Friday, June 29, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane

Josh took off this morning heading back for sunny Arizona.  Everything went smoothly with his departure.  Unfortunately, Kate & Brock B. missed their flight out of Mesa so they won't be coming to visit today as planned.  This unexpected break should give us a chance to get somewhat caught up on blog posts here.
Susun and I enjoyed every minutes of Josh's visit here.  It was delightful in every way.  THANKS, Josh, for a great trip.  We made some special memories that will last us all a lifetime!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Happy Hands

Oh, Those Happy Hands! Here they are conducting a command performance at the Phelps Lake shoreline in the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve (LSRP) at Grand Teton National Park. Next stop--Carnegie Hall? (BTW, Turns out it was 8 seconds, not five.)  As we Tweeted from this spot, "LSRP is like a cathedral to us. It is the Crown Jewel of the Tetons." Oh, those Happy Hands--watching them was a perfect end to a perfect odyssey amid the pristine beauty of LSRP.

We're home now--back in Idaho Falls.  We arrived Wednesday at 3:15 pm.  We all three unanimously decided it was time to come home.  Josh had reached sensory and informational overload.  Susun missed her flowers and garden.  John has driven over 1500 miles since June 11--he's flat totally tired out.  Josh also wanted to skate board instead of being immersed in Tater Nation stuff.

We had a great trip through Mesa Falls, Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Jackson, LSRP and home via Teton and Pine Creek Passes through Swan Valley and along The Snake.  It was gorgeous and awesome.

As soon as we arrived home and derigged the truck and unpacked everything, I took Josh to the local skate shop--"The Nayborhood."  Many days before Josh arrived, I went there and sweet-talked the owners into agreeing to loan Josh a skate board for free.  So, today we went back and took them up on their offer.  Josh bought a pair of rad socks to set off his skate shoes and then he took off in Snappy for the city's awesome skate park.

He's been a real trooper these past almost two weeks.  Now it's time for him to cut loose and have some quality time by himself.

It's great to be back home.  Susun's fondling her flowers and loving her plants.  Little Yonni's blogging again. Josh is skate boarding.  Life is Good.

Many Cheers, jp

Monday, June 25, 2012

Whirlwind continues

Up and at 'em at 6 am this Monday morning.  We will be leaving our cozy bungalow no later than 8 am today. Josh and I arrived back from The Salmon River at 3 pm Saturday.  Our time here since has been a blur of unpacking, cleaning & drying gear, repacking and provisioning for another foray to some of our nearby attractions.

Today we will head north and detour over to Upper Mesa Falls.  Then it's on to Yellowstone via Firehole Falls and the geyser basins to Old Faithful.  We figure we will probably spend the entire day there before driving to camp at West Thumb.  We will probably detour up to Lake Village and back as well.

Tuesday we'll be going down to Grand Teton National Park for a couple of nights.  We plan to return here on Thursday, probably about mid-afternoon.  Our schedule is pretty open for the Teton visit with Jenny Lake and the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserver the only "must do" stops.

We're traveling in the pop-top.  All of Josh's camping gear is lashed down to a cargo rack on the back of the truck. We three will ride in the front.

It was pretty hot here yesterday--95 degrees.  Susun has the place looking its immaculate summer self now and she's rightfully due for a road trip.  We will be taking the netbook and hope to post up a trip photo or two during this excursion.  We should have cell service everywhere so the Twitter has been moved back to the top for this adventure.

Have a great day and Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, June 24, 2012

That Rogue Deano

Big city turn me loose and set me free.

There is no easy way to tell you what a Rogue River trip is like. It really touches your soul, it sets you free, and it gives you a gift. The wild, the wilderness, how it changes me and how it will change you. Your heart will thank you.

Rock n roll rapids and as tranquil as a butterfly. Creeks so clear they sparkle from within. Come swim in the sun, play on the water where the river flows into the vast ocean. Where the salmon and steelhead return to their home gravel beds to start the next generation.

We can only give you a hint of what it is like and still every river trip stays with me from day to day and when I’m lucky fills my dreams with adventures beyond the imagination.

Dean Buchser  June 22, 2012

Dear Friend Deano is enjoying another fine summer as a Roger River Guide.  He works for Roger River Rafting and invites our readers to join him for a trip on that legendary river.  Click here for his company's website.  Thanks, Deano, that's a fine piece of prose you wrote while staying at the riverside lodge the other night.  GOOD JOB!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Shotgun Rapid

Here's our run on June 17. It was a great day. We ran the river six days in a row. It was awesome. Lots of river stories to tell.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Summer Solstice

Greetings from the banks of The Salmon River Idaho.  Josh and I spent the night at Stephen and Natalie's Place near Malm Gulch not far from Tunnel Rock which is just downstream from Deadman Hole and not far above Bayhorse.  That's the way it is here--everything has a name and that's how you know where you are on the sprawling 400+ mile Salmon River.

We had a great time at Heather's Place out between Bowery and Germania Creeks on The East Fork Saturday night. Sunday was a real hoot, as these three photos show.  Josh loved his baptism in The Salmon River.  Yes, it was a full body immersion baptism there in Sunbeam Dam.  Monday, Josh ran his first solo trip between Stanley and Mormon Bend.  We camped two nights at Sunny Gulch not far from Redfish Lake.

Yesterday after meeting a lot of people here and there, we put in at Torrey's Hole at 2:30 pm and ran down to the East Fork, arriving cold and chilled at 5:30 pm--18 miles.  Stephen came and picked us up and took us up to Torrey's and then back down here in to Malm Gulch.  Natalie fixed a great dinner and then Josh and Stephen talked guitars all night long.  We didn't get to bed until 11 pm.  It's a great trip and Life is Good!

Natalie's got breakfast ready so gotta run.  Have a great day & Many Cheers!

This is the shot as we were entering Shotgun Rapid.
In The Sunbeam Hole--Welcome to The Salmon River, Josh!
Coming out of The Sunbeam Hole.  Josh is in the bow at top, I'm in the bow at bottom.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cleared for take off

The tower has given us clearance to take off.  We should be leaving the runway by noon today.  Many Cheers, jp

Friday, June 15, 2012

What happens when...

...A Desert Kid comes to visit Idaho?  Why, well they lay down in the green grass and take a photo of themselves.  Of course.

Joshua's Adventure Begins

Joshua W. walked off the same jetliner that Phyllis and Marsha were standing by to board this morning.  After exchanging hugs and smiles with The Two Wise Women, Josh joined us to begin a new adventure.
We toured some of the highlights of the city--Hilda's, The Falls, River Parkway, John's Hole, the Eagle and more before going home to make Josh a hearty breakfast.

Afterwards we got right to work and rigged the AIRE Lynx II to fit him and me.  Then we loaded it in the truck and took it to the city's huge indoor pool.  Normally, such boats would not be allowed in the pool but the mgmt. made an exception for us.  We spent an hour helping Josh feel comfortable in the boat and learn all of its little tricks.  We practiced a lot of self rescue and partner rescue and so forth.  At the end of the hour, Josh was feeling very comfortable.  After getting home about 1 pm, we took a break for Josh could get in a well-deserved nap.  After all, he had to get up at 4 am this morning to make the flight!

We took Josh to WINCO Spa & Relaxation Center and he said, "I had no idea that any place like this existed!"  Yea, verily.  Now we will begin rigging the truck.  That's probably going to take most of the remainder of the day.  So many details, so little time.  Hopefully, we can squeeze in some more fun stuff today for Josh.  It can't be all and no play.  We are very happy he is here to begin his adventures.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Travel Log

First, they decided to Log On.  Then they had a Log Jam singing some songs together and then they logged off.  They had a Travel Log.

Memories are special.  You can't make memories just by sittin' someplace waitin' for a memory to fall down in your lap.  Nope, you have to put yourself "out there" and that when the best memories get made.  Phyllis & Marsha made some real special memories on this whirlwind trip to Idaho.  We won't ever forgot those memories.  Thank You Phyllis & Marsha for putting yourselves out there.  One of our favorite photos of this Memory Trip is shown first.  It's The Two Wise Women having a Special Meeting during lunch today at Black Sand Geyser Basin.

The other photos below are just plain fun!

Many Cheers!  jp

Waving Goodbye

We four joined the summer throngs who gather from around the world to watch Old Faithful be true to the iconic plume of steam and frothing hot water that rises from the earth to the sky timed on a schedule any railroad would envy.  After the hoopla settled down, we all dutifully trooped toward the brand new multi-million dollar Visitor Center.  As we began to approach this imposing edifice, we noticed that we would all appear as reflections in the glass front of this architectural crescendo. So, sure enough, as if one cue The now Three Wise Women all raised their arms in celebration, salute and a fitting wave goodbye to the road roaming, city stirring exploits of a brief but wonderful Idaho visit.  THANKS, Marsha & Phyllis, "ya dun good!"  We're roud of you for gittin' out and making memories.  As we love to say, "You can't make memories unless you make the effort."  We will cherish forever the memories you made on this trip.  It was AWESOME!

Falling For It

The Two Wise Women only arrived Monday morning but now they feel like Old Hands here in Tater Nation.  Yesterday was a "day off" from our whirlwind Gilligan's Island-style "three hour tour."  Today, we ramped it back up and spent 12 hours on the road again.  We visited the geyser basins and Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. We finished up the day by surprising them with Upper Mesa Falls in all its late afternoon grandeur.  We think they rather liked it. More soon. Many Cheers! jp

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Grand Tetons were Grand

We headed out this morning at 7:33 am for our Grand Teton Tour.  Grand it was.  Everything cooperated.  Wind, weather, clouds, water, you name it.  Susun & Friends made a great picnic lunch and we hiked it down to the shoreline of Jenny Lake--right at that Special Spot where so much important stuff in our lives has happened.  We told The Two Wise Women they were now part of the story.  They loved it.

Even a young cow moose showed up as if on cue to walk into the lake and pose.
Luckily, we had some quality time at the Laurance S Rockefeller Preserve.    It was a great day.

We went up The Snake and came back via Teton and Pine Creek Passes.  We arrived back home at 6 pm.

We've been enjoying a fine Happy Hour for the past couple of hours.  Life is Good.

Many Cheers, jp
Below is a great photo that should have run yesterday. We will title it "Horsing Around At Hilda's"

Monday, June 11, 2012

Welcome To Idaho Falls

It's so great having The Two Wise Women here to visit.  Phyllis & Marsha are enjoying themselves.  Susun invited her Girl Friends over for a soiree and, believe it or not, the weather cooperated.  Even the wind laid down!  Front row (l-r) Marsha, Phyllis, Karen, Dina, Lisa.  Back Row (l-r) Teresa, Jan, Shirley.  It's a Tamale Night and a pot luck, too.  Life is Good.  Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012

QR Sod

How 'bout that for a blog post title, eh?  What's it mean?  Simple.  Susun's been up to her eyeballs laying sod while Little Yonni's been messing around with QR codes.  Both of us have spent umpteen hours in our respective tangents over the last couple of days.  Susun's work has been entirely physical while Yonni's has been entirely mental.  While Susun has been on her knees doing the backbreaking work of fitting sod into tight places, Yonni's been glued to the computer screen wearing out his fingertips and synapses.  It's been an interesting juxtaposition.

So, whazzup with sod?  Well, a couple of years ago we thought it would be a nice idea to get landscape curbing put in around the front of the house.  We've even had guys come and give estimates but, for one reason or another, nothing ever happened with the idea.  Last year, we found a nice guy who gave a good quote and he was still interested in the job this year.  It took about a month for it to all come together.  A crew of maybe 6  people showed up one day and BAM, the curbing done in less than an hour for under $200.  The trouble was that Miss Susun decided to reduce the size of the beds beside the house so the new curbing left some really ugly areas.  Well, you know that simply can't be tolerated!  So, Miss Susun set about rectifying the situation immediately.  She probably put in 15 hours on the project, including 8 hours yesterday alone.  It only took four rolls of sod but the prep work and the fitting and all the little details really added up timewise.  She worked incredibly hard on this project and, naturally, it looks beautiful in every way.  WAY TO GO, Sweetie!

Meanwhile, along about the same time we got interested in landscape curbing--two years ago--we also took a hankering to QR codes.  We proposed the idea that Idaho Falls Parks & Recreation use the QR codes to promote various aspects of the department's many features and functions.  Nothing came of the idea.  However, DF & LBR Terry M took an interest in them as well and we swapped interesting tidbits from time-to-time.  Meanwhile, the P&R Department has a brand new Director all the way from Pennsylvania.  He's a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed kinda guy and he knew all about QR codes and professed to actually like them, too.  So, we jumped right on it and had an item put on Monday's monthly meeting agenda.  Sure enough, the P&R Commission decided to let Terry and I run amok with QR codes.  Along about Tuesday this week we realized if we didn't get something rolling by Friday it probably wouldn't happen until mid-July. Soooo...that left zero wiggle room for procrastination.  It meant we had to drop everything else and devote as much time as necessary to get a meaningful QR code project up and running.

In the photo at right with this narrative, you see who was actually responsible for the QR code project actually getting done--Kolbi B at Office Max.  The young man took a personal interest in the project yesterday.  Although Office Max charges $66 an hour for design assistance, Kolbi spent over an hour helping with the design process and charged us $2.20!  As you can see, he had fun with it, too.  THANKS, Kolbi!

Wouldn't you know we finished our QR code project almost to the same exact hour that Miss Susun finished her sod project and spent just about the same amount of time on our project as she did on hers.  Funny how that works out sometimes.

Anyway, the QR codes are now basking in the sun and moon light down along the Greenbelt.  The code links to the greenbelt maps.  Terry is going to be tracking their usage this summer.  Without Terry's genius ideas, the whole QR thing would have already flopped.  THANKS, Terry! Neither of us have any benchmark with which to form expectations about this project so it's a learning experience for both of us.

Meanwhile, Miss Susun is exhausted today and moving very slowly.  She really went above & beyond to get that sod project finished.

Many Cheers, jp

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Shooting shot

Our shooting is shot for this year and probably next year, too, as we explain in this blog post.

Yesterday was the first Wednesday IDPA pistol match of the 2012 season.  Preparing for the match occupied most of the day and we didn't return home until nearly 9 pm.  It was great fun, of course.  We enjoyed seeing all the friends we made last year.  Participating this year was night and day from last year.  We really had no clue what to do or what we were getting ourselves into last year.  We didn't know a soul there and the whole thing was very daunting.  This year lots of people greeted me by name and welcomed me back.  People said things like "We sure missed you, John."  We did a lot better at shooting, of course, because of all the practice we had in Arizona.  Last year we shot in 13 straight weekly matches without missing a one.  This year it's going to be total opposite.  We're going to be lucky if we get to shoot in one or two a month.  The photo show two of my many mentors. Bill S. is shooting the final of five stages.  Bill has taught me so much I couldn't even begin to list all his lessons.  George H. is the Safety Officer holding the shot timer.  George likewise has helped me learn so much and given me several great gifts.  It was really fun hanging out with my Idaho shooting buddies and I sure wish I could do it more often this summer.

The flip side of not being able to shoot much is that we are going to have an awesome and wonderful time with our friends this summer so I really won't miss shooting at all.  Here's how the schedule shakes out.

We have a lot of stuff to finalize by Sunday night.  Monday morning, Marsha & Phyllis fly in about 9 am.  Thus begins our whirlwind.  Or should that be girlwind?  The Two Wise Women fly out Friday on the same plane which delivers Joshua June 15.  When we take Josh to the airport June 29, he gets on the same plane that delivers Kate and Brock!  K&B will be here for a few days before they rent a car and drive to Helena.  The day they leave, Wes & Nancy arrived from Seattle to spend a few days with us to celebrate the July 4th holiday.  When Wes & Nancy leave, Kate & Brock get back from Helena for another few days before they fly back to Arizona.  That puts us out to roughly July 10th.  So, who cares about shooting this summer.  We're busy making memories with our Dear Friends!

Last night after we arrived back from the shooting range we were (as usual) too wound up to go straight to sleep so we stayed up until well past 11 pm drafting ideas for the Salmon River thing.  That's when it dawned on our feeble brain that the Salmon River thing is kind of analogous to a life experience from a chapter of our past that's 40 years old here in 2012.

Forty years ago at this time, we were the Managing Editor for "The Zionsville Times" newspaper in Zionsville, Indiana.  I thought we told that story last August but I can't find it in the archives.  We'll tell it later--it's a long one.  Anyway, lots of memories came flooding back last night.

Then by coincidence we starting thinking of anniversaries and realized that next year will be the 30th anniversary of our famous Colorado River trip in 1983.  Out of the blue we decided to start promoting a 30-year anniversary trip.  We emailed Nancy McC (AKA: Nemac) and she was all over the idea instantly.  Barring unforeseen developments, that trip down memory lane will take place a little more than a year from now so it's highly unlikely we will be doing much shooting next year either.

So that's how we arrived at the title for this blog post.  Our shooting is shot.  Funny how things work out like that.

Have a great day & Many Cheers,jp

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pendulum Swings

Soooo....yesterday at this time it was 93 degrees here.  Yep, 'tis true.  You can check the data link to your left.  This is from the "They can't Make This Stuff Up Department."  Well, now, precisely 24 hours later it is 48 degrees and the wind is gusting to nearly 50 miles an hour.  Uh, huh, you read that right.  That's a drop of 45 degrees.  Put it another way, yesterday's temperature practically got cut in half in one day.  Tonight it's going to flirt with freezing.  The low will supposedly hit 35 degrees.  Nobody here had to worry about eye damage today looking at Venus sneak across the face of the sun--total dark cloud cover ruled the afternoon.

Next Monday it is supposed to be in the mid-60's for the arrival of The Two Wise Women.  Then the temps are going to rise a little bit into to the low 70's on Tuesday, upper 70's on Wednesday and low 80's on Thursday.  We sure can't ask for any better than that for their visit.

Brrr...we're putting on some warm clothes and gonna bake some taters and make some hot chili tonight!

Many Cheers, jp

Hearing lost here

A lot of Dear Friends ask us how we lost our hearing.  This is a good time to tell that story.  We've decided to not only keep the $2000 hearing aids we bought in March but we're actually upgrading them this week to a $3000 pair.  As you know, it wasn't all that long ago when we had some persistent issues about paying so much for hearing aids.  We have to make the swap prior to Friday.  Finally crossing the line and making the decision to buy and keep the hearing aids is a big step in our lives.  Hence we thought we'd do a retrospective and tell how we actually lost our hearing in the first place.

It happened during the Summer of 1968 at a place called Carson Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range not far from Lake Tahoe.  We actually lived in Lake Tahoe that summer and drove back and forth to the job site at Carson Pass.  Back then I worked each summer for the old federal Bureau of Public Roads, the predecessor to the Federal Highway Administration.

During my first summer in 1966, I lived in Azusa, California and worked running rough survey line for the San Gabriel Highway.  The summer of 1967, I lived in Mormon Lake, Arizona and worked out of Happy Jack, Arizona.  Most of the summer was spent being the scale man at a cinder pit nearby or serving as a "guinea hopper."  The third summer was up in historic Carson Pass.

That summer I was detailed as what's called a "Blast Inspector."  The highway was being carved out of a sheer cliff of solid granite.  It was a huge undertaking that required blasting many times each day.  The whole mountainside was crawling with core drilling rigs.  All of those drill rigs were run by Paiute Indians and everyone of those Indians was totally and completely deaf as a stone.  Bear in mind this was back in the days before the word OSHA had been uttered by human lips.  No one wore ear protection and no one ever even THOUGHT of wearing ear protection.

My job as blast inspector was to hover close to the core drilling rigs and make sure the Paiutes were putting the holes uniformly deep enough for their dynamite charges.  Then, I would have to watch the holes being charged and verify they were ready to blow.  Then, we'd all back off a safe distance and let 'er rip.  After that I had to go hole by hole and certify that the dynamite had actually detonated.  If I found a hole that had not been exploded, I'd have to get the powder monkeys to come and mess around with it until they either blew it up or deemed it safe to work around.  It was a laborious task, to say the least.  Meanwhile, I was exposed for most of the summer to that incredible ear-destroying noise of the core-drilling rigs.  Once in awhile they let me work on various survey crews and that's where the two photos here were taken.

Carson Pass Lake is in the background of the top photo.  In the photo below, you can see the cliff in the background where most of the drilling and blasting was taking place.  Compared to today's safety conscious work environment, the job site was incredibly dangerous and primitive.  One guy did die in front of my eyes that summer but we will leave those details off this blog.  At least all I lost was my hearing and not my life.

Well, anyway, when I went back to Purdue, the incessant ringing in my ears was terrible so I went to the infirmary.  The Doctor who examined me was blunt.  He said, "You've destroyed your hearing.  It cannot be recovered.  Your hearing will get worst each year of your life.  By the time you are in your mid-60's you will need to buy and use hearing aids."

Well, I am 64 and that's pretty close to mid-60's wouldn't you say?  The Doc must have been a psychic or something.  He made that prediction in September 1968!  Amazing.

Have a great day & Many Cheers!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Goofin' Off With Go Pro

If you're visiting this blog via a link from the Facebook pages of  Deano and/or Denise, just keep scrolling down.
We took the Big Leap and bought a Go Pro Hero 2 helmet cam!  YIKES!  We've spent the latter part of Sunday learning how to use it.  No new piece of technology is easy to learn--no matter what they say.  Everything has a Learning Curve.  We've really studied this gig and it rox.  It took awhile to pony up the entry price to join the Go Pro People.  Now that we actually own one, we wonder what took us so long.  The camera is so ridiculously small that you feel like a chump for ponying up $300 for it.  But, Wow, whoever designed this little thing really knew what they were doing.  So far, our biggest complaint is about the audio quality.  In a word it: SUX!  However the video quality is superb.  It comes out as an MP4 with roughly a meg a second. That's not too bad and doable to upload to YouTube.  We're beginning to see the utility of having two computers on our WIFI router--one doing yeoman duty as an uploader while we use the other for mundane internet chores.  We've done two test vids--one with the waterproof back and one with the non-waterproof back.  You can click here to see the YouTube of what we're calling "Take Two."

 It's the second video we did with this puppy.

We've messed with ba-zillions of video cameras beginning back in 1966 when a video camera weighed as much as a VW and had cables the size of South American pythons.  We've eventually tried almost all of their goofy and expensive permutations.  We resisted this particular genre because of the high price point and the over hype it was getting online.

If you want to see a video of what the Go Pro cams can do when in the hands of expert kayakers and equally expert video editors, you really ought to check out Bomb Flow Magazine's video entitled, "Go To Church," a fitting title for this Sunny Sabbath.

No, we are NOT going to be dropping off RAD waterfalls.  Ain't gonna happen.

Here's how the helmet cam strap fits on our head helmetless.  Both variations are acceptable.  We plan on buying other various mounting devices for this new toy.  Just for fun we went out to Target today and bought a 16 gig Class 10 SD card.  In military parlance, we're "locked and loaded" for running the river when Joshua comes up June 15.  Ain't gonna be nuttin' we don't catch on video with a rig like this one!

Many Cheers!  jp

Happy Campers

Here is a great portrait of two of our Dear Friends and LBRs "in their element."  That's Deano and Lora on the "home river," The Rogue in Oregon. The photo was taken only a couple of weeks ago. You can easily tell they are very Happy Campers!  We've been thinking about them a lot lately.  Oh, my, what a River Career those two have had!  Deano's now back working as a river guide on The Rogue while Lora is an environmental educator in the Medford-Ashland, Oregon area. They both worked together in the Grand Canyon and spent years guiding on the Middle Fork.  It was way back in 2002 or 2003 that they moved from Flagstaff to The Oregon Coast.  This photo makes up smile and puts some sparkle in our spirits.  Thanks for posting this great photo, Deano & Lora!  Happy Trails & Many Cheers, jp

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mogollon Made It

Look closely and you can see Mogollon's buildings down in the bottom of the canyon.  
The distance between the fire and teh ghost town was approaching less than a mile at one time.
 The crews set the backburn on a ridge very close to Denise's Place.
 Then the wind shifted and there was a flare up heading downhill.
 Fire crews had set up a large water reservoir and some high pressure pumps and sprinklers.
When the back burn was in doubt, Denise & Crew wet everything down.

The Type 1 Command dispatched several helicopters to drop slurry in front of the advancing fire.
Meanwhile, some Hot Shots from the van you see in the foreground help secure a fire line, too.
That's Denise's front gate you see above the hot shot crew van.

It was touch and go there for awhile but Mogollon, New Mexico, survived to live its ghostly life another day.  The tiny town's survival hung in the balance of fickle winds.  Apparently, Thor, mythical God of Fire, decided Mogollon should be spared and Thor huffed and puffed and blew the wind away.  If not for the lucky break on the winds, it could have been a completely different outcome.

As for Denise's Place, the fire crews set some back burns nearby that really helped staunch the possible slop over of the fire into her domain.  There was one dicey moment when a portion of the back burn went awry and flared up and looked like it was going to roar downhill and wreck havoc at Super Salve Central.  Denise & Crew even fired up their hoses and sprinklers and started wetting down their walls.  The Forest Service threw everything they had at the flareup and snuffed it in its tracks.  It was pretty dramatic, actually.

And so The Legend of Super Salve grows.  They can now rightfully say they survived the largest forest fire in New Mexico's recorded history (which goes back a-ways, as you may know). It's going to be a long time before the main part of the fire is controlled.  Soe say control won't happen until the monsoon come  However, all the hot action is now far from Mogollon and Denise's Place.  In fact, it's so safe that the Catron County Sheriff is removing the mandatory evacuation for Mogollon effective Monday June 4th.  Even the public may go back to their favorite watering hole(s) there on June 6th.  The lifting of the evacuation was announced  mid-day Saturday so you know things there are under control.

Yea, verily, Mogollon heard our prayers!

Many Cheers!  jp

Hilda's Done

Susun and Dina did it.  They got 'er dun.  It was a huge effort this year--far beyond anything in the past.  Of course, the Hilda Garden has never looked better.  In each of the past years since all this began in 2008, the whole garden was planted in one day, usually well before 2 pm.

This year?  Not so much.  It took days and days and DAYS to get the garden planted.  In past years there were perhaps 1000-1500 bedding plants put in.  This year the total is at least 3,000 pending a final count and could go higher.  It's unlikely to top 3500. That's a HUMONGOUS amount of planting!  Today, Susun and DTD (DTD = Dina The Dynamo) had help fro a variety of people.  Shirley and Rachel came early.  I planted for an hour or two until the wrist started giving out.  Then Shirley #2 showed up for awhile.  Susun left before 8 am today and worked until after 3 pm practically non-stop.  When the ladies did stop, they practically flopped down under a shade tree to eat some banana bread and drink V-8 juice and water.  They looked like a group of weary highway workers taking a lunch break.  Naturally, the wind came up to a low howl in the early afternoon.

My intuition called me back about 2 pm.  Only Susun and DTD were sticking it out and you could tell they were really dragging.  Luckily, the gimp in my wrist had subsided somewhat so I was able to pitch in and help them over the finish line.  When I showed up they were debating whether to bag it but they toughed it out until the last plant was plunked in Hilda's Garden.
It really was an amazing undertaking this year.  Altogether there were four days of planting and another two days of garden prep and several hours spent poring over DTD's diagrams and spreadsheets as well as at least six trips to the greenhouse and on and on and ON.  Susun came home and pretty much colllapsed.  She just woke up from her nap at 6 pm and was heard groaning repeatedly as she limped to the kitchen for a Happy Hour libation.  Hilda's really have never looked better.  When Susun and DTD finished up and had their respective vehicles loaded with the detritus of the day, they barely had enough energy to give each other a hug. I am so impressed with them and so proud of them and just looking at that incredibly beautiful garden brings a lump to my throat and a mist to my eyes.  You did a truly incredible job this year, Susun and Dina.  THANK YOU!

Many Cheers, jp (Click the small pix to see the full size versions.)

Back scratchin'

Our Salmon River thing is doing really well.  Seems like every day something fun happens.  The daily hit parade keeps on rolling and we never seem to be at a loss for something to write about.  Meanwhile, the companion Facebook and Twitter accounts are proving to be truly valuable.  The website (blog) and the social media accounts all fit together like, well....yes, that hand-in-glove thing.

There's a cool little website in Salmon City called "Lemhi Web."  Basically, the weekly newspaper up there is truly deficient in serving the community well.  So a trio of women decided to create their own news source.  Granted, that's a tall order but somehow they have managed to survive, if not prosper.  You'd have to know a little bit about Salmon City to understand the "who, what, where, why, when and how" of that backstory. You can click here to read a wee bit more about Lemhi Web.

We hit it right off with the owner of Lemhi Web.  One thing led to another and we proposed to swap ads with each other.  In the Old Days, that was called "back scratching" as in "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine."  Sure enough, Lemhi Web came through first and made a logo for us and put a real nice comment right smack on their front page.  We were humbled beyond description as well as delighted beyond words.  So, we clipped a snip from their front page banner and returned the favor.  That logo sure would make a nice bumper sticker!

Meanwhile, the exposure we've received from being front and center on Lemhi Web's gateway page has really bumped up our page views.  Yesterday we logged 120 page views, the second highest yet since this effort began 2.5 weeks ago.  (Narrative continues below screen shots.)

And how about that great paddle rafting photo on our front page?  Where the heck did it come from?  That's the beauty of Facebook.  Some of you LBRs know I have a very low opinion of Facebook and have been loathe to use it since the dawn of time.  Susun meanwhile think's it's the cat's meow and dotes on her Friends and Likes and the fine photos and videos of Grand Sons and Daughters and their social circles.

When we started the Salmon River thing, we knew we really had no choice.  We also had to start a Facebook and Twitter.  That's just the way it's done.  Even the stodgy City of Idaho Falls finally found Facebook just this week. (Imagine that!)  Somehow a couple of licensed Salmon River outfitters found and "friended" us.  One of those outfitters posted 18 great rafting photos in his Facebook yesterday.  Well, what the heck?  We "messaged" him via Facebook and asked permission to use the photos.  One thing led to another and, BAM, the great pictures from just yesterday are sitting on our Salmon River thing.

Without Facebook, we would have never ever known those photos existed.  Meanwhile, the Twitter account continues to turn up all sorts of interesting stuff.  That's how we found the awesome Lochsa video that's currently sitting on our Facebook whatcha-ma-call-it.  This morning, we changed our Facebook ID to be congruent with everything else we are doing.  It's new address is:

You don't have eto have a Facebook account to see that Lochsa video.  You can find it on our Twitter.  Just click the link at left and peruse the various Tweets there--you will see a Tweet that came via YouTube--that's it.  Life is Good with the Salmon River thing.  We are Happy Campers.

Many Cheers, jp

Friday, June 1, 2012

Two Wise Women

The Legend of The Two Wise Women continues to grow with each passing year.  Although we have known each of these Dear Friends for decades, they came together as a Dynamic Duo in December 2001.  The Two Wise Women visited us in our straw house late one night when we were frozen by indecision and doubt.  We knew not what to do, where to turn or even where to go.  The Two Wise Women waved their magic wand over us and sprinkled us with the holy water of their profound wisdom.  They set us on a life-changing course and we have never looked back.  It was on that cold, windy and lonely night when their title was formally bestowed upon them.  They became forever The Two Wise Women.

From that day forward, whenever the Dynamic Duo gets together, magical things continue to happen.  There are no boundaries to what they can accomplish together, no limit to the new heights which they can scale and no known hindrance to how far their Spirits can Soar.

Imagine our surprise, delight, shock and glee when we learned that The Two Wise Women will be coming right here in River City to visit us in a mere 10 days!  That's right--they will be flying in on June 11 and, get this--leaving on the same plane June 15th that brings in Joshua.  Amazing but true.  It's such huge news that we are practically dancing an Irish jig.  Well, not quite.

The photo shows The Two Wise Women at our 2010 Winter Solstice celebration down in Arizona.  That's Phyllis is at left and Marsha is at right.  Dear Friend Kristen is in the middle.  Phyllis and Miss Marsha are one partying pair, that's for sure.  We promised them they will be caught up in a four day whirl wind from the very second they step off the plane until the time they wave goodbye.

Thanks, Ladies, you made our day.  Many Cheers, jp

Helping Hilda

Susun and Sidekick Dina have been hard at it this week planting the Hilda McClure Garden between The Falls and The Red Lion Hotel.  This is easily their most difficult year "plunking plants" in that sprawling flower garden.

Sunsun and Dina start each morning by traipsing off to the Maxine Elliott Greenhouse to pile in two truckloads of flats.  Then they go off to spend hours painstakingly placing each one according to Dina's detailed diagrams and spreadsheets.  This year Dina helped elevate the garden's layout to a form of flowery rocket science.  It's a lot of just plain old-fashioned down and dirty hard work.

Yesterday, just when things seemed to be never-ending, The Angel Factor appeared out of the clear blue ski.  That's right, not one, but THREE actual real guys stopped and said, "Can we help?"  Oh, my, Susun and Dina no longer felt like the Lone Ranger & Tonto there alone on their knees together.

Susun said the guys were great and they actually really worked hard and made a real difference in the day.  Typically, as you know, it's just not a "guy thing" to interrupt your daily schedule and stop to help two women plant flowers.  Besides, there wasn't even any free beer or peanuts anywhere in sight.  Likewise there wasn't a big screen TV showing the NBA playoffs any where to be seen.  Clearly, at least in our book, those guys must have been Angels in Disguise.  As we know from our Indiana Experience, such things really DO happen.

Thanks, Guys, we don't have your names but trust us, the Good Fairies who keep books at "All In A Day's Karma" have placed three large Gold Stars on your Life Charts.  Ya dun good!

Well, Happy June 1st.  May is now one for the record books.  So, how did we fare last month?  We penned a total of 32 blog posts here and another 25 over on the Salmon River thing.  Our May total here was over 50% greater than any of the previous four months and not far off of our long term average of 40 posts per month.  Readership picked up a little bit in the past week.  Comments continue below the stats:

      The Daily News                        

                    -- Site Summary ---                     

            Total ....................... 16,191            
            Average per Day ................. 22            
            Average Visit Length .......... 2:46            
            This Week ...................... 151            

          Page Views

            Total ....................... 26,605            
            Average per Day ................. 31            
            Average per Visit .............. 1.4            
            This Week ...................... 216 

Our average over the past few months as been about 19 visits each day for a total of about 90 seconds.  This week's jump to nearly three minutes shows visitors are spending nearly double the amount of time on the blog they were only a week ago.  Page views likewise increased by nearly 50 over the average of many past weeks.  That's encouraging for us here at Blog-O-Sphere Central.  It's also motivation to pick up the pace and prove May wasn't just a flash-in-the-pan.  We're going to have a tough time equaling the May total because of being on the road two weeks with Joshua.  However, we will certainly give it a try.  

Have a great day & Many Cheers! jp