Very early the next morning three hungry souls drove back to the Mountain Man to eat breakfast before taking on a long day of driving and house looking.
There were two elderly men in the restaurant when we first walked in.
One was a combination preacher-slash-cook.
The second was a retired chemist who had worked for the government at the nearby Idaho National Laboratory (INL):
After ordering breakfast, LC chatted with the two men while I wandered around the little trading post.
In truth there wasn't much to look at. Maybe it was just bare because tourist season hadn't geared up yet (Craters of the Moon is just south of Arco and the Salmon River is to the north).
Maybe it was always this empty.
I had no idea and it didn't really matter.
I absently snapped a quick picture of a portion of the huge painting (above) before heading back to drink coffee and listen to three guys talking, who all obviously had established an immediate rapport with each other.
The conversation had turned to Tennessee/ One of the elderly men told us that there was a woman from Tennessee who had moved to Arco only a couple of years before, and he hoped that she would drop in so that we could meet her.
Ten minutes later a woman walked in, and happily smiled at everyone with a friendly and easy smile.
She was from Eastern Tennessee but had lived for a time in Manchester, which is only 15 miles from where we used to live.
I was reminded yet again of just how small of a small world this planet really is.................
After eating breakfast and wandering quickly through the trading post again, LC and I piled back into the truck and met up with a real estate agent who was slated to show us a couple of homes.
These moose and wolves were located on the side of outbuildings in the parking lot of the real estate agency.
There are moose in the valley, in addition to abundant elk and deer.
Unlike northern Idaho (which is completely covered with wolves) there are fewer located in central ID.
As LC met with the realtor I walked my dog, wandered the parking lot, and snapped pictures of wild animal icons on the sides of buildings...............
I found this sign on the side of the garage of one of the homes we looked at...............
Crudely carved, rustic, almost folk-art-like statues outside a city building in downtown Arco.
I smiled when I saw them, enjoying the simplicity of the whimsical features.................
We had scheduled to meet two real estate agents - one in the morning and one in the afternoon, who were showing properties that they specifically were overseeing.
In between those separate visits LC and I spent a few minutes walking with Jamie just on the outskirts of town.
A mountain picture taken during our brief walk.............
As LC and James wandered between two trees and headed towards an open field, I watched them.
It felt strange being in such a small town. I have lived in cities with millions of people and lived all over the world.
My Mountain Boy has lived and trained in huge cities throughout the country, fought in the jungle in South East Asia for years, worked as a mountain cop in the Smokies bordering the Tennessee/North Carolina border.
And here we were standing in a field of a tiny, dying, rural, farming town in central Idaho and trying to decide if this was the place where we needed to be.
Millions of people - the jungle of Viet Nam - a tiny town of 900 and a few people.
For a second, as I watched my guy and my dog, the strangeness of that thought kept me immobile.
And then I stashed my camera away for a short while and hurried to catch up with them...............
A few last pictures before heading back to the truck...............
I had to smile at her.
She is so sweet and so beautiful and so good natured, and people are drawn to pet her whenever they are around her.
Like her humans she is an alpha personality, and there is no possible way that we could ever have another dog around her because she would treat it terribly.
She would need to rule.
Although LC and I were ready to go, our Jamie-dog was not. As always, it didn't matter where we were nor how beautiful was the place.
As always, our pup was being driven by her nose, and our dog spent an extra few minutes checking out the ground and the smell of whatever it was that had passed this way just recently..............
In the afternoon we traveled 25 miles up the valley, to the even tinier town (population 525) of Mackay.
The mountains were higher and closer. The town (if it was possible) was even quieter.
Home prices were a little higher. But not even remotely close to the prices in Cody.
Where in Arco we could see the mountains in the distance, in Mackay we were surrounded by mountains.
A beautiful, gorgeous, quiet, tiny little place..............
After seeing homes and eating burgers, Jamie and I walked through parts of town while LC went into the bank.
There were no other pedestrians and very few vehicles, and it felt as though we almost had the entire place to ourselves.
I stopped for a few moments, realizing how silent the town felt and was...............
LC was still in the bank.
James and I passed by the truck and continued walking further down the road towards some kind of old structures, curious to learn what they were about.
The mountains surrounding this town were tall, rugged, imposing, beautiful.............
Looking back the way I had come, I saw LC walking towards me.
I snapped these pictures very quickly and headed back the way I had come.
We still had places to go....................
The rest of the hectic day, and the hectic and long trip home the following day, meant very few pictures were taken.
We ended up traveling further up the valley to Challis, up to Salmon, over the snowy passes in Montana and heading home via the northern route.
The trip would have been much faster and easier if Yellowstone National Park was open, but it was what it was.
A beautiful area. And potentially affordable..............
One last picture of a rustic little wood carving in Arco................
All men should strive
to learn before they die
what they are running from, and to, and why................James Thurber