Monday, September 25, 2017

YEA!!!! It's HERE!

We ordered this new paddle for Susun at 8 AM, September 20.  It was tracked as "shipped" a mere one hour later.  It finally arrived at 1:45 PM, September 25.  It left Kent, Washington, and then went to Seattle.  From Seattle it went to Boise and then Twin Falls.  For some inexplicable reason it went back to Boise.  After sitting in Boise for awhile it went back to Twin Falls.  It stayed in Twin Falls for quite awhile and then went to Salt Lake City.  The tracking records show it left Salt Lake but then came back to Salt Lake.  Finally it left Salt Lake City and went to "points unknown" because it took 26.5 hours to get from Salt Lake to Idaho Falls...a journey that is normally four hours.  That's why we are so danged delighted to finally have it here.

Susun actually used this paddle (or I should say a demo of this paddle) in Stanley, Idaho, on Saturday and Sunday, September 9-10. Many Thanks to Bill Hart for allowing her to use his demo paddle.  Also Thanks to Bill for providing the discount code for Sawtooth Pickleball that saved us 5% on the purchase.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Big Project Today.  Wreck old fence. Rebuild new fence.  Got 'er dun.

Friday, September 15, 2017

72 Hours

Icing on the cake! we've logged 1.22 inches of precip out of this!
Three days ago our high was 90. Now it's 45 here at our house and feeling COLD!  Idaho! How We LOVE YOU!

Yes, The Fall Season came in with a BANG.  That's often the way it goes here.  Flip a switch, change a season.  It's cold enough for us to flip our own switch and turn on the gas, force-air furnace.  Seriously.  It's cold enough to fire up the heated mattress pad!

Yes, in the middle of a brutal Idaho winter, mid-40's would be considered Truly Tropical.  But when it's been upper 80's pushing 90's for daily highs for what seems like forever, a sudden drop into the mid-40's is downright cold.  It takes awhile for our human physiology to adapt to these sudden changes.

It was only a few days ago that I enjoyed shopping in various stores because of their COLD air conditioning.  Today, I savored shopping in my two fave stores because they had their HOT heaters going full blast!  Such as it is in Idaho.  Oh, How We LOVE YOU, Idaho!

 What a Wonderful Day in Every Way!
These are the airport readings,  We're a degree cooler.

Our other blogs

As of August 1st, we stopped writing posts on Facebook.  Yes, we still share other people's stuff. And, yes, we still "Like" and comment on our Friend's posts. And, yes, we use Messenger all the time.  But we just don't write on Facebook any more.  We write stuff on our blogs.  This is our main blog.  We've published 1,869 posts on this blog.  But it's not the only one.  We have many, many many that we've actually lost count of how many.  Some blog post topics are simply far, far too esoteric to put here on this main blog.  So, when we get into a truly esoteric topic, we post it on an equally esoteric blog.  EZPZ.

And so that is how and why we created an esoteric post today on our "Travel Trailer Tips" blog. We're always thinking we're going to post frequently on that blog but we don't.  Today was THE day to add a new post to that mostly dormant and truly esoteric blog.

Anyway, for those few of our Dear Friends who actually own and tow a single axle trailer, today's topic is all about Axle Alignment.

We have many, many other blogs as well and we're going to begin using each of them more often. We love writing but we know that writing LOOONG Stuff on Facebook is a real "no-no".  Don't worry, we got that message Loud & Clear!

Thank You for reading!

Just Gotta Go...

"Just Gotta Go before it's burned down, locked up, sold off or destroyed."  We've used that mantra for more than 20 years.  The scope and scale of change seems so much more profound with each passing year.

Prior to leaving for our Glacier-Waterton trip, we "almost" talked ourselves out of going because of the fire smoke issues.  At one point we actually said, "It's going to be too smokey, let's call it off."  But then we remember our mantra and looked at each other simple said, "Just Gotta Go."

And now we're go glad and grateful that we did.  So much has already changed in the few short weeks since that trip.  The Sprague Fire in Glacier National Park burned down Spreey Chalet and has wrecked havoc with the Lake McDonaald Lodge area along the Going to The Sun Road.  We were able to see this beautiful ocne pristine area before it mostly went to black.

Meanwhile, fire has hit Waterton even harder.  The photo you see above is all that's left of the Waterton Visitor Center.  This structure sat right on the edge of Waterton and we passed it many times during our stay here.  We often used the parking lot of make u-turns.  It can't be more than a quarter mile from that epic landmark, The Prince of Wales Hotel.

Reports seem to indicate that the fire burned right to the edge of Waterton in other areas, too.  That beautiful forest surrounding Waterton now appears to be mostly or totally gone.  Ditto with the forest on the way out to that nearby glacial lake.

It's hard to imagine what it must look like there now.  We are so fortunate to have been able to see it during its last season of splendor.

That's why sometimes ya have to ignore the superficial stuff.  So happy we remembered "Just Gotta Go!"

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


The historic Lake McDonald Lodge is in the crosshairs.  We were just there standing in front of this majestic structure in early August.  You have no idea the emotions we are feeling as we sit wondering whether the Lodge will survive. Sperry Chalet is already gone.  Will Lake McDonald Lodge be next?


It's been about a year since I started playing pickleball. So much has happened since then.  All Good. Just about a year to the day from when I started playing, we were in APPLE Athletic Club yesterday when one of the regular basketballers said he'd like to play pickleball.  His name is Carlos.  I said, "Hey, Carlos, "I'll teach you to play."  And he replied, "I don't know a thing about pickleball."  To which I said, "Well, you play basketball don't you?"  He nodded.  And then I began to make the connection between his basketball skills and what's needed to play pickleball.  I really gave it to him straight.

Well, he got it.  I told him I could teach him to play pickleball in five minutes.  It actually took about three minutes.  And then I turned him loose as he and I played two of APPLE's best female players.  We smoked them 11-4 and they were stunned and dazed.  It was ALL because of Carlos and his natural moves and acrobatic skills.  He went on to win every single game he played in yesterday, a mark unheard of for new players, especially against the tough pickleballers that call APPLE Home.

I asked him yesterday if he was coming back and he laughed his 20-something, easy-going laugh and said, "Yeah, I'll be here."  Sure enough, he showed up right on time and proceeded to play nose-to-nose with the Big Dawgs, winning way more than he lost today.

He's so impressive to watch.  I asked him if I could have my picture taken with him and he smiled and grabbed me by the shoulder.  It's been a great first year of pickleball and this was a very fitting anniversary marker.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Long Live Duane!

Duane Wilson has been hosting The BLM Cottonwood Campground for 19 years.  We first met Duane in June 2002 and we have been BFF's ever since.  It was so great to reconnect with Duane at Cottonwood today.  Duane is somewhere in his 80-something decade--he won't say where.  He lives "six and six" as we Snow Birds love to say.  His winter roost is in Barstow, California.  It takes him four days to drive to and from Barstow to Cottonwood.

To us and to many we know and many people we will never know, Duane is a Living Legend and we ALL LOVE HIM SO MUCH!


Bricked?  Yes, that's what most folks say when an electronic device dies.  "Well, it makes a nice doorstop, it's bricked."

Well, that's what happened to our trusty Old School GoPro HERO2 on this trip.  It quit and it bricked.  We hoped we could perform some CPR on it when we returned to Idaho Falls.  Nope.  Even a software reinstall and firm ware update couldn't save the little puppy.  It recorded it's last few frames yesterday and now we're probably gonna drill a hole through it and make it a another brick on the wall hanging in our Man Cave.

This GoPro had a truly interesting story that's worth retelling here.  We bought it in early June 2012 just before Joshua Wheeler came to visit for two weeks after his freshman year at NAU.  We had all sorts of fun Concept Ideas about how to use the GoPro to record Joshua's first trip to Idaho.

We were SO Proud to strap on the GoPro for a memorable whitewater raft trip on Father's Day 2012. The camera performed admirably in the first big rapid--Shotgun.

To see the full two minute video of running Shotgun click this link:

However, after running into a wall of whitewater at Sunbeam Dam in the second rapid the raft guide reached down into the six inch deep water still inside the self-bailing raft and pulled up a GoPro camera. She calmly asked, "Anybody lose a GoPro?"   Yep, it was mine.

Oh, the shame and embarrassment!  I had forgotten to put the GoPro in its waterproof housing.  So, it was bricked almost right out of the brand new box.  Well, we let it sit out in the sun and put it a ventilated bag of rice and forgot about the camera.  By and by a few weeks later, we pulled the GoPro out of the rice and, voila, it worked!

So, we used it for this and that now and then and a month or so before the one year warranty expired, the audio quit.  So, we contacted GoPro and they said they would fix it but we HAD to have  the purchase receipt.  Of course, we had long lost the receipt.  On impulse, we went out toe the now-defunct Sports Authority outlet where we bought the unit.  They said contact Corporate in New York City and maybe they could resurrect a receipt.  Believe it or not, Corporate came through!  We bundling up the GoPro and shipped it off to GoPro Land and it arrived a mere two days before the warranty expired.

Sure enough, GoPro honored their warranty and sent us a supposedly brand new GoPro.  Trouble was the so-called brand new GoPro had a great big ol' rock chip right in the middle of the lens!  So, we contacted them and they apologized and we sent out chipped GoPro back and got a honest-to-gosh brand new GoPro back.

Well, this trusty little cam has served us SO WELL since then until this weekend.  This cam bricked when it reached the GoPro age of four years and three months which is the equivalent of 87 human years.

We're not sure if we're going to replace the GoPro with either another GoPro or a knock-off action cam.  We're thinking our GoPro Days are Gone With The Wind and may be bricked as well.

It was a Good Run from June 2012 to September 2017.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Ah, Cottonwood, how we love thee!

Cottonwood? Whaddaya mean? Yer in Idaho!

Well, yes, we're in Idaho but we're in Cottonwood tonight and we love this special place.

Technically, it's the BLM Cottonwood Campground near Ellis, Idaho, perched alongside The Salmon River. But to us and everyone else it's known simply as Cottonwood. You say Cottonwood here and everyone knows what and where you mean.

So, when we told people “We're going to Cottonwood,” they smiled and nodded and we're feng shui.

We go way back with Cottonwood—all the way to June 2002, believe it or not. We were on a Forest Service Secret Shopper trip and had been all the way up far north of West Glacier and came back down through Missoula. After a long day of Secret Shopping, we drove through the Bitterroot Valley, over Lost Trail Pass and down through North Fork and Salmon City, Idaho. It was getting late in the day and we were both antsy and tired and, yes, getting cranky, too.

Driving The River Road, as US 93 is known south of Salmon City, can get a little tedious and testy at times. And so it was late on one of those really long, long days of the June Solstice that we spotted the sign to Cottonwood. Little did we know when we turned in here that fateful evening that we would develop a lifelong relationship with Cottonwood.

And so it is that we are here at Cottonwood once again. We've been gone way too long and we're danged happy to be back. It would take a small novel to tell you about all the times we've camped here and why and what for and when and with whom. And the novel would get bigger if we told you about all the other people we know who have camped here. If ever there was a campground that was truly Home to us, it is Cottonwood. There is so much to say about this special spot, we are overwhelmed just thinking of even trying to put our experiences here into words. So we won't.

We woke up this morning in a fog. A lot of people say that after a Saturday night party but, no kidding, we were really fogged in. And the fog didn't lift out until nearly noon. So we played pickleball in a fog. It was kinda cool in a strange sort of way.

After a couple of hours of pickleball, we returned to Sunny Gulch and the gulch was actually beginning to live up its sunny name. We hooked up the trailer in a wink of an eye and departed before noon, which is also well before the 1 PM checkout time there.

It was a beautiful drive downriver through the canyon with almost no traffic. Blissful mid-Sunday Drive. We arrived at Old Sawmill well before 1 PM and could see that the festivities had already begun. Old Sawmill provided free burgers and all the trimmings with home made potatao salad and baked beans free to everyone who showed up. It was almost like a mini-Clayton Area Family Reunion.

One of Custer County's notable citizens, Doug Hammond, was on hand to represent the Salmon River Shrine. Meanwhile a Major Type A (as in Capital TYPE A) horseshoe tournament took shape and got underway. We spent three hours taking photos and trying to capture the essence of the event. It was great. We love The People of The Clayton Area and it was so fun to be with so many of them again. Man, they toss some mean horseshoes! Howard Cutler and his band played some of their finest music. Everywhere we looked, it was a Classic Norman Rockwell scene from a cover of The Satuurday Evening Post.

We pulled out of Old Sawmill after three thirty and got into Lamb's Market in Challis going on about 4:30 PM. Lamb's was our Foodie Mecca for four years in 2004-05-06-07. From our lonely outpost at Bowery Guard Station, it was a full three hour round trip to Challis, Lamb's and laundry. Usually, whenever we “went to town,” as country people say, we spent 6-9 hours away from home.

Lamb's looked today just as it has always looked. It's one of those timeless places that never seems to change one iota. I knew that I could walk to the “bread department” and know precisely were on the shelves the best quality and best priced bread would be located. Sure enough, I could have done it blind-folded. Ditto every other aspect of the store. We love that store.

We spent ten bucks on some so-called essentials and then proceeded to set forth on arguably one of our favorite All Time Drives—Challis To Cottonwood. When I go to Heaven, I want the road from the Pearly Gates to the Interior Of Heaven to look just like the Challis to Cottonwood Drive. If it doesn't look the same, I am going to complain mightily to St. Peter and maybe even God Himself! I might even want my money and life back!

Word has got arouund about Cottonwood. We didn't expect to see anybody here on a Sunday. WRONG! We were lucky to get a spot. We had assuumed we'd be able to get one of the coveted riverside spots. WRONG! They were all full. Luckily, we got a pull through spot and easily leveled up the trailer. We're not bothering to unhitch as we're leaving fairly early on Monday.

We're not lolly-gagging here at Cottonwood. We just came back to savor the romance of this place and remember and reflect on all our previous Life History here.

Duane Wilson is the Camp Host and he has been here NINETEEN YEARS! Seriously! Duane is like a distant Uncle to us and he told Susun right away that it has been 3 years since we've been here. Duane might as as old as Saint Peter but his mind is sharp as a tack. We're posting this on Duane's WIFI range extender that he gives out only to Dear Friends. We've known Duane since we first met him in June 2002. Coming back here and seeing Duane still alive and kicking and riding his bicycle around camp to check up on and gab with everyone is a very grounding experience.

In this day and age to know that some things never change such as Lamb's and Duane and Cottonwood and the Challis-To-Cottonwood Drive is a deliciously comforting thought!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Trailer Life

Sweetie Susun really did a number on our tiny home, The Mosey Inn.  She cleaned the exterior by hand—one swipe at a time.  SO Impressive!  Thank You, Sweetie! We have been talking about cleaning the outside of the trailer ever since we bought it in January 2014.  Finally, Susun took matters into her own hands.  While I sat bewitched in front of the computer for two days at Old Sawmill, Susun toiled under hot, smokey skies making the trailer look brand new again.

For years we've joked about what we  call “Trailer Life” cover shots  You've seen them on the cover of, well...”Trailer Life” magazine.  That magazine loves to put impossibly beautiful photos of a travel trailer sitting in a pristine scene with nary another RV rig in sight.

We kinda feel like our camp here at Site #14 in Sunny Gulch on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is a Trailer Life Lite cover shot.  There is no deep blue lake in the background or a gushing stream in the foreground.  But having the outside of this tiny home so incredibly clean gives these photos some extra pizazz in our own eyes and minds.

On a smoke free day, you'd be able to see the Sawtooth Crest in the background.  And, yes, there actually IS a gushing stream in the foreground—it's the Salmon River and  it's clatter across the glacial boulders is very much audible.

Ah, Sunny Gulch, we love you.  We've been camping here for many years.  In fact, we've camped in Site #14 numerous times. During the summer when the many campgrounds at Red Fish Lake are max'd out full, you can always find a spot at Sunny Gulch.  The sites are spacious and very well done.

Since we're past the busy summer season and since the skies are smoked, there are very few people here this Friday.  We're guessing there might be six other camps here this afternoon.  It feels like we have the place to ourselves.

The drive from Old Sawmill to Stanley is arguably one of the most scenic 30+ mile drives in this part of Idaho.  The Salmon River is right smack beside the road and the steep sides of the canyon are carved into the billion-year-old Idaho batholith granites.

We're kicking back this afternoon.  After the combined 14 hours of computer work the last couple  of days, we need some R&R and Sunny Gulch is just the ticket.

Maybe we will get motivated to mosey over to Red Fish Lake Lodge...or maybe not.  Who knows, we might even mosey into Metro Stanley to see whazzup in The Capitol of Sawtooth Country.

Meanwhile, we're enjoying being in our own Trailer Life cover photo today.

Sawtooth bound...

Not too danged bad.  Maybe we will camp on Redfish Lake after all.
Not much to report Friday that we didn't already cover in Wednesday's writeups.   
Thursday was definitely another Deep Red Sun morning here. The smoke was incredibly thick all day. Late summer is pretty much always smokey in this part of Idaho. Usually, the smoke is from a nearby fire such as last year's Pioneer Fire that smoked out The Sawtooths. This year there arean't any giant local fires. All the smoke is coming a combination of scores of fires burning in NORCAL, Oregon and Washtingon. When fires get as large and numerous as they are over there, fire fighters really can't do much more than try to protect structures or set back burns. Typically, a fire season as severe as this one only ends when the rains come or the snow flies.

However, the area received a reprieve of sorts. The wind changed direction and there was a tiny sprinkle in the middle the night. Friday morning we can actually see the moon and most of the horizons. Some of the sky is partly visible as well. That's a huge change. Chances arer the smoke will settle back in later today but any little glimmer of normalcy is welcome!

Thursday was the Long Day we expected it to be. Started work at 9:30 and kept after it continuously until 4:30. Ten minute lunch break. We had only one true “scare” yesterday when we thought we lost two days of web work. Working with web coding and files on servers can sometimes do that to you. POOF, gone. Luckily, of course, we back up everything and were able to restore the files to their proper working order.

The main order of business yesterday was creating and then populating ten blog posts describing the surrounding “attractions” that make Old Sawmill Station such an appealing Base Camp for Salmon River Country. We figured it would be easier to put that stuff on blog posts and then link them to the website. That way the Staff here can actually update the blog posts far easier and safer than messing with HTML files on the CusterTel server. Lisa Hurless picked it right up in only a few minutes. That's the beauty of blogs—EZPZ. We know she's going to do a fabulous job keeping that blog updated.

We're heading out of here sometime Friday morning and driving about 30 minutes upriver through the canyon to Stanley which is The Capitol of Sawtooth Country. We'll head on out toward Sunny Gulch Campground. This time of year, we'd normally opt for a campsite with a splendid view of Redfish Lake and the picturesque peaks beyond. However, it's so smokey, there won't be much of a view. Sunny Gulch is right on Idaho Hwy 75 and an easy, short drive into Stanley.

We will visit some Dear Friends there Friday afternoon and maybe get in some much-needed exercise. Thursday we set a new all time low step count—a mere 1600 steps. That's what sitting in front of a computer for 7 hours will do to a guy.

The Pickleball Fairy made it possible for us to play pickleball in Stanley at 8:30 AM Saturday morning, provided that it's not raining. Well, it really won't be raining in the true sense of raining but it might be sprinkling enough to be annoying as far as playing pickleball goes.

Not sure what the rest of Saturday might bring but we know it's going to including walking, day hiking or doing something to keep active.

We had originally planned to camp near Ketchum Saturday night and then play pickleball in Hailey on Sunday morning. The new plan is to remain camped in Sunny Gulch Saturday night and then head downriver Sunday, arriving back here at Sawmill sometime in the early afternoon. The Salmon River Shriners are all congregating here between noon and 5 PM to do a Memorial of sorts for The Late Clayton Hurless. There's going to be a big BBQ, a horseshoe tournament, music by a local legend and probably the obligatory clowning around by fez clad Shriners. Old Sawmill doesn't get those types of events very often and The Family wants us to photograph the activities and put them online. Will do.

We won't be staying for the duration but just long enough to capture some “event essence”.

We'll probably pull out of Old Sawmill in the 3:30 to 4 pm range Sunday and hope to see Dear Friend Shannon in Challis. Afterward, we will drive on down to the Joe T. Fallini Campground at Mackay Reservoir to spend Sunday night.

Depending on how we're feeling, we might go out to Craters of The Moon to camp Monday night. The NPS closed the tiny campground there practically the entire year of 2016 to completely rebuild the campground. The original campground was built long before the advent of behemoth RV Big Rigs. The sites were tiny and the turning radius impossible. We've been wanting to see the new and improved campground so this might be the time to do so.

We also will be stopping at an Arco Ladnmark known (seriously) as Pickle's Place. No need to explain our motivation for that stop. Chances are pretty good we will be back in Idaho Falls before lunch on Tuesday, maybe even in time to play pickleball at APPLE.

Anyway, that's The Plan...and at will sure be interesting to see how the plan changes as time passes.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


HTML, FTP, Gimp, Jing, Irfanview, GoPro, MP4, Open Office, macro, micro...You name it, we used it. Today was a techno smorgasbord palooza here at Old Sawmill Station.

We spent a leisure morning drinking fresh ground coffee while writing op our lengthy blog post about Days 1 and 2 of our Road Trip. We had agreed to meet with The Hurless Family “about 10-ish”. As the apppointed time drew near, I began to wonder, “Gee, do I still have these skills? Are they really still lodged somewhere in my synapses?”

Well, everyone gathered pretty much right on time for our 10-ish meeting and we six sat together at a table looking ready to solve the world's problems in one fell swoop. I know how to run meetings so I set everyone at ease and lightened up the mood and then The Hurless Family relaxed and settled once again into the laid back mode for which they are duly famous.

After about 30-40 minutes of free flow “gabbing” we pretty much knew our “marching orders” for doing a makeover on the website. I told them to realize that all they would see of me throughout the day was a geezer sitting in a corner staring at a computer. I told them not to worry. It was normal behavior for anyone messing with amending the guts of a website.

Sure enough, I sat in the same place in pretty much the same “thinker” pose for more than 5 hours...punctuated, of course, by inhaling a famous Old Sawmill Station hamburger. By the time lunch rolled around I was on an HTML roll and the last thing on my mind was taking leisurely bites out of that burger. Nope, by that time of day all I could think of was WORK!

All those skills and programs necessary to do website work came flooding back to my fore brain and fingertips and files were flying back and forth between Old Sawmill's WIFI node and CTCI's (AKA: CusterTel's) web hosting server(s).

It's SO much more fun and efficient to work on somebody's website face-to-face. It's SO tedious and frusrating to try to do such work by email or Facebook message.

With each change, update or edit of the website, I could simply walk into their office and ask, “Is THIS what you want?”

By the end of the day, we had reached a clean “break point”. I could walk away from the project knowing all the loose ends were tidied up and that the clients were duly pleased. I know I impressed them today and I have to tell you I impressed myself, too. I am danged glad to know I still “got this stuff”. Up here not far from the middle of nowhere, you don't really need a Silicon Valley, high tech web site with a million goofy bells and whistles and special effects. Nope, you need a Good Old Fashioned website that tells a compelling story and resonates with potential customers.

That's what at is ALL about here on The Salmon River Deep in The Heart of Custer County. Lisa Hurless shared an amazing story with us. Even though the website was more than 2 years old before today, it FILLED their sprawling RV park with eclipse visitors. Lisa said she was absolutely certain than 90% of their eclipse visitors came to Old Sawmill because of the website!!!!

And bear in mind the website those eclipse visitors were viewing was last amended in early May 2015!
So, that just goes to show ya that ya don't need the latest and greatest website to make money. Nope, on The Salmon River you primarily just need a functional website that's moderately up-to-date---and moderately up-to-date can be loosely contrued.

Anyway, we proceeded merrily along today and more or less lost track of time. That often happens up here on The Salmon River. The river moves according to its own rythmn and flow. Time more or less transpires in tandem with The Water. It's hard to explain. Time takes on its own Spirit here. Ah, The Spirit of Time!

We have yet much to do regarding their website and yet another really long day looms ahead. We fully expect to sit nearly motionless for many, many hours on Thursday, pondering all of the seemingly imponderable permutations of how to please clients while yet creating something that looks good on a cell phone. Talk about Rubik's Cube!

Our plans have indeed changed once again. What else is new, eh? We need to be here Sunday at Old Sawmill Station for an obligatory Special Event to Honor The Late Great Clayton Hurless. We thought we would be playing pickleball in Hailey Sunday. Nope. Anyway, we don't know how the pickleball fairy dust is going to shake out but we're good to go with whatever at is.

We also thought we would be returning to Idaho Falls on Monday or Tuesday. Now it's looking like Tuesday or Wednesday.

And so at goes during Life On The Road.
The Roadie Life!

Got milk...?

We didn't cry over spilled milk. We simply didn't have time to cry. It was an all hands on deck fast and furious response. More on that fiasco later.
First, let's jump into the Time Machine and rewind 13 years to Year 2004. That's when we washed ashore on The East Fork of The Salmon River at Bowery Guard Station in Idaho's Sawtooth National Recreation Area. We knew no one and were the proverbial strangers in a strange land.

Almost immediately however, we were “adopted” by local legends from The Hurless Family. Clayton, Curt, Lisa and Dana became instant Dear Friends and the foundations of our happy and successful four seasons at Bowery deep in the Heart of Custer County.

Ten years ago Clayton, The Hurless Family Patriarch, asked us to create a website for The Family's Old Sawmill Station, a vibrant cultural outpost at Hwy 75 Milepost 218.5 alongside the free-flowing Salmon River.

Even though we moved to Idaho Falls in late August 2007, we kept in contact with our Dear Friends at Old Sawmill. Periodically, Clayton would pay us a handsome sum to update the website. Clayton was like a surrogate father-figure to me. My own Dad died in 1998. Clayton so much reminded my of my Dad. I so enjoyed his company.

The last time I saw Clayton was in May 2015, not long before he died on August 15 that year. We did some tweaking of the website and took a fabulous photo of Clayton with two of beloved sons, Curt and Dana. Once again Clayton overpaid us for the trivial work we did.

After Clayton passed on, we blew that photo up to poster size and sent it to The Family where it now hangs framed in a place of honor at Old Sawmill Station.

We never heard a word back about the website from The Family after Clayton's death. Meanwhile in May 2016, Go Daddy dinged me $100 to renew the “” domain name. I really didn't want to pay that hundred bucks but I did so out of respect for Clayton and his Family. I didn't let them know I paid for the website's renewal. Clayton had always been so generous with me, I felt it was the least I could do for his memory.

Meanwhile, time passed. By and by, Lisa Hurless “found me” on Facebook in August 2017. She sent a Friend request which I quickly confirmed. By and by, Lisa asked if there was any way I could help them update the website.

Well, Clayton took all the passwords with him when he departed. So I told Lisa I didn't think there was anything I could do. Meanwhile, in the middle of a dark summer night, I remembered the password to the Gmail account I had created for Clayton, oh so long ago. Strange but true.

I woke up and hurriedly tried the password and, VOILA, it worked! Well, that opened up all sorts of doors. And then, as if by magic, I found a sheet of paper that contained the logon and password info to the server housing the Old Sawmill website!

Lisa had offered to reimburse me for the $100 I spent. Instead, I told her we would come up to Old Sawmill if she would pay our round trip gas, give us free camping and all the free hamburgers we could eat.

You see, Old Sawmill has The Best Burgers on The Salmon River between Stanley and North Fork. They aren't pretentious concoctions such as you might find at Jerome's Haunted Hamburger. Nope. They are big, fat, classic American hamburgers hand pattied the old fashioned way and grilled on a real grill by Dana, The Master Griller.

Lisa quickly agreed to our proposal. Meanwhile, we worked with CTCI in Challis to verify access to the server. We also bought some HTML editing software and updated our FTP software. We then created a blog and a Facebook for Old Sawmill as well. Everybody needs a blog, right?

The first post (and so far only) post on the blog is a verbatim reproduction of Clayton's obituary. I provided that photo to the mortuary when Clayton died. I cropped it from the photo of him with his sons.

Anyway, Lisa and we set a date to appear at Old Sawmill. The plan was to arrive the day after Labor Day and stay three nights while we would work with The Family to edit the website according to their wishes.

Meanwhile, Dear Friend Heather let us know she would be out at her Dream Ranch on The East Fork late on Labor Day weekend. Ah, HA! We immediately saw a chance to get Double Duty out of our pre-planned trip to Old Sawmill.

Heather and her Friends would be staging for a Middle Fork River trip. Heather planned a Big Party Labor Day and said, “Come on out!” Naturally, we agreed and began rigging the travel trailer and our stuff to wind up at Heather's Place about 5 pm on Labor Day.

Everything was going smoothly according to plan on Labor Day. We envisioned leaving by 1 PM and, sure enough, we buttoned up the house and drove away a few minutes before the stroke of one.

As we approached the stop light one block away, Susun turned pale and said, “I forgot to latch the trailer's refrigerator door.”

Well, by then it was too late. We hurriedly whipped off onto a side street and our worst fears were confirmed. An unopened gallon of milk had ruptured when it fell from the fridge, spilling the full gallon into the small floor of the trailer. Meanwhile, a larger container of three-bean salad went feral on the floor and a giant container of spaghetti and sauce did a face plant as well. It was an epic mess.

We jumped in the truck and beat feet back home, a few blocks away. We pulled willy nilly into the back yard and began frantically emptying out the trailer and it's three side compartments.

We didn't cry over spilled milk. We might have cried but we simply didn't have time for emotions. Spilled milk is a smelly disaster-in-the-making.

It took us two hours to fully empty the trailer and another three hours to attack the full extent of the spilled milk. All totaled, we spent over six hours on the cleanup. Yes, Labor Day truly turned into a Day of Labor for us.

The tide turned when we had the inspiration to use an air compressor to force antibacterial chemicals into every little crevice were the milk went. It as a time-consuming and very tedious job. Of course, there certainly wasn't any way that we'd be going to Heather's Party at The Dream Ranch! As dusk began to form, we were completely exhausted and wondered what tomorrow might bring.

Luckily, our immediate and aggressive attack on the spilled milk did the trick. We woke up Tuesday morning and tip-toed out into the trailer. Nary a scent of the stench of spilled, spoiled milk could be smelled. Oh, joy!

And thus began the lengthy, complete repacking of the trailer's contents. Fortunately, it only took a few hours and we were able to drive away again slightly before the stroke of 1 PM. Oh, what a 24 hours transpired between those two deja vu departures.

We had an uneventful drive out US 20 to Arco and up US 93 to Challis. Dense smoke from the scores of sprawling western wild fires blotted out every land mark of that scenic drive. The towering Lost River Range was completely invisible! Visibility was adequate to see oncoming traffic but that was about the extent of our vision.

We rolled into Challis shortly after 3:30 PM and hurried to The HUB, a mecca of sorts for us. Luckily, The HUB was open until 4 PM and we scurried inside searching for some of The HUB's legendary, famous fifty cent deals. Susun found four fabulous skirts for 50 cents each and I scored a nice Nike golf shirt and a new, never-worn hat for 50 cents apiece. Ah, The HUB! Let us count the many ways we love your 50 cent deals!

After leaving The HUB at 4, we went to CusterTel to meet with Louanne. She's the person in charge of the server that hosts the Old Sawmill website. She assured us she would be on stand by in case we ran into any technical problems transferring files to update the website.

And then we drove out on Memory Lane, heading upriver on Idaho 75, The Salmon River Scenic Byway. We long ago lost count of how many times we've driven that iconic road. But each time is unique and Tuesday was no exception. 

The dense smoke turned the foreground horizons into ghostly, craggy, bluish apparitions. The smoke created new stark vistas giving us fresh perspectives about this land we thought we knew so well.

We passed by all the familiar places, The Buffalo Jump, The Bighorn Sheep area, the mini gorge, Bayhorse, Tunnel Rock, Dead Man Hole, Broken Wing Ranch, the stone quarry, Clayton (Population 7); Ice Corner and finally arrived at Old Sawmill shortly before 5 PM.

It felt like coming home, pulling into such a familiar and welcoming place.

Dana was outside with a brew on the deck chatting with a Friend in an ATV. He welcomed us as if we had just left yesterday for an errand in Challis. We gave him a special hat with a stuffed fabric trout embedded in the ball cap. Dana was pleased. He's going to wear it to his Challis High School Class Reunion this coming weekend.

Dana took us out to the RV area behind Old Sawmill and showed us where to park. Then we went inside to exchange hugs with Dana's wife, Lisa and Dana's Mom, Deanie. It's always so wonderful to see their smiling happy faces. We talked briefly about our Wednesday morning game plan to begin work on the website about 10 AM.

And then it was time to set up our tiny home, The Mosey Inn, in Site #29. We were happy to learn Old Sawmill's WIFI doesn't reach our campsite. Ah, the joy of a grid free camp!

The big highlight of our first night's camp was christening the new cribbage board. We played six games on it and both loved it. The board is made from a thick slab of mesquite purchased on Leap Year Day 2016 from the Tumacacori Mesquite Sawmill.

Yes, it was kind of ironic that the mesquite came from one Old Sawmill to another Old Sawmill!

By and by, we both fell into a deep slumber beneath the smoke filled skies of Salmon River Country. It's great to be back.

Website work begins soon and we'll keep ya posted. Thanks for reading this tome. Happy Day & Many Cheers, jp

Well, we've worked form 10 AM to 4:15 PM non-stop today so I guess it's time to take a break.