Last half day in Idaho and this trip is over

Final chapter, final thoughts

The last half day with Nolan before I head home.

Nolan and I ended up passing out and I woke up on the couch bed with the pillows and blankets tossed about. I was wrecked and so was my best buddy. We did Jack Diddley the last night in Idaho Falls. But we still had today before I headed out back home to San Francisco. 

Getting the room straightened up we both decide to grab some free breakfast downstairs in the lobby. From my last time in Austin, TX I wasn't too sure what to expect. Nolan goes with me but I decide to take a quick swim to wake up and to get some excercise in. Nolan grabs his coffee from the much available pump canister coffee and hangs out by the perfectly place fire pit just outsude the lobby. There aren't too many people in the pool so I do a few laps and a moment in the jacuzzi. I dry off trying to get dry enough to wall and try out the now getting busy breakfast area. I don't want to drip my chlorine drops all over the floor and as I walk over patting my shorts the whole way. A plate and a decision to make " what am I going to eat to satisfy this craving for another eggs Benedict or gluten free pancakes?" Nothing in here, not one thing in here. I pick up the steamer tray lid and I see fluffy eggs with almost 1970's retro yellow glow. At this point this is a score. Next is a sausage patty and I hesitate. Do I eat this, well shoot who knows where I'll eat and I need something before my flight. I fill up with decaf and one thimble full of hazelnut creamer. 

Nolan meets me back upstairs in the room and I chop away on my well deserved Hotel Marriott breakfast in front of the TV. We hang out a bit and suggest we walk by the Snake River before we drop me off at the Airport. Pretty amazing the Snake River and right here in Downtown Idaho Falls. I now get where Falls comes from. The small waterfalls crashing down into the Snake River. My Aha moment. We walk down and have a chat about just stuff and joke around. We are always joking around and Nolan is one funny dude. We take some fun shots of me laying on a Snake sculpture bench and a few of Nolan and the area. from my iPhone. My camera is back at the hotel ready to go. We head back and I look at the time to get me to the Airport. This is one small airport but I still worry about the lines and what ifs. Plus I'd like to get some blog writing time in. We jump in the car and head out not even 5 minutes we are at the airport. I laugh how silly I was to rush out thinking of all the other places I have been it's at least a 30-45 minute drive. My brother my brother. A big bro hug and I get a few snaps of nolan acting and me dirtying him to go for it. A series of poses from the ever funny Nolando. I will miss him as I pile on my bags I head in to the very small 2 people deep line. And as I hear some German behind me. I glance over. It's the gentle giant German I met on the way in. I give me a friendly hello and how funny it is to see him. Yet this is a small town so not that surprising. He is dropping off his mates but will stay in one day longer so he can watch the Argentina vs Germany final World Cup match. A quick handshake and I am checked in and off to sit and wait with all the others in the hot humid sun by the window.

 

We finally enter and I feel the weight of the bags and the weeks on me. Sitting down to write I pound water to fill me body thirst for this necessary drink. Never in my life except in my visit to Denver years ago have I needed to drink this much water. It's a chore at this point. I finally board and get situated. Separate bag for my camera and my larger camera bag checked. I am for sure over this little exercise. Next stop is Denver and I get in to watch the last half of the World Cup match where Germany and Argentina have been at 0-0 for the whole game. All around me are many Germans hugging and eyes glued on the various bars all over the airport. Germany wins it. 1-0. It reminded me of the time I visited Barcelona 4 years earlier. Watching the various games with my friend Robert Hedlund as we travelled and met on Las Ramblas. All the cafes with fans in all countries jerseys piled in and watching from the streets. This game of the world brings all from different places together. I love that and I see this again. People converging at the Denver Airport are together for the love of the game. I sit and order and Charcuterie plate with smoked duck and instantly think of my time in Kansas City. This does not compare to Brad's prized smoked duck one bit but damn it is good. I take down two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc with my cheese plate I also ordered. I feel a sort of melancholy that this grand trip to I took is now over. Happy to go home but now the rush is gone and I am bow resorting to shooting my charcuterie, cheese plate and wine glasses at the Denver Airport in an open lounge. Do all these people know what I just did. I glance around and i can see that all these travelers must have many stories that have led them to this very place and they are on their to somewhere else. Somewhere happy, somewhere sad, somewhere new, somewhere to touch the past. I love that I am opening up and apart of this great thing we humans can do on the flying contraptions. We get to see the world and open our minds and hearts. I finally got to do what I set out for. After a couple more gulps of my chilled wine I can't help but think of my dear friend Ewan. Alcohol does that to you, numbs the outside an the thoughts come fast and precise. It allows me to not be bothered with the craziness of the Airport but brings me to this quiet room of my thoughts. Ewan Robert Fisher was my friend of all friends. The sweetest and most caring friend. He would pay for the check before you even ordered your dessert. He would cook the most amazing meals and gather all the friends to his place for an all night good time. This man I met my first day first class at the Academy of Art when I was 20, now has left us to a place of rest. I very much cared about him and almost feel we had a special relationship. He trusted me most and when he was in need called out to me. I am happy to have know him but feel an empty space in the world where he once was. He is my reason to live more and try not to be the workaholic. I worked til I could not work anymore and lived very little. Life just crept up and passed me by. I always photographed and was the best person I could possibly be. I did for others where I would not do for myself. This trip and stories are my love letter to my dear friend and kick in the ass to go and do what you said you would. To Ewan's family I wish to say you made and raised one hell of a man and many other would say the same thing. To the world I say you missed out if you never got to meet him. This trip 'long overdue' is now over. My reason to see others, learn and share has now ended. I am a richer man and I plan to not let life pass me by. If I love something go do it and do not let others tell you 'you can't'. My photos are my eyes, I saw and I photographed. I experienced and recorded so that I can write to tell this story. No more letting moments get away. 

My dream job is to travel, experience, write and photograph. I can design, art direct and do my art but there is world out there and I would like to see more of it. I will be putting together my work from this trip on my site. Food, people and places.

Thank you for reading and sharing this trip with me,

Robert D. Karns

5th day in Idaho

Treasure in Idaho Falls

 

Early morning Nolan makes his coffee and does the house work once again. We know that we will be packing up to stay at a hotel his Mother Treasure has arranged for us to stay for the night. I told you she was a sweet lady. I get up and see a gorgeous glow coming from outside. It’s about 6:30am and I knew if I don’t get the shots of Nolan in the barley field all is lost. Up and adam I get out the door finding Nolan and tell him to ready his gear and let’s get some outfits together to bring out back to the field. We get some Rock n Rolll, some 70’s country punk and a couple hats.

 

Come on cats and dog the whole crew follows us out like a merry band of randoms off to shoot some photos in the early morning light. the Skies and tremendous and clouds scattered ever so painterly. After a few snaps of Nolan we get a funny shot of us attempting a jump photo again. Complete dorks we got a few good ones. Packing up I take one last photo of Nolan in front. As I am setting up this quick snap. i see blood spots on my camera. “ What the hell?!” I glance on my hands and there is a small knick on my pinky. Still couldn’t tell you where i got it but it through me off so I grab a few shots of the ever animated Nolan and we were being to head out. At Deseret Industries, I bought a backpack with a name on it, Garrett Corts and when i was packing up my camera equipment in there I found a pile of flash cards all in french. Garrett had perfect who ever had these had perfect handwriting and I was so happy to find this I feel that I scored. I not only bought a bag to haul my equipment but I just added a side story to my trip. That is a great part of this to get surprised and add that much to more to the adventure. All ready we load the truck and head out, swinging the large gate to lock it up. Goodbye you Rad Rock’n’Roll Ranch. It’s been fun.

 

We head straight for the Hotel Marriott in Downtown Idaho Falls. Now as Nolan tells me there are lots of Mormon’s and guys like us stick out. He with his goatee and Rock look and me with me “ Hey I’m only here to visit so take it or leave it outfit.” Nolan mentions there is a Farmer’s Market right in the are across the Snake River so we head over there. I miss that feeling going to see the local fare. We walk across the old metal framed bridge and take a few snaps. As soon as we come through the trees and we observe a new construction of a japnese kabuki gazebo begin built. Modern but I am puzzle what is this doing all the way in Idaho on the Snake river in the downtown area. Huh, we move and see the masses shopping and gazing for their fresh produce. I spot a few crafts and I take a cool photo of a water tower overlooking the outdoor market. A soon as ask I out my lens cap back on and wipe the sweat from my forehead hoping for a 1mph wind to hit me I look to my right and see GLUTEN FREE BAKING! Holy S___! The mother load. Mom’s Place @momsplacegf They pretty much have it all. From breadsm pasta spices and pancakes mixes. I can’t take it all home and it frustrates the hell out of me. Jan the owner and also as she says she does “ all of the above.” Greets me into her tent. I tell her how happy I am to be here and I am just visiting. I mention the blog and photography if I can photograph the products she said “ sure that;s cool go right ahead” As i begin to shoot trying see what they have she comes over with 3 samples. Carrot cake, Cinnamon Roll and a lemon bar. “ Uh, oh, Damn that’s good”, I make inappropriate sounds as I eat the bites. I wish i could hang out there all day and help put join the cult of #glutenfree baking company and living happily ever after. But I’m melting and I gotta eat. I didn’t want to scarf down a hot Cinnamon Roll in the hot sun so Nolan and I walk down and pop our heads into different spots along the way. At the other section across the street we hit up the other vendors. Mostly crafts and and few Food items. From the crosswalk I can see a line for Snow Cones. Ice cold treat. But there is no way I sitting in one place for a 5 min treat that will just fill a temporary hole of PLEASE COOL ME OFF! California melting in this weather! ALERT! ALERT! I can’t even stand my own sweat dripping. As I’m moving slower and slower I see and yes it’s a godsend. Chocolate Goat Milk. “ What?…what?…what?” I walk a bit faster and Say in my happier tone to a young girl in charge of the table I ask “ One chocolate goat milk please.” I am so happy I can almost taste it. The cool snap of the top and the guzzle and addict like need for this moment right now. “ Sorry we actually don’t have any more”. I must have had the most slummiest brown spirit look on my face. But I popped back and told her “ no worries but ugh I was looking forward to this,”  I get take a few snaps of her and the display product and information posted about Goat Milk vs Cow Milk and I instragram that of course. I want to share my new found knowledge of  the milk that comes from those cute little goats.

 

It’s almost 12 Noon and we promised to go photograph Nolan’s Mother on the lunch break for her business. We walk back across the bridge to the hotel and take off to Treasure's Formal Bridal and Tux. I say hello to the girls Natalie and Angelica again working like bees but making the brides to be happier and comfortable picking out their dresses. I set the shot up for the angle and backdrop I want for Treasure and the Staff to pose in. Tripod up and ready to go. His mother is busy with Customers and so are the girls. So we decide to go around the corner to Great Harvest Bread Cafe. As Nolan chats up the staff about what they sell and if they have gluten free for me. Well let’s just say I ordered an Ice Coffee. We walk around and see some shops and mosey around til we think to go back to his Mother’s Shop. I head back in and there she is the one and only Treasure “ Oh hi Robert” Big hugs and She is ready to shoot a couple shots. I take her up to the area and tell her what I was thinking about each person posed in the same spot with the main dress just to the right. We do a couple poses and get the mark right and the lighting set. Well sure enough they get a rush and i was waiting looking for some inspirations of portraiture. A few groups came through as I was setting up the camera and lights. “ So who’s getting married?” I try to break the silence as they were just sitting there and I am obviously the only man in the room. Awkward! The bride to be raises her hand and I congratulated her. Natalie brings the girls back to this cool runway area. where the group sits on couch and the brides to be get that almost fashion runway feel. Huge mirrors and great lighting to I’m sure make them feel like the star of the day.

 

I went back to the antique couch to grab my camera to see if I could make the best of my time and shoot the dresses that are set up around the shop. I walk over and photograph a few things and as I have a few flashes go off the girl comes out in the dress i don’t even look up and walk away. no way am I going to ruin this moment for her. I sat back by my bag and waited hoping to fit in the girls real quick but it didn’t happen. Nolan helping around the shop comes to get me knowing there is no way it is going to happen right now. Treasure unnecessarily apologies but she is busy and that is money. We set the time for 6pm and after they are closed so Nolan and I jet and head back for the hotel. I tell him I feel kind of melancholy and I don’t know why. After searching my mind I realize it’s the bridal shop. There I was single sitting on a couch alone with my thoughts, glimpsing at all these girls and families getting ready for their big day. I couldn’t help but feel that way and that’s ok. That means I still have the desire and I’m not dead yet. The pilot light of romance is still flickering. Nolan tells me how do I think he feels. His Mother owns a Bridal shop and yet here he is still the single Rocker. We both have a huge laugh at the irony and focus on getting a bite to eat. Could be just the starvation getting to us.

 

 The pilot light of romance is still flickering.

 

We grab some ribs from Famous Dave’s and we chow on the food. The food was not very famous at all but it was food at this point and I do make poor choices when I am starving. We waited too long to eat. After a 10 min vegging on the hotel TV. We decide to grab a swim and just chill until we have to leave to his Mom’s again. A few families were at the indoor pool and it was just nice to get cooled off as we stuck out sore thumbs as the RocknRoll energy of the last few days was all over us. I did a couple laps and sat in the Jacuzzi to fend of the stiff feeling in my lower back. Yes the trip is showing it’s funny side and making it known in my joints and energy level. I have been drinking more water to get close to a normal feeling to fend of there that Blah feeling. My back loosens up and we head up to chill for a bit and drive back to the Bridal Shop.  It’s 6pm and I am rested cooled off and in a better mindset to shoot. It all worked out for better with timing. I reset the tripod and lighting and it’s a go. Treasure and the girls line up and BOOM the image is rocking'. Treasure stands on her own with sublet confidence and BOOM another keeper. Natalie then Angelica are photographed and we do one more of them on the couch. “ Done ladies” I thank them and Natalie takes on last photo of Treasure and I on the antique couch. I thank her with a warm loving hug she made my good and talented buddy I'm a huge fan of his and this lady made him all those years ago. Nolan's Mother is very successful and has a couple more store fronts in Idaho. She is still working hard and it is paying off. I can’t wait to help them out and get these photos finished for their use. We both helped each other and it all worked out. I say goodbye and let them know I’ll get the images done soon as I’m done with the blog.

Nolan and I split and go to the hotel to be dudes and sit around. We don’t eat anything else as we both just passed out. A comfortable be and air condition. Thank you I will take the well deserved sleep now. Lights out.

4th day in Idaho plus another state

Bears and Old Faithful

VROOOM VROOMM WAHH WAHHHHH!!!, I wake up early in the morning, glance over and there is Nolan grinning from ear to ear, the sunlight barely coming through the window.“Wakey wakey.” My alarm was set to Motorcycle by the open window. Strained eyes and barely functioning body I manage to get up. The trip and the altitude has set in on my body and mind. Pushing through I get up and Nolan is cursing around the ranch on his British Triumph 1972 Daytona he bought when he was 19, With his daughter and Baby Mama back then KI bought it and has had it ever since. With a crazy story comes some sweet truth from this Gentle friend of mine. This is a cherished Motorcycle full of memories and dreams, plus it is bad ass. Vroom Vroom I get up and follow the noise out to the back there Nolan is with helmet and his usual big smile and laugh. He knows I am digging it.

We are off to Yellowstone park today and now that the Bike is fixed I want to try to ride it before we head out early this morning. It took awhile to get it going but I figured I am not here for long now so I better try. The Triumph is running and Nolan says” if you can start it you can ride it.” This bike you start with your feet by jumping on it to get it started, no key for this. SO there i am finally get to ride a Triumph and half asleep I go get my shoes on so I don’t slip out of my loose fitting TOMS. : OK give it a go” Nolan roots me on. One Two, Three, the stress sets in, Four my shirt becomes like a wet cloth around me getting in the way. I am tired now and how hard is this. Nolan made a small video of me doing this cause i wanted to have it within starting a bike and do something I have never done before. He eggs me on and well I don’t get it started so I don’t get to ride his treasure. It’s an older bike and /i need some basic training to learn to ride this older bike. He tells me a few pointers and he gets on and as I film him with my iPhone and you he gets it started. Surprise, surprise. I tell him to snap a few pics of me with the helmet and he gets a sweet one of me. It felt almost like the bad guys with the wrench in the A-HA- Take On ME music video. I had my shot for the day so at least I got me being humbled and my action non action shot with the helmet. Better luck next time. Nolan says he will find me a good cheaper bike I can learn on from Idaho. As he looked online there were tons selling for a good price.

He goes for one more spin around the giant Idaho block and it putters out. He runs it in and says something blew. It’s an older bike so lots of maintenance. Lucky it wasn’t me riding. i would get the blame for ruining his baby. Phew bullet dodged. He runs the bike into the shed, locks it up and we get ready to jet to Yellowstone Park. Big day ahead. I had just bought some ready made Cookies from #wowbaking. They are all over California but i have never seen the ready made refrigerated versions. nolan bakes off the batch in small sizes for out trip while I get ready and pack up for the day trip.

We talked about grabbing some food on the way but first as we are driving down the highway Nolan points out YellowStone Bear World. “ We can check it out if you want or just drive ahead.” “ Um it’s Bear World “ I joke you don’t have this anywhere else let’s go check it out. I ready my 55-250mm lens for taking photos from a distance. I expect a safari like situation coming up to the car. I saw photos with the tour bus and bears on their hind legs up for a hello. We are in a truck as they say “ Keep your windows up.” I expect the craziest experience. Well I will tell you this it was amazing to see the Deer, a moose and a Buffalo crazing and happy to just stand there as i photographed in our 5 mph crawl. I felt like we were in Jurassic Park and at any moment something would pop out right next to us. My imagination ran wild. So cool to see the bears lounging and sleeping wherever they could out of the heat. It was hard to photograph them but I was like a little kid mesmerized by the Wild Life before me.

Exiting the protected area we park out front and go inside to the petting zoo and Cub area. Tossing about and playing in the tiny waterfall system the cubs were joy to watch. Happy to prance by and let me photograph them. It was a joy to watch this youngins get their playtime.

Heading through a heavy gated area we enter the Petting Zoo full of goats, deer, chickens and ducks. I see my goat homies and say “ Goat milk!” I go right up to them and immediately start snapping there is a few people here and Some cool props for the animals to venture in for a rest. It’s a hot day and I see a chicken coming through this mini barn as I follow him with my camera he heads for the grass and under a tree. A deer resting grabs me eye in my lens. This one like most doesn’t scurry away he just lays there and as i approach he gets up and comes over to me and another guy standing there. Furry antlers and all he lets me photograph him with his diva deep in thought pose. I feel like I got something so close and detailed i would never get in the wild, what a gem. After a few moments with the animals we head out on our way.

“ I’m starving”, we end up hitting the next town Rexburg, ID where BYU is located. So for sure some grub to be had. We end up  at Costa Vida. a place where it attempts Califronia Surf Mexican. Like Chipotle with surfboards. I order a baja bowl with Carne Asada and chow down. Off we go down the way and Nolan mentions a place that was in Napoleon Dynamite. Deseret Industries, a thrift store like a Goodwill back home. So many items like collectibles and funky hats and ceramics. A pair of Potato ceramic dishes, a Simon Says, an accordion with a tiny hole in it which I was join to buy but what the hell do I need it for. It had on it scratched. Made in Italy but yeah it was scratched on i wonder who would buy into it. As I am looking at the items in the glass case. I met a gentleman and his wife and he just pulled out and is purchasing an antique Bun divider from 1907. As he is talking to the employee Pop and quick look and see the embossed Pat 1907 on the with it saying Bun Divider. At first I think now way that is it. As sure enough it was. turns out he is an antique collector and has a show one a month up the Highway. I thought I had tagged his name in my Instagram but I do not see it. He wish me luck on my trip as i told him what i was doing and to come check out his Antique show if /i am ever in town again. Sweet old Man with an eye for the cool and unique. I now have seen a Bun divider human powered before the robots took over.

One stop we make is by a river. we fill up on water and i have an idea to get some footage of Nolan playing a song or two with the river in the background. I do a set up and ready the camera for a really cool video of Nolan playing a tune. I feel happy to grab these and Nolan happy to go for it. We get back on the road and finally arriving at Yellowstone National Park. I realize I am in my 5th state so now it’s 4 states of Fotos +1. Oh well I am the idea guy not totally  great on the tiny details but hey it looks cool now. 4States +1. As soon as we get closer we see the sign and I  can get it for my blog and for memory sake. Nolan and I wait for the family just a head of us to finish their photo op. We get our s and we are in to see the Park. We were greeted by the sweetest Lady who took our money. She was dressed in ranger gear and when she talked to us she totally caught us by surprise just who sweet she was. Thanks Ranger! We drive and look for the spot where Old Faithful is. We resort to Pre-Google Maps map reading to make sure we don’t get lost. After a couple attempts to see other geysers but put off by the long lines and limited parking we drive ahead to the main point, see Old Faithful.

The Old Faithful Inn, a giant structure is standing right before us, massive and majestic, full of flags and Parking lot is full. We park and it is evident this place is popular. I have Nolan’s cowboy hat on to protect me from the heat but inside I take the sucker off, mess my hair a bit and we look inspect this giant wooden palace. Nolan immediately wants to show me the upstairs which looks down over the whole layout. Impeccable and full of grace with the light peaking in lending that mysterious air to it. I take a few shots of the place, a couple of Nolan and myself sitting to commemorate the visit. I am thirsty and hungry again. We have about 30 minutes til Old Faithful blows. It’s set for 4:20pm and I need to get drink  and a bite before the grand show. People are already gathering but the space is open and I am sure we will not have a hard time seeing it.

We pop into the Bar area for Drink and a bite. I have a hard time looking for food as it is, but I seek out again game meat. I never get to have it so again here I am looking. As my eyes deny my I finally find a Buffalo Burger and a little line below saying “ Please ask your server if you have allergy concerns” Eureka I do have concern so I am ready to get the burger wrapped in lettuce or on the plate with no frills , again. “ Have you guys made a decision?” Yes I will I order a really good a fruity drink. Again i posted the image with the ingredients on Instagram and no where to be found. Argh a flaw in tech. nah that isn’t possible. Nolan grabs a beer and we split a Buffalo burger “ Just put the bun on the side for my friend” I sum up. “ Oh do you have an allergy?” the waitress asks. “ Yeah yeah I do.” Well we have gluten free buns”, queue the music cause it’s burger time. I get to eat a burger with a bun by Old Faithful. Holy hell. I get be normal for this slice of time. Nolan chats up some girls and I search out some images to be shot. we get out food and drinks. I automatically photograph it. and I do know that I instagrammed it. But but oh well. 

4:20 approaches and we shuttle ourselves around the bend but not before we could grab a cool panoramic of Nolan and myself with the sign. Looks killer and just in time for the gusher. The geyser of all geysers, the and only Old Faithful! I am amazed that on time this thing gushes. Nature is timed and exact. The water and steam rises and rise some more. i got video of it and could not believe my eyes and ears. “ WOW” is all I had. Mission accomplished.

On our way we hit the town just outside of the park. We walk into some stores to grab a Yellowstone Park shirt nolan gets a cool wolf shirt Big faced and wicked looking. I could not make u my mind. A half naked lady with a wolf, a girl next to a big rig hmm i get puzzled and almost give up. Ok i need to go custom here. I pick out a red shirt and ask the girl if there is any buffalo art. I pick through and they were nice to let me go behind the work area nd flip through the wall of art . I find my art. A group of buffaloes that really pop with the Red shirt. “ I’ve never seen anyone do that combo” she says laughing. I’m from California and artsy so of course I have to be odd.” I exclaim in my moist cheesy voice with lounge act crooked brow. We purchase out shirts and head out the foot and a torrential rain starts. White sheets of rain catch us off guard and there is Nolan happy as can be. He hops door to door before getting his car. I tippy toe awkwardly til i see his Truck backing out and hop in. The rain stops not too long after we get in the truck. Nice.

We head home and catch a bit of traffic. We stop along the way a bit but ultimately we are beat from this adventure. Nolan's buddy Sam comes over  for a bit and we hang a bit watching TV and we were going to go out again to see a Monster Truck show but guess what? it did not happen. Two cowboys down for the count.


3rd day in Idaho

Jumpin' Nolan and Bug Spray

Today was to be a mellow day full of of beer and a small hike as well as some photo shoot opportunities for Nolan. I made some chard and some scrambled eggs with corn tortillas for us to have a big meal before heading out. Coffee in my borrowed Elvis cup again and some Goat’s milk to top it off. We grab some beer and I took my Bison jerky as well as my trusty Goji Berries for effect. We packed at up and headed out to a the Caribou National Forest. Nice to see sign with bullet holes in them from the locals and boaters who come out this way to ride the lake and river. Trucks and trailer scattered throughout the way in. Calmer and calmer it got as we left the highway. Lots of birds and old holding pens throughout the first part. We drove a bit more and we saw some cattle grazing on the grass. I readied my camera and I had a sense of a hunt. Slowly walking out of the truck and trying to capture the Cow in it’s natural habitat. I luckily avoid the cow patty next to the tire, point and photograph the majestic animals before me. “ Who in the hell are you?” I could imagine them thinking. “ City Slicker,” munch munch of the grass.

Up the road we find a clearing with a fire pit and a tiny bridge crossing the stream. The humidity has kicked in this morning and I brought pants and a hat that does not breathe. Crack open my #redbridge gluten free beer and Take a chair. We can only hear birds, the water running and the crunch of our feet on the loose gravel and dirt. I think we should go scout out some cool area to photograph Nolan we walk across the tiny bridge and head up a trail and just go for it. As we pass the small stream over mud and scattered rock. We almost immediately get the gangs, ‘squiters and What the hell is green bug nipping at our arms and neck and NOT THE FACE!. “ Ok that’s it” Nolan calls out from ahead. We need to get some repellant.”  We are convulsing and slap happy for this bug infestation. Our steps get quicker  as we easily find the way come in, quick step quick step we make and go army on our bodies with this repellant. the bugs stay away I point at them. “ Ha ha suckers”< slap slap. A couple more sprays and finite no more bugs bugging us. Beer, jerky and trail mix snack Nolan and I head over to another area and I see the pictures spot. tall free with river in background. If I had an assistant I would scream “Hey you get the equipment” as I frame out my attack of the impending photograph I am about to take. We joyfully mess around get some great jumping shots of nolan and a few of us posing for memory sake.

A small family with motorbikes cruise by as we wave hi they do as well almost forgetting to hold on to their handles. So it was more of a quick. Hel__. oh man my bike. We got a laugh out of that. Heading back we happen on upon the cow again now there are more. I tell Nolan to head out to the green pasture and get the guitar for shots. Well Nolan happily obliges and as he walks they start to walk away. “ Jump Nolan Jump” So there he is jumping over and over again. I take multiple photos and get some genuine moments captured. He returns panting and we laugh our way back home. 

Back at the Ranch…..

I tell Nolan to get some clothes out to get some portrait work done. We can use for his promo material. We do a few shots with my ring light and grab some winners. After that I tell him to go crazier and hue not only finds the funniest get up but he works it as well. A character Nolan cane but a pro. There he is in the living room with a big fur hat and some glass like John Goodman wore in The Big Lebowski. Pop Pop work it. He grabs his guitar and I switch to my iPhone. Social media twitter-gram time. A few licks of the guitar and I get all the tags fore companies he is using. We get some favorites from this of course from the companies.

We prepare some Buffalo Tacos with Chard and Spicy salsa and the night is over. Banging day with Nolan the man. Great photos should make for some great samples for him to use and myself to get some work.

2nd day in Idaho

A day out in Idaho Falls

 

Today the trip caught up to me and I felt more than usual. I felt foggy and real out of it. I was hoping to not get sick but felt an odd feeling I couldn’t shake. As the days go by I learn that the altitude is a fact and boy does a glass of water feel nice. Coffee only does not help. Nolan like always is up early again feeding the varmints and doing house work. He is one of the most eclectic people I know but cleans like a little maid. He hates mess and I try my best to keep my 2 luggage bags tidy as possible. He comes in to see if I’m awake and offer me some coffee.

 

Elvis mug please I gotta keep this up digging the hilarity of it. I have a small cup of coffee with a dash of goat’s milk and 3 glasses of water. Gulp. Thinking clearly again the idea today was to shoot some guns and ride a motorcycle. But realizing we need some parts. We end up testing some social media posts filming and photographing Nolan on guitar with my iPhone. Testing out the hashtags and twitter tagging eventually gets a couple favorites for his small string of 15 sec clips on Instagram. As old as we are the idea of reaching the company through one tweet is exciting. Always learning the new and driving ahead with it creatively. Multiple times on my trip it has worked including my 2 day ago travel debacle.

 

I make us an egg salad sandwich before we head out. It’s with Mayo of course, avocado, bacon cilantro and green onions. I boiled the eggs from Broulin’s we bought the day before and got wicked with the ingredients. Well Nolan of course like any normal person went to town on the incredible sandwich. so incredible that I had to stop set up a shot and photograph my breakfast snack lunch. Nolan made a fresh Salsa picante from scratch for the week. I also had to photograph that as well. fresh with vibrant colors.

 

We get a call form Nolan’s Mother and we tall about possibly photographing her for her store and her use for business. I also score more samples of portraiture. We both help each other out. We finally get ready and head out of course with my camera equipment in tow. Treasure’s Bridal and Tux in the downtown area of Idaho Falls is such a giant wonder in the small town. Very well designed and pretty popular as Nolan tells me. Treasure Nolan’s mother is delightful woman so kind and ready to please but also very busy. She welcomed me with open arms hug and all. As long as I was there not a moment was the store empty. A testament to her happy and successful spirit. Greeted by Natalie one of the sales staff and Angelica, a 17 yr old sales wonder both nice and of course busy as can be. Very accommodating to me as i wandered around photographing. Brides were in and out and I got a sense of the place. I wanted to poke around to see what would be a good photo opportunity. We photographed the gowns with a lower light source to give it that memorable look on in camera. It really worked. Each gown for the mannequins have their own stage places all around the upper bridal salon. Lots of the brides were accompanied by mothers or friends.. A small window into what it’s like for the brides getting ready for their day. A nice touch I got to experience.

 

After hanging out and setting up a time later in the week to photograph Treasure and her staff we head out to grab a bite. We first stop in to Cal Ranch store first thing I see is giant stuffed bear. I had to photograph it and Nolan gave me an egged on photobomb. Passing my country plaid snap button shirts that are the real deal not the hipster versions from Urban outfitters. An aisle of all cowboys hats and rows of boots, which are much nicer and more ergonomic than the boots you find at Thrift stores. The cool factor is nice but here at Cal Ranch people are actually working in them. So cowboy cool but with purpose. No bullshit. If i bought anything here I would be a definite poser. Further into the store we see a box of chicks. Little yellow peep peep kind. Not chicks at a bar kind of chicks. Just so we’re straight. $2 for each. Wold thinking to me but if I wanted to have some chickens in my yard I could easily buy some. So cute but they are whittled down to livestock here and in a box with heat lamps next to the popcorn on a shelf. After a couple more aisles. something visually explodes in front of my eye socket, CheeseBurger Taters in a bag by the comedian Larry the Cable guy. I can't help but chuckle and the people all around see me. Still I had to photograph it. “ Oh Man Come on!”, Nolan poses and I snap it. I ask for some game meat jerky and luckily they have it. Finally! I get some elk and a bison jerky. If I am not going to get it anywhere else now is the time and in jerky form. We grab some bullets for Nolan’s gun and as we he is asking the guy some questions I am overtaken by the mounted heads. I wonder how long they have been there, where it was shot and I have moment to photograph them. I don’t take to much time so not to look like the tourist foolishly photographing in a department store and totally blowing Nolan’s cover since she shops there.

 

I am starving at this point but want something not so smart and healthy like a salad. No problem we head to Scotty’s, Nolan thinks it would be cool since it is an old drive in burger joint a la American Graffiti that is way more original than Sonic burger place. It takes me back back to the movies watching The Wraith, Can’t buy me Love, Porky’s and Last American Virgin and The Heavenly Kid. I can see how cool it all must have been but it's lunch time and no hot 80's girls to be found. Now just down to families and a couple randoms grabbing burger. I order the Pastrami Scott Burger around 1964 where I am corrected  by their motto “ We are not fast food, we are good food fast.” As I am photographing my food Nolan is just sitting pondering with the soda straw in his mouth. a take a few snaps and this becomes a new image for his SoundCloud the artist forever staring into the next song. Happy to capture these moments.

 

Back at the house we crash and rest and I get a couple more minutes for some writing. Vegging out we watch Pirate Radio. A good movie but full of free sex and rock n roll. I am wiped and we as the night goes on we just settle in for the night. Plans to go out get squashed. Nolan passes out and I nod off eventually making my way to the room. Another full day in Idaho. Done.

First night in Idaho Falls

Hello Nolan, Goodbye Siracha Shirt

 

Arriving I feel a sense of accomplishment. I have made it to my 4th and final state to hang with my buddy, rock and roll, philosopher and my one and only life saver. This man has been through the ringer and it has fueled his music and out look on life. Damn funny and prolific he could be a one man marketing machine or musical comedian. This is fitting to finish off this trip with him. 

I make sure my bags are out in the smallest baggage claim you ever seen. Pilots and flight attendants come out to catch cabs right away. They are either off to another airport or ready to get out of the heat and on to one of the few bars Idaho falls. As I come out Nolan is sitting in the truck practically parked. See there is no needs to packed up and go rush off trying to avoid a ticket from some airport rent a cop hot head with a florescent parka on. No I came into a totally different and calm airport experience. Nolan calm and collected told me to not worry let's make my trip a fun one. And so started my Idaho Falls experience.

 

“ Do you have any game meat or a place where I can buy some? Restaurant or butcher shop? ” I googled and googled and not one hit that was open to the public. I was obsessed on trying some elk meat or some local bison/buffalo. I want to try stuff I have never had before. I mean Fuddruckers has Elk burgers and I have had Buffalo many times but you know I wanna see what  Idaho has to offer. I have this whole idea that I going to have some exotic wilderness meal. So what do we find google tells me there are a few restaurants around us. It’s like a hotel motel row with connecting places to eat. We park not too far from the airport in fact the airport is very close to downtown. We park and Nolan says “ we can grab some mexican food ”, ugh I gasp. I live in the Mission district and pretty much every where I went on this trip Tacos up the ying yang. I could not just do the same thing again. We wander and there are like 4 people for every place. Not a good sign or not that many people in town I am thinking. We drive towards his mother’s shop Treasure’s Bridal and Tux by the main street area with lots off cool cafes and shops. Most everything is closed and it doesn’t look like we are going to grab anything to drink or to eat. I start to lose hope and feel like it will be an AppleBee’s kind of night. all this way for the same food. Then we hear some laughter and a few girls and guys are outside having a smoke. The Celt is an irish Pub and the music and pounding from inside. Country jam session. Eyes light up and My heart feels right here. 2 guys and 2 girls on guitars and a stand up Bass are busting out some serious tunes. I poke around and find out they are all called The Slaughter Daughters. Cap off of my camera and I start to shoot. I just get right in front and don’t care I have to get some photos of this. 

 

My tummy starts to rumble as I remember I had a bad lunch and need an ice cold drink. I have been hit with humidity and heat in all 3 states. I order the Drink call F the Queen. So pretty with a kick. I decide against the Shepard’s Pie and go full burger with no bun and some fries. BY now the band has taken a break and I get to meet some of Nolan’s friends and town folk. I meet Sam and Griffin a really cool cat who wants me to photograph him later in the trip ut sadly we do not connect later. Very cool and nice to meet them. I feel welcomed and look over to Nolan, pat him on the back” this is is buddy this is perfect we both are grinning looking checking out how packed it is. I get my perfectly cooked Burger and cocktail. I cut it with a knife and flooding my fries with Mustard and dip in the tiny plastic ketchup cup. I exhale finally and now I have come to realize I am here now, in Idaho and it feels fine.

The band finishes and I have been taking photos of the interior and of Nolan chatting to various friends. As I put my camera away this girl comes up, it’s the singer of the band. All of a sudden I am thinking is there a sign on my head saying i’m single or is it this easy in Idaho. Just show up and they come walking up to you? “ Hi I’m Cecilia” , she starts with a smile and beer. “ Great music up there” I mutter over the loud bar. “ I couldn’t help but see your shirt I really like it. I always wanted a Siracha shirt.” My shirt, my shirt she is after my shirt. of course. I laugh inside. Come on dude it is never that easy unless you have a crazy person looking to murder you out back I think to myself. “ I was wondering if we can swap for one of out band Tshirts for your cool red shirt” Feeling in the momentI say sure but I need a large.” She replies happily almost immediately.  “ oh wow, really?, Ok I will go check” I tell Nolan what’s going on. and of course he laughs and knows I am in a Robert adventurous mood. “ This will be cool to blog about ” I almost laugh at myself thinking this.

 

Cecilia comes waves me over and I see she has found me a shirt well it is not a large and a big snug but what the hell I do it anyways. I tell her “ You mind if we take a before and after photo?” She says “ Sure” and there I am with my shirt off in a Pub in Idaho. Luckily I feel in shape and this idea is more fun then reality of being half naked in front of many. So I don’t think twice. One of her band mates snaps our photos before and after. I post it instantly back at the table. I have been in town like one hour and already having a crazy moment. I realize that I have smaller shirt one bit a very cool one with the bands name on it. Back at the table i finish eating and my drink. I ask a couple of the band mates if I can snap them so we do a couple very appreciative they were into it.

 

After staying a bit longer meeting some of the locals we decide to head out and go get my settled in at the ranch. A not a too far away but far away place where Nolan has converted this cute lil house into a funky art house with Barely Fields in  the back where someone is renting out the land. He has 3 cats Darla, Isis Violet and a little dog named honey. A cute teeny tiny pup with a killer mop hair cut. He sets me up with my very own room windows open for the cool summer air to trickle in I get my bags situated and it’s off to bed at the Rock n Roll Ranch.

 

Stuck in Dallas Airport

A day spent at the DFW airport before Idaho Falls

 

After getting to airport at 5a.m. I was haunted by the fact that my flights were cancelled. See what I did not say previously is that I delayed my trip by one day to Idaho so I can hang more and see Austin, TX. By way of @Travelocity I called in on Sunday and asked to change the flight by one day and leave at the same time. I called into Travelocity and they arranged the change which would cost $200. Totally fine I thought it was all done.

 

Which brings me to this very morning where I show up at 5am. plenty of time and well tired from this trip. I join an already full line trying to get on the early morning flights. I had no idea what was coming as you see I did not check and I trusted all was handled. I mean you pay $1200 which is deal for this kind of trip but you spend the money and you expect it to be all taken care of. 

 

I arrive and swipe my card and confirmation code to get my flight info. “ There is no record for a flight for Robert Karns. “ Hmm that is odd “ I say to myself in a almost half asleep droll. Maybe i should try again, and again, and just for good measure I switch machines in an already jammed packed panicked check in line. “ This isn’t happening. the clock keeps getting closer to 5:30am boarding time. “ Come on stupid robot machine! ” Swipe, Swipe, Tap, Tap. "What the hell! " I try to wave down an already working hard United worker. John it turns out is busting his ass already trying to help pretty much everyone. People are swarmed like bees on a hive. I tell him my ordeal and he tells me “ Well there is something that got cancelled and not rebooked on the Travelocity side of things. I should call them.” So, my mind and body go from adrenaline catch the fight mode to well let;s sit on my ass. pile my bags and camera equipment and sit on the floor as the chaotic ridden Departure area goes from hundreds to 10 people. The sound and  visual clutter of passengers are like they never happened and there I am alone making this call to the people who put me in this spot.

 

Ring, ring “ How can I help you? ” As I explain the situation the lady on the other end of the line does her best to accommodate me and gets me on a new flight but with Delta and as I say thanks for helping me she says on the other side of the phone in her nice and neat office with phone mic attached to her face most likely. “ Ok sir that will be $852 to make this change. “ I am in shock. As I try to tell her this is not my fault that someone on her side at #travelocity Did not rebook the flight as they said they did and took my credit card # how does this get to where I owe $853 dollars more as I already paid $1200 plus another $200 to rebooked. I am sit and wonder on my iPhone slightly annoyed and way more tired the I need to be. As nice as I am I feel wrong and obviously trapped as this trip I planned starts to slip away. I ponder and think this is not happening to me” Let me  talk to your supervisor” As I was well trained and observed my mother do many times as a kid. she got it done. I learned to not take it. “ Hello this is Steve how can help you?” Now I hope you see the operative work “ help.” one of the great action words in customers service. “ Hi Stever there seems to be a problem as /i do not have $852 to change a flight as I already agreed to pay a $200 fee to change my flight on sunday. Now it being Tuesday. I need to be in Idaho on my last leg of the trip. I already paid for the trip and don’t think that I should have to pay all over again and close to what i/ paid already. “ Ok sir let;s see what we can do” In a sort of half assed way he starts to feel scripted and I just went through this with the first lady. Lots “ help, sorry sirs” really felt robotic. “ Well sir we found you a flight leaving DFW at 5pm on United and it will cost you $800 to book it” he says in a dry voice. “ I cannot pay that and already paid for the whole trip” I already paid $200 to fix this” I say with a higher more shaky voice. the anxiety starts in and I feel abandoned “ I called …..  as I explain all over again.  “ Well sir I don’t see any record of you calling and changing flight.” Excuse me how is this customer service?” Now I’m called a liar after this and that stings more. He tells me “ Sir how do I know you aren’t lying to me.” “ I called and have the phone records to back it up I will send you and email and this will tell you i called.” Well it is a stand off. i say “ well I am on this travel trip to blog ands take photos of my experiences and this will be on there.” I plead with slight anger. “ Do what you have to do sir I can’t help you.” Stunned shaky and lost I catch John from @united coming over checking out his area. “ Excuse me” I catch is attention. My bags pile high and looking like a crazy person. I tell Steve from Travelocity to hold on and I speak for him to hear. “ travelocrty wants to charge me another $852 to fix my flight. “ “ Let’s see what we can do” john says with a smile. I barely speak into the phone at Steve from @travelocity “ Later,” I click off the iPhone.

 

Not even 10 minuted go by I restrain my tired shaky body and breath, relaxing from someone calling me liar and telling me they can’t help me. Feeling stuck and stranded and felt like I was not king to finish me trip to “  Mr. Karns we got you rebooked and tickets reinstated.” John with a glassed trim build and with a smile. not knowing what he just did. Saved me day. I went from stress to happy in half a millisecond. “ You mind if I take a photo of you for my blog , he questionably says “ ok”, and I take 2 one of him fixing my situation to the happy go lucky guy who turned out to change the course of my trip. I walk talk to a few other staff who overheard my ordeal tel what I am doing and they are jazzed by it. I am recharged and ready. I have to sit in the airport til 5pm it is now 7am. How in the hell am I going to do this. Blog, massage and eat. that’s how. i take total advantage of my time at United Terminal and ready to post some customer service missteps on twitter. I exercise my social media right and it works. Social media helps get notice. Travelocity responds and so does United. I post john’s photo and they tell me his supervisor will be notified. I feel like something just happened. I stepped into a situation and it altered all that I know. I have to tell other about the power of #socialmedia.

I seek out a massage as i think this will gather me some much needed peace. I have been going from house to house and luckily staying for free with friend and family, But it does take toll on me. Not to mention the stress I just experienced I find @xpresspa and book a 1 hour massage. but not til 10am. I walk around with my camera bag heavy as it is and find #smoothieking to grab a bit of food before I undergo a much needed beating in my massage. Ariel tells me that I really need to keep up the massage cause I could really use it. After telling her where i have been. She says in a funny voice " Yeah you for sure really need it/" we both laugh. I am starving at this point and look for something remotely at Cantina Loredo in the DFW airport. I order the Mahi Mahi and the guacamole. All turn out pretty bad. the staff were very nice and accommodating. But the food did not fill that void. I ended up heading back to the United Club and spending the rest of the day writing and seeing Brazil get slaughtered by Germany in the World Cup semifinal match. Pretty terrible. As my flight took off I finally for to rest and pass out and nap some more. That flight to Idaho is where I met a German Gentleman and his merry friends headed to Idaho for business. He was telling me how fun it was to hear the  World Cup match on his last flight. I want to say his name was Henrik but he was about 6 foot something and around 60 something years old. small mustache and perfectly combed hair. Quite jolly fellow and easy to talk too. As we arrive I am please how soft orange the sky is i had to snap an instagram photo of it. Sunset approaches and I am greeted by the warm weather of Idaho Falls.