them to check if they are safe.  They say that they can all take care of themselves and each other.  How brave and empowering! Of course, they say, ‘it’s no big deal’.


Final steps before heading out, note that one woman is already past the surf line


Paddling out into the cove


The small black dots are the ‘bobettes’ near the entrance to the cove


The cove down at the water line


Looking from the cove up to the Visitors Center

The Salt Point State Park area is quite large with various sections.  It includes two campgrounds, various small parking areas off Highway 1 and some lovely trails both along the shore and in the dense Redwood, Pine and Douglas Fir forest areas.

At the North end of Salt Point Park, the Kruse Rhododendron Trail is great anytime, but probably most lovely in May when the wild Rhododendrons and wild Azaleas are in bloom.  The short loop trail has lots to see.  If you have more time, there are also longer trails nearby.  During the raining season many types of mushrooms grow, some of which are deadly if eaten.


Baby mushrooms just coming up


Large mushrooms, some are up to 5 inches across

At Stump Beach, there is a parking lot, picnic tables and trails.  Our favorite trail is down to Stump Beach itself.  This is not an area to access the ocean but it is a beautiful place to look at the ocean.  Stump Beach has tremendous waves that can sneak onto the beautiful beach and quickly sweep you out to sea.  This is not a place to turn your back on the ocean!

From the beach is an easy trail to climb to the bluffs along the ocean.  In the spring this trail is filled with wild flowers.  In the fall and winter, it is filled with breathtaking ocean views of crashing waves. The last time we took this trail we were lucky enough to see a sea otter hauled out on the rocks below the bluffs. The trail can be followed back to the main parking areas at Salt Point State Park and down to Gerstle Cove which is often a great place to enter the ocean.


Back at the outer edge of Gerstle Cove


Walking trail from parking area near Gerstle Cove

It’s nice to think about these nice hikes and sunny days as I sit today watching another snow storm in Truckee.  This has been quite a winter. More snow in January 2017 than the average snowfall for a full season.  Unfortunately, we have not had an average snow season for over 5 years.  We have snow piled everywhere and they say to expect 1 foot to 3 feet more snow before the end of this weekend!  At least, for now, California is no longer in drought conditions. Yeah!  However, due to global climate change they say that we can expect more extreme weather patterns with long periods of drought followed by storms with erratic yearly patterns.  It has been over 10 years since we have had anything close to this much snow around the house.


Digging our our friends car, late January 2017. Notice how high the snow is piled around the driveway! Still that high!

Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki and Bob

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