Finding Hemingway Part One
This past weekend was so fantastic. Truly one of the best weekends that I can remember. I spent it with my wife and two sons in the beautiful town of Ketchum Idaho. It wasn’t the easiest of trips to begin with but before I get to the tale of woe I want to publicly thank the Blaine County Republican Women, especially Suzan and Trish for the support they gave to me and my fellow soldiers in Iraq this past year and for the amazing warmth and hospitality that they showed to my family this weekend, thank you.
In planning the route to take on a trip it usually comes down to one of two things: first, the distance and second, the scenery. However our route was planned by our dog Maggie. You see we weren’t able to take her with us so we set up plans to have someone in our home town of Idaho Falls watch her but at the last minute those plans fell through and so I called my parents to see if they would do it. I actually knew that they would, they love Maggie but that is also the reason they weren’t my first choice because I have a secret fear that one day they will snatch her and take her to Mexico or some other country where dognapping extradition laws are vague. At any rate Maggie was going up to the folks house and I had two choices: take Maggie up the night before or the morning of. Neither option seemed that exciting as it would add 60 extra miles on to my trip. So I sat and thought about it and it hit me that we could drive Maggie up, get lunch in Rexburg, and then go across the desert and see some of those pretty places we’ve never been to.
In retrospect I wonder if that is how the Donner Party started out, I can just imagine the conversation.
“Hey babe, why don’t we take the Hastings cut off? We have to go that way anyway to drop the mining supplies off at your sisters.”
“I don’t know isn’t it a bit dangerous this time of the year?”
“Oh we’ll be fine. And besides it has great scenery. Maybe we can even grab a bite on the way.”
With Maggie dropped off, lunch secured and iPhone map in hand we set off toward Arco via Mud Lake. It was a gorgeous day, the sun was bright and there were no clouds in the sky. We passed through Mud Lake and I commented that it would make the perfect setting for a good serial killer story. My oldest son wanted to know why it was called Mud Lake and being a good father I made up the best answer that I could think of.
“It’s because there was a lake and now it is just filled with mud. In fact they only use it for mud wrestling and making mud pies.”
Being the good son he is he immidiatly asked my wife if that was true and she just shook her head.
“He’s just teasing you.”
As we crossed the desert my passengers began to be absorbed in their iPhones and Game Boys. I had small tinge of envy wishing they would put some form of video entertainment in the steering wheel so I would have something to do while I drove.
Our first stop would be in Arco. Before the end of the Cold War the US Navy trained its sailors on nuclear submarine engines in the Idaho desert near Arco and to commemorate that past, the town of Arco received the sail from the decommissioned USS Hawkbill. I had read about it in the local paper a few years ago and always wanted to go out and see Satan’s Submarine, but just had never had the time to go.
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It was remarkable to both of us how, this final resting place that was so far off the beaten path, was so well kept. There was also a surprising mix of very old and sadly recent headstones. Not only were these people buried in a place of beauty their loved ones cared enough to make the trek on a regular basis for the upkeep.