This morning, at 35 F degrees, is our seventh chilly morning yet the warmest. Our nine day stay in Ketchum has been remarkable for several things and outstanding among these is the weather. Sun Valley and Ketchum are beautiful, yes, but pretty darned chilly too. Our standard operating temperature has decreased to the same winter standard we maintained in our sticks and bricks home. A couple of nights ago we were playing cards in our aluminum home and thinking, “68 F feels pretty warm”.
It has rained on us only once, and later the same night we listened to the soft luffing sound of snow landing on our roof. The days have all warmed nicely, the sun has shone brightly, and we’ve enjoyed the nice weather. We’ve stopped our mutinous rumblings about pulling stakes early, hitching the wagon, and heading for Phoenix. Definitely we are looking forward to warm weather but we’ve adapted to this cool autumn setting.
You might be asking, “What about the Jazz Festival? Aren’t they in Ketchum and Sun Valley to attend a jazz festival? Wow! The music is soooooo good, the bands are great, the performances have all been outstanding. We’ve attended one other music fest, the Galax Fiddlers Convention. The Fiddlers Convention sucked us in quickly, giving us a feel of connection with the musicians and their music. Same thing in Sun Valley, maybe more so.
What’s so good about the music at the Sun Valley Jazz Festival? First, the great majority of the music is pre-1950s. The bands are playing compositions from Fats Waller, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, and many many others. Second, many of the best jazz musicians performed here this week.
We’ve listened to, and watched, jazz bands from The Netherlands, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana, California, and Idaho. Today, the last day of the event, we must rank the bands on our eval forms. This is tough but fortunately they allow us to have more than one favorite band.
It might be even tougher if they required us to force-rank the musicians. There are so many outstanding ones on each instrument. We think we heard the best couple of drummers (John Gillick, Danny Coots), several incredible clarinetists (Bob Draga, Louis Ford, Joe Midiri), amazing trumpeters (Brian Casserly, Flip Oakes, Bria Skonberg, and too many others to name), and many other fine musicians and singers.
The only thing to do is to go again. We’ll be in Arizona next month and so will the Jazz Festival in Chandler — is that near us? We’ll be finding out soon. We are also making tentative plans for Mammoth Lakes and Sun Valley for 2010. Who knows, maybe they will be as great as this was?
Our dry-camping experience has increased nicely with the past ten days. We stayed in Camping World’s lot the night before we arrived here. That night and tonight total eleven nights and our batteries and tanks are in great shape for more days yet.
We started with 40 gallons fresh water, and we still have over ten gallons remaining. Our rinse water tank registers empty, because we only have washed and rinsed some pans and utensils, and have used paper plates. We have showered daily at the ski lodges’ excellent facilities instead of using our hot water and rinse water tank. Our black water tank registers half-full after ten days.
Finally, our batteries have restored daily from solar power. We have run the generator once, for two hours, in the past five days and only for a couple of hours the nights before that. Our solar panels have been working great in maintaining our batteries. We haven’t had much extra power for things like charging the laptops or iPod. Instead we have plugged in the rechargeables while the generator is running and gotten everything charged at once.
We’re encouraged by this dry-camping experience because we enjoyed these good results in very cool temperatures. Remember, our byline is Chasing 75 Degrees. We could have, and considered it, left when we found out how cool it was to be. Instead we decided this would be a great adventure. It has been. And we have learned we can do much better much longer than we thought. We’ll stretch further another time, to find our limits on dry camping.
Tomorrow we head for Mesa, Az. We have only fourteen days to get there — we’ll just have to stop along the way and see what we can see. And we’ll need to put the beer in the cooler when we’re there. But until then the beer is cool enough sitting in the carton on the floor. Ya don’ hafta chill it in Sun Valley in October.
See ya down the road!