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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

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

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