Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Driggs Winter Scenes

Snowpack around Teton Valley, Idaho went from above average in early January, to below average by early February. Storms were generally going south of us, leaving the Driggs area with more sunshine than usual for this time of year. That's not necessarily a bad thing...it's always nice to take in these scenic vistas.

I took advantage of the clear skies to take Bridger on a couple of outings last week. After 11 years with Targhee, I'm still getting used to having a young dog with seemingly endless energy. He's absolutely unphased by 1,000-2,000 feet of climbing through deep snow, and especially fond of bounding back downhill with gravity. He actually sleeps for a couple of hours afterwards, too.

Joanne is kicking my butt on the skis this winter, but I managed to keep up on a nice Darby Canyon tour over the weekend. Bridger and I were happy to take a break for the camera here.

Clear nights create cold mornings, giving the Teton River a chance to show its geothermal properties. It's amazing this river stays unfrozen all winter, considering the frequent below-zero temperatures. I guess it's proof of our proximity to Yellowstone.

Snowstorms are moving in, time to hunker down and rebuild the snowpack again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Palin Call, Chicago Show

Last week was a little crazy, with R.U. Outside preparations for a big tradeshow in Chicago...and an impromptu phone call from my old friend, Todd Palin. I knew we'd connect again sooner or later, but Todd's a little more well-known now than he was fourteen years ago, when our paths first crossed in an R.U. Outside booth at the Alaska State Fair. He's under a constant microscope these days, and his every second is in demand. The fact that he made time to call and catch up speaks volumes of the man.

It was wild chatting with him again, hearing about his & Sarah's Presidential campaign adventures (the McCain's treated them great), and sensing that he's still as down-to-earth and real as ever. Whether you're Democrat or Republican, you need to know that the Palins are incredible people.

I had faxed Todd a couple of hand-written notes during the campaign, which he said he received and for which he thanked me on the phone. He wanted some R.U. Outside products to use in the big Iron Dog snowmobile race over the weekend, and insisted on paying for them. I've always admired Todd's character, but this cemented it. All the best to him...you never know.

The next day, I was off to Chicago. It was R.U. Outside's fourth consecutive year of exhibiting at the International Motorcycle Show there, which is a huge event. Flying non-stop from Jackson Hole to Chicago's O'Hare airport was amazing, and made the trip much easier. It was a bluebird day the whole way, with a temperature of 2 degrees when I landed in Chicago. Brrr!

My man Jimmy drove down from Minneapolis with all the R.U. Outside booth fixtures and product, and we went to work setting up our display. It was physically easier back in our younger days, but we still managed to get the work done and saved a little time for fun. Kas & Kelly gave the necessary female organizational input, which we always need. It was a good team.

I went into the show with modest expectations, because of the economy. But, it blew my mind and attendance was actually up, as were our sales. The crowds are bigger than any other event we do, and hopefully this photo does that justice. I love the people and spirit in Chicago...you just feel like you're really in the heart of America. They are tough but caring, with can-do attitides. And, they're determined to continue having fun. Could this be the year for the Cubs?! :-)

The highlight of the show for me was seeing dear friends Celia & Dave. They were neighbors, best friends and adventure companions in Driggs for years, and now live back in the midwest. It had been four years since we'd seen each other, much too long. Dave is a motorcycle fan, so they made the trip to Chicago and we spent about 24-hours hanging out. It was great recounting all the good old times. Thanks, you guys...and let's not allow four years to go by again.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

January Oscillations

January here in Teton Valley, Idaho has felt like about three months compressed into one. Thirty-one days probably has something to do with it, but a wild swing in weather patterns, events and moods has contributed equally. Blizzard conditions early, then below-zero cold, then an unseasonable week of forty degrees and blue sky, followed by more storms...oh yeah, with a Presidential Inauguration and continued volatile financial markets thrown in for good measure. Which way is up anymore, anyone?

At last, this weekend was a moderate, normal-ish finish to the month. Normal feels nice after swinging between such extremes, in more ways than one.

It may sound like an oxymoron, but for me, venturing outside brings internal equanimity. Purposefully disconnecting can really make you more connected. For such an approach, there's no better place than the mountains around Driggs.

Snowmobiling, skiing, hiking, biking, breathing, thinking. Pursuits for which we're much more evolved to handle, and which rightfully ought to occupy more of our time than sitting at computers, fighting rush traffic, and figuring the price of oil. More of this, and less of that.

Deep snow, wide open spaces, and a backcountry outing with the dog. It doesn't get much better.

The Super Bowl (our unofficial national holiday) was even a good game, although I was admittedly pulling for the underdog Cardinals. Happy February, everyone...and here's to a smoother road ahead, everywhere.