Thursday, May 30, 2013

Week-End June 1: Tarmo Watia Exhibit and Reception at Garden Valley Center for the Arts

A collection of paintings by award-winning Boise artist Tarmo Watia will be
on display at the Garden Valley Center for the Arts Gallery on Saturday,
June 1 through July 7.  Born in Michigan, the Finnish-American artist has
been painting more than 40 years. Watia has his own style of imagery and
symbolism with a bold use of color.  His work has been exhibited in
galleries throughout the country.

The artist and his son will attend a reception from 6-8 pm on Saturday, June
1 at the gallery located in downtown Crouch, Idaho.  The reception is open
to the public.

Admission to the gallery is free; regular hours are Tues. thru Thurs. 12-4,
Friday and Saturday 12-6 and Sunday 12-4. Gift Shop open all day.

Watia has donated a painting to the Garden Valley Center for the Arts which
will be raffled during June.

~ ~
Downtown Crouch will be abuzz with activity
all day Saturday, June 1.

~ The NOSY NEIGHBORLY TOUR (see previous post below) will feature an eclectic mix of nine private homes throughout Garden Valley. From the Barnes River Lodge on the South Fork River, to artist abodes to classic log homes to a llama and alpaca farm, the NOSY TOUR will introduce you to many fascinating hosts and their creative lifestyles. A fun day for all, from 10--4, buy tickets at the Senior Center and stop awhile for Continental Breakfast ( reasonable $1 per item, including beverages). $10 tax-deductible donation at the Senior Center--open 9 am on June 1.

~ Crouch Farmers Market opens June 1, from 9 am to 1 pm. Fresh produce, crafts and arts will be available.

~ The Boardwalk Shops, Old Crouch Mercantile Exchange Crafts Mall, The Trading Post, GV Market and more will be open for your pleasure. Dining options galore: Wild Bill's Espresso & Bistro, Longhorn Grill, The Coffee Lodge (inside Old Merc), Dirty Shame, Yeti's Grill (trailer on the river, by the bridge) and the GV Market Deli. Eve dining at Two Rivers, next to the Shame.

Shop and Play in Garden Valley This First Week-End in June!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Go ahead, admit it. You just can't resist peeking out of the window or over the fence to see what those people are really doing. Non-chalant or downright blatant, most people like to know other people's business!

The NOSY TOUR will give you the chance to nose around an eclectic mix of nine homes in Garden Valley--how can you resist?

Get your tickets now for the NOSY NEIGHBORLY HOME TOUR, for Saturday, June 1, from 10 til 4.
Your $10 tax-deductible donation will benefit the evolving Garden Valley Senior Center, which is looking for interesting ways to offer the community a social center.

Purchase your NOSY tickets at GV Market, Old Crouch Mercantile Exchange Mall, Red Rooster, Syringa Floral & Gifts, GV Senior Center and Granny's Closet, or at the Senior Center on the day of the tour.

The River Lodge, on the South Fork of the Payette River, a spectacular home on 26 acres of beautiful park.

The Center will open at 9 a.m. for ticket sales and Continental Breakfast items at $1 each, including OJ and hot beverages. Join us for a fun day.

Pick up your brochure and map at the Senior Center, 261 S. Middle Fork Road--follow the NEON GREEN signs.

Information at 208-462-2511 or 208-462-3943.

Sponsored  By:                                                                                                                       ~The Trading Post ~John Tucker ~ GV Syringa Club ~
~ Red Rooster~ Raven's Nest~ Syringa Floral and Gifts ~


No view like this log home has at the head of
Terrace Lakes Golf Course!

Owners of Crouch's Red Rooster have filled this new "Little Old Farmhouse"
 with antiques and collectibles.

Elegant Hillside Retreat

Beautiful log home on Terrace Lakes Golf Course. Owner
has a knack for re-cycling anything...must-see for do-it-yourselfers
and collectors!

Gorgeous decor palette inside appealing home designed by
graphics artist owner--with backdrop of the South Fork River (below).

Antiques and a family collection of hand-stitched quilts
fill this snuggery on the South Fork.

Artist's inspiring garage home in forest. Colorful and inventive!

Dreamy alpaca and llama farm on pristine creek, with arched bridge, pond, sheepherder's guest house,
garden, greenhouse and cozy hen house.

 Bring your friends and get to know our
friendly and generous hosts!
If you love to snoop--this is your chance!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Garden Valley Bridge Work

Davey’s Bridge
**Davey's Bridge is at the intersection of Banks Lowman Road and Middle Fork Road, in Garden Valley.

Construction Activities and Upcoming Work
Legacy Contracting and their sub-contractors will continue with earthwork operations, striping forms from last week’s concrete placement, and setting forms for the bridge deck. Traffic Delays Legacy Contracting Inc is scheduled to work Monday thru Friday. Flagging operations may be required between the hours of 7:00AM and 8PM M-TH and 7:00AM and 6PM Fridays with up to 15 minute delays. Alternate Routes No reasonable alternate routes currently available to bypass the construction site. If one is traveling west from Garden Valley and intends to stop in Crouch, Old Crouch Road can be taken to bypass the construction site. Contact Information Construction Manager: Sean Jackson, Project Engineer
Mailing Address: 1119-A Banks Lowman Rd
Garden Valley, ID 83622
Office Phone: 208-462-5166

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Loveseats for Sale

2 Micro Fiber Loveseats
Good Condition
Asking $150 each or $250 for both
CALL: 830-7158

Friday, May 17, 2013

Volunteerism is Ruth Richter's Passion

Ruth Richter and Peggy Ashton-Parker, the star performers in this
 story, present a check for $1,000 to GV Fire Chief, Jon Delvalle.
Granny's Closet happily provides clothing, furniture, and household
items for anyone who cannot afford them.

  Visitors to Garden Valley inevitably discover Granny’s Closet, the little shop of gently-used merchandise in the corner of the Garden Valley Senior Center. Spearheaded by a small powerhouse named Ruth Richter and run by an all-volunteer staff, Granny’s has become an icon of community co-oping. The amount of quality donations received far exceeds what would be expected, or even hoped for, in a community this small, and the shop has become a weekly must-do for shoppers who live or visit here.

A check for $500 to Golden Eagle Radio 97.5 brings smiles to
Babe Boomer and Steamer Bill Harder, proof that Granny's Closet
 makes everyone feel good.
   When Ruth and Ron arrived in Garden Valley in 2004, they asked themselves how they were going to meet people. There was no church of their denomination. “We didn’t want to be just retired,” says Ruth. “I had been a volunteer my whole adult life. We didn’t call it that—it was church functions or cooking meals for the school. When we were working at the Seoul Foreign School in Korea, I was a counselor in charge of making sure the students did community service.
This is not a part of the wealthy European culture—certainly not in high school. That’s when I got to thinking volunteerism should be a part of everyone’s life.”

  In Garden Valley, the Richters went to library board meetings, and Ron was instrumental in starting the PTA at the school. Ruth says, “We know about PTAs—massive yard-sale fundraisers.”

GV Library Director, Kathy Smith, welcomes the $500 check
 from the Senior Center. 50% of Granny's sales goes back to the
Senior Center, to maintain its facility and for operating expenses.

  Finally, they found the Senior Center, where both were voted to the board of directors. When the coordinator for the center admired something Ruth was wearing and commented they ought to start a thrift shop, Ruth concurred, but the board shot down the proposal, with concern for “bad smells”.

Ruth hands a $5,000 chcck to longtime Crouch Volunteer Ambulance
EMTs, Donnie Adams and Mike Butler. All involved with Granny's
 agree there is still value in used and discarded items. With a llittle
love and repair, Granny's returns them to their original value,
ensuring proper care for the environment.

 Not one to discard a good idea, Ruth tackled new board members the next year and won them over. Thus, in the late spring of 2007, eight women sat in Ruth’s living room, surrounded by boxes of clothing, while a very willing Ron lumbered back and forth from the basement with more boxes.
  The most important decisions made at that time were about pricing. Granny’s Closet is a marvel of unbelievably low prices. “I had no idea what kind of success we’d have,” Ruth admits. “I had never run a business in my life. I figured we’d get enough to have a little operation—in my wildest dreams, I thought maybe $500 a month, some day.”

Mary Wilson, mad organizer and president of the GV Center
for the Arts, accepts a $500 check from Ruth and Peggy.
Granny's is 100% non-profit, supporting the
community first.
 Ruth is convinced that when you do a donation project like this, you need to share with the community: “If it doesn’t help the community, I don’t want to be involved.” The Senior Center has struggled, and Granny’s has been instrumental in keeping it open—but they still give thousands back into Garden Valley. The seniors’ board recently voted to split Granny’s income 50-50, between the Center which relies on the income, and the community.
  “As far as I’m concerned,” says Ruth, “even when my back and legs and shoulders are aching, there’s a win in my mind—nobody’s a loser. The whole nature of the thrift shop should be to try to help those who can’t go to Macy’s and don’t want hand-outs.”
  For her final advice, she adds: “For anybody to be involved in volunteering, one has to have the passion for it. You must really want to do it. Find something you can feel that way about.”
  Ruth Richter says without reserve, “Granny’s is my passion!”

2013 Weiser Banjo Contest

Competition for this first (hopefully annual) banjo contest at Weiser begins at 5:30pm, Sunday June 16, outside Beardsley Hall under the trees at the Institute.  The Institute Gymnasium will be used if weather is inclement. The goal is to create a fun, nurturing, enduring opportunity for banjo players of all types to have a good time while exhibiting their banjo prowess.


Registration will begin at the Old Time Fiddle Contest office at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, and will run through the beginning of the contest on Sunday evening.  There is no entry fee. The first ten signups in each category will compete.

Competition Categories

  • Clawhammer/frailing (old time)
  • Bluegrass (three finger)
  • Other (Irish plectrum, popular plectrum, classical…..)

Awards in each category

  • First place:  Trophy and meal at a Weiser restaurant
  • Second place:  Trophy and homemade pie
  • Third place:  Trophy and homemade cookies

Contest Rules

  • Rules are adapted from the annual Vandalia Gathering contest in Charleston, W. Va., sponsored by the W. Va. Division of Culture and History.
  1. The order of competition in each category will be determined by random drawing.
  2. Each contestant must play two tunes of their choice appropriate for the category entered.
  3. Each contestant may have a maximum of two (2) accompanists.
  4. Contestants will have four minutes to complete their two selections.
  5. Scores do not credit popular crowd-pleasing tunes.
  6. Medley tunes are not acceptable.
  7. Electric instruments are not allowed.
  8. A single condenser microphone will be provided for the contest.
  9. In case of a broken string or major tuning problem, the contestant may replay.
  10. In case of a tie or extremely close score, the judges may request a playoff.
  11. Blind judging will apply.  Judges will not see the contestants or know their identities until judging has been completed.


Three experts selected by the contest organizers will judge all categories. Decisions of the judges will be final. Final scores with notes will be given to contestants.

Scoring (equal weight)

1. Intonation – Tuning and tonal qualities
2. Timing – Accurate and consistent rhythm
3. Difficulty – Complexity of selections
4. Technique – Dexterity in performance
5. Selection – Choice of tunes appropriate to category

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hunter Education Class!

Description: Description: FG Shield for e-mail signatureIdaho Fish and Game Exactly Like No Other State Agency

Evin Oneale

Now’s the Time for a Hunter Education Class
      Now is the time to register and complete a Hunter Education class. Registration is easy and convenient, and this time of year, there are a number of classes to choose from.
      “We have several options available for both Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education,” Fish and Game wildlife educator Don Sturtevant said. “These include tradition classroom courses, home study and on-line course options.”
      For those interested in a Hunter or Bowhunter Education class, the first place to stop is the Fish and Game website ( “You’ll find all the available traditional courses listed there and can pick one to fit your schedule,” Sturtevant said. The cost for this course is $8.
      A number of upcoming classes have empty seats and Sturtevant advises folks not to procrastinate. “Waiting to take a class until later this summer or early fall is a bad strategy,” he said. “Class demand will be high at that time and you might not find a seat available.”
      Instead, Sturtevant recommends students register and take a class now while a number of classes are available. “There’s a class for even the busiest schedule,” Sturtevant said. “Take a look on our website and find the one that’s best for you.” In the unlikely event that you can’t find a course, check back regularly. New courses are added frequently.
      If you’re one of those persons who simply can’t make a traditional course fit a schedule or want the convenience of completing a course at home, Fish and Game has two other options available. The Hunter Education home study option allows students to work from home at their own pace. “Students have 30 days from the day they register for home study to complete their workbook and return it to one of our offices,” Sturtevant noted. They can then register for a field day to complete the course.” The cost for this course is $8.
        An online version is available for both the Hunter Education course and the Bowhunter Education course. “This option allows persons with internet access to complete the course at their own pace,” Sturtevant said. Students must successfully complete an online examination at the end of the course, print out their completion certificate and then register for a field day to complete the course. The online portion of this course costs about $25, with another $8 charged to complete the field day.
      By state law, persons born after January 1, 1975 must attend and successfully complete a hunter education course before purchasing an Idaho hunting license. Participants must be at least nine years of age to attend. Although not required, parents are encouraged to attend classes with their children and participate in the entire program.


Idaho Rivers United Happenings!

A message from:Lizhead

Liz Paul Boise River Campaign
Facebook iconTwitter iconYoutube iconBlog icon
LIKE Idaho Rivers United on Facebook and view and share photos, video, news and stories.
Donate to IRU
 Celebrate the Boise River
May 23, 12:00 - 6:00
BOISE150 Sesqui-Shop, 1008 W. Main St.
Come by anytime and enjoy the art of Steve Bly, Ward Hooper and others, check out historic maps, and shop for IRU hats and t-shirts, xeric landscape plants and garden plants.

12:15: Life on the River with Mark Twain

1:15: Gigapan photography demonstration with Gary Grimm, Mountain Visions

2:15: Boise River history with Susan Stacy

4 -6: Reception featuring wines from Cinder Winery and food from Peaceful Belly and Sol Bakery.  Meet the producers and learn how they take care of the Boise River.
Forward this email
It's a privilege to work for Idaho Rivers United; to share my passion for Idaho's rivers - especially the Boise River - with our members, volunteers and supporters. Thanks for all you do to keep the lights on so I can take care of the Boise River.
Columbia River Treaty Review
BPA and Corps Open House
Wed., May 8, 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Hampton Inn, 495 S Capitol Blvd.
The U.S. and Canada entered into the Columbia River Treaty in 1964 to coordinate flood risk reduction and hydropower production. Terms of the Treaty will be open to change in 2024 if either nation gives 10 years' advance notice. The Bonneville Power Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are now reviewing the Treaty to recommend a course of action to the U.S. State Department.
Current Treaty terms have had little impact on the Snake River basin including the Boise River, but new Treaty terms could have a profound impact - one that IRU is concerned about.
Please attend this public open house to learn more and/or visit the official CRTR website.
Health, Habitat and Heritage 
Boise River 
Morning Bird Walk
Thursday, May 9, 7:15 - 9:00 a.m.
Meet at the Garden City City Hall, 6150 Glenwood St., to carpool to the walk start.  
Accessibility: This walk is on a paved path.   
May 21: Habitat Evening Walk, 7-8:30 pm
May 28: The Weiser River and Galloway Dam.
6 pm, Garden City Library, 6015 Glenwood St.
June 25: Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve walk, 6 pm
June 14: Become a Master Water Steward. An all-day workshop for citizens to monitor water quality. Presented by UI Extension. Details. 
  liz signature

Liz Paul
Idaho Rivers United

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Idaho Rivers United | PO Box 633 | Boise | ID | 83701

Spring is Here – Homeowners Need to be “Bear Aware”

      Having recently emerged from their long winter’s sleep, Idaho’s black bears are now on the move, looking for any and all food sources that might help them regain weight lost during hibernation.
      High calorie human foods are a major attractant, particularly if they are easy to obtain.
With that in mind, Fish and Game officials are urging homeowners who live in more rural settings, to use common sense and be “bear aware”:

      Unsecured garbage is the bear attractant of choice this spring. “We’ve already had a series of bear incidents in the Shadow Valley area,” Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale noted. “A young black bear, fresh out of hibernation, raided several unsecured trash cans looking for food. This led him to some livestock pens where he killed and partially consumed two goats.”
      The bear was dispatched by Fish and Game officers, on April 20.
      This sub-adult black bear is a “poster child” for not feeding bears. “This bear showed up in the same area last year and someone made the mistake of intentionally feeding him,” Oneale said. In the days that followed, the bear became more emboldened, raiding trash cans and acting aggressive towards people. He was finally live-trapped and moved to the Garden Valley backcountry in the fall, where he apparently hibernated. This spring, he returned to the place where he remembered receiving easy food rewards.
      “All bears are opportunists; their whole life revolves around food,” Oneale said. “They remember every single location where they receive a food reward, and if they get one from your residence, or your neighbor’s residence, they will be back for more.” The end result is always the same – a dead bear.

- MORE -
      There’s an easy solution for homeowners living near prime bear country. “Securing food, garbage and anything else that a bear might consider food is the answer,” Oneale said. “If a bear does not receive a food reward, it will move on.”
      Homeowners can help keep bears wild and avoid costly property damage themselves by taking the following simple precautions:
-    Bears like pet food as much as your dog or cat. Keep this food secured as you do your own, and not in a bowl outdoors;
-    Keep garbage in a secure location and place it at the curb only on the morning of pick up;
-    If you encounter a persistent and/or aggressive bear, contact your local Fish and Game office with the details.

      Remember to be vigilant. It’s shaping up to be a hot, dry summer.

- IDFG -

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ruth's UK Visit Comes to an End

By Ruth Richter

Where should I begin with our week in Scotland?!  We left the Lake District with it raining fairly hard and the wind was blowing by the time we hit the Scottish border.  We’d taken the “M” Road to get to Scotland but soon veered off onto an “A” Road in order to visit several villages, including Dumfries, where Ken and Bonnie’s ancestors were from.  We found a local cemetery and walked around it for awhile in the rain and mucky ground, but we did find Patterson tombstones.
By the time we left there, they had agreed they’d done enough of visiting ancestral villages and were ready to head on past Glasgow and Edinburgh to the self-catering apartment we’d reserved called East Turret in Comrie.  On our way there, we ran into a snow storm with the snow coming down rather hard but at least the traffic on the “M” Road kept the highway from icing over.  By the time we hit the outskirts of Glasgow we had driven out of the snow and it was rain again which we were all thankful for.
We had assumed that Comrie was a very small village with no amenities so we’d stopped to purchase some groceries in the larger town of Crieff.  Since everyone we’d talked with had asked us why we were staying in such an odd, out-of-the-way place, we were somewhat prepared to be disappointed with our choice, but financially, it was a good option ($383. for seven nights divided four ways).  Up to that point, in our driving in Scotland, we had been under-whelmed with what we’d seen, but much to our surprise and delight about 20 miles before arriving at East Turret, the countryside became rolling, the hills were covered in green grass, and it was all quite lovely.
We easily found East Turret, thank goodness to very clear directions we’d been given, because it was definitely a hidden driveway into the property. Ken knew where to find the key and, other than going into a freezing cold apartment, we were all quite enchanted with our accommodations.  We climbed a winding stairway to get to the first floor apartment (the Brits define what we’d call a second floor as the first floor and the first floor as the ground floor), and entered a very spacious two-bedroom apartment with a large living/dining area, big bedrooms, very nice bathroom, and a very tiny but more than adequate kitchen even including the inevitable washer-dryer combination machine, and a tiny dishwasher as well.  AND much to our joy, we had a fireplace as well.
The surrounding grounds of this estate were awash in wildlife, first and foremost, many, many, and then some more pheasants. They were just everywhere. There were deer, fox, and others that Ken saw on a walk he took almost immediately. There were interesting ruins we all walked to on another day; this was our best self-catering setup yet and, since we were staying seven nights that was wonderful. Once we got the heat going and warmed up in the place, we were very cozy there the whole week. The building we were in had been built in 1910 for the workers on the estate to be housed in. They had some mighty nice accommodations and must have counted their blessings.
The next morning we were leisurely in getting started and planned to drive to Perth (if you see Marla Patterson, ask her to pronounce it for you; she speaks excellent Scottish!) where we attended the LDS church there shortly after noon that day. It was a first experience for me, but not for my traveling companions. From there we drove to the city of Stirling and went through Stirling Castle. The castle itself is a wonderful ancient stone building perched high up on a bluff. In their interest in making sure the Scottish children know the history of their land, unfortunately for my tastes, they’ve made lots of displays that are directed toward children and so the rooms were not furnished as they might have been even 100 years ago, but rather have modern displays that relate the historic nature of the place. For me, a little of that goes a long way. However, the views on the ramparts from that height out over the plains was simply fantastic and, while it was very cold, it was a decent enough day to stand out there and really soak it up from every angle, and never mind, Ken had disappeared on us [again].  One can always find a warm gift shop to await a member of your party.
The next day, Monday, we were going to Edinburgh to tour Edinburgh Castle, again perched on a high bluff, and again full of displays and such but hard to envision how the castle would have been in the olden days. Bonnie was meeting a friend she’d corresponded with for some time but never met, and we all trailed along to have lunch with them. Unfortunately, between the castle tour and the lengthy lunch, our day had gotten away from us, and we saw very little of Edinburgh itself … other than walking the length of the Royal Mile and then some. I anxiously peered at many shops as we hustled past them and wished we had more time to have a look.  BUT I’m not much for spending time in large cities when I travel, so basically I was happy to get out of the city that day.
Coming back that evening when we were near our cottage, Marla suddenly shouted, “I just saw a white kangaroo.”
  We all thought maybe she’d lost it, but Ken dutifully found a place to turn around and back we went to see what it was that Marla had really seen. It was, indeed, an albino kangaroo or more likely wallaby who was somewhat overfed so in some ways looked like a very large white rabbit.  This was on the property of a wild animal enclosure and presumably had many odd and unusual animals. We never got to see more of the place, but the white kangaroo was quite a treat especially since he was sitting in a patch of snow and blending in quite well.
Tuesday made up for our negative experience in Edinburgh.  Someone had told us to go to Pitlochry which we had elected to do. On the way we stopped in an absolutely gorgeous little village called Killin; there was a river running through the town with majestic falls and lots of rugged rocks (a lot like we see in Idaho in some places). 

We stopped at Castle Menzies which was a very different looking castle but a beautiful building; unfortunately, it wasn’t yet open for the season’s tours.  (Note:  many places in Great Britain are only open during certain months and likely the months of January, February, and March will be the months they choose to be closed.

On the way to Pitlochry, we came upon the village of Dull which is paired with the town of Boring, Oregon.  If you’ve met the nice lady who works for the Salvation Army and spends time in Garden Valley, you’ll know that she lives in Boring, Oregon.  She loved it when I told her about going through Dull and indicated Boring was … well, dull!  (Many European countries do this pairing thing and, while it isn’t always with cities in the U.S., it often is.  They sometimes get clever with the pairings obviously.  When we were traveling in New Zealand in the early 2000s, we went through the town of Clinton and the road sign for the next town was Gore … but they hadn’t even planned that one!)
When we arrived in Pitlochry, we immediately could see it was a great little town to visit and gift shopping was going to be enjoyable.  As had become our pattern, we were hitting all the charity shops we could find.  One of them that we walked in had the very teapot that Marla was looking for, with the Churchill saying, “Be Calm and Carry on.”  For the grand total of eight pounds she had what we’d all been looking for. 
This had been one of our best days, a nice amount of driving, taking off on a side road when we felt like it, enjoying the scenery and taking many pictures.
Loch Lomond was on our schedule for the next day and off we went with snow falling like crazy but not sticking.  Another nice little town we stopped in, Callander, was a good shopping area; I was able to pick up a couple of little things commemorating Rob Roy who was from that area – and then could bring them back to give to a friend at our church who holds that same name.
As we drove that day, I continued to puzzle over why people rave about Scotland so much, especially in comparison with the Lake District or Wales, both of which to me have prettier villages and more enticing scenery.  I am willing to concede that it was too early in the year and thus the brownness of everything made it less attractive.
We were beginning to wonder why we never saw any pubs … anywhere.  We never really did find any true pub and that puzzlement didn’t get answered.  Pubs, for me, are definitely the best choice of places to eat and usually have some excellent atmosphere; folks are friendly and like to chat with the foreigners so the fact that we found none in Scotland was a very big disappointment.
Determined to find the beauty of Scotland, we headed to Glencoe and on to the Island of Skye the next day for what we knew would be a very long driving day … and it was. 

Castle Eilean Donan
We’d been told that Glencoe was a beautiful area; my conclusion after driving there and seeing that area was that I could have seen the same thing had I stayed at home in Idaho, most of it looked more like the area around Sun Valley than our pine covered mountains in the Garden Valley area.  We were in the very heart of the Highlands and it just wasn’t calling me at all. I think my traveling companions somewhat felt the same way, perhaps less so, however.
We drove almost 400 miles that day averaging about 40 miles per hour so you can see we were on the road for a very long day, but Ken said we averaged 48 miles per gallon!  We enjoyed a stop at an “antique” store soon after crossing over onto the Island of Skye.  There were broken dishes sitting everywhere outside and the shop was jammed full of a hodge podge of “junk.”  I did manage to pick up two nice little blue and white plates at a price I was willing to pay.  We saw several little whitewashed cottage with thatched roofs and a netting with stones hanging off the netting in order to keep the thatched roof on in the high winds.
I’d heard that the Falkirk Wheel was of interest, but had wondered since I’m not at all mechanically inclined.  Pictures I’d looked at on the internet didn’t make any sense to me at all, and all I knew was that it was a type of modern “lock” allowing boats to come and go from one water level of canal to another.  We decided to drive to the town of Falkirk where the wheel is located and take a look at it.  It was another miserable weather day snowing and sleeting.  When we got to the Falkirk Wheel, happily we could watch the whole process from inside a building with great big windows allowing us to view the wheel as it worked. 
Basically, it’s a big device that fills with water, the boat slides into it when the door is opened, and then the wheel slowly turns and rises, to a significant height, and deposits the boat in a canal some 20-30 feet up in the air.  At this point, it’s more of a tourist oddity than anything that is serving a useful purpose, but it was quite fascinating to watch the process.  If you’re really interested in how it works, I suggest you google it and read all about the wheel since my description hardly does it justice.
It was our last night in Scotland, and it was clean out the refrigerator night of whatever was left because we could take none of it with us.  We had an oddball dinner, all of which was yummy good.  Several things we discovered in our travels that we really liked a lot to eat was a type of syrup we put on pancakes and it had a very rich honey taste; it’s been around in Great Britain for hundreds of years so I guess they like it too.  We also tried balsamic syrup on salads since the Brits don’t always “dress” them and when we asked for something, that’s what we got. I’d never heard of it before, but it’s quite delicious. Since coming home, I’ve managed to find a similar item called balsamic glaze and am trying it on salads.  It’s low in calories! We also all love the English white cheddar cheese; I buy it at Costco and it’s as good from there, but usually they only have an Irish brand.  Marla and I loved crumpets and were having them for breakfast as well as with a cup of tea at the end of a day’s outing.  And Ken was bound and determined to try every sweet roll or donut-like item he saw; who knew he had such a sweet tooth!
Saturday, March 23rd, was to be a huge driving day for us, all the way from Comrie in Scotland to Maidenhead just outside London.  Ken had calculated it to be around 440 miles. We woke up to the wind howling and icy sleety snow coming down.  My nervous weather nature kicked in big time, but we set off at around 7 a.m., drove in lots of wind and occasional snowstorm-type weather. It wasn’t anything too bad for an Idaho driver used to much worse conditions and Ken was mostly calm and cool, but the wind was blowing so hard that it was very tiring for him to tightly grip the wheel mostly the whole day long.
At this point we discovered a couple of things about our car we’d not figured out before.  One was that when you have the windshield wipers on intermittent and you pass a semi-truck who splashes up a huge amount of slush on you, the windshield wipers on the car kicked into high automatically.  We thought this quite a nifty perk on the car.  Then as we drove along in and out of lots and lots of bad weather, we were listening to BBC, and much like our NPR stations, they’d be interviewing someone, and all of a sudden cutting in was a weather report specific for the area we were driving in which was very helpful for us to know what to expect in the coming miles.  Whether this was something the BBC was doing or it was a “service” on the car, we didn’t know but enjoyed the timely updates.
The day actually sped by as we were traveling almost exclusively the “M” roads and could clip along quickly in spite of the weather conditions.  We arrived in Maidenhead before 3 p.m., easily found the Bridge Cottage B&B where we were staying.  This B&B was near the Thames River and after a long, tense day of driving, a walk alongside the river was most enjoyable.
Our final day in Great Britain was spent in London after we took a short train ride into the city.  Our plan was to ride one of the tourist double-decker buses, but it was terribly cold and difficult to stand being on the second level of the open air bus where the views were wonderful of all the historic buildings.  We did the best we could, but it was probably the coldest, most miserable day we’d had on the whole trip.  There is a tremendous amount to see in London, but I’ve never been able to endure being there to see it all since I have an aversion to large, overcrowded cities. 
Our B&B was more than adequate, and we had two lovely breakfasts there the two nights we stayed including on the second morning when I requested scrambled eggs which they place on pieces of toast noting that my toast had been cut into a perfect shape of an Easter bunny which was the next Sunday.
Our flight didn’t leave until noon so we had a relatively lazy Monday morning before heading to the airport which was only a bit more than a half hour away.
Once again, I had thoroughly enjoyed myself in Great Britain, in spite of “the worst weather England’s had in 50 years” which we were told so often. This is a wonderful country to visit, but probably not for everyone. 
I’d recommend a good guide book to study prior to leaving on your trip; I had Rick Steves’ Great Britain Tour Guide but was less than thrilled with it.  I also had “Back Roads of Great Britain” which is very readable and while we (you never know on the back roads what you might come across, and on this day we met these people who were obviously going English hunting) never completely followed a tour outlined in the book, it pointed out many stops that we’d not have found on our own, especially on the back roads which are not always signed like the major highways would be for the tourist things to do.  We also had the National Trust Handbook which is very helpful to find places of interest, tells you the times and dates the places are open, lets you know if they have dining facilities, gives a brief description of each place.  It is easy enough to research any place you hear about on the internet, like the Falkirk Wheel, and then print out that information if you want to. Having an iPad or other such device would likely be very handy to research as you go; just remember, you’ll need a converter plug and/or an adapter because Great Britain uses 220 current as opposed to our 110.
If you want more details or are planning a trip to Great Britain (or, hey, other places in the world; I’ve traveled quite a lot!), feel free to call me or ask questions when you see me.  As any intrepid traveler, I love to talk about MY travels and MY experiences!  Thanks for reading on and on … it’s always fun for me to put it all into words and remember it all over again!