I can honestly say this was one of the longest days of my life. There is a lot to tell you, but first a little back story.
Allen and I were flipping through Pilot Getaways magazine when he stopped and pointed out an article on Greene Valley Retreat. He went on and on about it. Of course I think it's a place you only read about in a magazine, not some place you actually go. When he said it was in Idaho and that he really wanted to go, something overcame me and I took the magazine from him and ripped the pages out to put in our "places we want to go" file. At that point I started to get excited because now I was planning on going to this picturesque "Greene Valley Retreat." I really believed it was within our grasp.
The Pilot Getwaways magazine article that inspired the trip.It wasn't until the night before we left that we finally knew for sure we were going. Talk about doing things "On The Fly!" The Oborne family was generous enough to let us come up as they were ending their family reunion. What a beautiful family, and talk about hospitality! More on that in a minute. Before we took off Allen had entered our trip on the iPad into AOPA's flyQ program that we had just received. Allen liked all the bells and whistles and I liked that we showed up on the moving map as a cute little airplane. To show another difference between the two of us, I was in awe over the way the sunbeams were skipping across the tips of the Wasatch mountain range casting light and shadows on only choice parts of the valley below. A lot like a rock being skipped on a smooth lake. Allen on the other hand was concerned about doing his job a a pilot (as he should have been) and making calls to the tower. I understand that is important too, I guess.
There is so much I could tell about the view from the flight to Greene Valley. Okay, two things. One has nothing to do with the view but as we were getting out our snacks, bagels and cream cheese, I noticed that the cream cheese was Original – Salmon! Who in their right mind would make or buy salmon flavored cream cheese? YUCK! I was in such a rush the night before I didn't notice the little fishy on the label. The second thing is we saw a crop duster in action. Allen's flight instructor was a crop duster and he would come home with some really interesting stories, but seeing one in action was mesmerizing. It reminded me of the movie Secondhand Lions.
We finally arrived at Greene Valley Retreat. Upon approach I often feel like I'm having an out of body experience. Mainly because I'm thinking, I shouldn't be able to make it out of this alive or This is the best last thing I'll ever see! Hmmm, I don't know if I should tell Allen that. He is a good pilot and I trust his flying, it's just the beauty of it all. I guess you have to experience it to know what I'm talking about. I wish I could just display the picture I'm imagining right now. Once we landed, all that was previously just a visual was now tangible. As we tied down the plane, Chuck was literally frolicking in the flowing green field that stretched as far as the eye can see. All of his senses were engaged. When Clark Oborne came to welcome us, I couldn't help but hug the man. When we say Greene Valley Retreat is like a slice of heaven, we aren't kidding!
After we got over to the main lodge, Clark gave us a little history about the place. It originally belonged to the Coors family (yes, that Coors) and Clark's in-laws bought it in the 1950's. We unpacked and got an amazing tour of as much as we could see of the 500 acres of Green Valley Retreat in a few hours. There was golfing, tennis, basket ball, volleyball, two private lakes that you can swim, canoe, paddle boat or fish in – the list goes on and on. The larger private lake is where we learned that Chuck could swim. YES, dogs normally know how to swim, but he has never been put in that situation until now. There was also a stream that he enjoyed walking in that was lined with wild flowers. In the front lawn was a huge tree that was about a billion years old that had a couple hammock swings from the lower branches, and the wind was just blowing just right for a relaxing swing. I could have fallen asleep. Oh, I didn't even mention the natural hot spring fed pool and hot tub. The hot tub is kept around 104°, and the pool between 90-95° depending on the season. We also played a little shuffle board and, I have to admit, I like it. It feels like air hockey with elegance. I could have played for a bit longer to master my skills. We had a close game but Allen barely won. Then we decided to drive into town, Atlanta. Named after Georgia capitol because of the people who moved here from it's namesake to avoid being drafted during the Civil war. That's a true story, by the way.
On the way there, Clark wanted to stop by his friend's place to see if he was around. Moe was around, and his place is an active gold mine! Before you know it, Allen and I were panning for gold, and it was only minutes before we found some! I loved learning from Moe about the science and geology behind mining. There is a lot of knowledge behind what he does. I finally dragged Allen away from the mine, and we headed into Atlanta. Clark pointed out where the best pie maker lives and who does what in the town. We walked to the cemetery and to the old city jail. Atlanta has heritage, and it was great to see the pictures and read the records and walk the streets and touch the wooden head stones in the cemetery. What a great place to spend an afternoon! Unfortunately, none of that footage made it into the episode. There was just too much at the ranch to stuff into a half hour show.
Once back to Greene Valley Retreat it was time for some target practice. We were all shooting at targets and pine cones place on top of cut logs, and I know at times we hit the pine cones and other times we hit the log and shook the pine cones off. Allen had to prove he was a good shot, so he found a stick and stuck it in the ground vertically, then put a pine cone dangling on the end. He shot it off with the first shot! Allen's father, Stan, was also with us as the camera guy, and he gets to play, too. Allen wasn't going to let him off easy, so he put a pine cone back on the end of the stick to see what the old man had. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree! Allen's father was able to take the pine cone down clean.Stan Macbean dispatching pine cones. The author enjoying a round of pistol practice amidst the solitude of the retreat.
It was time for dinner, and we ate outside on the veranda with Clark and Carolyn Oborne. I can't forget their dog, Cozy, who was a great friend to Chuck. They played together for hours, roaming all over the ranch, but always near enough to come when we called. After dinner at about 10:00pm we headed out to the inviting pool and hot tub where we enjoyed each others company and watched the stars come out. The pool can be enjoyed year round,but if you don't like to swim, there are a couple of fire places inside that we also took the opportunity to snuggle up next to. I know it's not fair to talk about food, but Clark gave us the most amazing fudge! I wasn't really hungry, so I wasn't going to have any, but I decided to try some because I really like fudge. Once I bit into it, I was back in heaven. And then Carolyn brought out some of her home made ice cream. The only way this trip could have been any better was if we could have stayed for a few more days, but we had to go in the morning. I was sad to leave, but I can't wait to go back! I'm not trying to over sell it, I had a GREAT time and it really is that great a place.Check it out for yourself – visit the Greene Valley Retreat website for reservations.
As always, for every scene in each episode there's a good number of outtakes. We're adventurers, not actors! Enjoy this collection of them, and hopefully the reel will get shorter with every episode as we hone our game show host faces.
Full photo collection