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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

North Fork

USA | Thursday, 23 September 2010 | Views [1513]

The Gem State! Land of potatoes, hippies, neo-Nazis, elk, and the largest Basque population in North America: Idaho is perhaps the closest state to Alaska within the "Lower 48". As Howard and my mother crossed the state line heading south on Route 93, we called in at a pub owned by a man named Victor and his wife. The place is frequented by elk hunters and it's evident with the place being decorated with elk racks half the size of me! Despite being deep in the middle of nowhere, Victor and his team sure served up tasty sweet potato fries and pizza! What a great meal, two days after my 26th birthday! 

This is the first journey within the U.S. I've taken in a long time, and I must admit I've only been to a handful of states: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and now Idaho. I can count a few others that I spent a day or two in: New York, Florida, Montana, and a few others. For me it's just not as exciting travelling around the U.S. as it is to gallavant the globe.

We arrive at Howard's place that evening (it's the first time I've seen Howard in close to 10 years, and the last time I saw him he was living in a small trailer in Arizona) and this place is grand! With a cathedral-like ceiling, guns and elk skulls adorning the walls, and a million-dollar view of the property sitting on 26 acres, this is MY kind of place! I must tell you a bit about Howard. He's an odd fella of about 67 (more or less) who was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and moved to America with his family when he was like five. Aside from a few odd jobs he had in his early 20s he hasn't worked hardly at all in his life; he's received inheritances from his mother and several other family members, and as an only child he never had to share it with anyone. By his own admission he hates cities and prefers to live in secluded places. However, it doesn't seem you can get much more secluded than North Fork. This hamlet (with a gas station, motel, campervan park, general store, post office, and Victor's pub) is so remote it even makes Fox Glacier seem like a bustling metropolis. Even with the oddity that Howard is, I do give him a lot of credit for one big thing he did for my family and I. The year was 1995, and we were all evicted from our house. Howard was nice enough to let my mother and all five of us children stay in his one-bedroom trailer whilst he slept in his van. We all stayed there for five weeks until we went back to California. In Howard's words "your mother had enough kids to assemble a small sports team." When I was a lad Howard and I used to discuss coins and rocks, but he's an avid gun collector. He admits that he doesn't like to hunt but he owns over 200 guns in all shapes and sizes. Guns and gun laws are very liberal out here; you can walk into a bank with a gun slung across your shoulder, and elk and all kinds of other animals are hunted regularly; their meat used to cook local specialties such as elk burgers and elk steak. Try topping that off with some A1...it's tasty! 

Deer grazed on the grass as I woke up this morning to my mother's home cooking...I had a nice view as I gorged on french toast. There aren't many places where you can wake up and have mountains on four sides.

This place is breathtaking! If I can compare the property to any place I've been or stayed, it's most like Shiloh and Lani's home in Motueka. I love it out here! The nearest town to North Fork is Salmon, 30 minutes away, and the nearest city is Missoula, Montana 2 1/2 hours away! We drove to Salmon today and visited this hippie couple with a trailer so small that I'm not sure I could fit in it

Near their home is the 45th parallel, meaning I'm halfway between the North Pole and the Equator

I've been to the 45th parallel in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere (you can see a photo of me at 45 south on the road to Milford Sound). That evening my mother cooked me up a hearty acorn squash topped with butter and fresh maple syrup.

Just when I thought North Fork was about as remote as it gets, the following day we took a trip along the Salmon River to Shoup. Salmon River is known as The River of No Return because it drops more than 7,000 feet between its headwaters near Galena Summit and its confluence with the Snake River. What's unique about Shoup though is the gas pumps

Petrol is pumped manually with these pumps! A rarity. As we continued to drive further west, AKA further into isolation, we called in at this pub called the M.T. Saddle Saloon. "M.T." are the owner's initials, and it sits just off of the Salmon River. This place is so far out in the middle of nowhere...I wonder how often this guy goes into Salmon, let alone Missoula. Ah well, maybe I've just been exposed to cities too much. In some ways, I hate the city. Currently my backyard is little more than a patch of dirt; no elk grazing or mountains around me. And when I get the craving for the outdoors, I can't even camp in my backyard because I live only 2 km from an airport (and you know what that means). Growing up I was accustomed to cities, TVs, cars, grocery stores, video games, and the like. When I was 10, my uncle was taking all of us on a trip out into the Arizona desert, and my mother said "OK, what's everone bringing?" and I called out "I'm taking my Nintendo" and then she was like "what are you going to plug it into? a cactus?" After all, much of my childhood involved living in the city and sitting in my bedroom, playing Nintendo.

Perhaps the only place more remote than this is the South Pole, or Resolute, or somewhere further. There is a large water truck with a smiley face on it!

Funny! 

Visiting Idaho has given me a new appreciation for the United States. It's very beautiful out here! Most visitors to the U.S. typically only go to New York, Vegas, or LA but I reckon the US is better for its outdoor beauty than for its cities. 

Upon leaving, Victor gave me a giant elk antler! The only problem: how would I get it back to LA.

It would cost more than I had to ship it and I couldn't take it on the plane as a carry-on, so my mother brought it to me when she took a road trip! A piece of Idaho will always be with me!

Tags: nature

 

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