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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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Wine, Women, and Smoke

Yep, that’s right, another camping vacation in the books and it was another fun one of course! This one took us to the wine country of Eastern Washington and into the foothills of the Blue Mountains of Northeast Oregon. Four couples and four trailers involved, us, Rich and Pam, Bob and Patty, and Rob and Ursie, otherwise known as “The Gang of Six”! The ride over was a white knuckled extravaganza due to high winds blowing and reduced visibility to to blowing dust and smokey skies. It was also a boys(Cordell and I) solo journey without Debbie. See got her calendars crossed and signed up for a half marathon in Vancouver, BC during the same weekend as the beginning of the vacation. It was all good and we arranged it so she could still go up, by herself, do the run and then fly into Walla Walla the second night and join in the vacation fun! So after the trailer blowing from side to side most of the way into Walla Walla, the boy and I made it to the first stop RV Resort Four Seasons safe and sound.

Now there is Bob McEvoy, one of the unluckiest and in the same note, luckiest guys we know! As I arrived and started backing in, there he stood blood all over his hands, arms, dripping down his clothes with his permanent grin plastered on his face. He looked like a scene from a horror movie. Seems their camping cat they rescued some time ago and may still be a bit feral, escaped from the truck when they pulled in. Afraid the cat might just take off for good, he and Patty made a mad rush after it. When Bob got his hands on the crazed feline, it went catnip crazy on his extremities. The result was a bloodied Bob but a captured cat! These injuries hampered him throughout the trip, requiring a trip to an urgent care then surgery back home as sever infection set it! It could only happen to him.

The second night, Debbie flew in from Vancouver, BC at the large international air hub that is Walla Walla Regional Airport and the following two days we spent indulging in the region’s many many wineries. Wine tasting all day, four women, many bottles purchased, well you might take an educated guess how the nights went. We found Walla Walla to be way more interesting than imagined. I don’t recall ever actually being in downtown Walla Walla although have driven by and near it many times. The downtown core is bustling with many cool shops, restaurants and many tasting rooms. One restaurant we stopped for lunch was the Red Monkey, a funky little place with some really good food, and you can see the tasting tour list we did at the end of the post. It was a very nice town, but would we live there…….naw!

The next half of the trip was just over the border into Oregon, taking a road from Milton-Freewater into a canyon along the south fork of the Walla Walla River to a campground called Harris Park. It was a nice clean place and we had it all to ourselves for the first two nights. They had a group camp section and that’s where we all gathered.

Camp Crazy!

Camp Crazy!

We really wanted to do some hiking and that we did. The only problem there was really only two good trails and one was closed due to the large number of rattlesnakes infesting the hillside around the trail. Debbie does NOT do snakes………of any kind! We ended up doing two days of hiking the same hike. That is kind of boring but on the second day we went a bit further and stumbled on a very cool cluster of cabins at the end of the trail. It probably could only be accessed on the other side of the range by ATVs or four wheelers. The place looked like an old homestead, but was being visited and kept up. We let our imaginations run wild. Our campground was totally off the grid, no cell or phone service was to be had. We actually had to look at and talk to each other the whole time we were there….imagine that! The closest town was Milton-Freewater about 12 miles back the way we came in. We had to go there to get ice and also had to hit their only laundromat to do some washing because our boy Cordell decided to blow bits into the bed one early morning. We have only one set of bedding in the trailer(make note to buy another). Now unlike Walla Walla, the town isn’t so….well…..bustling! It is actually kind of depressing, but one weird thing, there are statues of frogs all over town and Debbie was fascinated with them.

Debbie and the Frog!

Debbie and the Frog!

There are over 40 of them placed throughout the town and do you know why? Well you can read why here! The one gem we did discover was the El Sirloin Mexican Restaurant. They had a mexican food lunch buffet and it was very authentic and excellent. Do not pass it up if you ever find yourself in town. The only downside to the whole trip was the constant haze and smoke in the air. As you might have heard, Washington State has had one of it’s hottest and driest summers on record. That has not bode well for Eastern Washington and it’s fire season. It has been horrible with hundreds of thousands of acres burned and many homes lost! We were surrounded by fires while there and the hazy skies and the smell of smoke reminded us daily. As we slide into Fall please help us with your prayers for rain, we need it! There you have it, our fun vacation filled with wine, women, and smoke! I should add blood to the list! Happy trails until we write again!

WINERY TOUR LIST!

Woodward Canyon Winery
Lodmell Cellars
Three Rivers Winery
L’ Ecole No. 41
Sleight of Hands Cellars
Otis Kenyon
Cougar Crest Winery
Henry Earl Estates

Our New Trailer

Well after four years in our little 19 foot Salem Trailer, it was time to upgrade! It worked very well as an entry-level trailer and we had no problems with it. It just became too small for us and was time to trade it in. A few weeks back, we went to the Tacoma RV Show and looked around to find out what we liked and didn’t like! This next trailer was just going to be an interim one to keep for 5 years or so until Debbie possibly retires. Then at that point we would decide what and where to go from there. We decided to just look at mid level quality trailers then that were inexpensive but NOT cheap! That changed our plans when we went down to the Valley RV Supercenter to have a look at the Jayco trailers and stumbled on this one! It was a little more luxurious and higher priced than what we originally intended, but we fell in love with it. They gave us a great deal on it and paid us generously for our Salem and the deal was inked!!! So now, we are the proud owners of a 2015 30′ Jayco Eagle Trailer and the next chapter of camping trips begin! We will bid a fond farewell to our Salem which did us good for many years and hopefully, it will be enjoyed by some new campers in the near future!

Road Trip 2011

Well it was time for our annual visit to Best Friends Animal Society and this year we decided to try something different and drive down there. After all, we have a great truck, a very nice trailer and plenty of time. Since we planned on taking Cordell, we figured he would be much more comfortable in his little travel bed in the back seat. So we loaded up and headed down the highway for the start of a great trip. We left Patience the cat at home but in good hand of our pet sitter Jenny. Some people ask, why don’t you take the cat with you? Uh yeah, have you ever known a cat that could car travel well? I haven’t seen that many. She is perfectly fine at home, but I am sure she gets a bit lonely since she is a very social little feline. Jenny gives her a lot of attention when she comes for a visit!

Our first stop was Boise, Idaho. We stayed at a the Boise – Meridian KOA. It was ok for just a one night stay. We planned on stopping in Boise so we could visit our niece Jennifer and her fiance Austin. Austin got a great job offer down in Dallas and they would soon be moving, so it was great to get a chance to see them before they left. Talk about good timing! Next we headed down into Utah and the Salt Lake City area. We both have been in Salt Lake before, but never actually looked around much. We stayed in Draper which is south of Salt Lake City so we wouldn’t have to deal with morning rush hour traffic on the day we left. We stayed at the Mountain Shadows RV Resort. A very nice place but very close to the interstate. We drove out to the Great Salt Lake and let Cordell romp around. The thing is huge. You forget that is a lake after looking at it awhile. We also drove to downtown and visited Temple Square, world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Mormons. We learned quite a bit of the history of the Mormons of which I was always very confused about. Now I have a clearer understanding of the religion, if that’s what it is, but don’t plan on converting any time soon.

The next leg of the journey took us to Kanab, home of Best Friends and had our only glitch of the trip. While stopping at a very large Flying J Truck Stop, one of the guys working there passed by and noticed one of our trailer tires looking very worn and unsafe and offered to put the spare on just in case. After talking with the guys in the tire shop, we ended up buying four new tires, much better ones that were on it. I don’t feel we got railroaded into anything because the tires that came on the trailer were just cheap pieces of crap. It was much better to be cautious and get some good rubber for the rest of the road. It was very nice to be back in Kanab again. The place is beautiful and seems to be timeless. It was our first time needing a place to put the trailer and options were limited. Luckily we got a spot at the Hitch N Post and it suited our needs just fine. Back at Best Friends, the return was bittersweet. We first worked with Pigs in Piggy Paradise and just a week before, our best friend there Brandi Bandi passed away. It just wasn’t the same and even the pigs seem to feel the loss. She was a very special person who loved her piggies and gave so much to them. She was taken way too soon and will be missed very much. We also worked in dogs and took Cordell with us to his old run. You can read all about that in the previous post! While we were there we got to go to the September Blessing at Angel’s rest. It was very heart warming and emotional. See video of part of the blessing here!

We then departed on the longest leg of the journey of the trip. We drove 12 hours to South Lake Tahoe. This took us through a big part of Nevada which we had never seen before. We drove on the Extraterrestrial Highway for a long time and no, didn’t see any UFO’s. It is a pretty bleak state until you get in the northern part. It was also quite an event filled leg of the trip, experiencing wind, thunder and lightning, and a fire near the road which luckily we got through. But we made it. By coincidence, a couple that Debbie has known for many years was also on a road trip of their own and met us in Tahoe. They stayed at the same campground we did just a few spots away. They were good people. I also got a chance to see my half brothers and sister which I hadn’t seen in almost twenty years. They brought their wives and kids and we had an impromptu family reunion and had a great visit and rekindled family ties. There was a Oktoberfest celebration that was going on and we checked it out too.

We left after two days there and started on the final leg home which brought us back through Oregon and then into Washington and they grey skies and rain that were mostly absent the whole trip. It was good to be home and in our own bed once again. Cordell was great the whole trip and had a great time himself. He loves to travel and travels very well. Patience was very vocal on our arrival and was obviously glad to see us. I have uploaded photos in our Flikr photo page so go check them out when you get a chance. Now it is time to get back to the reality of life, work, bills,etc! until next time!!

ROAD TRIP STATS
ELEVEN DAYS
SEVEN STATES
2911 MILES

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