Canada 11, 7th July 2006

I reached the small town of Hailey. There the lady in the Visitor Information Office, a sprightly 83 year old, convinced me I should stay for the 4th July Celebrations, Rodeo, Carnival parade, barbecue, and firework display.

So I made my standard museum visit then headed away to take the chairlift up to Old Baldy, about 9,000 ft, high and a chairlift climb of over 3,000ft. There are spectacular views from the top.

Not to mention on the way down.

Those yellow spiky things are computer controlled snow makers. So that each morning you can have a fresh covering of snow.

The rodeo is on for 3 days, I decided to see it today, the 3rd July. This is not a good photo but you can see he is on the horse, and he stayed on for a few more seconds.

There was bull riding, bareback horse riding, steer riding, calf roping, team calf roping, and even, as a prelude, small kids riding sheep. Catch 'em young!

I'd explored various places to park for the night, eventually I just parked at the side of the road, in front of a plot of ground that was for sale, and near an office that would not be open in the morning.

The parade was OK. I've seen bigger, and better, but it was OK, it seemed all the town turned out to watch. These are the cow girls. The girl in front it Miss Idaho Rodeo. It was the 3rd from the front who impressed me, you can see a touch of green. She was Miss Junior Rodeo.

The flags in the photo have company's names on them, they are the rodeo sponsors. Last night at the rodeo, as a sort of commercial break, every now and then 2 or 3 of the cowgirls would take a flag apiece and gallop round the arena holding the flags aloft. Watching Miss Junior R was amazing. She would come into the arena, wait for the girl in front to get a good way round, meanwhile her horse was almost pawing at the ground, then Wang! She was off like a rocket, I don't think I've ever seen anyone ride so fast round an arena. It seemed like her horse was running almost 60 degrees from the vertical to take the corners. I mean, the other girls didn't hang about, not by any means, but she made them almost look like they were standing still. Watching the enthusiasm she showed as she belted round was almost the best bit of the rodeo for me.

I like the town of Hailey, it's got a nice feel to it. Loads of people turned out for the barbecue too, the park was full, they had a pop group playing. There was a queue about a mile long for the food, so I returned to the van and made a sandwich.

I noticed a couple of other things about Hailey. There aren't any fat people here, and about everyone seems to ride a bike. There were bikes with trailers, with small kids inside, there were bikes with pedal trailers behind with older kids, then there were kids on their own bikes with their parents. There were cyclists on the cycle tracks, and there were others loading their bikes onto the chair lift to ride down the mountain. Hey I know it's down, but you need to be pretty fit to handle a bike down a mountainside.

By 3 pm I realise it would be 7 hours before the fireworks started, and I've seen fireworks before so I drove along to Ketchum. I looked at the old ore carts, there would be several linked together in a chain, pulled by 20 or more mules, I wandered around a kitchen shop - when I was working I made stuff for kitchen shops, pepper mills, chopping boards etc. I liked what I was doing but I like even better not doing it any more. Then I took a tour around the farmers market and headed north again.

After just a few miles I pulled off the road and settled down next to a stream for the night,

Next day was raining with poor visibility. It very rarely rains here in the summer! There in the distance, running right to left, is the road I will eventually be travelling on.

Although I soon turned off onto a smaller road, you get better views they told me at the visitor centre. Yeah. If it's not raining. Don't miss that bit of the road heading off into the distance top left.

I came here in 1998, on my first visit to the USA. Ex wife Michele and daughter Eleanor went swimming. No one was swimming today. It was too cold.

I managed to get hold of Eleanor on the phone this morning. She had decided to trade in borrowing my car while I was away and borrow my van instead and go camping for a week in Spain. All was OK except her phone didn't work in Spain.

Her next plan is 3 weeks touring eastern Europe - with my van again - but first she has to raise some funds so she is looking for a job as waitress in Paris. I guess she is her father's daughter, wanting to explore new places.. She is about to start year 4 of a 5 year course studying for a degree in international law.

I reached Stanley and pulled in by the river for the night.

Best regards

David Barker
On the road in the USA

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