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ROAD TRIP WITH MARTY, FALL 2010---FOURTH ANNUAL IDAHO ROAD TRIP


Salmon Kings Booster Club

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A brilliant Wednesday greeted the VSKBC travel group as the fourth annual road trip to Idaho began. This time Marty would join us for photo ops. Boarding the 5 pm ferry, it was a leisurely sunset cruise through the Gulf Islands. Before we knew it, we were passing the Peach Arch monument and entering the maze that awaits entrants to the USA. Tradition demands that we spend time searching for a Hagen’s outlet in Bellingham, a group of late night supermarkets to purchase snacks and drinks for the road. This time we rapidly found a road we had used last time and marvelled at how the mall we went to had expanded. Night had now fallen and we passed the futuristic buildings that house the Microsoft complex in Everett. On and up over the Snoqualmie Pass in the dead of night. Pressing on, we were across the Columbia and into the northeast corner of Oregon. Lots of sage brush, farms, and rolling hills with hairpin turns. Soon we were passing Baker City, the site of an Oregon Trail Interpretive Centre. Pendleton and La Grande were in turn passed. Close to the Idaho border on Cement Plant Road one finds a cement plant alongside the highway. It is located in an area rich in lime, a key ingredient of cement. From a distance, lit up in the dark, it seemed to resemble a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Up close, the towers of the plant, with it all lit up looked like a space shuttle awaiting its launch. Making good time, we were into Idaho ahead of schedule and soon found a restaurant where we had a nice breakfast buffet and one of our group had his first encounter with the famous Idaho potato. Back to the highway to Boise, soon passing the QWest Arena, Goldy's Restaurant, the State Capitol, Boise State University and Broncos Stadium and very soon check into our lodgings. We were booked into the Residence Inn by Marriott. After our long drive, time to rest and relax. That evening we had supper with Boise friends at a restaurant across from the Broncos Stadium, where we had noticed a full parking lot and lights on. A high school football game was being played there. Friday morning we enjoyed the complimentary buffet breakfast, then took Marty for a ride to get a close look at the State Capitol then over to QWest Arena to watch his favourite hockey team's pregame skate. As the players came off the ice, it was heartening that some of our team acknowledged our presence. For the afternoon, our group split with one headed for shopping opportunities and the other to take a closer look inside the State Capitol and explore Boise by foot. Not far from QWest Arena is the Basque Museum, which celebrates the large Basque presence in the state of Idaho, plus looks at Basque culture and history, both in Spain and the Americas. Walking along Capitol Avenue, which has the dome of the State Capitol at one end, and the Boise train station at the other, just before the bridge over the Boise River one finds the Ann Frank Memorial. It is an amphitheatre style location with peaceful waterfalls as a backdrop. Exploring more closely, one learns that this site is a tribute to the universality of human rights. It was a very warm day and perfect for a walk. Reunited, our group had an interesting glimpse of a big part of American culture as we took our shuttle to the arena. We ran into a police escorted convoy of decorated cars and trucks full of students from Borah High Sschool on their way to their football team's homecoming game. Perhaps it was simply opening night jitters, but in the end as Jeff Harris would say, "it was a tough night for Salmon Kings hockey." Idaho Steelheads rookie goalie Tyler Beskowany pitched a pro debut shutout and rookie head coach Hardy Sauter got his first win. The next morning our intrepid little band took Marty along and headed for the hills, literally. Traversing the road to Bogus Basin, a ski hill, we noticed houses in precarious locations, cyclists training on the road, and a few vistas to look down upon the valley where Boise is located. Soon we reached the 5,000 foot level and were into what the sign said Boise National Forest, which at that point, the forest was ironically not in sight. Further on we had to let Marty out for a while so he could search for his Idaho counterparts. Soon we headed back down and rapidly located the West Side Drive In, a 1950's style drive-in restaurant. They featured the "World Famous Ice Cream Idaho Potato" which one member of our group sampled and found that it was a meal unto itself. From here we visited a large mall then returned to the hotel to get ready for that night’s game. A pregame meal at Old Chicago brought us together with the Idaho Steelheads Booster Club. Meeting them, it's like a family reunion. Soon we were inside the arena and anxiously awaiting the events that were about to unfold. On a night when there was every excuse to stay home or go to a bar to watch the Boise State Broncos football game at San Jose State, a crowd of 3,300 came out to watch hockey. It turned out to be a night where the Salmon Kings would not be denied. Milan Gajic led the way with the games first two goals. Matt Stefanishion would add two assists. PJ Atherton and Derek Couture completed the scoring. Going into the third with a 4-0 lead, SKings rookie goalie, Minnesota native, Riley Gill stood tall as the Steelheads outshot Victoria 13 to 6. The Salmon Kings worked hard, utilizing the trap as needed and helped Riley Gill achieve a shutout in his first professional game. Early Sunday! 5:30 am! Back on the road, on the way home and were rapidly out of Idaho, Oregon was left in the dark, and in early daylight crossed the Columbia near the McNarry dam and entered into the vineyards of that region. Soon through Yakima, then Ellensburg and up into the daylight beauty of the Snoqualmie Pass. Around noon, we were over the summit of the pass and hooked onto the I5 in Bellevue and the rapid straight shot to the Canadian border. Our group had a very skilled and safe driver along with a navigator who can read and interpret a map accurately. Customs was cleared and we were able to board the 3 pm ferry. As we enjoyed the ferry lunch buffet,.a pod of killer whales appeared near the entrance to the Gulf Islands, almost as if they were saluting us on our way back from Idaho. Our 4th Annual Road trip was excellent and for the most part we did things as a group which made for many shared experiences. Marty's presence made for many special photo ops.

ARMED FORCES WEEKEND===at Friday's complimentary breakfast buffet, a member of our group met members of a Canadian Air Force Mobile Repair Unit in Boise to take care of two old Tudor training jets that had broken down and were at the Boise airport. Informing them of the Salmon Kings games, the next two nights they added to the Canadian presence cheering for the Victoria team. On the way home, at a gas stop in Ellensburg we met a group from the Washington National Guard's 81st Infantry, also on their way home. They were friendly and appreciated being acknowledged by a small group of Canadians. Along the I5 we saw Canadian Army trucks headed for the border.

TABLES WAITING== be sure to visit one of the Booster Club tables at games, one on the concourse the other behind the club seat level. Ask us about our activities; perhaps join the Victoria Salmon Kings Booster Club.

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