Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Every knows if it's spring, Susun's planting every chance she gets.  We suspect she's even dreaming of planting when she's sleeping.  If she's not actually planting, she's probably planning on planting; picking up plants, preparing to plant or cleaning up after planting.  Yesterday was no exception.  She went over to volunteer at the Habitat ReStore and, guess what?  They asked her to plant the planters out in front of the store.  Imagine that!  She hurried home all smiles to pick up the tools of her planting trade.  Susun has a special smile when she's planting--you can see it in the photo here.  There's something about "plunking plants" as she calls it that makes her extra special happy.  Way to go, Sweetie!  Keep on Plantin'!

Things appear somewhat stable over in Mogollon, New Mexico.  The little mining ghost town is under a mandatory evacuation.  Fire officials tried to let Denise to leave but she refused.  Consequently, the fire crews are helping her protect her buildings and set up sprinklers and pumps and so forth.  Those of us who know Mogollon know the place has always been a tinder box waiting for a match.  The screen shot clip below shows just how close the fire is to the tiny village. Hang in there, Denise, we're all pulling for you! Here's the Inci Web link for the fire:

Being very close to a big forest fire plays tricks in your mind.  In our second year out at Bowery Guard Station in 2005, the big Valley Road Fire sprang up on the other side of mountain beside our living quarters.  The smoke plume hung dramatically overhead and we lived in abject fear the fire would rip across the drainage divide and tear down the hill to incinerate us.  Meanwhile, helicopters would fly low over our little cabin while helmeted people started at us.  No one ever bothered to let us know whether we were in any danger and that elevated our level of concern, so to speak.  Neither of us will ever forget those ominous days.  We can't look at a smoke plume without remembering the fear such a cloud struck in our hearts.  We've talked with Denise and she is keeping up a brave front but we know how it feels to be in her shoes.
Oh, Mogollon, Hear Our Prayers!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mogollon, Hear Our Prayers

This is what Denise sees from Super Salve Central in Mogollon, New Mexico.  We think she and her company are going to survive.  We think the winds are in her favor.  But let us Pray!  You GO, Girl! Mogollon, Hear Our Prayers!

Local Color

Every place has its own local color.We went out for an aimless Holiday drive yesterday. We didn't really have any planned itinerary.  We found a new dead end road that winds up into the foothills at the east end of 49th South.  We admired the distant snow-covered mountain ranges on teh far west side of The Snake River Plain.  Then we went to the city's skate park and watch young guys catch air and defy gravity.  The stuff they do not only defies gravity, it defies our imaginations.  After tiring of watching airborn young males, we inspected the Community Garden area and scoped out where Bill's Bike Shop is going to relocate.  Then we headed down the River Parkway to see how big the baby geese have become.  And then we drove over to John's Hole and that's where the bright rays beamed from some serious Local Color.  We have no idea who these three young women were.  They told Susun they were from Idaho Falls High School.  I guess that's a place to be "from."  They sure were turning heads and making everyone smile.  They skipped through the park like Holiday Fairies, chasing a duck or a goose now and then and Making Merry as young women are wont to do.  Their bright colors and cheerful abandonment easily outshone the sun itself yesterday.

Many Cheers, jp

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thinking of You, Dad!

Dad died in August 1998,  There's never been (and won't be) a Memorial Day when I don't think of him.  I can't help it.  He was A True Hero in my mind as I grew up.  As I learned his life story, I became ever more in awe of my Dad.  It wasn't until much later in life that he began to tell me what really happened to him in the Nazi POW camps.  Much of what he told me never made it into the book whose cover you see above.  But all that he said is still etched in my brain.  It was such a sad, lonely and barbaric life behind the wire.  He gave his ALL with Dignity & Grace & Class & Style.  He was the quintessential Gentleman to one and all.

There really isn't much else to say tonight except: "I LOVE YOU, DAD!"

PS--In all the mayhem of my Mom's Estate for those six weeks between mid-December and February, I can count my blessings because I actually did find his original Nazi POW photo that you see above.  Not a copy--the real thing.  I actually found his whole Nazi POW file folder documenting all of his camps and so forth.  You know how Germans are--they are totally Type A--they document everything.    I never did find the original photo shown of his crew on the book cover above or his dog tag either.  Oh, well, at least we have the book.

PPS--Dad is the one in the front row--kneeling at far right as you look at the photo.  His duty station was in the top turret of that gunship as it appears almost directly above his head in this photo.  There he manned two belt-fed .50 caliber machine guns trying to shoot down German FW-190's and ME-109's as they flew through his bomber formations looking to blow a plane full of ten guys out of the sky.

Once again, Have a Great Memorial day & Many Cheers, jp

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day is one of several each year when we especially think of my Dad and the other Vets who have defended and preserved our freedoms and our lifestyles.  Most of the time, we Americans take our gifts for granted.  We are proud to be The Greatest Nation on Earth.  Today is a special moment when we can reflect on the sacrifices our Fathers and Forefathers made to help us enjoy a holiday and all the other great days of our lives.  THANK YOU, DAD!

The skies finally turned blue today. The rain quit early last night.  The 11 am temp here is 56 and that's high that's it's been in days and days.  The snow level was very low and all the foothills are draped in bright white.  The distant mountains look like they do in the middle of winter.

We did manage to get a lot done during this stay-at-home weekend.  Like groundhogs, we retreated down into our burrow in the basement and busied ourselves with rooting 'round getting rid of stuff, stuff and more stuff.  Susun was particularly disciplined in her purge of stuff.  She disposed of a very impressive amount of stuff.  Way to go, Sweetie.  If we don't attack our stuff once in awhile it just builds up past the point of control.  Getting rid of stuff is a lot like going to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned.  Bad things happen if you don't take care of your teeth and similar bad things happen if you let too much stuff accumulate in your possession.

The recent rainy days allow me to spend a lot of time on the Salmon River blog.  We've really been having an eye-opening experience in terms of the amount of news we are digging up.  Yesterday we discovered next weekend's Riverfest in Salmon, Idaho.  We put up a post on it and contacted the organizer.  It must have gone viral in a mini sort of way there in Salmon because we had 155 page views on that blog yesterday.  That's more page views in a single day than we've ever had on any blog, including this one, in our entire history of blogs over the years.  We were astounded to see the final tally of yesterday's page views.  That type of visitation can't be sustained at this point so we suspect it will drop back to its average of roughly a couple dozen page views a day--similar to what we experience on this blog.

Speaking of blog posts, we are ahead of our recent average.  The first four months this year we did precisely 20 blogs posts each month.  So far this month we have 28, including this post.  Meanwhile, over on the Salmon River blog we have 22 posts.  That's a grand total of 50 blog posts for the month of May.  Not too shabby, actually.

Houn' Dawg and Suzanne came over for our annual Memorial Day breakfast this morning.  We had a great time and made plans for a couple of camping trips this summer.  If the wind lays down later today, we will all four go try to play a round of kiddie golf.

Susun is actually going to volunteer at Habitat today.  Yes, they are open on a holiday.  We enjoyed a super brunch with Karen L yesterday.  She is doing such a great job with Habitat.  It has become part of her Spirit and Soul and it's so wonderful listening to her talk about all of the "doings" at Habitat.

Maggie's Maters got talkative again yesterday.  Here's what they had to say as they huddled shivering together out back of Maggie's Flagstaff house:

"You wouldn't believe what we've been through.  The wind was relentless all week, blowing 20-30 MPH consistently with gusts to near 50!  One thing tomatoes hate is WIND.  Luckily, we are in the wall o' waters, which provide some protection since we are still small. Despite our size, some flowers are starting to appear.   

But, wait until you hear this!  Yesterday the temperature was around 55 with more wind and the low last night was 28.8 in our yard.  We were prepared as best as could be with towels over our heads and the raised bed had its frost cloth.  Some of us were moved closer to the house for added protection.
We all survived just fine and hope that the last Flagstaff cold snap is behind us.

Sincerely,  The 'Maters"

Poor Maters.  It's a good thing they have such a Great Mater Mama.  Otherwise, they'd in for a world of hurt.

Have a great Memorial Day & Many Cheers! J&S

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Yellowstone Smackdown

This storm really put a smackdown on Yellowstone National Park.  Last night we posted up the photo below of a snow bear outside Old Faithful Inn.  This morning we woke up to learn the busy East Entrance road is closed from Cody, Wyoming into the park.  Not only that but the Old Faithful to West Thumb road is closed as well.  It takes a lot of snow to close those two main roads.  Chances are the roads will be cleared and back in action later today but you can bet those closures are wrecking havoc with a lot of visitors' travel schedules.  What a stroke of luck to have been there last weekend instead of this weekend. Narrative below the dashed line was written last night
The Ywllowstone National Park has a Twitter accounts, believe it or not.  Once in awhile they actually USE their Twitter.  Tonight they send this great photo of someone who made a Snow Bear not far from Old Faithful.  As chance would have it, this snow bear would be roughly 30 feet from the east-facing window of the room we had last weekend.  In other words, this is what we would have seen fro our room this weekend instead of the glorious views we saw only a week ago.  My, my, what a difference a few days does make!

Speaking of clothes

We went out for a walk after dinner tonight. We both dressed up with all the "winter stuff" we normally wear in Arizona.  I wore three layers on top, wool socks, warm gloves and a super warm hat.  So we walked around the neighborhood and down to the canal and back.  It was fun.  Bottom Line is that we were wearing the warmest stuff we normally wear when we go out to a really COLD campfire at Second Chance Ranch.

Even though the temp right now is 41 degrees it feels a lot colder because of the humidity and the wind.  It's been raining all day and only stopped a little while ago.  This is one of the many reasons we love Idaho!


Sonoma Wine Country Style

Happy Memorial Day!  Here's your Saturday Night Special.  We have been roaming The Social Media Darlings of Facebook & Twitter because of our newly-launched Salmon River gig.  Outside Magazine put out an article today on the hot new men's style of Sonoma Wine Country.  In honor of our own Happy Hour Whine Time tonight we messed around with the photos of these nine dudes and made a contact sheet JPG out of them.

Naturally, as you would expect, they are all young, up and coming professionals making a name for themselves in a very high rent California area known simply as "Sonoma."

Well, the reason we are putting up this blog post about these expensive clothes is that we could buy almost any outfit you see here at the t-stores we love for next to nothing.  These dudes have spent hundreds of dollars on their duds.  We could find practically the same thing that any of them are wearing at Deseret Industries, The Challis HUB or Salmon's Rags N Wags.  Prices would vary, of course.  DI would charge the most and we'd probably have to pay about $15-$20 for a similar outfit.  At the HUB everything is 50 cents so we could get a similar outfit there for a couple of bucks.  Salmon's Rags N Wags is pricier than Challis so I'd reckon we'd have to pay as much as $5-$10 for a good looking outfit like these dudes are wearing.

It never ceases to amaze me what people pay for new, off-the-shelf clothing in this day and age.

Anyway, if you have nothing better tonight to do, you can click here to see Outside Magazine's celebration of excessive clothing consumption b y young men with too much money and too little common sense.

PS--I really DID need to refresh my memory on how to make a contact sheet of a lot of images.  This was the perfect exercise.

Many Cheers, jp

Last Saturday's Loop

It's a good thing we went to Yellowstone last weekend.  The weather there this weekend has been cold and wet.  Last Saturday was a great day.  We finally did the internal loop tour inside Yellowstone.  You can see it in the graphic below.  It's about 110  miles after adding in the various side jaunts around West Thumb, Lake Village, Yellowstone Falls Artist Point, Inspiration Point, Norris Campground, Norris Geyser Basin and the old road past Firehole Falls.  We were out over 8 hours.  It's the best way to see the essence of this giant National Park.  Yellowstone is basically a different world.  There are over 300 geysers there and who knows how many hot spring, mud pots and steaming holes.  You are, indeed, on the inside of a restless volcanic caldera.  The park records hundreds of small earthquakes each year and the lava dome under Yellowstone Lake us supposedly rising a little bit each year. Over the past few million years, the Yellowstone Volcano has erupted three times.  One eruption spread ash over more than half of the country.  Two eruptions spread ash down in Arizona.  People say if the volcano erupts again it might obliterate much of the Western US as we know it.  Of course, Yellowstone lives on a different time than we do.  We live in human time where seconds, minutes and hours rule our lives.  Yellowstone lives on geologic time where the whole history of mankind would be perhaps a second or two on the earth's intergalactic geologic clock.  Traveling through Yellowstone is one of those humbling experiences that puts our own little lives into perspective.  The park is so vast and contains such incredibly complex resources it's probably unlikely that any one, single human being can say they actually "KNOW" all there is to know about Yellowstone.  Some scientists think that we've documented only perhaps one-percent of the life forms in the park.  Sure, it's easy to count buffalo but what about the amazing array of different life forms that live in the blazing hot thermal pools?  This trip to Yellowstone really helped us both grasp the park's vastness and unfathomable-ness.  We will keep venturing to Yellowstone.  Our next trip will be in late June when we show it to Joshua for the first time.  We will never tire of this place.  It's a lot like the Grand Canyon.  Once it gets in your psyche, it never leaves.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bison Byway

The gubmint should probably call the road along The Madison River in Yellowstone Nat'l Park The Bison Byway.  One of the many highlights of visiting YNP in the spring is the Bison Byway.  On any given day, you are practically guaranteed of coming nearly face-to-face with a giant buffalo outside your car window.

So it was a week ago when we drove into YNP from the West  Entrance.  We had to crawl through four different Bison Jams along The Madison River.  It's an eerie feeling being that close to them and knowing they could flip your truck over if they got a notion to do so. The big one weight almost as much as a small car.  Their babies are so cute.

Here's a few of the ba-zillions of buffalo photos we took on our trip.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

LBRs are restless

Yes, we have been hearing from our LBRs via phone and email about our outright and abject neglect of this blog.  Mea culpa!

We just did some pseudo-research and here are our findings.  So far this year, we have been total slackers.

January, February, March and April, our blog post production was precisely 20 posts per month.  So far this month we have produced 21 blog posts.  Meanwhile, over on the Salmon River Idaho blog we've produced 15 blog posts.  So that means we've actually produced 36 blog posts this month instead of the usual 20 per month this year--EXCEPT, none of our LBRs could give a hoot about reading whatever it is we post up on the Salmon River gig.

One Very Dear LBR who shall remain un-named made a case--"Don't abandon us!"  Well, those words were taken to heart and we won't.  We will cut back on the Salmon blog and bring our focus back to this one.  Honest.

The proof will be in the putting (of blog posts).

Many Cheers!  jp


Yep, it's 46 degrees outside here at 11 am this morning.  It's trying to rain, too.  Periodically, nice large drops of water will come out of the sky.  Mostly, though, it's just gray and cold with a chilly breeze to top it all off.  Just another typical Idaho Spring!

The life long locals here like to say this always happens on Memorial Day.  We've never checked the climo records to see if it's true.  It's been mostly true since we arrived here.  Here's how it unfolds.  The Saturday of Memorial Day is the traditional Opening Day for fishing in the high country.  Each year, hoards of Utah residents flock north to fish.  A nearby community (St. Anthony) has been offering a free Fisherman's Breakfast for danged near 50 years.  As the story goes, the weather always turns sour when the Utah people head north for their free pancakes.  In many recent years, they've been snowed on, hailed on, rained on, blown to another county with 50 mph winds.  Whatever.  The weather is supposed to be nice once the hub bub subsides over Opening Day weekend.

Five years ago today we were having quite an adventure.  We camped the night before at an RV park in Bluff, Utah along the San Juan River.  The starter on our big truck failed so the owner had to tow us and our travel trailer around the park to get us started.  Then we drove north to Moab and left the truck run while we found a mechanic who promised to do the job right away.  We have to unhitch our trailer and leave it in town while the truck ran and then take it out to this guy's shop.  We got the starter swapped out and then drove up to Green River State Park in the nick of time for Happy Hour.  Close call.

BIG NEWS here in River City!  Joshua Wheeler is coming to visit on June 15.  He will stay until June 29.  He's flying up and back from the Mesa Gateway Airport.  Josh has never been north of the Arizona-Utah state line.
We're going up to do more field work on The Salmon River for about a week.  Then we will commence with The Grand Tour of Yellowstone and The Grand Teton National Parks.  We might even be able to squeeze in a trip to Harriman State Park, too.  We are all excited about the whole thing.

Susun is in the middle of her annual Hilda Garden Flower Thing.  She and Dear Friend Dina have been poring over scale drawings of the garden beds, as well as spreadsheets that describe flower colors, size and foliage.  They are such a great team together.

There's nothing planned for the weekend.  However, on Monday, Jeff (Houn' Dawg) and Suzanne are coming for our traditional Summer Kick Off Breakfast.  That promises to be a real hoot.

The Spudboater is really busy these days.  She's getting ready for a big Grand Canyon rafting trip.  Plus, she's putting in a big garden, reclaiming lumber, volunteering at a food bank.  She's a real dynamo!

Wayne Ranney put up an amazing blog post on the recent eclipse.  Click here to see it.

Maggie is thinking about starting a blog for her tomatoes.  In the meantime, they are growing like, well...tomatoes.

We scratched our travel plans for next week.  We are getting backlogged on stuff around the house here.  No point in stressing ourselves out about it--just stay home and get stuff done.

We will try to intersperse our Yellowstone photos with this and various upcoming blog posts.  Below are five photos of The Bear Jam we encountered Saturday afternoon.  First, of course, there is Mister Grizzly Bear foraging for grasses and forbs in a meadow.  The bear is oblivious to everybody on the roadway.  He sure looks contented and relaxed, doesn't he?

Next, there is The Bear Jam.  That's official jargon for what happens when a large group of tourists all stop and gawk at a bear. The bear went on about his business.  In the meantime, a swarm of people snapped digital photos by the hundreds (if not the thousands) while passersby craned their necks outside car windows.  We've only been in one other Bear Jam--a winter jam near Jackson.  This one was bigger and better.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Tall Tale?

OK, this is how the story goes.  Yesterday Indiana Angel Lynn sent along a note about this guy who had this gas station that you see in the photos above.  Knowing the my Dad was a top turret gunner on one of these bomber/gunships back in WWII, Lynn thought I would enjoy knowing about it.  Well, I immediately sent the note off to Arizona DF & LBR Tom B.  Meanwhile, Tom B. did some online research and sent the "backstory" winging up here to Idaho.  And, so, without further ado, we present your Tuesday Tall Tale:

Shortly after WWII a guy named Art Lacey went to Kansas to buy a surplus B-17. His idea was to fly it back to Oregon , jack it up in the air and make a gas station out of it. He paid $15,000 for it. He asked which one was his and they said take whichever you want because there were miles of them. He didn't know how to fly a 4-engine airplane so he read the manual while he taxied around by himself. They said he couldn't take off alone so he put a mannequin in the co-pilot's seat and off he went.

He flew around a bit to get the feel of it and when he went to land he realized he needed a co-pilot to lower the landing gear. He crashed and totaled his plane and another on the ground. They wrote them both off as "wind damaged" and told him to pick out another. He talked a friend into being his co-pilot and off they went. 

They flew to Palm Springs where Lacey wrote a hot check for gas. Then they headed for Oregon . They hit a snow storm and couldn't find their way, so they went down below 1,000 feet and followed the railroad tracks. His partner sat in the nose section and would yell, "TUNNEL" when he saw one and Lacey would climb over the mountain .

They landed safely, he made good the hot check he wrote, and they started getting permits to move a B-17 on the state highway. The highway department repeatedly denied his permit and fought him tooth and nail for a long time, so late one Saturday night, he just moved it himself. He got a $10 ticket from the police for having too wide a load.

Crown King Fire Video

DF & LBR Gary sent us an email about how the fire near Crown King, Arizona, has been increasing.  We went to Google News to look for information sources and stumbled onto the website for a local Realtor in Crown King.  Thus guy is not associated with the Type 1 Incident Mgmt. Team.  Nevertheless, he has somehow managed to make the most impressive geo-spatial reference YouTube video we have ever seen.  In one fell swoop he totally re-educated us about how Google Earth and YouTube can be used in conjunction with one another.  It's an awesome piece of work and we sure look forward to learning how he integrated these two technologies.

A distracting tangent

We all get distracted by life's tangents, don't we?  We here at Live Simple are definitely off on a tangent and it's distracting us from routine upkeep of this long-standing blog.  So, whazzup?

The Salmon River

You all know we have a fond, long-term relationship with The Salmon River.  We fell in love with it in 2004 and that love has only deepened over the ensuing years.  We are currently working as BLM volunteers to try to tidy up and finish our part of their Salmon River Guide effort.  The BLM product isn't going to turn out the way we hoped it would.  It will be OK, as far as it goes, and we're sure people will be glad to have it in their hands.  Whatever the final product actually looks like, we feel it will have been worth our considerable effort in assisting the project.

However, we also feel there's more to be done regarding the Salmon River.  Hence, we decided to start w whole new tangent.  We bought a new domain name and are building a blog for The Salmon River:

For every post we put up on that blog, it takes away from this blog.  We've been spending a lot of time on this new kid on the block.  Not only that we also started a companion Twitter and Facebook for the effort:
(The Facebook ID is: Salmon River, at least I think it is.)

We have high hopes for this particular tangent.  We hope it will be a life long activity that we will be working on until we pass to the Great Beyond.  It's a way of keeping our hat in the ring, our fingers in the pie and our toes in the water.  We don't want to be occasional, passive pedestrians when it comes to The Salmon River.  We want to be involved--keeping track of stuff and "in the thick of it," as some people say.  We want to know what's going on and be involved in friendships and dialog with the Salmon's unique Cast of Characters.

As our mind's eye roams up and down the Salmon that we know from Stanley to North Fork, all sorts of one-of-a-kind characters leap into view.  There's something about a river like The Salmon that seems to attract an unusual Cast of Characters.  If they lived anywhere else, no one would pay any attention to them.  When their life evolves in partnership with the river and its communities, somehow those characters rise to a starring role and become slightly larger than life.  Big rivers have always attracted big characters.  There's something magnetic about rivers that attracts characters to the stages along it banks.

We're started up other bits of whimsy over the years.  We've lost count of how many domain names we caught and released.  We seem to have a voracious appetite for buying and toying with domain names and blogs.  Perhaps we could be considered an "electronic hoarder" of blogs and domains.  Who knows?  At least they don't clutter up the closet and clog the hallway.

We hope this new tangent is a long-lasting productive distraction.  Only time will tell.  Perhaps it, too, will fade away like so many other domains and blogs.  Perhaps it will bloom into a full life.  At this point, no one knows.  We shall see.

Many Cheers, jp

Monday, May 21, 2012

Great trip

J&S at Firehole Falls

We sure enjoyed our trip to Yellowstone.  What fun! .  It turns out they actually opened Old Faithful Inn on the day we arrived.  We were fortunate to get Room #54. You can lie in bed in that room and watch Old Faithful erupt.  Friday evening we hiked around through some of the many of geysers on the other side of the Firehole River.  No matter how many times we've seen Old Faithful keap into the sky, we don't get tired of the sight.  It's inspiring and awesome.  Maybe that's why people come from around the world to look at it.

Saturday we took a long road trip--8 hours.  We went from Old Faithful to West Thumb, Grant Village, Lake Village, Lake Hotel, Canyon District, Yellowstone Falls, Norris Geyser Basin, Madison Junction, Firehole Falls and then back home through Lower, Midway and Upper Geyser Basins.

All-in-all, we probably saw a few hundred buffalo.  We also got lucky and observed a grizzly bear Saturday afternoon.

Sunday was a real leisure day and we lolly-gagged our way home, arriving about 4 pm.  As usual, we have way too many photos.  We will try to get some posted tomorrow.
The 7:30 am Sunday morning sun shines through Old Faithful.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Can you believe it's Friday already?

Wasn't it just Monday yesterday?  Where did the week go?  What happened here?  We are heading off to Yellowstone this morning.  The temps up there will top out around 60 and be real cozy at night in the lower 30's.  Since we will be tucked into a heated hotel room, who cares how cold it gets at night?

We have been prepping what we call our "motel rig" this week.  We have all sorts of cookware and utensils packed into what looks like regular luggage.  We will be to eat and drink quite well in the privacy of our room.
Maybe they will have WIFI over there.

Angel Ginny back in Lafayette called this week to tell a real heart-warming story.  Whenever I found a Bible I would give it to her.  One of the Bibles was a great big old thing.  Turns out it has special meaning to Mom's church--St. Mary's Cathedral.  Ginny some how reunited it with the priests and local Bishop and they went ga-ga over the Bible.  Ginny said they are planning a big ceremony and will put the Bible on permanent display.  YEA, Ginny, you're an Angel!

You probably don't know anything about the late Dugout Dick.  Well, the BLM came along after his death and obliterated all traces of Dugout Dick's famous (of infamous) place along the Salmon River.  This royally peeved our local publisher who has now become a major thorn in the side of the BLM.  It's like watching a boxing match only our guy, Roger, is beating the daylights out of his opponent.  I can't divulge the current status of the match but it's a real hum-dinger.  You can click here to begin to get up to speed on the situation.  We sent Roger an email yesterday saying he really hit a home run ball over the center field fence with the bases loaded. There will be more to report about this unfolding saga.

We finally squeezed in a round of golf on the six-hole kiddie course late yesterday.  We were beginning to despair we would ever play golf.  DF & LBR Terry M's schedule has some how been askew.  Ditto Carrie S.  Well, last fall we played our final two games with Houn' Dawg and put five dollars on teh line for each game. (HD, as you recall, got me into this nefarious sport back in 2010 and is my golf mentor.) By some miracle we won them both and took $10 away from Houn' Dawg.  He's been itching to get his money back so we went at it again yesterday.  I figured I was going to get clobbered and had five dollars all ready to fork over to him.  Things didn't look real good on the first hole when he went up by two strokes.  But then something odd happened.  I made par on two holes in a row and went into the lead.  On the fourth hole, Houn' Dawg came roaring back and went in front by a stroke.  On the last hole, I finally made up that stroke and we finished the game tied.  That meant a playoff.  We chose Hole #2 to begin our playoff.  It came down to the very past putt.  If I dropped the putt, I won.  If I missed then we went to yet another playoff hole.  It was a long putt--maybe 6-8 feet.  I was nervous as a cat surrounded by pit bulls and coyotes.  The ball made the cup and rolled around the lip and dropped in.  BAM.  Houn' Dawg just shook his head and offered congratulations, being the Gentleman that he is.  I felt bad winning another $5 from him but, hey, it's a golf game, what can we say?

Susun finally has her hair back in order.  It's real short now.  It's been real long and often out of control lately.  Short hair look so good on her.  Way to go, Sweetie!

We had lunch yesterday with Mike V.  It's so great to be able to visit with Mike in person again instead of over the phone and via email.  We're going to cook up all sorts of stuff this Idaho Season.  On Tuesday, we set up the "He's Got Fluffy" stage for Mike and two of his co-workers out at the shooting range.  They loved it and we plan on having a weekly mini-match during the lunch hour on Tuesday.

Well, we have lots of last minute packing and scurrying to do on this end.  Gotta run along.  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Monday, May 14, 2012

Salmon Summary

Our Salmon trip was very enjoyable and productive.  Now we must attempt to summarize it before too much more water flows under the bridge.  We pack a lot of stuff into a short time period and it's tough and time consuming to have to sit and try to remember it all.

DF & LBR Terry M. actually wrote a book last year wherein he actually recalled all of the details of a couple of dozen world traveler trips, some of which were many years ago.  How did he do that?  We can barely recall what happened to us last month, let alone last year.  Five years ago?  Forget it!  Alas, we digress.

Well, as long as we are digressing, here's one more for you--PHOTOS!  We take far too many pictures.  It's frustrating.  This trip, I decided to simply post ALL of our 170 photos in one place and let those with too much time on their hands take a look at them.  I've tried to go through and pick out some to post on this blog.  My short list is now a dozen photos and that's still way to many pictures for a blog post.  Yikes!  Ok, we are done digressing.

Here are the Top Ten comments about the trip:

First, our traveling rig worked great.  Even though we bought the poptop and the Samurai on the same day--December 26th, 2010--we had not yet taken it on a road trip such as this one.  All of its road trips were coming and going to and from Arizona to Idaho.  Our 9-day return trip last month was our first lengthy experience in the pop top.  Armed with the lessons we learned from that trip home, we made a lot of improvements and modifications to the rig.  They all really enhanced the Salmon experience.  We continue to make minor tweaks and so forth but basically we have a real decent, workable camping rig that suits us well.  This Salmon trip was "proof of the pudding," so to speak.

Second, the Samurai was put through a real workout on our trip along the Morgan-Panther Road.  We have a lot of work to do to improve how the Samurai behaves but basically all of its vital parts passed a real test with flying colors.

Third, The BLM Cottonwood Campground at Ellis is truly our favorite campground.  We waffle between calling Jenny Lake our favorite.  We suppose whichever one we are camped in will be our favorite at that time.  It's so wonderful being camped beside a giant, free-flowing river.  Fish were jumping the whole time.  Geese, osprey, herons, ducks, eagles and hawks crowded the skies in such profusion we thought they needed an air traffic controller to sort them all out.

Fourth, we wanted to drive Morgan-Panther for 8 years.  What an amazing road!  We've never seen that much whitewater next to a road anywhere--miles and miles and miles of whitewater.  A lot of the whitewater was Class VI stuff and very exciting to see.  We drove the 64 miles north to the Main Salmon River downstream from Shoup.  Panther Creek was so awesome and inspiring, we turned around and drove it back upstream to the Napias Creek confluence.  Shortly thereafter, we turned left and took the main mining road 35 miles or so to Salmon.  We put close to 170 miles on the Samurai that day.  We were away from camp 8.5 hours altogether.  It was tiring and very dusty but very invigorating.  We'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Sixth, we have better cell reception now in Challis than we do right here in Idaho Falls!  And get this--Duane  has set up free WIFI at the campground.  Who knew?

Seventh, things went swimmingly well with our Salmon River Guide Project.  Our Supervisor basically dumped the project in our lap and told us we could pretty much do whatever we wanted.  His replacement probably won't come along until perhaps October or even later.'s ours to mess with this summer.  We signed a volunteer agreement to get free camping and 1,000 miles of a small mileage reimbursement and we're good to go.  We quickly decided to enlist a lot of people we know up there to help us with the project such as the Sheriff, the Hecla Mining geologist, the Forest Service archaeologist and the newspaper editor, as well as assorted locals who crossed our path a the HUB or Lamb's Grocery store.

Eighth, The HUB continues to be our favorite thrift store of All Time.  We told the Alpha Woman there that it feels like home and, as we all know, there's no place like home.  It would cost $50 at Deseret Industries to buy what you can get for $10 at the HUB.

Ninth, The drive to and from Challis is spectacular this time of year. The Lost River Range contains 7 of Idaho's highest peaks and they are all snow-covered and just absolutely beautiful.  It's a fairyland up there right now.

Tenth, We've decided we're going to put a lot of time and energy into the Salmon River Guide Project this summer.  As long as Jeff pretty much gave us a carte blanche to do whatever we please, we might as well seize the opportunity and run with it.  We're going to meet a lot of new people; have some really fun times; and produce a legacy product everyone can be proud of.

Well, there you have it.  Now we will try to put up some photos. (Click here for all 170 pictures.)
Idaho's highest peak--Mt. Borah (left) with Leatherman Peak in the distance as seen from Willow Creek Summit.
 Our travel rig looks real good on Main Street in Challis.  We've said for 8 years that Challis should have been the location for the TV series "Northern Exposure."
 Morgan Creek hugs the road in the early morning light.  It's lower few miles are real frothy.  The upper reaches are marshy.
 The road just opened two days before we drove it.  There's some high elevation snow that blocks traffic.  They generally don't clear the road until early May.
 Yep, she's in her element again.  You've heard of tree huggers.  Well, here's a Map Hugger.  This is a nice spot near the confluence of Panther and Napias Creeks.
 Panther was one foot wide up at Morgan Summit.  It quickly gains volume and then strength and is a dazzling sight to behold!  It's basically right next to the road for about 34 miles.
 When the road is playing tag with the creek, it's going to scenery like this.  You're in a canyon and it's great.
 Here's Panther Creek last hurrah as it joins the Main Salmon downstream from Shoup.
 We saw only this lonely sheep but quite a few deer.
The Blackbird/Cobalt Mine Road climbs out of a really steep and deep canyon.  Very rugged country.
 Cottonwood Campground Host Duane is flanked by two members of his large nationwide fan club.
Ah, Home Sweet Home.  The water's edge is 30 feet behind the camper.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Farewell to Mother's Day

It was a great day all around.  We just had to post this one last photo of Susun "in her element."  She's doing what she loves the most--planting flowers.

The Tomato Tale - Chapter Two

LBRs will recall we began The Tomato Tale on April 27th.  DF & LBR Maggie is once again taking on the trials and tribulations of growing tomatoes at 7000 feet in Flagstaff.  So far, so good.  Her Tomato Babies are now almost adolescents and have been put out into the Real World a couple of weeks earlier than Maggie originally planned.

When Maggie first began sending along notes about this year's Tomato Saga, she described their status and progress from the viewpoint of the gardened/grower.  Somewhere along the way, the tomatoes developed their own voice and they now speak directly to us in The First Person.  We actually prefer Talking Tomatoes.  If you've never had them, trust us, their are quite yummy!  We can hardly wait to heard the Summertime Tomato Baritones and Sopranos.  They make the best slicing tomatoes.

We intended to post The Tomato Tale on a more frequent interval.  Our travel schedule prevented such a timely chronicle of The Tomato Tale.  Consequently, this blog post is quite long so we can ketchup on The Tomato Tale. Hopefully, from this point forward, we can be a little more timely with The Tomato Tale.

Here is a photo of the Tomatoes as new born seedling babies:
Here's an article about the unique variety of tomatoes Maggie is growing this year.  You can click on the JPG for a larger, more readable version.
Maggie has spared no expense in tending tomatoes.  She dutifully kept them under grow lights and also moved them out into the mid-day warmth.

The Tomatoes finally made it outside on May 11th.

Here's what the Maters had to say on the first day their began speaking for themselves:  "Our owner let us know yesterday that we have the "green light" to move outdoors tomorrow!!  We heard she consulted with the master gardener and told him about the time frame dilemma and his reply says we can go!  We won't have to endure 10 full days of being moved in and out, in and out.  Instead, we will sit outside today and watch while our containers are prepared and move in tomorrow.  We have requested deluxe containers with wall-o-waters.  We are up for the challenge."

Here's what they had to say the following day: "Our new homes!  We may not have been hardened off in the manner the textbooks say, but we are strong plants from sturdy stock and were ready to move outside.  The weather is perfect."

Tucked inside their walls of water they are no longer readily visible for their eager viewing public.  Our next chapter of The Tomato Tale will be posted when they poke their heads out of the safety of their protective insulation.  THANKS, MAGGIE--You are doing a great job.  Please keep your news of Mater Matters coming!

Happy Mother's Day

Susun has been enjoying a great Mother's Day weekend.  First off, we took our obligatory trip to the Farmers Market.  This week's weather was light years better than last week's.  Naturally, Susun was in her element again, buying pretty flowers and visiting with all the colorful vendors.

Then Susun went to the All Women's Build Day at the Habitat For Humanity's latest "build."  She spent most of the day there and, naturally made some new friends.  Following a nice nap afterwards, she then headed out to the local Country Club to help Karen L. set up a fund-raiser for the next build.  The event raised over $10,000.

Meanwhile, when she woke up this morning, there were a few nice gifts and a card waiting on the kitchen table.  When we were up at Ellis, Idaho, this week, Susun said she wanted a photo of her favorite place to sit and read a magazine.  Well, now she has a real nice 8x10 of the scene you see below alongside the Salmon River.

We even bought some fresh pesto to put on some toasted foccacia bread for breakfast.  After our Sunday morning bike ride under Blue Bird Skies, she will be off to a Mother's Day brunch with some Dear Friends.  Ah, the life of a Social Butterfly.  She's definitely "in her element," as her daughters love to say.

Exotic Auto Visits

Susun's Dear Friend Nancy made a surprise visit to our Ida-Home yesterday evening.  Susun was gone--she went to the Country Club to volunteer to help stage a fund-raiser.  Nancy was disappointed that Susun wasn't home so she could have a ride in Nancy's Pantera.  However, Little Yonni and a couple of dazed and dazzled skateboarders sure had a good time ogling Nancy's Pantera.  Nancy said she and her late husband acquired the car in 1993.  (Click here for the Wiki on the Pantera.)  Note the speedometer goes to 200 mph!  It's a phenomenal car.  You should have seen the heads turn as people drove by.  One neighbor who drove by waved at us for the first time in five years.  Guess that's what an exotic car will do for ya.  Suddenly you have a lot of new friends.