Idaho, Alaska!

That joke has been stuck in my head since we drove into Idaho two days ago. We headed out of Jackson, WY, but not before stopping at an awesome little natural grocery store to restock our food supply. It was called Jackson Whole Grocer - get it? Really cute little store with a juice and smoothie bar. We drove over Teton Pass and headed into Idaho to meet Brian Charette. Brian was a customer of Tom Sr.'s solar panal mounting business (Custom Marine Products) and lives in the honest-to-goodness middle of nowhere Idaho. The directions included lines like, "turn right at the dirt road, no name, just a white sign with no writing and a green electrical box". And then there were several more turns after that. It was gorgeous country. Brian's house is situated overlooking rolling hills and a valley with the back side of the Teton range in the distance. 
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The house is mostly self-sustained and off the grid. It's straw-bale construction and uses solar and wind energy as well as rainwater recycling systems and a peat moss toilet. The home itself is beautiful, Brian was the designer and builder and has built several other, similar homes.

Brian and his girlfriend Diedre were so awesome and hospitable. When we arrived we headed out for an off-road bike ride on a trail right through Brian's property. It was so pretty and peaceful. That night, Brian cooked us dinner and we ate out on their patio, overlooking the sunset in the valley. Brian and Tom got along like peas and carrots and shared story after story about back-country skiing, kiteboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, sailing, and backpacking. Brian is headed out for about 2 months on a sailing trip on his Cat-2-Fold sailboat. It's a really cool design, a 36-foot catamaran that collapses into a trailer-able boat. It's a one-of-a-kind design that he is outfitting for the journey. It was a great time and so awesome to meet more amazing people! 
The next morning we headed out in the general direction of Boise. We stopped first in Idaho Falls to replace Tom's broken phone and to find a place to get the Westy's propane regulator fixed. At the propane shop, we met Carl, who was quick to shimmy under the Westy and help us replace the regulator with the part we had with us. When we asked what we owed him, he tried to let us go for free! Remembering my parents had given us a bunch of $20s (with the instructions to spend one in each state on something cool), we offered him one, on the condition that he pose for a picture. If you ever need propane work in Idaho Falls, check out V-1 Propane and ask for Carl!
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We headed onward and decided to hop over to Sun Valley, ID, a cool little ski town. We ended up eating dinner at another awesome cowboy restaurant, The Pioneer Saloon. The owner pointed us in the direction of free camping for the night in Sawtooth National Forest and mountain biking trails for the next day. There have certainly been no shortage of fantastic people on this trip! The campsite was great, just inside the park and near a river. It was similar to our campsite in Gallatin National Forest, but last night it was PITCH black with no moon. This morning we are headed off to find some great trails and see where the road takes us next.

Love from the Westy,

Lisa and Tom
12/10/2013 00:47:50

Was just taking a break and wanted to post here

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    The Trimmers

    Lisa and Tom Trimmer are from Chicago, IL and traveling the country in their 1985 VW Vanagon Westfalia Campervan.

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