All good things must come to an end – THEN – new good things START!
It was quite a winter in McCall and at Brundage Mountain! Lots of dry, powdery snow in December and January (along with VERY cold conditions), a milder February with a BIG rainout – but snow (lots of it) followed, but then… March happened – mild and rainy. So… the ski season comes to an unceremonious end. You can see in my photos below how quickly the snowpack in town (next to my rig) melted back.
Whew! That was fast!! So… I’m now “on the road” and working my way “east” to Casper, Wyoming for my summer – focused on rv consulting and sales.
Greetings from the Ranch Inn Motel and Campground in Lava Hot Springs!
I’ve only been on the road for a few days, but it’s already an adventure. I’ve encountered two technical RV related issues, met some interesting folks, went skiing at a ski area I’d never heard of, and have enjoyed multiple days of extended soaks in the Lava Hot Springs. I’ve also stayed at two campgrounds – each with its own unique story. Allow me to share more…
Since I’m here, I’ll start with the Ranch Inn Motel and Campground. This campground has several sites scattered around the motel and alongside a river (see my video above.) This is a facility that actually was severely damaged in a fire 3 years ago. The good news is the motel portion is rebuilt and the rooms are new. For me, I’m in the campground and enjoy the river virtually at my doorstep. Rates are good here – that is to say, everything in Lava Hot Springs is expensive, but this place, located about 1 mile outside of town is much easier for a large RV to negotiate and provides some breathing space in contrast to the very tightly packed motels and campgrounds surrounding the state run hot springs. If you visit, there is an extensive hot springs complex with at least 5 pools for soaking ranging from about 102 to 110F, and an olympic size pool complex across town (about 1/4 mile away). Both charge reasonable fees and are a great family or individual outing.
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Adventure Leaving McCall
Backtracking a few days, on March 24 I was ready to pull out from the McCall RV Resort after 5 months of winter – much of which I spent skiing – but – my 5th wheel hitch had other ideas! As I attempted to connect my 5er to the hitch, the hitch refused to cooperate and lock into place. A couple of minutes with one of our maintenance guys (he jiggled the locking arm on the hitch as I jiggled the gear shift from R to D) and the arm slipped into place! I’m hoping the hitch becomes more cooperative as I connect and disconnect a few times in the coming days.
The Drive Through “The Canyon”
You can learn more about my dashcam here…
RV Camping in Boise Metro
Boise is only one of the “cities” in the Treasure Valley. Nampa is located just west of Boise and to me I only needed to be in the Treasure Valley for a night, not specifically in Boise. This led me to the Garrity Boulevard RV Park in Nampa. This park has absolutely the worst ratings I’ve ever seen for any RV park! I decided to call the park and see if the allegations made in the reviews had any validity. I’m glad I called. Here is the REAL story – the owners are new (3rd year), they have cleaned up this park from some of the residents who were undesirable. It is quite possible the bad reviews came from those people after they were evicted.
I can tell you this when it comes to Garrity RV Park – it is primarily for long term residents. Not surprising for an urban (not inner city) area where rents are high in apartments and many have taken to living in older RV’s. That is exactly what this park has lots of – older rv’s occupied by folks who are mostly blue-collar workers. They are honest, on a Friday night, you could have heard a pin drop after dark! These folks work hard and come home to relax and sleep. At NO TIME did I feel “unsafe” or believe this park has any significant level of crime. That said, there are areas that need improvement. The grounds are not perfectly manicured, the roads are dirt and a bit rutted, BUT, you’ll pay (with Passport America – note – see my banner to get a membership) $13 for the first night, subsequent nights will be at most $26 (and less with other discount programs). Compare this to other parks in Boise with nicer landscaping and newer rigs that charge about $40 per night! I did not visit the Treasure Valley because it is a resort area, I stayed there to get some things done while there – and then leave… why pay more than you need? I can tell you that Bonnie, the owner who is very nice, does fill her overnighter spaces most weekend nights, so DO call in advance! I WILL be filing a review with RV Park Reviews to share the REAL story with their readers to give this park a fair shake.
Glacier Peak 30RKS
While I was in Boise, I stopped by a dealer and saw another of the new Glacier Peak models. I was again impressed with the overall construction. I saw a few details (present in my future RDS as well as in this RKS model) such as the bay where the outdoor shower and other controls are mounted. I’m still very much a fan of the rear dinette model (RDS) and not the rear kitchen (RKS), but I’m sure some will prefer this floor plan. I will be posting soon (for those who are following my saga on the Glacier Peak 5th wheel trailers) my findings and conclusions after speaking with the August RV sales rep to learn more about their Ambition model (I provide a hint of my findings in the video above.) I am all but settled on the Glacier Peak 30RDS as my next fifth wheel!
Lava Hot Springs and Pebble Creek Ski Area
After spending a night in Nampa/Boise, I headed east across southern Idaho and arrived at Lava Hot Springs in the late afternoon. The drive is just under 300 miles and due to aged tires on my trailer, I held my speed to under 60mph. I almost immediately headed to the hot springs (state run, admission between $6-13. for adults depending upon day and certain options.) Before soaking, I checked out the Chuckwagon – fair prices, diner atmosphere, good salad bar, and large variety of food. Good enough so that I ate there again last night (my 2nd night in town.)
At the Chuckwagon, I met these two characters who could easily have been scripted for a sitcom! They had bicycled down from Pocatello (about 40 miles). Well, one of them road up from Salt Lake City. Aaron, a 27 year old vagabond was having a coffee (all he could afford) and making a journal entry using the smallest handwriting I’ve seen outside of what is highlighted on those late night weekend MSNBC prison shows (the ONLY time you’ll ever see me watching that channel!)
As I was at the counter, a naturally social spot in most diners, we talked as I also have an interest in cycling and it was apparent he was broke, so I gave him the remainder of my dinner that would otherwise be my next day’s lunch. His friend, Dennis joined him – not really a cyclist, he was younger, 21, and rode his bike from Pocatello to join Aaron. Neither had plans for where or how they were going to campout for the night. They had a tent, but no funds and no idea of where to pitch the tent. I saw them later at the hot springs, but can only assume they found a way to get by during a night where temperatures fell to the mid-20’s by morning.
Sunday Skiing at Pebble Creek
Their last day of the season. A truly backwoods ski area, charging only $45 for a daily pass (even in mid-season) and with locals shooting off fireworks from the chairlift as they rode up the hill! I had the opportunity to meet and ski with Scott, the ski school director – a man who has been in that position now for 28 years!
Pebble Creek reminded me in many ways of Northern Vermont ski areas (Stowe, Mad River, Sugarbush). Steep, long groomed runs; lots of bumps on ungroomed terrain, and a ton of off-piste (both inbounds and out of bounds) terrain. Given that it was the last day, Scott and I stuck to the “groomers”. The ungroomed turf was just too icy, choppy, chunky (pick your adjective!)
After skiing with Scott, I took a few runs on my own and ran across a young man (17 years old) who had wandered onto a trail called Stacey’s Run. This is a steep (blue-black) trail that is relatively narrow. The skiers on it ski FAST and conditions were fairly “firm” (read: somewhat icy). For me, not a big deal, especially after growing up and skiing in the east; but for Tavo, a first day skier who was trying to teach himself how to ski, he was in a truly dangerous situation. I shifted into “ski instructor” mode and helped this young man work his way down Stacey’s Run. It became a “need to know” lesson where Tavo had to address his fore-aft positioning, learn to pressure his shins into his boots, learn an athletic stance, and learn foot to foot pressure using ‘long leg – short leg’ and get pressure onto his outside ski – tactics that usually require hours of instruction over a period of days or weeks, he had to learn in a few turns! Amazingly, this young man is a natural athlete and actually had some degree of success skiing the steeps and returning to the more gentle pitch as we approached the base and the chair lift. His next run saw him return to “green” terrain!
The day ended quietly with another visit to the hot springs and then to the Chuckwagon! My last evening saw another visit to the hot springs, where I met another interesting character (a real ski bum!), got some stock tips, learned about a guy doing cutting edge cancer research and enjoyed a nice long soak. I can also recommend Royals now – great spaghetti and I hear the pizza is good too!
Today I also visited Pocatello – not much to say. Old Town is probably worth the visit, don’t try to park anywhere near the college – you just can’t!
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As always, thanks for reading and visiting! I welcome your thoughts and feedback. There are many other posts on great places to visit. If you scroll down the home (main) page, you’ll see “tiles” – they cover a variety of broad topics, one of which is about great places to visit and rv lifestyle.
Coming up… I’ve been interviewed by two RV’er Magazines!! I’ll have those interviews posted as soon as they make them available!