This summer begins a little differently than those in the past as we spend about five weeks with Jim’s brother and his girlfriend (Greg and Renee) while the two guys work on Greg’s cargo trailer conversion in preparation for a 10-day road trip for the four of us. I won’t even try to cover all of that project but perhaps we can talk Greg into being a guest contributor so he can share the details of the conversion. 

We fit in visits with our other northwest family members and then join Greg and Renee for the big adventure. We’re a bit spoiled, as Renee is a fabulous cook and they insist we join them around their BBQ and campfire every evening.

Things don’t really go as planned as such things rarely do. Both trucks have mechanical issues and require repairs in the hot sun. And we get to experience something new…BBQing in a truck stop parking lot. (I was lucky enough to notice the magnificent sunset and jogged over to catch a photo.)

Let’s just say we are all happy when the traveling comes to an end and we can enjoy an extended stay along the South Fork of the Payette River upstream from Kirkham Hot Springs near Lowman, Idaho. The setting is beautiful and the river, amazing. Everyone agrees this is the best spot of the entire trip.

It isn’t long before our traveling partners have to head home and back to their workaday world and we are left to resume our normal routine. On a typical day here we hang out by the river or drive the short distance to a local cafe for red beer and/or free WiFi. Their prices are high and it seems they make them up as they go but we like to give them some business when our budget will allow. And even when they’re not open–which is hard to predict because they don’t seem to keep regular hours–we just park in the shade nearby and connect to the WiFi anyway.

One day I opt to stay at “home” while Jim gets WiFi to keep up with our Facebook group, Extreme Low Budget RV Living, and I find my happy place just below our site. The descent was a little steep but well worth it. Times like this always help me recharge and cultivate my zen.

Until this year, we had put our chairs in the river here but not the catarafts. So we scope out about three miles upstream from our campsite and decide to do the “float”. I am a little nervous because we can only see so much driving on the highway—which more or less parallels the river—and I’m not very experienced with whitewater, nor are we in the best conditioning for this sport. But I love the water so I agree to the adventure. Little do I realize the photos I take while waiting for Jim to return from delivering our truck back to the takeout are the last for my Samsung Galaxy S3.

It doesn’t take long to encounter the first hazard we couldn’t see from the highway. As seems to be my MO in whitewater, I get stuck on a rock in the middle of the river. I’m pretty sure this is class III rapids and I’m not feeling all that brave. I’ll spare you some of the details, but after my unsuccessful best effort to dislodge, I manage to get off my raft and onto one of the rocks that hold me hostage. I sit there watching the water pour over the velcroed zipper box that holds my phone in a Ziplock bag and can only hope it somehow survives. Then with great effort and multiple tries, I finally manage to free my boat which Jim reaches out and snags as it floats by him where he is waiting with a rope. Since there is no way he is able to get close enough to me to help, with much trepidation I eventually do what I know I have to do—slip off my perch into the icy flow. We are equipped with life vest and bike helmets (yes, we know…not ideal but at least something). Even though the current is strong, somehow I am able to reach out and grab my raft and make it over to the bank. Phew! I shiver with cold and probably a bit of shock as I stand on the small patch of sand and catch my breath. My confidence is suffering but I manage to get back on the horse–so to speak–and finish the float without getting stuck again. There are a couple more surprises but I do pretty well getting through them. 

It was quite a bit more adventure than we had planned on. I guess we’re reminded once again that at our age we must keep doing (and do more often) whatever it is we want to keep doing.  We are grateful for no permanent damage—except the cellphone which was a casualty of this adventure—and pride usually heals pretty quickly.

Stay tuned for more summer adventures…

PS ~ One positive outcome from the drowning of the phone is we were able to get a new and upgraded phone *and* get our monthly rate reduced for a net savings of about $9/month. You’re probably not surprised that I am ecstatic that the new phone has a 13 megapixel camera instead of just 8. Yay! It pays to check to make sure you’re getting the best rate available because the providers certainly don’t let you know when you could be saving money with a different plan option.




2 thoughts on “Wrapping Up Our First Winter — Part 3, The Grandkids Are Coming! The Grandkids Are Coming!”

  1. Hey Jim,

    When I saw Pahranagat in this post it brought back many memories.

    Many summers were spent in Ash Springs and Alamo visiting my grandparents when I was much younger. If you drove north on 93 out of Las Vegas you went right by both the little towns. My grandfather owned the service station/general store/garage etc. in Ash Springs for many years. I still have relatives in Alamo but haven’t been down there since I think the late 70’s.

    What a place for sure. I spent a lot of time wondering the Pahranagat Valley on horses and motorcycles as a kid and probable even more time swimming throughout the springs.

    It’s been so long I don’t know whats there or not, I’ve heard it’s changed quite a bit.

    I’ll definitely make a trip through that area again someday. When that happens is a good question, I have no idea. Traveling the way I do, keeping a schedule doesn’t happen very often. I just go with the flow.

    Take care. I look forward to future posts.

    Kevin Fowler

  2. Hey Kevin,
    Good to hear from you. Yeah — we went through those towns and even though we were only driving about two hours a day, we had to keep moving to be ‘home’ on a certain day . . . not the way we prefer to roll. Going with the flow is the best! I had to replace a portion of the roof on our rental house in Kuna (near Boise) and we’re building two little shade awnings for the upstairs bedroom. Still want to paint the last wall of our storage shed; a few other small projects and then we wanna’ hit the road again. We bought a small boat on a really nice trailer for $150. I’m building a small cabin in it so we can float rivers and lakes and sleep inside — maybe a few nights at a time.
    Thanks for following our blog — look forward to seeing you again out there. This life is SO much better than that wage slave nonsense most of us put up with for w-a-y too long. Say hi to Gizmo for me ?

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