Dede’s Perspective

Hi to all!  Jim has invited me to be a Guest Blogger this week for the Ridgeline Tour and I’m very happy to be here.  I will do my best to write up to Jim’s high standards and expectations.

My name is Dede Gruenberg; Lori’s (just slightly) older sister and Jim’s sister in law.  My husband Wes and I moved to the Boise area in 2015 to be closer to our grandbabies (four girls ages three months to seven years).

Dede Arya

This year marked our third annual #LaFamiglia Reunion complete with patriotic commemorative tee shirts.  The idea of an annual family reunion was birthed by Jack Dickens (Jim and Lori’s oldest son), when we moved to Idaho.   As our families have grown and spread out over the years, it has become more challenging to be all together in one place over the holidays so this summertime gathering has been a wonderful compromise.

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This leg of the Ridgeline Tour found our adventuresome travelers Jim and Lori departing at the crack of dawn and heading west from Naperville on Thursday, June 28th. Despite some annoying road construction and a nasty microburst in Iowa; 15 hours later, Lori and Jim arrived safely in the Denver area.  They were met there by sons Jack and Chris who flew in from San Francisco, daughter Emily from Cleveland and Auntie Susie (middle sister) from Chicago.  Susie spent the week celebrating her big ‘six – oh’ my gosh how did this happen?  Friday night they went to Red Rock to see the folk musical group The Avett Brothers.  As you can see that the venue is gorgeous and apparently provides the opportunity for some hiking in order to get to one’s seat. I understand there was quite a bit of curiously smelling low hanging ‘fog’ at the concert that seemingly was emanating from the patrons; as this is Colorado where ‘fog’ is legal.

Saturday morning, Jim, Jack, Chris and Emily departed in the Ridgeline to begin their two-day drive to Boise complete with stops for hiking and overnight tent camping.Apparently, by the time they arrived at their chosen campground it was completely full. However, somehow, they were able to share a spot with a lady who was sleeping in her car with her dog.  Everything worked out fine**Editorial comment: Everything worked out as fine as it can, considering they were sleeping in tents and not an RV with running water, flushing toilets and A/C. In this blogger’s opinion, ’Glamping’ is always the bestway to rough it


The Ridgeline Tour arrived in Boise on Sunday at roughly the same time as Susie and Lori who decided flying from Denver was a better option.  Jim was able to rent a VRBO that was only a mile from our house.  Ideally, we all like to be under the same roof but this worked out fine too.   We gathered for an evening meal together and celebrated June birthdays with laughter, presents, pie and ice cream.

Monday the ladies enjoyed mani/pedis and lunch together while Jim and his boys muscled my son’s smoker into the back of the Ridgeline and hauled it to the rental home.  Then they hung out together at a sports bar to enjoy World Cup soccer.

The weather this week was gorgeous in Boise; warm dry days and cool evenings were ideal for pool time, hikes, ice cream, mini golf, fun, food and laughter.



The 4thof July was the last night for many in our group who were heading home the next morning. So, we celebrated the holiday and Susie’s 60thwith beer, bags and brisket which was smoked and tended for 18 hours by Chris and Jack. And of course, no 4thwould be complete without watching fireworks.  We were invited to my daughter in law’s parents home to watch the local festivities from their back deck. They have a beautiful home that sits on a ridge that overlooks the entire Treasure Valley



It’s a most interesting thing.  Summer is wild fire season in the west and Idaho is no exception. Yet, fireworks are sold from tents at most major intersections.  Apparently when purchasing them, you must sign a paper that says you agree not to launch them in Ada county where they are sold. From Dave and Linda’s deck not only were we able to view firework displays from public venues like the Meridian Speedway and local businesses, but also displays from people’s backyards.  There were literally too many to count, most rivalling the public displays.   It was really beautiful and also a little frightening to think that this much explosive power was in the hands of people who likely are not pyrotechnically trained and may have been drinking too much beer.

The day after the 4thbrought early morning departures for the Dickens boys as well as my daughters and son in law.  Jim and my son Wesley enjoyed a restorative sleep of about four hours and drove to Oregon to fish the Owyhee River where Wesley caught a 22-inch bass; his personal best.  The air temperature in the canyon was over 100 degrees however the frigid waters of the Owyhee kept them cool, even through their waders.

Thursday evening was spent, once again eating, drinking and enjoying one another’s company at a local Italian eatery.

Friday the 6thmarked the official end of this leg of the Ridgeline Tour as Jim picked up a friend at the Boise airport and they headed to the east side of the state and points beyond to pick up the adventure again.  My sisters and niece Emily flew home to Chicago and Cleveland, respectively and personally, I am missing everyone more than words can say; it was an amazing week that passed all too quickly.

There’s nothing better than family, food and fun and we are blessed to be rich in all three.  Thanks for tuning in to this week’s installment of Jim’s blog!  Stay tuned for the further adventures of the Ridgeline Tour.

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