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Lather…….rinse……repeat

Back To McCall

Every year we pick a place and go camping for a week with our great friends the Kelly’s! This year we went back to McCall, Idaho once again. We just can’t tear ourselves away from this place. Like ping pong, racquet, tennis, pickle balls we bounce back and forth to our favorite destination! This year since we started from the Olympic Peninsula, we decided to just drive to Cle Elum for the first night to keep from making the 10 plus hour trip in one day! This was in the middle of some of the worse fires in WA, OR, and CA history. The whole drive all the way to McCall was enveloped in smoke. As we crossed the Columbia River on I90, you couldn’t even see the river from the bridge. It was even smokey in our rigs while driving! It was a horrible drive, and the smoke stayed with us while in McCall almost the whole time we were there!

We arrived at our camping destination for the second at the McCall RV Resort. We love staying here, this is the nicest RV park we have ever stayed at! It is gorgeous, clean, good wifi, and the staff were very helpful with anything we needed. Another wonderfully awesome amenity was the indoor pool and hot tub which we used almost nightly after a really hard day of fun! We met some very cool people while soaking, the majority from California. Most of them were conservative Republicans escaping the crush of years of Democratic control. Some were moving to Idaho permanently. Only one couple who didn’t fit that bill were hearing our patriotic, American conversations and the wife leaned over to her husband and whispered, “Conservatives”. They were basically ignored. The lodge itself was grand and beautiful with a reading room area, fireplace, hot coffee available all day and free popcorn. There was a laundry facility with more than enough washers and dryers to handle any amount we generated.



Now before continuing, I will not be writing gobs of words here in this post that are just duplications of our last trip here with the Kelly’s. You can read about our first trip here and get the gist of the area and stuff. You can also access the trip’s photo gallery here, where all of the photos reside. Go have a look see! Yeah, I may be retired now and have plenty of time to write these blog posts, but I am getting lazy and many things have been said before so………..


Even though we had all been here before, we managed to fill our days with fun in the smokey sun. We biked all over town and out to Ponderosa State Park. This wonderful park sits right at the north edge of town and is gorgeous. It also has tent and RV camping which we had never investigated. Although we love staying where we always do, this is a fantastic alternative if we want to change things up on a future visit.

Another day we rented kayaks and paddled Payette Lake. We have toured the whole lake via car, but cruising around on a kayak gives you a whole different view of the shoreline. Some of the houses are amazing and as we checked later, prohibitively expensive! It seems as though the McCall area has been discovered as has the rest of Idaho! Residents of Washington, Oregon, and California are flooding the state in droves. Who can blame them as people are finally waking up in blue states and heading for the red ones! Oooops, I am getting political again!


There were a few disappointments during the trip, but it didn’t hamper our fun. One being the smoke, and the other being COVID. Most of the hot springs in the area were closed. Even the iconic Burgdorf Hot Springs was closed. It may have been COVID related, but the official reason was the loss of their long time managers. They are looking for replacements if you are interested in working in a very rustic setting. We, instead took a drive up to Warren! Debbie and I had been there twice on snowmobiles, but had never been up when the road was clear and it was warm. The Kelly’s had never been there either. They thought it was pretty cool too. We stopped in at the Baum Shelter for a quick bite and all of the town regulars were there. Some things just remain the same in this world of constant change. We did a lot of driving around checking out the areas and housing prices, <wink wink>. Here is a list of places we visited during this trip! I tried to put up a full list, but am sure I missed a couple.


Unknown Mountain Man

On another daily adventure we did a 8 mile hike through the Bear Valley Nordic Trail System. It is beautiful and there are many trails you can hike, some can be biked also. We had been there during a winter trip and snow shoed through the area. The views are incredible of Brundage Mountain and the valley west of McCall. One needs to take care of bikes that come screaming at you from blind curves and strange looking mountain men that come yelling out of the forest. The one pictured scared the crap out of us! Another day put us back on the lake, this time in a pontoon boat we rented from Mile High Marina! We spent almost 8 hours cruising, floating, and chillin in every bay, nook and cranny of the lake. We now know every portion of Lake Payette. Each visit we gain add to our knowledge base of McCall and it’s surroundings!


Ready For Some Boating!


Our original plans were to spend one week in McCall and then head up to the Sandpoint area of Idaho and spend our second week there. Due to the fires, smoke, and hazardous air quality up there, we decided to extend our stay in McCall and cancelled our reservations at our second destination. I’ll go ahead and link the second destination, the Blue Lake RV Resort, but we’ll never stay there. They would not refund our deposit even during these unprecedented times using the excuse that the resort is perfectly useable even under the hazardous conditions! It would have been interesting if one of us had a respiratory illness or other problem that would have been unhealthy for that person. Oh well, I suppose money is more important than the health of fellow humans. They’ll not get another dime from us ever!!! The trip was not without some equipment malfunctions. The Kelly’s trailer sprang a leak below the shower basin that Rich had to fix and one of our trailer tires developed a troubling bulge on the way there and we got a replacement while there. When we got back home, we had the other three replaced on the way! We also had a chance to make a stop and visit Alex, Mo, and Wimberley for an overnight. They were thrilled to see us and it was a nice visit. After two weeks, it was good to be home, but it was definitely another fun trip! And yet again, Debbie and I will be returning to McCall at the end of the year. One of these days we will end up moving there…….maybe!


GOOD TIMES WITH GOOD FRIENDS


MORE PICTURES HERE

McCall…….Again

Payette Lake

Yes, here we are again, the third trip to McCall in the last two years. Once again we stayed at the Shore Lodge in a gorgeous lake side suite just like last time. Also like last year, it was during the week of New Years and we did much of the same stuff we did last time. We were able to ski this time which we did two days in a row at Brundage Mountain! We also spent more time at the Old Idaho Penitentiary Rather than bore you with the details of another similar trip, you can refer here to last year’s trip and links, and I will list some highlights and provide more of a pictorial version on this one!


  • We were delayed getting to Boise by around three hours, thanks Delta Airlines.
  • Our rental car broke down and we had to fight with Alamo Rent A Car to get a replacement. We waited until 2am for the new one to arrive.
  • Debbie’s boots were “taken” from the ski resort changing room and never “returned”. Had to spend $200 for a pair of new ones.
  • This time we didn’t go snowshoeing, but instead ski’d two days in a row.
  • One of those days was New Year’s Eve and I was so beat neither of us saw the new decade ring in!
  • Unlike last year, this time we were able to book a massage and spa day at The Cove in the hotel!
  • And yes, we booked a room for next year!!






We Got Soaked

In McCall, Idaho

Every year we pick a place and go camping for a week with our great friends the Kelly’s! This year we picked McCall, Idaho. Many years ago, Debbie and I spent an anniversary nearby, but hardly remember the town and it’s beauty. We hauled our rigs on an almost 8 hour journey to arrive at our camping destination for the week at the McCall RV Resort. First off, I gotta tell ya, this was the nicest RV park we have ever stayed at! It was gorgeous, clean, good wifi, and the staff were very helpful with anything we needed. One instance was when we woke up with frozen hose and water faucet. It had gotten very cold overnight. We just happened to be up at the lodge doing something at the front desk and they asked us how we were faring down in our location with the cold. We were down by the river and that area gets shut down at the end of October. We mentioned or frozen faucet and by the end of the day, we had faucet covers!

River behind our camp!
River behind our camp!

Another wonderfully awesome amenity was the indoor pool and hot tub which we used almost nightly after a really hard day of fun! What a hard life we live! It was clean and the hot tub was very hot! The lodge itself was grand and beautiful with a reading room area, fireplace, hot coffee available all day and free popcorn. We didn’t do any laundry, but had we needed to, there was a laundry facility with more than enough washers and dryers to handle any amount we generated. Maybe I have said too much and any future stays will have to be booked well in advance since I have now open the place to hoards of new campers.

Now on with the vacation. The first day was pretty much shot as the drive over there took most of the day and then came setting up camp. The next day we explored the area driving around Payette Lake which was an adventure in itself since major road work was underway. The lake is a glacial lake and is beautiful. The town of McCall is nestled up against it’s southern shore. Don’t tell anyone, but Idaho is awesome and gorgeous! We then walked about town exploring and making mental notes of what to plan for the days ahead.


The town of McCall itself is very cute and quaint. It’s also nice to not see a bunch of corporate stores everywhere. The local coffee shop isn’t a Starbucks, but a little place called Fogglifter Cafe. The coffee was excellent too!

Another place we dropped into was the Broken Horn Brewery which was conveniently located right near the RV park so driving after a few wasn’t a problem! It was a nice and the beer was good, if you like beer.


There were a few disappointments during the trip, but it didn’t hamper our fun. One day was a bust at every turn. We heard that you take the lift up to the top of the mountain at Brundage Mountain Ski Resort. We headed out hoping to take the lift up and hike around a bit during a beautifully sunny day. Upon arrival we learned we had picked the wrong day and it was closed. Okay then, next stop was looking around for a natural hot spring near Last Chance Campground. The campground was pretty primitive and wasn’t opened at the time. We had to hike around for awhile before we even located the hot spring. It was definitely natural but not as warm as we would have liked.

Last Chance Hot Springs

Well we then decided to head down to Tamarack Resort. As I mentioned, Debbie and visited the area on one of our anniversaries many years ago and we stayed at the lodge at the resort and did some skiing. The resort has had trouble getting investor money to finish the village and sadly it remains exactly as unfinished as it was those many years ago. It was actually kind of creepy looking too. That finished our day of duds, but we still had fun!


Now unfortunately not all days were bright and sunny. We did have one day of rain and some chunky snow(never stuck). We used that day to chill in our RV’s and watch movies, maybe clean up the interiors a bit, just hunkering down and enjoying the RV life. It was also a perfect day for the girls to head to the local CrossFit box at Legends CrossFit. Leave it to Debbie to always know where she can go get her sweat on!

Getting Ready To Work It

Now us guys aren’t that crazy. We instead went into town and sipped some hot spiced wine at a cute little place called Bistro 45 and waited for the girls to show up. We then headed over to another drinking establishment called the Yacht Club and continued our indulgent! That evening we enjoyed a night of trailer games and eating crap and drinking more adult bevies! We know how to make the best of any situation!

Did you know that Idaho has the most usable hot springs in the nation? Now you will see the meaning and reasoning for the title of the post! We were heading to the first of one of them in addition to all of our soaking in the hot tub of the RV park. We drove down to Donnelly and went to the Gold Fork Hot Springs. There they have six natural hot pools of differing temperatures. You could pick your heat and just sit and soak. It was nice and relaxing and we met some really cool people while we were there. We spent half the day there and got our money’s worth. All of us were really starting to fall in love with this area and once again, talk began of maybe moving here. It seems like we always do this when we vacation, but really, the place is breathtaking! Later that evening we took the advice of many and stopped in the Shore Lodge for some adult bevies! This place was just awesome, set right on the lake shore! After a few bevies, Debbie and I made a spontaneous decision right then and there. We have a vacation that we were in the midst of planning at the end of December down to Santa Barbara, CA. We had reservations at the Ritz Carlton and due to the cost, it was only for a partial week. We hadn’t done anything to fill out the rest of the week, or made air flight reservations or anything else for that matter. I walked over to the front desk and inquired about those dates and if they were booked and we are now going back to McCall, spending the week in this glorious hotel, and will be here for New Year’s Eve! We cannot wait! Later that evening we had a great dinner at a cozy restaurant Steamers. It was a great meal with great friends after a great day!


After another attempt at heading up the ski lift back at Brundage and being told that the lifts were now closed until the ski season, we headed for yet another soaking at a different hot springs up at a place called Burgdorf! This place was……..to put it mildly……..rustic! We had been told by everyone we talked to go up there and we were so glad we did. Originally, it was a sacred site of Native Americans who bathed in it’s healing waters, then settled in 1860 by a German miner named Fred Burgdorf. For awhile it became a mining town and then he turned it into a resort and is that to this day. Much of the town is now deserted and only 4 people live there full time. You can rent out one of the few cabins there but be aware, there is no internet, electricity, or running water. I’ll keep my vacation arrangements in my RV thank you very much! It was another great soak and Rich got his yearly bath as you will see below!

One of our final fun times was renting bikes and going on a long ride through some scenic areas around town and beyond. We found a place to rent some very nice bikes. They were Cannondale comfort hybrid bikes and were very nice!! We may just have to buy a couple just like them to replace our old beater bikes! We road down south of town following an old railroad grade and stumbled on a stalled development called River Ranch. It was to be a fancy schmancy high end development that just only had three homes built so far. It was in a beautiful area with nice views of the nearby mountains, but just never took off. it seems like McCall isn’t ready for that kind of high end real estate. We finished off the day with beers at the Salmon Brewery and a final night hanging with our friends. The next day would be the long drive back to reality. It went by way too fast, but as usual, we had a blast! The good news is that Debbie and I will be back in just a few weeks!!! Can’t wait!!!

GOOD TIMES WITH GOOD FRIENDS


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