Heise Hot Springs

I’ve had a hankering lately to try out Heise Hot Springs and today seemed to be the logical day. The skies are clear blue, temps in the 80’s and Heise is just on the other side of our Big Hole mountain range, up the Kelly Canyon ski-resort road.

To get there I had to drive over Pine Creek Pass out of Victor, follow the Snake River gorge to the West and then head back towards the mountains. Sixty miles total, the views are spectacular, and they are the reason we live here…

Heise has two main swim areas, both chlorinated hot springs water perfect for kids and wimps. Attached to the smaller swim area is the hot springs tub. The fresh spring water flows into it unadulterated which then flows off to the other pools. The temp was 108°, and you could feel and smell the sulphur. It was great and I found myself swimming underwater just to treat my old sun-abused head.

The drive back from Swan Valley over Pine Creek Pass was perfect, not a vehicle in front of me, so I drove it like it was my own private curved mountain track, at the optimum speed for my truck. Sweet…

Categorized as Vacation 5

Tumor Gone

I’ve been watching a lump growing on Steph’s back for ten (or more) years. It started out small but finally it became just big, and painful. We shower together and wash each others backs so I’ve been very in tune with this thing. Today she had it removed.

We were out of our garage at 0500, arriving at the Surgical Center in Rexburg at 0600 and the tumor was gone by 0800. They said it was bigger than they thought but came out as a solid entity. Good…

She’s doing great and the tumor is being biopsied for malignancy, but 98 out of a 100 are not, so the odds are good. The bandage is waterproof and the stitches will dissolve away on their own. Medical science is pretty amazing now, yet you still won’t catch me going in their clinics, or popping their pills, but it worked for Steph today…

Categorized as Steph

Piper Returns

Piper loves Summer as much as she hates Winter. She enjoys the long lazy days where she’ll go in and out several times a day if someone’s around to be her door bitch. Here she was returning from the back forty last night as the sun was going down.

As she comes back to the deck she likes to walk on the rocks, I don’t get that…

Categorized as Piper

Travel Symmetry

I’ve been sitting around this evening planning my next upcoming summer vacation jaunt. The cool thing is I’m using my own tools, that I developed for this purpose, to do it. I can add new waypoints and move them around as I please.

What I’ve come up with is a trip that leaves Driggs Idaho (on an undetermined date, as yet) where I travel 344 miles to a Rest Stop east of Boise Idaho and layover. Next stop, Reno Nevada (427 miles) where I’ll try to grab a cheap room and play for a bit. Petaluma California, land of my buddies Skoge and Grant, are the next stay down the road at 221 miles, but I may detour up to my old hometown of Paradise in the process…

I’ll probably be bumping up against the 4th of July at this point and I might stop in Coos Bay Oregon (450 miles). I’ve got Cannon Beach Oregon marked as the next stop after that (207 miles) but who knows as the journey progresses. After enjoying the Oregon Coast I will land at my son’s house in Auburn, Washington (184 miles) just in time to enjoy the Cornucopia Festival (July 8-10) in downtown Kent Washington.

The trip will conclude with an I-90 run through the mountains, layover in Missoula Montana (473 miles), and then mosey on home to Driggs Idaho (354 miles).

Travel symmetry! Click the map below to see the project…

Categorized as Vacation 5

Cool Spot

I was checking my weather maps today and confirmed that we are the coolest spot in the country. At 0730 this morning the temperature was 40° with a high of 77°. I marked our location with a green dot on the map below, not to be confused by the black blob below that’s known as the Great Salt Lake.

Categorized as The Valley

Knee Guard

Every road trip I take exposes weaknesses in my travel system, and I like to fix those when I return to base. My trucks tailgate performs two primary functions when deployed, a place to put my knee as I launch myself into the bed of my truck, and a place to set my ass while I converse with camp buddies, tan my body or watch a sunset over the Pacific Ocean. (Ok, haven’t done that for a while…)

Lately, the tailgate has been exposed in the raw form of it’s origin as just a piece of steel with indentations, hard on the knees and the ass. So today I bought a couple of rug things at the Dollar Store, hooked them up with the board that used to be there, and screwed them down. The result is a great addition to the system and Steph topped it off with little floor protectors over the bolts. Sweet!

Categorized as Vehicles

Norris Shots

I’m sure glad Brian and I were camped at a hot springs yesterday because a thunderstorm blew through and it got downright chilly. The good food, the good drinks, the good company, and the hot water, made it all fine!

Here’s a short pan of the pool, before the crowds arrived for the music:

Categorized as Vacation 5

At Norris

Yesterday evening I was hunkered down in a motel off the freeway, West of Missoula. Around 1900 I wandered over to the bar next door called Freds, to have a drink or two, and I ended up being entertained, frustrated and insulted (I think).

When I walked in, there were four or five guys at the bar watching four flat screens directly in front of them, so I sat down and ordered a drink. It became apparent to me very quickly that one of those guys, a kid around 25, was very drunk and the female bartender was handing him beer cans on a steady basis.

I looked around the place and in an adjoining room, down a couple of steps, there was a small stage with a metal pole in the middle and there was a girl, totaly naked, writhing around on it. Nobody was down there watching her, they were all at the bar watching TV, and from where I sat, she looked pretty cute!

All of a sudden the bartender approached the drunk kid and told him she had screwed up and put another guys tab on his card. She was horrified and for the next 15 minutes she worked on the bars computer to fix the whole mess, and meanwhile nobody got served. Finally, she took the bill to the kid, had him sign a few things, and I swear he was so drunk he didn’t know what was happening.

How could this place continue to serve the guy? I finally walked over to him and asked if he was driving a vehicle. He got pissed at me and yelled It’s none of your business, old man! I just looked at him disgustedly and walked out of the bar. Little did he know that I was prepared to pay for his cab home…

Weird night, anyway, I’m sitting here at Norris Hot Springs now, in spot 13, waiting for Brian to roll his motorcycle in, and then let the soak begin.

Categorized as Vacation 5

Riding Well

I drove up to Missoula Montana yesterday and today I took care of my truck. She’s running great and the extra weight of the new (old) topper is holding my baby down without too much loss in horsepower, and I found a locksmith to make two new keys so I can lock it up now. I lost my Les Schwab papers when the old canopy blew off in the desert so today I had them look me up, create new papers and rotate my tires for free. To top it off I got a full-service oil change from the guys the locksmith recommended, with a wash!

Tomorrow I’m driving down to Norris Hot Springs and hooking up with my nephew Brian. The boy’s a party animal so hopefully I can keep up with him. Thankfully, a couple of days away from Teton Valley have cleared up my alergies and the rash I picked up from my recent hot-springs/hottub adventures in the desert is almost gone. Now I can work on getting a new one tomorrow along with more tan and a hangover.

My camera is charging up so I should get some cool Norris pictures, assuming I don’t topple into the pool with it, and I’ll be home Saturday to put them up here. Rock on!

Categorized as Vacation 5


I was out in the garage today thinking about getting my truck up to Victor tomorrow so that my buddy the locksmith Doug Aslin could help me secure my new canopy. I ran into him at the lumber yard when I was setting up the baseboard for my truck recently and he looked at the locks and said he could help.

I had my scanner out in the garage today because, well, I’ve become addicted to knowing what’s going on in our Valley and I heard the Sheriff in the Broulims parking lot concerned about a pooch (i.e. dog, Tony’s from New York) locked up in a car. Hey, it was 78° and people leave their dogs in their vehicles all the time around here, but…

He wanted to break into the car and free the dog so he asked dispatch to call the locksmith. Her response was “Doug’s out of town”. Wait a minute, that’s my locksmith and he was my plans for tomorrow!

Hmmm, the dog issue got resolved when the owners came out of the store from shoping and I was left scratching my bald head wondering what to do now…

Categorized as Vehicles

Bed Made

Steph bought me some sheets today for Fathers Day and they’ve been washed and wrapped around my truck bed. I’m using plastic containers in the nooks and crannies to store stuff and the new rig is ready to travel. I’m still looking for a cargo carrier to mount on top and I’ll be working with my lock guy to get the back end secured, tomorrow.

Brian and I are heading up to Norris Hot Springs in separate vehicles next Friday for a camp-over and soak. Let the summer begin!

Categorized as Vehicles

Fun At Brians

Had barbeque with my next door neighbor nephew Brian this afternoon and played around in his magical music room. I brought my own toys…

Here’s the video:

Categorized as Family

New Bed

I drove down to Idaho Falls today and had a local foam company make me a custom bed for my truck. I stood there and watched while they cut two pieces of foam to my specifications (69″ x 41″) and glued them together. One is two-inch standard foam while the other is three-inch memory foam. The result is a sweet bed I can’t wait to sleep on!

Categorized as Vehicles

Under Construction

I love my new topper, I can’t imagine I was considering other options, and now it’s time to have fun with it! I drove up to Valley Lumber this morning and had one of the boys look at my setup and make a recommendation. He said insulation would get the job done as far as providing a base to a foam bed, so I bought a piece. It’s really strong and light, and it cuts easily. I ended up with a bed base and a shelf, sweet!

Tomorrow I’m driving down to I.F. to a foam company who are cutting me a custom piece of memory foam to match the size of that base. Steph’s going to sew a cover for the thing and it will be awesome. Two people could sleep on it!

Categorized as Vehicles

New Topper

The reason I laid over in Logan, UT last night was so I could be in Hyde Park (just up the road) at 0915 this morning. I’ve been in email contact for a month now with a guy that deals in used truck toppers and canopies. His shop is in Hyde Park and while I was down in Laughlin I got a cryptic email stating that he had found me a topper.

From the motel last night, I sent him an email asking for a good time to show up and he replied 0915. That was his email response, 0915. This guy hasn’t communicated much other than short incomplete sentences and I felt like in was a drug deal. I had seen his shop from aerial map views and when I showed up this morning it was a real shop with toppers all over the place.

The guys name was Jim and I liked him. He sent his young assistant out to fetch my topper and the boy had it solidly installed on my truck within twenty minutes. It’s for a 1989 Ford Ranger (almost the same truck as mine) and was a bit larger than my old one, in great shape, with a rack on top as a bonus.

Our agreed upon price was $250 and as I pulled out my wallet he said cash?, I said yes and he said make it two, and I handed him a couple of Franklins. Deal done, no receipt, and I drove down the road with a great new topper that is destined to become my new camping home this summer. I love it!

Considering that dealers were quoting me $1600+ for a new one, I’m a happy camper, and I’m no longer homeless

Categorized as Vehicles