Physicist, Oceanographer, Aerospace Technologist, Rancher, Land Developer and Lecturer
State of Idaho with the Snake River Basin shown at the bottom with mountains throughout most of the rest of the State. Over 70% of the State is owned by the Federal Government - Nat'l Parks, BLM Lands, etc.
My fantastic years in the aerospace industry and working for the government had been very successful for me. But all during these years I had a dream about doing something outside the bounds of working in an office. The four years I had spent now at the NCI had caught up with me and my days of working in those environments were coming to an end. I decided that if I could find the right place and the right conditions, I would just quit what I was doing and move somewhere to get out of the office environment and government work that had held me for so long! I didn't know what I would do or where I would live, but I was on a mission to get out of the office environment.
While at the National Cancer Institute, I had a contractor team (JRB Associates) working for me who's lead supervisor, Jim Russell, was the relative of the famous Western painter Charles Russell. Jim had become a close personal friend. Jim was born and raised in Idaho and talked all the time about how great that State was. I had been there several times when we were in the process of supporting St. Luke's Hospital in Boise with the setting up of their Mountain States Tumor Institute, which was going to be one of our major centers in the Northwest. Jim was aware of my interest in moving West, and invited me to stop with him the next time we were taking a trip from Bethesda to Seattle to the new cancer center that the NCI was supporting there at the University of Washington, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, and he suggested that together we could visit with his mother in Sandpoint, Idaho, which he said was the last best place in the world. He felt that from what I had said, Idaho was perfect for me. He knew that I already thought Boise was a fabulous place to live.
When the time came, we stopped in Spokane, WA, picked up a rental car and drove a few hours north to Sandpoint, where Jim had grown up and where his mother lived. She made a dinner our first night there from elk meat that her other sons, Jim's brothers, had given her that had been obtained on a hunting trip in the nearby mountains. She served it smothered in gravy and onions and won my heart. They say that one way to a man's heart is through his stomach - it was true that day!
Click on the following photos for an expanded view
Charles Russell - Bear Encounter in the Idaho Mountains
Charles Russell - Planning the Attack
Charles Russell - Trailmaster
I saw a little bit of that part of the beautiful State of Idaho in the next few days, and met a lot of wonderful people, and fell further in love with the State. From that day onward, I was caught up in the quest to find a place where I could buy property and settle in Idaho. Of course I had to rid myself of the job at the National Cancer Institute, and close out the rest of my personal life in Virginia where I had lived for almost seven years. I proceeded to do that! And I knew what I wanted to do, but didn't know for sure that I could pull it off!
When I returned to my job at the NCI and my home in the Washington DC area, I began laying out a plan for making a move to Idaho. It didn't take me long to realize that I had to have an income while I was trying to decide what I was going to be doing in my future days in my new choice of a home in the State of Idaho. I had raised Black Angus cattle during the six years in Houston working at NASA, living on a 66 acre piece of land where I pastured my small herd. I had thoroughly enjoyed it and had done quite well at it.
I had received a lot of coaching from a retired Texas Ranger, Bobby Magehee, who had not only sold me the six cows and the young bull that I had started my herd with, and that I was going to use to breed my cows. Along with the purchase came about five years of tremendous support and an education on how to be successful in raising cattle. Every chance I got I spent with Bobby learning about cows and ranching. He even took me to auctions to get a feel for buying and selling cows. And while we were at these auctions he showed me how the Texas Rangers checked the brands on cows to see whether or not they were stolen. People who knew what I was doing at NASA were totally overwhelmed by what I was able to do on my little ranch. I had grown my herd from the six mother cows I had gotten from Mr. Magehee to a small herd of 15 mother cows. I sold the bull calves when the cows produced them, mostly to people I worked with at NASA who wanted the well fed beef, and I kept the heifers. I then bred these heifers later on and out of them came more calves. So my herd grew! And I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Click on the images below to expand
THe State of Idaho located in the Pacific Northwest convenient to get to Denver, La Jolla, Ca the headquarters of SAIC and JRB, and an easy drive to Denver where I was to play a key role in the setting up of the new cancer center
I couldn't wait to get into the mountains and ski. A short drive from Idaho Falls, one of the best ski locations in the world, Jackson Hole. Then in Idaho, Grand Targhee and Kelly Canyon. WOW!
For several weeks before leaving my beautiful home in the suburbs of Washington DC, I was on the telephone with various realtors throughout the State of Idaho to get a picture of where it might be best to start my search for a suitable piece of property that met all of the criteria that I had for such a piece. I settled on Idaho Falls as the ideal place to locate because it gave me good access for driving back and forth to Denver, Colorado where I would be working on a part-time basis for SAI/JRB, helping to develop the new cancer center at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver (see photos below).
I became friends with a realtor that had been a quarterback for Utah State football team, and he and I began a good dialogue on where I could find the kind of property I was looking for. He also lined me up for two or three places to live in Idaho Falls that I could use as my quarters until I found a place to live permanently on a piece of land that I would purchase. (I have to admit here that skiing had become a very important part of my life, and while employed at the NCI, every trip I made to Europe to an office we maintained in Geneva,Switzerland, I never failed to take my skis with me and at every opportunity to ski the beautiful Alps mountains) and Idaho Falls was adjacent to some of the best ski places in all of the United States. These were the resorts I was looking forward to skiiing: Alta and Jackson Hole Wyoming, Kelly Canyon, Grand Targhee and Sun Valley Idaho. WOW!
The Snake River which is the heartbeat of Idaho begins up in the Teton Mountain Range in Western Wyoming
I chose to start out in Idaho living in Idaho Falls at the eastern-most edge of the State, almost into the Teton Mountains of Wyoming. The city had several things going for it. First, there was a small team of Physicists from Science Applications, Inc. (SAIC) liviing and working in Idaho Falls. These people were under contract to the Navy to work at the Nuclear Testing and Training Facility at Arco, Idaho, a short drive from Idaho Falls. I would not be interfering in anything they were doing. If I went to work for Dr. Beyster the President of SAIC and JRB Associates, he and I had already talked about where he would approve me living. Idaho Falls suited his instructions to me; I had to be able to live where I could drop what I was doing and go wherever in the world he wanted me to go to solve a technical or management problems for either of these companies since I would be working directly for him and he could send me anywhere. He didn't even care about me having to account for my time.
So that's what I did. I bought a small home in Idaho Falls, settled into a small desk in the SAIC office in town and began my search for an ultimate ranch property I was looking to buy. In addition, I would be working as the leader of the JRB Associates team in Denver to set up the Regional Cancer Center there. I could drive back and forth to Denver and fly from the Idaho Falls airport anywhere in the world I was needed.
U of Colorado Medical School, Denver, where the new cancer center was to be co-located.
U Colorado Med School with Denver in the background