Rarified Air

Brad invents a perfect life

Brad Herzog Brad Herzog  |  08.03.2015

While Amy and I were piloting our Winnebago Brave through Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, a group of folks was converging not too far away in Sun Valley. They were gathering for something called the Allen & Company conference. And by a group of folks I mean some of the nation’s richest and most powerful—Apple CEO Tim Cook, Disney CEO Bob Iger, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, etc. Our invitation must have gotten lost in the mail.

But it got me thinking: Geez, if I had that kind of money, if I had options, if I was a mogul of this or a titan of that, what would I do? Well, surely I’d get my hands on a sweet ride. Something iconic. maybe retro, possibly cherry red. Yeah, that’s what I’d do.Pic 2

And then I’d hit the road, preferably a winding road that in which every bend in the highway offers a potential gasp. Maybe something with an evocative name…Pic 3

Being wealthy and powerful and all, I would snag front row seats to a riveting sporting spectacle. No, not the NBA Finals or Wimbledon. Something unusual, something befitting my peculiar tastes—like, for instance, a whitewater version of a rodeo along the Staircase Rapids of the south Fork of Idaho’s Payette River.Pic 4

Of course, I’d have a house in the mountains. Gotta have a house in the mountains. But not just any old mountains. I’m talking about a place where the locals—an eclectic mix that includes river rafters, ranchers, and back country guides—like to describe it as a place that “awakens each morning to the freshest air on earth.” Yeah, that’s it. I’d be able to afford the freshest air on earth.

According to the 2010 census, exactly 63 people live in Stanley, Idaho. Our house-on-wheels in the mountains added two more for a spell. And our backyard view? Sublime.Pic 5

I’d still want to explore the back roads in my sweet ride. How about the Salmon River Scenic Byway, where you’re so close to the river for so long that you start to wonder: Am I driving an RV or a riverboat?Pic 6

What else? Well, I’d need a hot tub, of course. But something so natural that it blends into the surroundings.Pic 7

Once a bathhouse three quarters of a century ago, and now a historic site, Sunbeam Hot Springs is where the natural healing properties of a hot springs are diverted into the naturally spectacular Salmon River. Yep, I’d make my natural hot tub open to the public, too. Find a seat. Take a load off. Soak in the serenity.

Amy found a perfect spot. Not too hot, not too cold. Just right.Pic 8

Of course, sometimes I’d still want my alone time. You know, somewhere to get away from the paparazzi.Pic 9

When I really want to get away, I’d play golf. In fact, I’d find a piece of property right next to a golf course. I’d merely walk a few hundred feet, and I’d be at the first tee. Well, all we had to do was drive about an hour northeast of Stanley and then park ourselves at the Challis Golf Course RV Park.Pic 10

We rented clubs and a cart, and we spent an afternoon hacking to our heart’s content. Sure, my nine-hole score just about matched the population of Stanley. And Amy’s total was probably the population of Boise. But we had almost the whole course to ourselves. And the backdrop? Breathtaking.Pic 11

Still, there’s that sweet ride. The road would always beckon. And I’m telling you, the Salmon River Scenic Byway is one of my favorites. Anywhere.Pic 12

And if I could pursue my druthers with no limitations, I’d probably locate some more land, something along the water. Like, say, the Wagonhammer RV Campground two miles south of North Fork, Idaho, a little slice of paradise along the river. The call it the River of No Return, maybe because everybody is inspired to stay.Pic 13

So while those other deep-pocketed, influence-wielding heavyweights were huddling in Sun Valley, we were on the move. And somewhere along the road I realized that I am, indeed, a CEO of sightseeing, a commissioner of camping, a mogul of the motorcoach, a titan of travel.

And, of course, that’s priceless.


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  1. kate Posted on 08.05.2015

    Wow, makes me want to explore these little gems off the beaten path.

  2. Tessa Posted on 08.04.2015

    Great photos! Love the one of (your wife?) on the table looking away from the camera. Never thought a perfect life would involve an RV until reading your blog entries! It’s sounding wonderful . . .