Tuesday, August 31, 2010

LBRs weigh in

Siegfried was the first to go on record.  There will be more we are sure.  Let the opinions FLY!  Feel free to flame us every which way.

Here's Siegfried's comment:

"Oh, no!!! Not GOLF!!! A BIG waste of time and water, as far as I am concerned!"

Right ON, Dave, I'm with YOU!  Trouble is, I have been hypnotized by Houn Dawg (at right, above) and I cant' stop buying golf equipment.  Yes, I know I need professional help and therapy and intervention and all the rest.

If you can send an Intervention Team, that would be much appreciated!

Here's Maggie's comment:

"I read about your newly acquired golf purchasing addiction and, frankly, I'm not quite sure what to say!  My mouth is agape and my brain synapses are attempting to coagulate into something coherent and sensible.  There will be more forthcoming on this tomorrow.  The good news is you have only spent $40 thus far and the damage is minimal...thus far.  Were you bitten by some type of insect recently?  Drank any unusual water?  Sunspots?  PS - And don't go sleepwalking out to buy anything golf-related."

Here's Goatherder's comment:

The Goatherder is deeply disturbed. This is creepier than your momentary interest in bagpipes. Seek help NOW.

Here's Spudboater's comment:

Okay, Johnny, please add me to the contingent who wants to know what blew up your u-till-a kilt? You aren't Scottish, and golf is for sissies unless you are Scottish and playing at St. Andrews. The only thing golf is good for is riding around drinking gin and tonics in a golf cart while harassing the golfers. With those new $40 worth of clubs I do see a viable alternative--extreme croquet equipment! The clubs I inherited from my mom are missing a couple of irons or some such, since I don't even know what you call each one of those "sticks". I was going to give them away, but felt guilty. Then I realize their true usefulness is in extreme croquet. So get those new to you "sticks" out and use em for that. Yours truly, Marti Spudboater 

Today, I bought leather NIKE golf shoes, a golf cart, a golf bag, a golf scope and even a Three Stooges Golf Poster.  Is there no hope for me?  Have I gone over the edge of no return?  Gawd, I hope not.  I pray that this is a minor episode in our Y2Ten Lives.  Luckily, I am "in" for less than $40 total up to this point.  That's no serious financial damage in anybody's book.  Heck, two gourmet hamburgers, drinks and a tip will set you back at least that much money these days.  Most people we know would be HAPPY to get out of a semi-upscale restaurant for $40.  So what's forty bucks?  Not a whole heck of a lot these days.  Anyway, don't fret too much.  Even though I paid $4 for a Greg Norman polished cotton golf shirt today, I haven't fully succumbed. Even though I bought an unused Nine Bridges Golf Hat,  a golf bag, a cart and a putter cover, NO, I haven't fully succumbed!

Honest, I haven't!

Last Day of August--Let's tee up September

By now everyone 'round these parts realizes summer's long gone.  Fall is picking up steam and it's namesake month starts tomorrow.  Hard to believe the year is officially 66% finished--only four months to Year 2011.
Yesterday Susun and I paused to scratch our collective heads at the blinding speed with which our time here has passed.  We showed up from Arizona on April 30, precisely 4 months ago from yesterday.  If the upcoming four months passes as fast as the previous four months, well, we better be breaking out the New Year's Eve party stuff.  Amazing!

Geeze, I did something really weird yesterday.  It was totally out of character but, luckily, it didn't cost much and I didn't get arrested or ticketed or booed out of town.  Are you ready?  I bought a set of golf clubs!  (Say it ain't so.)  Yes, I really did. I'm sitting here this morning with a golf club hangover.  How could I have stepped out and purchased implements and tools for a game I don't care for and won't play?  It makes absolutely no sense as we have come to know the word "sense."  But there they sit, mute testimony to a brain gone awry yesterday.  I think I need to go through the Thrift Store 12 Step Program.  It's called TSA (Thrift Shoppers Anonymous).

What actually happened?  I was in the Idaho Youth Ranch T-store looking for a carrying bag for our motel coffee maker.  I had never looked at bags in the Youth Ranch so I had to ask directions on how to find them.  As I started walking over towards bags, I passed a big barrel full of golf clubs and my eye somehow caught the reality that there was a matched set of left-handed clubs sitting in the barrel.  You NEVER see used left handed clubs for sale anywhere ever.  I don't know what it is about left handed people but they never get rid of their golf clubs.  Ever.  Well, that caught my eye.  So, I started looking at them and found the 1, 3 and 5 woods and the 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9 irons.  I got to thinking and sometimes that's not a good thing.  So, I called up Houn Dawg.,  He's a golfer and his son is a PGA-certified professional.  I asked Houn Dawg about the clubs and, well, Houn Dawg laid into this real serious sales pitch about how I ought to buy them.  Oh, how he laid it on real thick and slick like.  He was like a television evangelist.  Why, pretty soon, I felt ready to get out of the audience and step forward to the tee and be saved by the healing powers of the Golf Guru.  The more Houn Dawg talked, the more those clubs glowed brighter and soon they became irresistible. Oh, the magic doors they would open--at least if I believed Houn Dawg.  Pretty soon I was hooked and walked in a trance to the checkout counter and paid a whopping $11 total for all the clubs, two bucks each for the woods and a buck a pop for the irons.  I took them over to the Golf Guru and he sprinkled some holy water on them and gave them the solemn nod of approval while noting the 9 iron wasn't quite kosher.  So I dutifully trudged off to Deseret Industries hoping to get lucky and I did, scoring a perfect left handed 9 iron and the missing 8 iron, too!  I came within an eyelash of buying a golf bag but, by then, Houn Dawg's spell was beginning to wear off.

I took the clubs home and and, sure enough, you should have seen Susun's crestfallen face when I showed them to her.  She was NOT all smiles and "atta-boy" about my purchases.  Nope, she was sad.  Well, then I took them out in the backyard and took a few swings.  It didn't take long to realize if I actually attempted to USE those clubs, I would destroy my spine and become an wheelchair bound invalid.  What was I thinking?

Meanwhile, Susun rallied up and suggested I check eBay to see if the clubs were worth anything.  Sure enough, this particular brand and vintage can sometimes sell for as much as $10 a club.  They are old Wilson Sam Snead clubs.  Snead started playing in 1937 back when my Mom would have been 13 years old.  Yeah, so you know these clubs are pretty old, I'm guessing maybe late 1950's or early 1960's.

Here's a little known factiod about my past life--I was actually on my high school's golf team for awhile.  Back in the first half of the 1960's I was an avid golfer and played every chance I could get.  The hippie daze of the latter half of the 1960's brought a permanent end to that phase of my life and golf totally disappeared from my radar.  When I moved to the Sonoran Desert, I simply could see no reason whatsoever for the existence of water-sucking golf courses.  I've often blamed golf courses for the demise of Arizona's rivers and for the excesses of her ridiculous state of overpopulation.  Who knows what happened to me yesterday?  I guess I drank the kool-aide.

Well, Thanks, Houn Dawg, you sure created a real conundrum commotion.  So when do you wanna go hit a bucket of balls, buddy?

Cheers, jp

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ain't this great?

Hey, it's 56 degrees here as I write this. Today's official high was 65 around 3-5 pm.  How good is that?  WAY GOOD!  I had to put on a sweatshirt for Happy Hour.  Now, that's GOOD!

Click here to see all that weather.

Rainy Monday

It's raining pretty hard this morning before sunrise. The Weather wonks say it's spoze to keep raining most of the day and maybe tomorrow, too. Susun's all excited about having a rainy day because we will both be able to do things inside. As she says, "When the weather's so nice, it's impossible to stay inside." Yep, we'll second that motion. All in favor signify by saying AYE!

Well, honestly, we are way behind on processing the "paperwork of life." So, yes, it's going to be a full day of pushing paper or as Jeff The Houn Dawg sez, "pushing rope." I never knew about pushing rope until I met Jeff. If you've never tried to push rope, I'd suggest it as a practical Team Building exercise, or maybe just as an individual enrichment project. It's a great way to have fun with an utterly futile concept.

Speaking of The Houn Dawg hisself, that's him in the photo at left in this post. He decided to have a big Sunday Morning Garden Giveaway at his house over yonder on the West Bank. Thanks, Jeff, you're a regular Produce Philanthropist!

And speaking of gardens, Dear Friends and Arizona neighbors Gary & Robin are picking over 5 pounds of tomatoes every day! Their garden has been prolific. We also hear reports that Josh's Hopi Blue Corn did really well in the Verde Valley summer splendor. May you each receive the coveted Golden Garden Glove for your hard work as Stewards of Soil & Seed!

We're sure glad this type of weather is taking place THIS week instead of last week!
The Lynx spent most of yesterday basking its yellow body in the backyard sun. We think the boat is mostly dried out now but will consult the local whitewater authorities to see how it should be properly prepped for its fall-winter-spring slumber in the basement. It will not be making the trip to Arizona with us. In fact, none of our river gear is heading south. It takes up too much space and, besides, our friends there have WAY more river gear than we ever dreamed of owning.

Some of you LBRs may have noticed a post here last night about Jack Nicholson and Tom Petty. Where did it go? How come it got vaporized? Well, as you may recall, we have a propensity to pen things a wee bit differently as the evening gets long in the tooth. We're trying to keep this blog as squeaky clean as possible and some of our late night blog posts simply don't past muster the next morning. The Jack & Tom post was banished to relative obscurity simply because it is rather rude. It's a nice post, actually, and we continue to be happy with it but it belongs in another context and place. You can click here to see its final resting place.

And, finally, at right is a shot of Susun striding along the Greenbelt yesterday morning.  She's really a fast walker and is all smiles strutting her stuff.  She's getting in shape for her upcoming San Diego trip.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sweet Success = Deja Pollo

Luckily, we showed up just in the knick of time--the 90th minute the chicken had been baking. Our Target Temperature was 175 and the probe was registering 177. The little remote unit was beeping its brains out. We opened up El Turco and, lo, The Big Chicken Gig looked and smelled great! WHA-WHOOO!
(Added @ 4:20 pm) Soooo.....It's Deja Pollo. The Big Chicken Gig turned out to be a home run ball. So much of a home run that Little Johnny dashed off to the store and bought yet another 5.6 pound Big Chicken. We just doctored it up and popped it into El Turco--yeah, we're gittin' OCD about The Big Chicken Gig--that's a fact. However, if you tasted how good the first one turned out, you'd really wanna see if it was a fluke or if it could be repeated right away. We'll let you know within the next 90 minutes or so.
(Added @ 6:20 pm) Yea, verily, it was not a fluke. It worked to perfection once again. This time the bird was bigger so it took 103 minutes to get up to 175 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken breast. It's cooled down now and resting on the indoor stove top awaiting a sharp knife and eager hands and equally sharp incisors. I really never knew I could roast chicken this well until today. Today's been a real Chicken Epiphany for me. I'm never gonna look at a fat chicken quite the same again. Life is finger lickin' GOOD!

Cheers, jp

A New Project Begins--The Big Chicken Gig

That's right, cooking fans, we're finally gonna tackle The Big Chicken Gig.  We bought a five pounder today and we opened up a whole new techno era, too.  We finally bought a remote sensing temperature device.  It has a big probe that goes into the chicken and then we can wander up to 100 feet from "base" while monitoring The Big Chicken Gig.  This is Majorly Rancho Deluxe!  Anyway, we have absolutely NO clue how all of this is going to work out.  Chicken's cheep these days so we will keep buying and baking more chicken until we get The Big Chicken Gig right! 

Sun Day

Each week here comes Sunday.  Few of us reflect that Sunday is actually the "Sun's Day" of each week.  So, in honor of The Sun, let's talk a little bit about that Old Sol, our Sun.  We're sure you have all heard about the sunspot cycle.  No, it's not a new Lance Armstrong ride, it's the incredibly well documented ebb and flow of dark spots on the sun.  They are called "sunspots."  People have been counting these spots like forever.  Get this--the earliest surviving record of sunspot observation dates to 364 BC, or 2,374 years ago.  So, sunspots are nothing new under the sun, so to speak.

Why are we talking sunspots this Sunday?  Well, LBRs, we're giving you an early heads up that you will be hearing a growing drumbeat of concern over sunspots.  In the not too distant future, this drumbeat will rise into a wail of paranoia about Sunspot Cycle 24 that is due to peak in 2012 or perhaps early 2013.  People are already wringing their hands and telescopes and crunching dire numbers and saying things like this astounding guesstimate: "the blast will have the equivalent energy of 100 million hydrogen bombs."

Chicken Little is already alive and well and leading the charge to ballyhoo Sunspot Cycle 24.  The more dire of the dire predictions are already saying the peak of Sunspot Cycle 24 will change Earth and our civilization as we know it.  No kidding.  The trouble with all these gloom and doom Chicken Little prognostications is that they may indeed be correct!  WHOA, say what?  Yes, Sunspot Cycle 24 actually has the genuine potential to prove these people right.

In this day and age of a tsunami of email forwards proclaming all manner of falsehoods, exaggerations, urban legends and distorted facts, it would be easy to dismiss the various hypotheses about Sunspot Cycle 24 as mere Y2K stuff.  Don't be fooled.  Cycle 24 is The Real Deal and bears very close watching as it gains in power and steam heading into Years 2012-2013.

As the inevitable cacophony of impending doom begins to grow, we can be sure that we will be there every step of the way, helping to separate purported facts and rampant fiction from whatever truth we can glean from various sources.  We go way back with studying solar activity--it was one of our passions in the early 1980's.  We even visited the Space Weather facility in Colorado to learn more about their role.

We hate to say we're on the gloom and doom bandwagon right now but all signs are pointing to a truly epic peak in solar activity in 2012-2013.  Heaven only knows if these predictions will bear the fruit of truth and the reality of mayhem.  But we can say one thing right now for sure--Sunspot Cycle 24 is definitely underway and in progress and play.  It bears very close watching by all of us, no matter what our station in life.  This isn't just another Hollywood disaster movie in the making--this could easily be one of the biggest natural disasters in modern history!

Click here to read an Australian media synopsis of various people discussion Cycle 24.

Click here to read Wiki's great primer on sunspots.

And, finally, click here to go to Spaceweater Dot Com.  The author of this site does an incredible job keep up with all things "Sun."

Meanwhile, enjoy your digital toys, have a Happy Sun Day & Many Cheers! 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday @ Home

It was a great day here. I was so tired all morning I couldn't even go to the Farmer's Market. Susun went to buy tomatoes for Karen's gig. Then she went and met her friend, Rachel, at Hilda's Garden and they deadheaded together for maybe an hour. Me? I was a Zombie all morning. Heck, I couldn't even remember to wear my trademark hat to Sam's Club when I returned a worthless camera. The door greeter even said, "Where is your hat?" That's when you know yer busted.

I took the unprecedented step today of writing a two page letter about how worthless the digital camera was. The Sam's staff really didn't know what to do with such a letter. I said I wanted it to be sent to the Sam's Buyer's Department. They all said, "We will see what see what we can do." Yeah, that's corporate America for you.

Corporate America is so weird sometimes. No, I am not going to get into a political commentary here. Don't worry. But, hey, we all know it's weird sometimes. It just goes with the turf.

Well, I needed something to energize me and to find SOMETHING to motivate me today. I was SO freaking bone tired, I could barely pry open my eyelids with a toothpick. It's been a long time since I've been conscious of being that totally tired. Susun said, "Why don't you just stay home and sleep?" Well as Ed Schmid once said, "You can sleep when yer dead." I feel that sleeping during a perfectly fine day is kind of like wasting the day. Susun differs with her opinion on this and I have to admit that her naps make her far more productive and energetic that she would otherwise be.

But me? Nah, I cain't just lie down and sleep. Heck there's three thrift stores in town. Who needs a nap when you can go shopping? So that's what I did. In fact, I visited each of those three thrift stores 3 times each today. By the end of the day, I forgot I was tired and I was totally energized. That's what three good thrift stores can do for a tired guy. I mean like really, ya know?

Anyway, while we have been camping lately, we have been engaging each other in a hypothetical situation. It's been one of those "what if" things that people talk about during the tail end of Happy Hour. So, we have been talking about "what if" we had different camping rigs for different situations and "never the twain shall any of them meet."

I mean why should we cannibalize our GO TO camping set up just for a day trip or a motel trip? Why not have a rig for each type of trip? DUH! Sounds simple. Anyway, that's what I did all day, relentlessly and Totally Type A-ness-ly. I made some great strides in getting those ALT rigs together.

Meanwhile, Susun got her Beauty Act together and then she left with Karen to do the Habitat gig. She left at 2:30 and returned well after 7 pm. She helped set up for a Volunteer Recognition BBQ next to the Chukars' ballpark.  She sez a good time was had by all. HFH (Habitat For Humanity) was today's headline story in the local daily newspaper. It was a big deal. You can click here to read a PDF file of the story. 

Well, that's about all we did. It rained hard during the day and the temps were real cool all day. What a welcome surprise here at home.

Cheers, jp

Ten Days at home

We're savoring the prospect of having a full ten days here at home. This past camping/volunteer trip was a lot of hard work and we're glad it's over and done. it was a lot of fun but it was still just plain hard work. So, we're glad for a break. We consider this past trip the last of our summer camping trips. The upcoming three-nighter at Jenny Lake will be a fall camping trip. Temps are progged to be in the 50's during the day and mid-20's at night. That's clearly a FALL camping trip! (We put a discussion of this forecast on our weather blog. You can click here to read it.)

We came home yesterday via the Arco Desert. As we left Arco we noticed a teeny, tiny little snippet of smoke on the horizon. Sure enough, before our very eyes, that tiny smoke erupted into a full fledged range fire and has burned over 10,000 acres by last night. They even closed Highway 20 for a few hours shortly after we passed through the area.

As we finished up our final day paddling the Salmon River when we did 16 miles between Morgan Bar and North Fork. We could see a storm system gradually building on the southwest horizon. We kept hoping we would make it to North Fork BEFORE the storm hit. Imagine our amazement when it hit a mere 5 minutes after we pulled our boat out of the water at the North Fork access ramp. The storm hit with such ferocity that it snapped trees before out very eyes! Meanwhile, that same storm spawned lightning-sparked fires nearby. We skated out of that situation by a mere whisker! Whew, we're glad to be home safe, sound and happy.

It was another mighty fine camping trip. We were busy little bakers each night and also managed to smoke some chicken, too. We spent only $3 on a gallon of milk this trip. Once again, food and ice mgmt. really paid off. Our main expense for the trip was fuel--$194 to be exact. It's a danged good thing the gubmint is providing some mileage and per diem because we simply wouldn't cover that level of funding ourselves. We decided on this trip that Site #9 there at the Cottonwood campground is, by far, our favorite camp spot anywhere. We look forward to being back there again in July-August 2011. It's a sweet spot.

Susun will be helping Habitat for Humanity today. However, she swears she's not going to do a single thing on Sunday. Both of us plan to be real slackers for as many of the ten days as we can. We're both so tired right now it's an effort just to get up and refill a coffee cup. Now, THAT's feeling tired.

We've taken 20 ba-zillion photos in recent weeks and, hopefully, we can put up some of them here during the next ten days.

Otherwise, there's not much to report. Even though we didn't post anything on this blog all week, readership remained average. Duration of visit dropped back to near normal at about 3 minutes per visit. Here are the weekly site stats from June 19 through Thursday.

-- Site Summary ---

Total ........................ 1,129
Average per Day ................. 13
Average Visit Length .......... 3:03
This Week ....................... 89

Page Views

Total ........................ 2,126
Average per Day ................. 25
Average per Visit .............. 2.0
This Week ...................... 176

Cheers! J&S

Friday, August 27, 2010

River Runners

This was our Best Wildlife Sighting of the Project. It was awesome. Yeah, we're back. Safe & Happy. Tired, too. We paddled 60 miles of The Salmon River this week. We logged 1144 "billable miles" since Sunday. It's been a long week. But we're very Happy. To get to see something as special as what the photo above represents makes it all worthwhile. More later on. Cheers, J&S

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Leaving El Net

We'ew closing down shop here and heading out into MOAN Country again.  Won't be back online until maybe Friday or Saturday.  Have a great week!  Cheers, jp

Say what?

So, I get up about 6 am and look out at the sky while plucking the morning newspaper from the front porch.  Hum...methinks I better check Da Weather.

So.....The NWS Weather Wonks are all a-buzz about an incoming cold front.  What I read in this morning's discussion was a shock and will cause us both to completely repack and re-rig for our departure today.  Check this out:  (NWS writes in ALL CAPS.  Bold emphasis was added by me.)


Say What?  Somehow this major change in the weather really sneaked up on us.  I guess we fell asleep at the wheel (or mouse, as the case may be).  Sooo....what was it we were saying about an early fall?  Hum...I guess that Early Fall Hypothesis is no longer conjecture.  Time to break out all of the cold weather gear again and to prepare for windy, wet and cold conditions while paddling on the Salmon River.  Who knew?

LBR Maggie's photos sure touched off a tsunami of emotions here in Idaho Falls.  What fun that was.  We sent out those photos to various contacts with the email title "F-N-A."  We rec'd an inquiry today as to what the acronym means.  You know how we love acronyms.  Well, "Fun 'N' Adventure" is one meaning and "Forever 'N' Always" is the other.  The pronunciation is pretty straightforward for this acronym.  We will add it to the Glossary soon.

Golly Gee, that weather forecast has changed the whole tenor and pace of our day.  No longer will we be able to kick back and have a Leisure Day.  Nope, it's time to amp it up, shift latitudes and attitudes and rig for a whole different scene that what we expected only yesterday.  My, how quickly such things can change in this neck of the woods.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


The Blog post below this one is all BIG photos.  It's a HUGE Blast From The Past, Courtesy of LRB Maggie J.  Maggie, we can't even being to tell you how humbled we are by the receipt of these photos.  You said: " I came across these and had to take a break and immediately scan them for you both.  This trip down memory lane has brought me to tears this afternoon.  Lots of memories."  Well, we hafta tell ya, we practically burst into tears seeing these amazing glimpses of our past.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU!  So, LBRs be forewarned, yer taking a trip down Memory Lane in the post below.

We've Come a Long Way, Baby!

Today's a bust

That's right, at 10 am, we're going to the dedication of a bust of Mr. Tautphaus. He was the kind of pioneer we really revere. He actually built a huge 80-acre private park here in Idaho Falls more than 100 years ago. It had a lake, a racetrack and all manner of ways to relax and unwind. Not too many people were "thinking parks" way back in the day. When Tautphaus grew old and passed on the place fell into disrepair. The City of Idaho Falls picked it up 75 years ago and, well, you get the picture. Today is the 75th Anniversary of City ownership. The city popped for a bronze bust of Mr. Tautphaus. Plus, there's major Hoop-dee-doo going on at the park all day. Over the generations of city ownership, Tautphaus has really become one of the city's major gems. It would take way more than a blog post to list all of the great stuff located there and the things that take place there. Click here for a private sector website that gives a pretty good overview of the park's features. It's a fabulous place, even though the lake and racetrack are long gone into the dustbin of history. We tend to use Tautphaus more in the winter when the city grooms cross-country ski trails there. Since we're on the city's Parks & Recreation Commission, we are "expected" to attend this morning's event. But, we'll tell ya, we'd be there even if we weren't on that Commission. It's the type and kind of event that we really love--a city celebrating its recreational heritage.
We are indeed VERY happy to be in town today because we don't want to miss this for anything.

We won't be able to go to the Bear Awareness thing in Island Park today. It's also being staged at 10 am. We didn't wind up camping much in Bear Country during the second half of our summer. If not for the BLM river guide project, we probably would have spent a lot of time up in Island Park. We're pretty much stopped updating our Bearanoid project. It's just too depressing to write about bear-related fatalities.

Susun will be real busy today. As you know, she's a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. The Director of the local chapter calls Susun her "best volunteer."
Anyway, Habitat is having a dedication and Grand Opening for their new "Restore" today. It's the proverbial quantum leap for the Restore. It's now in a much larger space in a much better high traffic location. Habitat generally builds only one house a year here. They hope increased income from the new Restore will let them ramp up to four homes a year. When we were looking for a home here in the summer of 2007, our paths crossed a Realtor, Karen L. When we learned that she was Secretary of the local Habitat Board and had been closely involved with Habitat for more than 10 years, we signed an exclusive "buy's agreement" with Karen. She was the one who negotiated such a great deal on the place we now call home. Well, Karen's not your ordinary Realtor. Anyway, time passed and now Karen is Executive Director of the local Habitat chapter. She's doing great things and Susun is delighted to be able to help. Today Susun will organize the Grand Opening luncheon and be the Event Photographer.

Speaking of the Summer of 2007, tomorrow marks a milestone of sorts--it was my first official paid day on the RSVP job. That's right: August 22nd. I gotta admit that three years ago today, August 21, I sure wasn't in much of a mood to go to work the following day. It was an interesting 2.5 year interlude but I sure am glad we are free again of paid employment. However, the RSVP position really did open a lot of doors and help create a new life for us here in Idaho. We certainly wouldn't be doing the BLM river guide project or spending the week in Salmon City if it wasn't for RSVP!

Speaking of the river guide project, we're leaving tomorrow at 2 pm to head north back to Ellis to resume our field work on that project. We should be all set up in camp by 7 pm tomorrow and we will hit the river running early Monday morning. Heck, it might even be a deja vu day, too. We will probably be in Salmon City not once but twice Monday and then again twice on Tuesday. Hopefully, we can get from the 11 Mile river access all the way to Northfork in two days. Then we can spend Wednesday and Thursday doing the SNRA boundary down to Challis. If we're lucky and everything goes OK, that means we can head back home on Friday. We're keeping Friday open in case we need an additional day on the river. But we're hoping for a Friday return.

This trip will wrap up our Year 2010 field work for the river guide project. The BLM has already paid us $422 to cover expenses and the upcoming trip will probably yield another payment of maybe $300, plus or minus. That covers our costs of doing all this stuff. When our boating season ends at the end of this upcoming week, we will have logged at least 13 and maybe 14 days on the water in The Lynx. That's not too shabby. Sure beats zero days on the water!

As you might expect, today and tomorrow will be a couple of squirrely rigging days. Our lists of tasks is pretty daunting, as usual, mainly because of stuff like oil changes, tire rotations, etc. That stuff eats gobs of time. We're going to try to duplicate the previous trip wherein we didn't have to visit any stores. That calls for some really astute and complicated menu planning and ice management.
Oh, well, you know how it goes.

We sure are looking forward to being home for a longer time period. After this trip, we'll get to stay here perhaps as long as 10 days. That will be SOOO welcome! Only two more camping trips are on tap after this one and then our camping season will be over for the year. Hard to believe it went by in such a blink of an eye.

Have a great day & Cheers! jp

Friday, August 20, 2010


Well, it's not even 7 pm yet and we're STUFFED. Happy Hour is OVER. There's no more room inside our innards for any libations. We don't even want to think of another bite of food. What happened?

It was The Attack of the Deep Dish Pizza Pie! It threw a smackdown on us and we're STUFFED. Like for real.

Here's how it happened. First, Houn' Dawg brought his sack lunch over to the house at noon and we got to swapping stories about cooking stuff. He's a real good cook and he and I enjoy talking foodie stuff together. We had a real nice noon talking food. So, I was asking him as he left, "What's your next project?" He was kind of nebulous about it. He said he really didn't know what he was gonna cook next.

Meanwhile, after he left, I got to asking myself what the heck MY next cooking project was gonna be. "Whacha gonna cook, Johnny?" So, as I was driving round here and there, I got a whim to call Houn' Dawg at his work place and have him tell me stories about his pizza cooking days. He can cook a mean pizza. After listening to him for awhile, I decided I was gonna tackle pizza as my next project.

Then I went and bought a deep dish pie pan--not the kind with the sloping sides--this is a righteous pie pan. it cost me 75 cents at some T-store. (T-store = Thrift Store). I also scored some stuff to make the heat more evenly distributed in El Turco. So, I honestly felt like I could make a decent pizza in ET.

Then I made two trips to the WINCO Spa and Relaxation Center and made up two batches of pizza dough. For the record, I never even considered whether to look online about this stuff--I decided I had at least enough "smarts" to figger this stuff out myself.

Well, I put the first batch in ET at 5:21 and I let it bake too long on too high of a temperature and, besides that, the dough was all wrong. So, what I am trying to say is that I ruined the first batch.

The second batch, though, was dropped straight down out of Pizza Pie Heaven. The crust + toppings was a full one inch thick across the entire diameter of the pie pan. The bottom was browned perfectly and the crust was thoroughly done all the way through just like restaurant pizza. The toppings were cooked perfectly and the cheese was melted correctly and the "from scratch" sauce was awesome. I told myself I was only going to take one bite. HA! HA! There was NO WAY I could stop at one bite and I ate one entire piece of the pie. There's only four pieces in this pie pan.

Well, that piece STUFFED ME. And one single piece STUFFED Susun. We're not big eaters of carbohydrates. So, a little bit of carbs goes a really long way. That's what this pizza did--it STUFFED us Big Time. Heck, I can barely waddle right now and I only had one piece of pizza! We're talking a 9-inch pie pan here so you do the math. The actual flour equivalent for each piece would be one half cup of flour. That's really not too bad as far as "normal" carb consumption goes. But you have no idea how STUFFED a half cup of baked flour makes us these days. Geeze, we feel like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Well, the toppings and the cheese and the sauce had a lot to do with it--they were irresistible. The cheese was a Tillamook shredded blend of mozzarella and Parmesan. The toppings were finely chopped white onion, chopped black olives and thinly sliced fresh Baby Bella mushrooms. The sauce was made from real tomato paste with a pizza seasoning mix added. It's one of the best pizza sauces we've enjoyed in a long time. There was NO high fructose corn syrup anywhere to be found in this recipe!

The total cost for each single pizza (we made two--one failed) was approx. $2.50.
By the time I add a ground turkey protein unit, the cost will rise to perhaps $3-$3.50 per pizza. That's still a pretty good price for an evening camping dinner. We plan on baking this pizza up in Ellis next week--we're gonna need to be stuffed with carbs to do what we do there each day. We're gonna need a real stick-to-our ribs regime this time around. We ain't no youngsters no mo. We cain't live on a granola bar and a smile. Nope, we gotta have some REAL food to amp up for them 20+ mile paddle days.

This new campizza recipe fills the bill for what we're gonna have to ingest this upcoming week.

I didn't take any photos of the process. It was often photogenic and I SHOULD have taken photos but I was too consumed by getting the product in and out of the oven. Next time around, we will photodocument the process.

Well, thanks for reading & Cheers! jp

PS--Just for the record, the timestamp on this post is 7:11 but I actually started writing it at 6:47 pm.

Weekly Site Stats

Here's the weekly statistics for this blog. They arrive each Friday morning. I'm putting them up here because the time of the average visit just took another huge jump, up over five and a half minutes! Folks, that's simply HUGE! My, oh, my, whenever anyone spends five minutes in the same place anywhere online that's almost an eternity. Are you sure maybe ya'll didn't fall asleep and forget to click away from the blog or something like that? Gee, thanks for reading--you're reading is making we wanna write! CHEERS! jp

The Daily News

-- Site Summary ---

Total ........................ 1,040
Average per Day ................. 20
Average Visit Length .......... 5:35
This Week ...................... 138

Page Views

Total ........................ 1,950
Average per Day ................. 41
Average per Visit .............. 2.1
This Week ...................... 287

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sunny Side Up?

Click here to see the animation of the photo above. This is a series of photos of the solar disk. There was a huge eruption on the back side of the Sun on August 18. You can see just how huge it was by seeing the animation above. If this giant of an eruption had happened when that part of the Sun was facing our planet it might have wrecked havoc with our communications systems down here on lowly Earth. The Sun's activity has really been heating up lately and we are in the very early phases of the new sunspot cycle. Normally, we'd put this sort of stuff on our weather blog which we will soon begin updating on a regular basis. There sure has been some wild and whacky weather taking place around the globe. Anyway, the Sun's the thing to watch right now--it's the Major Driver for stuff that happens here on our third rocks from the sun. There are some people who think a huge solar event could even knock out the power grid and, Heaven forbid, the internet! What? No more blog? NO, say it ain't so. Well, ya just never know. Cheers, jp
PS--Thanks for the Spaceweather tip, Siegfried!

South Lemhi

South Lemhi ROX.  There's NO doubt about it.  There are almost no people left in South Lemhi.  It's a Ghost Town in progress if there is such a concept.  But there is still life left in South Lemhi and it's in the South Lemhi Senior Center.  Who woulda thunk that a Senior Center could be the last vestige of life left anywhere?  Well, it's true.  We love South Lemhi, we truly do.  We got to have a great visit there today and we don't even have HALF the photos we shoulda have taken to depict the situation there.  What you see here is what you get.  Anna Vihlen has passion and it shows in everything she does, especially when she's cooking an entire meal for 20 people.  Today, she baked some chicken leg quarters.  While the chicken was baking she made mashed potatoes from scratch.  Then she put together a giant fruit bowl and then she made two trays of Bruschetta and then she made a special desert in a spring form pan and then, to top it off, she took her own home grown zucchini and sliced it thin and entertained herself and us by frying it to charred perfection.  Ah, The Hinterlands of America!  And then, get this, they only charge THREE DOLLARS for this meal, including milk, coffee, tea, or whatever floats your boat.   Anna was happy to show us the photo board that Sharon Albach did after ourt event last July 2009.  We were humbled to see these photos displayed some prominently in the old 1880's Indian School building.  (See historic photo at bottom.  The building at right in the photo is today's Senior Center.)  Click here for the website we made for this Senior Center.

Where we nooned

When the Old Timers were traveling these parts, some of them kept journals.  Keeping a journal was kind of a mark of distinction between people back in those days.  People who kept journals were a cut above people who didn't keep journals.  It was kind of the difference between top shelf whiskey and well...you get the picture.

One of the recurrent comments in historical journals is about "nooning."  Nooning was a big deal.  It was basically a mid-day kind of camp that people made to "noon."  It didn't matter it is was really noon or not.  Noon often had nothing to do with it.  But the concept of "nooning" was real important.  And "where we nooned" was often noted in journals all across the west during that great multi-generational phase of America's Manifest Destiny.

So today Susun and I Nooned on the Lemhi River near the Hayden Creek Confluence.  We even let Gramma and Gramps stretch their legs while we nooned, too.  They loved it.  They got closer to the river than they've been in their dreams.  It was a win-win Nooning for everyone!

After we Nooned, we headed off to the South Lemhi Senior Center and that will be the topic of our next post.  (NOTE: See the little black old style metal lunch box on the tailgate?  That's the RV for Gramma & Gramps!)

Cheers, jp

Back Baking Again (BBA)

I love to bake.  I always have.  Baking ROX!  (So does bacon, but that's a different story.) Well, as Scooby Doo sez, ROCK ON!

OK, let's get back to baking again here.  After unpacking the truck and sorting this and that and so forth as anyone always has to do after a trip of any kind, I ran off to my Refuge--The WINCO Spa & Total Relaxation Center. 

What the cat drug home today was another tray pack of bone-in chicken breasts.  I hurriedly trimmed them out and put together another real nice baking gig.  Three 99% fat free bone-in chicken breasts + one medium large white onion all chopped up plus 3 stalks of celery all chopped up + plus 8 oz of sliced white mushrooms + a can of mushroom soup + a cup of apple sauce + ample paprika + some salt.  I whipped the mushroom soup together with the apple sauce.  I learned a tip from the Bologna Cover Cook Book yesterday: put paprika in a pepper bottle and shake it over yer chicken.  Okie, dokie, I did that and then slathered all that gloppy soup/apple mix every which way but loose over the sheebang.

Well, I put it on high and left it there.  Why high?  Well, the wind was(is) blowing like crazy.  That's why we've put up the wind graphic.  As you can see, it's been gusting into the 30's and, right here and now, it's blowing right into the courtyard and pretty much making the windchimes make Muzak.  Well, Hail!  That's really not good baking weather for El Turco.  So, what the heck, I cranked it upta HIGH and took off for a seminar on how to be a Chick-fil-A Franchise Operator at the local Hilton Hotel.  Whoop-dee-DOO!

I felt kinda bad about leaving that chicken alone.  I mean, wouldn't you? But, on the other hand, I felt like if I was going to a chicken franchise gig, maybe my chicken karma would all cluck out in the end.  I'm sure some of you chicken pluckers know how that goes.  But, whatever.

Anyway, I got all dressed up and took another shower and took off to the Hilton for this really important thing.  I quickly learned everything I needed to know and I departed lickitty-split.  Afterall, just my mere attendance at this event had chipped TWO HOURS off of a normal sedate and urbane Happy Hour.  Geeze.

Well, imagine my surprise when I returned home and the chicken was perfectly done.  This is what BBA is all about.  We love baking stuff.  We really do.  Sometimes you get lucky. Tonight we got lucky.

Susun's busy now thickening the gravy to pour over the chicken breasts.  You'll be happy to know the paprika trick worked to perfection.  It's all good.  Tonight's Happy Hour is also All Good, even if it got time-shifted two hours.

Cheers!  jp

PS--Thanks, Siegfried, for your comment--you have NAILED one of Idaho's Ideal Itineraries (I3).

Here we are at Home

Got home about 2:45 pm.  Coulda been home earlier but we turned off I-15 at the Osgood Exit and took the River Road south into the city.  The River Road is one of those old-fashioned roads where people still go slow and, yes, it follows the banks of the Snake.  We stopped at a real nice river access point and got out and enjoyed looking at the lazy river.  Then we drove Lindsay Blvd. in to Hilda's garden and got out and took time to enjoy the flowers.  it was a real nice way to end this trip and a wonderfully relaxing "re-entry" into the hustle and bustle of the city.  We will post up more later on.

Cheers, jp

Time traveling Thursday

We pretty well have today's schedule thought through so we don't have to do no "thinking out loud" here on El Blog.  We've been enjoying this Motel Interlude and now it's time to do some time traveling again.  One of the best things about coming here is the journey to and from Salmon.  We drive through the longest north-south valley in the entire Pacific Northwest!  The mountain ranges that tower on both sides include some of Idaho's highest and most picturesque peaks.  The glacial moraines that drape the foothill slopes are geometrically enchanting.  There's plenty of history along the highway because a big chunk of the route is the official Lewis & Clark Trail and also the Nez Perce Trail.  There are many visible remnants of the long vanished Gilmore and Pacific Railroad and the tiny hamlet of Leadore reeks of a bygone era.  You can visualize the pre-settlement homelands of the Lemhi Shoshones and you know the flowing water is already filled with spawning salmon that have traveled over 700 miles from the ocean while climbing a mile above sea level.  The long largely lonely valley was once home to extensive buffalo herds and some caves along the way document the longest continuous record of buffalo hunting in North America dating back beyond 10,000 years ago!  There's even a ghost outpost of early Mormon Manifest Destiny.  Almost all of the early Mormon "missions" survived and many prospered and have become fairly large cities.  Not so with Fort Lemhi.  Brigham Young sent a mission up yonder along the Lemhi River was back in the 1850's.  It failed to survive and only a few remnants of their thick fort walls are left as evidence.  As LBRs know, we love history in all of its crazy forms and permutations.  Not only is our route home today literally dripping with chunky nuggets of significant history, it's a wildly enticing ride through a backcountry wanderland.  We'd love to be on top of every peak, up every canyon and camped beside those flowing waters.  Ah, so little time and so many places to go and things to do!

Cheers, jp

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We finally bought a Jeep

Yeah, we finally did it.  It was in honor of our 400th blog post and I said, "Heck, Honey, let's go buy that Jeep."  And sure enough, we did.  Yeah, we scored some cool stuff today, including a 1950's BBQ cookbook featuring grilled bologna loaf on the cover.  Plus, we found our favorite sign on a Salmon store door.  Gee, how much fun can a guy have here anyway?
It was another really long 10 hour day.  I wouldn't normally opt for such long days but we really have no choice when we do these trips to Salmon.  There's certain work that HAS to be done and there's only a limited amount of time and, well, that means you work 10 hours each day and that's the way it is.

Here's a snippet from my third narrative report that I filed to our Supervisor late this afternoon:

"All this unrelenting activity really causes brain blur.  It's hard for me to even remember what I did in the past few hours but here we go.  We took off for the Senior Center and got there at 12:25 pm and realized it was Music Day.  The Sauerkraut Band was playing and one woman simply wouldn't quit until J'Lene took her microphone away.  Trust me, you've really never been entertained until an 80-something lady is singing Bob Dylan songs. She would probably still be down there singing to an empty room if the manager hadn't pulled her plug.  Well, imagine my delight to learn that it was also the date for the monthly Board of Directors meeting.  So, I thought we were going to be at the Senior Center for an hour but it turned out to be two FULL hours.  I got in some real nice quality time with the new President of the Board and his wife he's going to be real sharp and I hope he sticks with it. The manager's really settled into a groove there and it's clear people get along well with her.  The lunch was meatballs.  I sure wish they would buy some low fat burger--they must have bought 30% fat burger for the meatballs--the little critters were swimming in an Olympic size pool of grease.  They gave me a chance to talk at the Board meeting and I said a lot of nice things about everybody and their aunt and uncle and cat and pony, too.  They applauded after I shut up.  I'm not sure if the applause was because of what I said or because I finally shut up.  Oh, well, it was nice to receive some applause even if it was the sound of one hand clapping."

It was a productive day even if it was very tiring.  I'm bushed tonight and tomorrow's gonna be another non-stop gala.  We're both looking forward to being home for 3-4 days before we take off again.

Well, BYU's going independent and they're leaving the Western Athletic Conference.  That's huge news to Coug Fans.

Hey, this really is our 400th post since January 1 and we really did buy a Jeep!
We both saw this thing in the "Collectibles Case" at Rags early this week.  I didn't think much about it but decided to check eBay.  Well, this little puppy is worth some bucks.  I'm guessing we will get $50 for it.  We paid $5.  You can type in "Tonka Jeep" on eBay and look for matches of this style and type.  You'll see what I mean.  Hey, it's worth $50 to mess with an eBay listing.

Well, it's Hoppy Hour and we better get a hoppin'.  Ya'll have yerselfs a Merry Little Evening and Many Cheers!  jp

Where to Wednesday?

Here we go---thinking out loud again.  Whazzup with Wednesday?  Well, we know we have to be at the Senior Center for lunch today--it's meat balls so that doesn't sound to bad.  Chances are we will have a sandwich here about 11 am and then go to lunch there a little before 1 pm.  Susun's going to do Judy's water aerobics at 8 am and I will walk around the Back 40 of the Sacajawea Center taking photos.  The Center has a tremendous website that showcases the place.  Click here to see it.

We will probably go out to the Humane Society's kennel to get some pix there.  We also need to make contact with the Principal of the Pioneer Elementary School; the Salmon Valley Hospice, Discovery Care Center and the Forest Service.  Meanwhile, we'd like to touch base with the BLM Cartographer and Salmon Field Office Recreation Planner, too.  We have a 2:30 appt. with Judy again so there's not much wiggle room in our day. I need to get some photos regarding the local museum. They have updated their website.  Click here to see it.   If possible, we'd like to make another attempt to see Karla M. at the local EICAP office.  We will do the hospital tomorrow morning before leaving town to have lunch out at the old Lemhi Shoshone Indian School building on Hayden Creek.  That's a real throwback if there ever was one!  Click here to see some photos of it.

We'll be lucky to get everything done that we need to do on this trip.  We've already realized we need to make one more trip up here this year.  It will probably be sometime in early October.  There's a lot of good stuff happening here in Salmon and it's great that we are able to be here and make these contacts.

Well, that pretty much constitutes my "day planner" entries for today.

Cheers!  jp

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm A Cougar Fan

I'm a COUGAR Fan! The Brigham Young University Cougars... GO COUGS!

I've been a BYU Cougar fan since the days of Jim McMahon. Trust me, any card-carrying Chicago Bears fan will forever be a Jim McMahon fan. He was The Best and he lead Da Bears to the 1986 Super Bowl XX. Their season was played out in 1985, of course, and McMahon really starred. Well, I even bought his biography and realized he was really a fish out of water playing for BYU as a non-LDS element on their team. 

OK, where is this topic going? Let's around these parts and you're labeled LDS. Pure and simple. I am PROUD of BYU football. The strides they've made in recent years are epic and awesome and I am proud to be a BYU fan. But you should see the looks I get from wearing a BYU t-shirt.

I wore my BYU T-shirt to the Salmon grocery store tonight and it was so fun to see the gamut of stares and even a few glares I received.

I gotta tell ya I LOVE wearing my BYU T-shirt. I truly do. I bought it in Provo in 2007--these t-shirts were and are actually kinda hard to find. I wear my BYU T-shirt with pride and an attitude. I am proud of BYU.  Their players are great and they are kind of throwbacks to the Olden Days of football.  I've become disenchanted with most all other college and pro football teams.  But not BYU--they represent the best of what college football ought to be about.

GO COUGS!  Cheers, jp

PS--Click here to keep track of the Cougs.

Tuesday's Tasks

We started working this morning at 6 am and didn't quit until 4:30 pm. We took 30 minutes for lunch so it was a full non-stop 10 hour day. Some of you are probably wondering, "Why do you put in 10-hour volunteer days?" Well, it's simple--I want to do it and it's fun and so what's not to like about it? I can guarantee you that if it wasn't fun, I wouldn't be doing it. Look at is this way, if you are having fun and there's an almost unlimited supply of fun to be had and you can have as much fun as you wish then why not keep on having fun? I only quit at 4 because I've run out of people to talk to--they all go home right about then and so the party's over for today. Dang. Also, Happy Hour arrives only 60 minutes past 4 pm so there's various prep work to do for the day's fondest hour. You know how that goes.

I write three reports a day when we are immersed in this type of work. if I didn't write them I couldn't possibly remember everything I do during the day. It all becomes a blur. At the end of the day it's hard for me to recall how it all unfolded. So, that's why I write a report every few hours. I send the report to my Supervisor in Idaho Falls. Then I don't have to struggle to recall what I did--it's all in black and white on somebody's email inbox screen. All I know is I met and talked with a heck of a lot of people, took a mess of pictures, did some video and went in and out of a heck of a lot of doors. I heard some amazing stories, told a few tall tales, too, and reaped a lot of actual tangible benefits for the Eastern Idaho Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. One of the day's best vignettes was on the deck of the Education Center of the famous Sacajawea Center. Ah, what an exquisite gem of a place is that whole 71-acre complex. It just reeks Wonderment and it's the kind of place that makes you glad to be alive on Planet Earth. We love that place. Anyway, we got to sit out on the deck talking with the Director for a full hour, swapping stories and seeing visions and making plans--the whole gamut. Meanwhile the sunlight played a symphony on the shimmering cattail-laced marshlands and verdant, lush riparian areas. The shadows across the distant Continental Divide mountains almost appeared to be choreographed. Our Partner, Judy B. is full of energy and effusive in her communicative abilities. Our repartee between the three of us reminded me of a Texas two-step dance. Our conversation was tight without being taut, it was focused without being too Type A, it progressed rapidly without missing all the connecting parts and it finished on a wonderful note. We both left there feeling energized and exhilarated. That's what this place can do to you. It has that potential and it only waits for willing participants to unlock that potential.

Another great vignette was in the book nook of Rags N Wags. I was videotaping the Humane Society's Board President. I did three takes with her. First, I gave her a pep talk about how to say what she needed to say. Then, after each take, I would give her advice on how to make the take better. Finally, on the final take she just flat NAILED it! Gawd, it was so awesome and so inspirational, it was all I could do to hold the camera steady as my eyes began to mist while watching her NAIL IT in the LCD viewfinder. WOW, I wanted to stand up and do a river yell but that would have probably spawned a rescue call so I kept my mouth shut and behaved in a very genteel manner.

Finally, the other vignette was in the local historical museum. This place is run by a woman named Hope. If ever Hope floated anywhere, trust me, Hope Floats here. I have been working on Hope for well over a year to sign a certain piece of paper called an MOU. Today, Hope signed it. I was so elated. I never thought I would EVER get Hope to sign that paper. Hope and I swapped a lot of stories this afternoon. I think I really got her attention when I told her about visiting a little rat's patoot Mom and Pop market in Superior, Arizona, many years ago. Susun and I love such little old markets. As we were walking around the place soaking up the ambiance, we spied a old, tired bumper sticker sandwiched in the glass of the manager's cubicle. It simply said, "History Happens." We managed to buy that sticker and it became an icon in our lives for many years.

Today reminded me of that bumper sticker because, yes, indeed: History Happens!

Cheers, jp

Rags N Wags

One of the stalwart RSVP partners up here is the Lemhi County Humane Society's Rags N Wags thrift store. For years and years, they were housed in a tiny hole-in-the-wall backstreet hideaway. Now they've splashed themselves onto Main Street in a really big way. We're going to spend a lot of time here showcasing their new gig. Click here to check out a a slide show we made of their new digs. If you can't load the slide show, click here to see the photo album. We're heading to the store to meet the Head Person at 9 am. Hopefull;y, we will do some YouTube video on them, too.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Here we be

Susun's real good at taking pictures like this one.  She's a Pro Photog when it comes to self portraits.  This one was kinda of interesting because there were a LOT of people in the background but you can't see any of them. (It was a whole Main Salmon River trip roster of commercial passengers getting their orientation.) How odd.  Anyway, most of the people that you can't see are staring up at our balcony watching Susun try to take this picture.  The photo below is what the sky looked like when she was trying to take this picture.  There's NO way she could get us and the sky together but we will give her an A+ for trying.  Sometimes when Susun takes photos  like this she reminds me of a 1999 Tim Allen movie "Galaxy Quest" where the line "never give up, never surrender" was made famous.  (Click here for a YouTube of the preview trailer for this B Movie classic.)
By the way, the horizon in the photo below is the Continental Divide.  Montana's on the other side of the skyline.

We dodged a BIG Bullet!

Everything happens for a purpose.  That's our mantra.  We live by that mantra.  We repeat it often to ourselves: Everything happens for a purpose.  Generally, we never know the purpose until MUCH later.  It' uncommon to learn the purpose of something soon after it happens.  Typically, it takes a long time to learn the purpose of stuff.  We always trust that we will eventually learn the purpose of stuff sooner or later but it doesn't matter how soon or how late.  It's all part of the plan.

Soooo....we dutifully show up here in Salmon and go about our business in a methodical and efficient manner.  We have a very productive day.  Happy Hour arrives and we sit happily staring off the balcony at the Salmon River while reading the local weekly newspaper.  As I am reading this broadsheet old-style throwback newspaper I come across all these stories of mayhem and, yes, even death.  They are scary stories and they all happened August 5th.

A gigantic, galactic storm blew through Salmon about 4 pm August 5th.  It killed a cowboy and his horse when lightning struck them.  A tree fell on a 79-year-old BLM Campground Host at Shoup Bridge, breaking all kinds of bones and basically crushing him into near oblivion.  He's lucky to be alive even if his life is now in the local hospital.

Meanwhile, trees fell like cheap dominoes and, by all accounts, Salmon City was a wreck that afternoon.  Trees fell across power lines and the local paper showed pictures of live arcs of electricity.  Mayhem was everywhere and the August 5th storm is already a local legend.  Just reading the stories about it gives me the shivers.

Well, I didn't make the connection right away.  I was reading these stories thinking OMG!  I was thinking WOW, those poor people, how terrible.  Finally, it dawned on me.  We were on target to be right in the middle of this deadly mayhem. We dodged a BIG Bullet on August 5th.

Think about this--we had a Game Plan that would have put us right smack dab at Ground Zero of this storm that day!!!!!!  We had planned to boat from Elk Bend to the Highway 93 Bridge in Salmon on August 5th!!!!!  Susun woke up that morning in Ellis and said, "John, I think we should only boat to the 11 Mile River Access Point."  Well, I took her opinion under advisement and we both left the Ellis campground driving North along the Salmon River with the full intention of driving all the way to Salmon City.

As I drove along I got to thinking about her intuition and I thought, "You know, Susun has a real point in her advice this morning.  I think she's on to something."  As we approached the 11 Mile river access point, I instinctively pulled off the road and drove down by the riverside.  We both got out of our vehicles and talked about it, discussing all the pros and cons of boating only to 11 Mile versus boating the additional eleven miles into Salmon.

The previous day had been 21 miles as I recall and I had stressed out my arm pretty badly.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make another 22-25 miles on August 5th.  We tossed all this back and forth and decided to listen to our Dear Friend, Prudence.  Prudence speaks very softly and sometimes it's hard to hear what she's saying.  But, Thank God and Our Guardian Angels that we decided to listen to Prudence that day.

We took out at 11 Mile about 2 pm August 5th.  As we drove back upriver toward Elk Bend, we could see the dark storm clouds gathering over Challis.  We never thought to look over our shoulders toward Salmon City.  As it turns out, Salmon City has an epic storm at 4 pm that day.

Now think about this--do the math.  We were at 11 Mile at 2 pm.  The current speed was 4 mph.  It would have taken at least 2 more hours to get to Salmon.  The storm hit Salmon at 4 pm.  Do the math.  If we would have stuck with our Plan A, we would have been right smack dab in the middle of complete and total absolute mayhem and we might even have wound up dead or disabled.

I gotta tell ya, this particular Happy Hour is colored with a whole new realization and appreciation for both what we did and what could have happened.  We're just danged fortunate that we paid attention to Prudence.

Thanks, Prudence, and Many Cheers!  J&S

Checked in and ready to go

Yep, it's a room with a view here at the Stagecoach.  It's the same room we had on all four of our visits last year.  We're lucky to have it--the place is fully booked tonight, a rarity. We left home at 9:45, got on the interstate at 9:55 and arrived here at 1:07 pm.  We all settled in and now it's time to go roam Salmon City as  RSVP Program Development Volunteers.  Yippee, skippee!  More later this evening.  Cheers, jp
PS--Both our cell phones have 5 bars so we must be somewhere civilized.

Not your mundane Monday

Today's gonna be a hustle-bustle, shake-your-bootie, pack-and-travel day.  We've set a target of a 9 am departure for Salmon City.  Chances are it will be later than that but at least we have a target.  It's at least 3.5 hours to drive up to Salmon  We want to get some work done there today.  So, if we leave at 9-10, we'll get there in the 12:30-1:30 range.  Hopefully, we can get checked in, settled and then back out on the streets with at least 2 hours of productive time remaining in the day.

So if....(we're thinking out loud again)...it looks like our departure will be delayed until 11 am, well then that means we won't be able to log any meaningful time on the streets today.  In that case, there's no point in leaving until, say, 1-2 pm so we can get up there, check in, get settled and organized and prepped for a full day tomorrow.  It's kind of a sorts of narrow window for departure today--it we don't make the window then we shift to a Plan B Day.  That's how some Mondays go, as you know.

We didn't bother doing much prep toward today's trip yesterday.  It was too much fun just goofing off.  We did actually mow two yards--ours and Jana & Matt's.  And, of course, we did the baking schtick.  No mo bakin' this week--at least until maybe late Thursday.  We'll only be back here for four full days before we head out to work on the Salmon River Guide Project.--that could be a full seven days away.  We're on the countdown to Susun's 9/11 San Diego trip now.

OK, about the photos:  We were out 1:45 yesterday morning---it was every bit as good a Sunday Bike Ride as we hoped it would be.  We cruised over to the Hilda Garden and checked out the aftermath of the Duck Race--the Greenbelt was nearly spotless.  The city's crews do an amazing job cleaning up after the messy public.  Then we went downstream to see The Eagles.  (That's a mandatory tradition.)  Then we cruised over to Central Valley and checked out their manmade waterfall.  After that we rode down and around their manmade lake and finally came back to Bella Vita.  We didn't have any cash but that didn't deter Miss Susun.  She charmed them out of some iced tea with the promise she'd return and pay for it.  (She did.)
After a final gander off the end of Snake River Landing's cute little mini-pier, we cycled home.  Bella Vita will
be a year old next weekend.  It's a great little amenity to have on our favorite urban bike ride.  The street scenes are Snake River Landing and the cafe.

PS--You might be wondering whether we will EVER post any photos of Jana and Matt's wedding. Well, you may not believe this but we took a combined 583 pictures that day!  Susun has weeded them down to 430 but that's still a ridiculous boatload of photos.  Hopefully, someday we will present the Top 25 photos. 

Cheers, jp