Driveway Redone

Some Mondays are better than others and today was great. It started this morning when the stranger held the door open for me at Basin Travel and said good morning. It continued when I got to the counter and Karla told me the guy in front of me was paying it forward and bought my coffee.

I was facing two more weeks of work followed by a tortuous trip to I.F. on the following Monday, June 13th, to work with dispatch. I wasn’t getting out of here for some travel until the middle of June. Yikes!

And then, those Wheels that keep on Turning, suddenly began to align. The visit to dispatch was put off until August, my morning pickups at Hatches Corner next week were canceling away, and Karen said she could handle next week no problem. That means that when 401 school ends this Friday, I’m done!

So, I scoped out room rates in the desert starting next Wednesday (I still have to pick up Steph on Sunday) and got some great prices: 5 nights across two locations, for an average of $34 a night. It’s on! In a week I’ll be heading to the desert on Horses with no Names, seeking heat and back pain relief, and maybe find my canopy along the way.

Oh, and the driveway guys finished up the project they started back in October…

Categorized as Vacation 5


I inadvertently discovered 6,230 more U.S. Cities to add to my database today which means I’ve had to write utilities to scour the web and update essentials like FIPS codes, County name and Zip code, for each City. Just about done. I also took a break and drove down to our local Green Canyon Hot Springs to soak my poor back but the bastards lied to me on their website. Open at 1000, Memorial Day through Labor Day. They must have meant the day after because I arrived at 1020 and the weren’t open until 1200.

I drove back to Driggs to see if anybody was cooking up a hot dog or something, couldn’t find any action, so I drove home and had a tuna & egg sandwich with beans, scrubbed out Pipers litter box out in the sun, and dove back into code.

My thanks to the veterans that died, so I can do what I do, as a free man, on this 2016 Memorial Day…

Categorized as House

Random Indie Stew

Well, here I am again, holding down the house and the cat while Steph is in the Bahamas with her girlfriends partying with dark skinned strangers on the beach. I thought about chasing down a new Hot Springs today but I’ve learned over the years that Memorial Day weekend is like New Years Eve, only the amateur drivers hit the road, and I’m a pro. So today for me is all about Stew, Indie Cars, and Random Cities (code that is).

The Indie race was terrific, the stew was great, and the magic number is 20,261. That’s how many cities I created in my new Cities by State database today. Once you’ve clicked on a point (inside a U.S. State) in my Bmap8 app, you can select the [Cities] link at the bottom and the map will be populated with clickable City names. Click on any of those and you can get the City Website (if they have one, otherwise the wiki) along with the County Website (which all U.S. Counties have).

Here’s an example: Click here to get a map of San Francisco. Once it’s loaded look at the bottom of the Info box, locate the Cities link and click it. All of the cities for California are placed on the map but you just see the ones near San Francisco (drag the map and adjust the zoom for more). Click on any City name to get the City info.

btw: Still working on the Random City code…

Categorized as House

New Mailbox

Today I replaced the best mailbox in Teton Valley with a brand new spanky black one. I had to drill new holes in the bottom of the mailbox, cut out a new slot for the back edge to slide into, and drill new holes for the mounting screws.

The problem was, I didn’t have a drill, (we always borrow one), so I ran down to Ace and picked one up. Anyway, the project is done, but I’m not happy with the mounting screws as they stick up in the bottom too high, so I’ll replace those next week.

Steph put the numbers on and I like them. As someone who makes his living trying to find addresses in the early dawn, big numbers are great. There are more photos, click the picture below…

Categorized as House

Medical Bullshit

Twenty years ago a doctor in Kent, WA. stuck an x-ray of my chest up on a light box in his office for me to see. He said that I had a few cigarette butts in there but if I quit I might live long enough to see my son grow up and see my great-grandchildren. I proceeded to quit as I walked out of his office, and his prediction came true.

The physical act of a doctor sitting down with you and showing you the actual images that he sees when x-rays or CT scans are performed, just isn’t happening anymore, at least not at our local Teton Valley Hospital, and I’ve become pretty pissed off about it.

Last year about this time I went to the local clinic (part of the hospital) to get a physical therapy referral for chronic lower back pain. I had started taking Ibuprofen for it and as I look back on it, that’s what started this whole medical bullshit saga.

My strong position in life has been to not consume pills of any kind. My system is perfectly balanced and I’m insanely regular. Taking those damn pills caused me to start backing up, which put more pressure on my lower back. A couple of P/T sessions taught me some exercises to ward off the back pain but the pain was increasing so I went back to the clinic. X-rays were taken and all the doctor said was “Your back looks alright, except for one small thing” and then proceeded to prescribe some muscle relaxer pills. I was in too much pain to think about demanding to see those images, and to this day I still have not. The whole thing was starting to spiral out of control.

I had to drive an intercity Rexburg run that week and during breaks I would head over to the shade trees by the closed high school, lie on the floor of the bus and scream in agony as I tried to stretch my back out. Those muscle relaxers were crap and just backed me up further.

By the time Saturday rolled around my stomach was extremely swollen and I was afraid I had some sort of blockage, so Steph drove me to the E/R. They put me on a morphine drip, took blood and did a full workup, and performed a CT scan of my gut. The doctor told me my liver and kidneys were fine (no individual analysis of the blood results) and that he saw no major issues on the CT scan. He recommended a lemon flavoured liquid laxative, gave me a prescription for hydrocodone, and sent me home.

I took a couple of those damned pain pills and finally said Screw This! I managed to cure myself by downing a six-pack of those lemon drinks and stoping all of the pills. I exercised my back into shape and finally I was fine.

I put a request into the hospital to view all images taken, with an actual interpretation of such, by a physician. I received a CD with two CT scan images which mean nothing to me, a printout of my blood results which meant nothing to me and no x-ray images. I did receive a bill for almost $900 though.

Here’s my position: I’m almost 70 and I had pictures taken of my insides and my back and I never saw them! This policy of letting the doctor pass judgment on them, without sharing them with the patient, is bullshit. I started bugging them to let me see everything, but finally said screw it. Fuck our local hospital…

So here I am a year later, and the problem has returned. I again have pain that wraps around my back and stomach, but this time, I’m handling it differently. I haven’t taken a single pill, I just deal with the pain. I’ve got those heavy duty pain and muscle relaxer pills up in the cabinet, but they stay there…

I wonder if it’s seasonal? I guess I won’t find out because I’m not going back to our fucking hospital and I’m still paying off last years bill, fifty bucks a month…

This summer? Lot’s of hot springs…

Categorized as Various


I’ve located the nearest dealer for Raider truck toppers down in Hyde Park, Utah (north of Logan). I don’t know anything about these toppers other than they’re a competitor to the top of the line Leer. Nobody shows prices on these things so you need to get a quote from the dealer based on your vehicle.

I didn’t like the $1600 price for a Leer from my local Idaho Falls dealer so I’m branching out. I’m also still entertaining the idea of finding my old one in the desert, but as every day passes, the idea wears thin.

Anyway, the dealer is Mountain Toppers (map)and their yard looks kinda interesting, just like their website, but maybe they have a used one back there that will fit. It’s also along the way with Lava Hot Springs so maybe I can kill two birds.

Except, I don’t kill anything, unless they’re a bird flying along Hwy 33 trying to dodge farming equipment and fly under my bus. The thump haunted me all day yesterday and all I could say to myself was, accident

Categorized as Vacation 5

Nearby Donuts

Do you need a donut in The City? Actually, decades ago, I did. We didn’t have the tools we have now, back then you had to find a payphone, hope the book hadn’t been ripped out, look up “Bakery” in the yellow pages, write the address down, find it on our San Francisco paper map, and then go there, following the map as it lay in your lap.

Now you can just bring up my Bmap8 app, type “San” (just enough to auto search…), select the City, select Nearby and then Bakery. Take your pick, clicking on any of those names will give you everything you need, including their website if they have one.

Click the map below, click Nearby, and find something else…

Categorized as Site Stuff

Wendy Kids

Steph was going through some old photos today and discovered one stuck behind another in a frame, that she didn’t know existed. That’s pretty cool!

The picture shows her sister Wendy with Steph’s kids on her lap. It should be noted that both Junior and Melissa have now given her a brand new grand-daughter each…

Categorized as Family

Four Bolts

When I pulled into Bullhead City, AZ over last Spring Break and realized my trucks canopy had been blown off by an 80 mph windstorm, somewhere out in the massive desert I had just crossed, my first thought was to secure my gear. I just assumed my poor canopy was gone forever and now that I’m back home and ready to start another Summer adventure, I feel lost without it.

New canopies are not in my budget, and tonneau covers are problematic, so I have decided to buy four bolts. When school ends around here and my employer and I agree it’s time to start my summer off, I’m heading back to that desert to attempt to find it.

I don’t have high hopes for this adventure but I have four bolts just in case. What the hell, if I spot it I can drag it out of the desert, bolt it down, and see what happens next. If a rattlesnake bites me in the process, oh well, that’s the end of next…

Categorized as Vacation 5

Needs Repair

I’m thinking about picking up a temporary vehicle for my travels this summer until I can replace the canopy that flew off my travel truck into the Arizona desert last Spring Break. I found this beauty in Victor today, appears road ready, just needs a little work on the passenger side. But, since I never have passengers…

Categorized as Vehicles

County Polygons

If you’re interested in Polygons, click the image below, then click anywhere on the Bing Map and select the Counties option. Click on a county name to explore it…

Update: Microsoft’s new Bing Maps Version 8 has no way of naming a polygon when it’s created, so that I know what to do with it when it’s clicked, like the name of the County in my case. So I invented my own technique. The API lets you set the RGB color value fillColor: rgba(255, 255, 255, 1.0) for each Polygon, and detect it on a click, so I set the blue value to a sequentially incrementing number from 0-255 and the opacity value to 0.0 so you don’t see the color change, and then use the blue value as an index into an array of county names. Pretty cool huh! Fortunately, Texas only has 254 counties, otherwise, it wouldn’t work…

Update 2: (5/19/16) Map god Ricky from Microsoft showed me today how to do it, via the Forum:

You can add custom information to any shape in Bing Maps. Pushpins, Polylines, and Polygons all derive from a common interface called IPrimitive. You can add custom data to any IPrimitive classes using the metadata property. For example:

var polygon = ... (Jim here, won't bore you with this stuff :-)

polygon.metadata = {customProperty: "custom value"};


Aha! How come my faithful readers (who have probably bailed on me by now) didn’t know this? Anyway, I implemented it and it works great!

Except perhaps Alaska, Hawaii, and California, the polygons are a bit messed up.

Hey, if you’re interested in exploring the home pages of Cities and Counties in the United States, click below. Otherwise, wait until I get my ass in gear and create a more fluffy post with pictures from the bus, or family shit, or whatever…

Categorized as Site Stuff

Devils Nuts

I was shopping in Broulims today and came across these giant red peppers for $.89 a piece. Big, bad-ass, probably genetically engineered, and that’s a quarter…

Categorized as The Valley

You Again?

Hey, thanks for dropping by! I’m sorry my content has been sparse lately. I’ve been feeling blog uninspired, working on map code, and driving my bus up and down the Valley, up and down the Valley, up and down the Valley… Like I have been for the last ten years. Summer is right around the corner, so hang with me, just not so often :-)

Categorized as Site Stuff

Baby Day

My buddy Dave and my niece Catherine brought their newborn baby over to Brian’s house today. Good family times…

Categorized as Family

Honey Run

I spent my formative teenage years in Paradise California, a place where I excelled at Track and Field in High School, set a few records, and eventually flunked out of their damned stupid school. I actually had a counselor tell me that I wasn’t college material.

So, I took his words to heart and hitchhiked around the country for a couple of years, landed in Height Ashbury for a bit, and eventually got my Computer Science degree from Merritt College in Oakland with a 3.98 GPA, in 1971. Go figure…

There is a road that drops off the canyon from the high buttes of Paradise, onto Butte Creek, and into Chico. It’s a road I remember fondly from my youth when I used to test my driving skills on it, in my old hot rod Fords.

There’s an old covered bridge at the bottom and it was hit, and damaged, by a car in 1965 (not me) so they closed it down, built a new bridge, and made a park out of the old.

I’m heading to California this Summer and I will visit this old bridge, so stay tuned. I will also drop down your way in Petaluma Skoge, so make me a bed…

Click the photo below, to check out the map…

Categorized as Vacation 5