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2003 Q3 Random Vacation
(43°48.018' N, 113°45.516' W - Mackay, Idaho, USA)

Day 6 (5 Sep 2003)

00:00 UTC - 01:00 UTC (Mackay)

As we began Day 6, we had just gotten out of the national forests and were driving into Mackay, the closest actual town to the random spot.  Marilyn snuck a quick picture of the sign.  I didn't slow down because someone was behind us. Oops.

Marilyn: Hey, pretty impressive that the sign come out ok while we were in motion. I was also the one that guessed the closest to the population in the town of Mackay.



Welcome to Mackay


We were almost out of gas, so I stopped to get gas.  The main card I has been using (got the camera with it Day 5) was declined.  Didn't make sense.  It has more than enough left on it.  Oh well, used a different one.

Marilyn: Perhaps you shouldn’t have bought the camera Sam!



Sam Pumping Gas


Chad cleaned the window.

Marilyn: Chad makes a very handsome gas station attendant.

Chad: Thx :)


Chad Cleaning Window


Mackay had a Sammy's!!!

Marilyn: Wow wew! Now that is impressive!



Sammy's in Mackay


After going around town a bit (and looking on the GPS) we found a place to eat.  The "Bear Bottom Inn".

Marilyn: The Bear Bottom Inn was the highlight of the town especially since I love bears! Can’t you tell?



Marilyn with the Bear


Bear Mountain Inn


Sam and Chad by the Statues


Marilyn and Chad were not too sure about actually going in and eating here.  We thought about going on to find something elsewhere.  I hemmed and hawed a bit too, but in the end actually wanted to eat in Mackay.  After all, it was the closest town to the spot!


After a little debate, we got up our nerve, and went in.

Marilyn: See I can make my men do exactly as I command!

Chad: A useful skill for a gal to possess.


Barbed Wire


There was barbed wire on the walls.  And animal bar stools.

Marilyn: The barbed wire was very unique!

Chad: I did enjoy the decorations in that joint.


Animal Bar Stools


Any doubts we may have had about eating at the Bear Bottom Inn were completely unfounded.  It was very pleasant and nice, and the food (Mexican) was excellent.  We filled completely up, then headed out and said goodbye to Mackay.

Marilyn: The atmosphere was awesome and the food was very tasty. If ever I am in Idaho again, I would make a special trip just to go to that restaurant.

Chad: That place kicked Don Pablos in the nads.

01:00 UTC - 04:00 UTC (Back to the Springs via the Moon)

Since it was starting to get dark, and we all agreed we did not want to drive past the high twisty mountain cliff road in the dark, we decided to go around the long way.


The GPS kept yelling at us to turn around and go that way, but we resisted and just kept going instead.  Eventually the GPS finally gave in and told us a way to go that did not involve turning around.


And it took us right past the Craters of the Moon!

Marilyn: I am glad to know that Sam was not crazy enough to make us drive on the death road at night. It is bad enough in the day time!


The Craters of the Moon was definitely worth seeing. I am glad that we found it even though it was by accident.



Craters of the Moon


Crater View


Big Southern Butte


Big Southern Butte


That volcanic cone above is called the "Big Southern Butte".  I sense a Beavis and Butthead moment, but I will leave that to Marilyn and Chad.


Just down the road was a whole big loop road through the volcanic plains.   "The Strangest 75 Square Miles in North America" according to the sign.




Strangest 75 Square Miles Sign


I wanted to go.  But it was getting dark quickly by this point, and Chad was getting all snippy and anxious to go watch football on TV or something.  So I reluctantly agreed not to try to go.  They were right.  It would be too dark to see much anyway.


Marilyn just wanted to talk on the phone.

Marilyn: I am surprised that my cell phone worked so well out in the middle of nowhere Idaho.



Marilyn on Phone


Chad tried to get Marilyn to hurry up and get back in the car to get going, but then Marilyn started kicking dust at him. 


Chad ran away like a little girl.

Marilyn: I was having fun being silly with Chad like we were in grade school again.

Chad: I was a little girl once, you know.  Oh, wait.


Chad running like a Girl


But then Chad regained his composure, and a full fledged dust battle arose...

Marilyn: It was a full-fledged dust fight!



Full Fledged Dust Battle


Until Chad ended it with a grab and toss...

Marilyn: Chad whisked me up and was spinning me around like a dradle.



Grab and Toss


And so we finally got in the SUV and started heading home again.  Just as the last rays of the sun were dissapearing behind the mountains...

Marilyn: That picture is awesome!





As we left, Chad had exausted all the (few) stations on the radio.  We decided to try the XM again even though it had not worked last time we tried it a few days ago.


Amazingly, it worked on the first try!  Chad immediately switched to ESPN...  the game was not on.


Chad was pissed, but at this point resigned.  He put something else on, and we drove the rest of the way back to The Springs....


Uh...  with one stop in Hailey as we passed Bruce Willis's Liberty Theater.  Marilyn wanted to be SURE we got a picture of it even though there was no show playing we could go to at the time.

Marilyn: Poor poor Chad….well I guess it will just have to suck up and deal!

Chad: I was appalled that a nationally televised NFL football game was not available on XM.  That thing sux ass.


Bruce Willis's Liberty Theater


At this point Chad was a bit grumpy.  We had probably missed the whole game.  But he did let us run to take that picture.  Not much point worrying about it now.

Marilyn: What do you mean…Chad had been grumpy all along!

Chad: I never pretended not to be a grumpy old man.

04:00 UTC - 06:00 UTC (Hot Tub)

Once home, Chad went to watch highlights or something, or otherwise sulk from missing the game.


Marilyn and I hit the hot tub again.  Marilyn wanted to get some bikini shots to send to some guy or other she knew back home.


The lighting was really bad, but I took a few.  Here are a couple that are actually recognizable as human.

Marilyn: Hey my bikini shots turned out pretty good! I like the second one the best! My friend – Dave will be very pleased since he has been waiting 7 years for shots of me in my bikini.

Chad: Nice cleavage...


Marilyn Bikini 1


Marilyn Bikini 2

06:00 UTC - 12:00 UTC (Sleep)

Then it was time to hurry and go to sleep.  We had made appointments to go rafting in the morning, and it was a few hours away, and so we had to get up at the crack of dawn to get going and make it on time.  So...





12:00 UTC - 13:00 UTC (Quick Up)

OK.  So the plan was to go rafting, but then immediately go from there back to the vicinity of the random spot, hike to the spot, and then camp AT THE SPOT overnight, without coming back to the condo.


So, since we stupidly had not before going to bed.  We now scrambled to get packed with everything for the trip.


As Chad was packing, he decided that there was no way he could actually carry his sleeping back on a hike.  Unlike Marilyn and myself he had an old fashioned HUGE sleeping bag, not the new very warm but crunchable kind that squish down into a very small lightweight bag for carrying.


I argued with Chad a bit that he really should bring it, and maybe we could tie it to my pack or something.


But Chad was insistant, and we were running late, and I was getting anxious about making it to the rafting place in time.


So Chad's sleeping bag stayed at the condo.

Marilyn: That was a very mad move Chad. You should have bought a less bulky sleeping bag like Sam and I.

Chad: Yes, it was a dumb move.  Man, did I regret that decision!

13:00 UTC - 16:00 UTC (To Banks)

And we were off....  although some of us decided they needed a bit more sleep...

Marilyn: I was exhausted. I did not even realize that Sam took this picture of me.



Marilyn Napping in Car


It was another trip full of twisty mountain roads and fun driving and great views.


At one point we followed an old Ford Fairlane for many miles.

Marilyn: I missed out on all of the excitement of seeing this classic car. Oh well!



Ford Fairlane

16:00 UTC - 20:00 UTC (Rafting)

It was a three hour drive to where we were rafting (Banks).  We got there a few minutes later than we had intended.

Marilyn: But they had not left without us…thank goodness!



Arriving at Banks


But it did not matter, they were still getting the group together for the trip...




Getting Ready to Raft


And after purchasing a couple of water proof disposable cameras and getting the all important safety lecture, we were in the rubber boat and heading down the river!!

Marilyn: No more than 5 minutes down the river, I was thrown to the front of the raft after we hit a rapid….yikes! I didn’t fall out though!



Chad and Sam in Front


Sam and Guy


We were being led by our brave and noble guide Tim Ballard.

Marilyn: Tim was nice and it a man’s man!



Tim Ballard


Marilyn needed help from some of the other folks joining us on the river to figure out the waterproof camera.

Marilyn: Silly me…it was easy after the lady showed me how to use the waterproof camera!



Water Proof Camera


And Marilyn didn't think we saw her, but she kept flirting with Tim the guide, even when he was blurry!

Marilyn: Well, I guess that I will admit to a little flirting but he is married with a baby on the way so it was harmless.



Marilyn Flirting With Tim


But we were on the river, and the water was getting faster!

Marilyn: Yes it was and more fun too! I am having an adrenaline rush at this point.



Faster Water


The folks we were with were having a blast too.

Marilyn: Yes, they were a fun bunch to hang out with on the river.



Having a Blast


More Having a Blast


And then suddenly, it was time for some real rapids...  there were professional photographers on the side taking shots as we went by...

Marilyn: I am very impressed that we did not tip over.



Headwaters 2


Headwaters 3


I must admit though, I couldn't always keep my paddle in the water where it was supposed to be at some of these times!

Marilyn: Neither could I…I think that is why Tim stuck me in the back with him because I was the weakest one of the group….what do you expect I am a girl.



Headwaters 4


And while the jumping on the rapids was exciting, there was always a sense of relief when we were mostly flat again!

Marilyn: Yes, the calm again before the storm…literally!



Headwaters 5


Headwaters 6


Headwaters 7


So we were all proud of ourselves, going over those fun rapids.  We were awesome!


Uh...  and then this raft full of schoolgirls who had just done the same things we did passed right by us and laughed at us!

Marilyn: There were lots of school kids on the river that day.



Schoolgirl Rafters


There was actually a whole school group that went by.  The boys on some of the boys rafts were busy jumping off the boats, and one or two kids were trying to stand up and "surf" the raft as they went through some of the rapids.


OK, they showed us up completely.

Marilyn: I am sorry but that is completely dangerous and the guides should have made the boys sit down instead of act like goof balls!



School Group


And then they headed off past us, and we continued on.  Well, some of them did anyway, there were more still behind us.




Slow River


And then it was time for some more rapids! 

Marilyn: Piece of cake right? Not! Look at the water on the camera lens!



Inside the Rapid


This was sort of the half way point, so Tim suggested we pull in for a little while to rest and hang out a bit on one of the small beaches by the side of the river...  while the rest of that school group floated by so they wouldn't be in our way.

Marilyn: I could have hung out at this little beach for the afternoon. Too bad that we could not stay a while! I really like that picture of the 3 of us! That one needs framed!



Beaching the Raft


Posing by the Raft


The Other Folks Posing


Tim Ballard Posing


After all the posing was done, Marilyn and I decided to swim for a few minutes.

Marilyn: Boy, the water was really cold and there was a small school of fish swimming right around me.



Marilyn and Sam Swimming


But only for a few minutes, then it was back to the river...

Marilyn: More rapids…yea!



Back to the River


Down the River Again


Good View Too


Front of the Boat


Tim Tells Us What To Do


And then it was time for one more set of rapids!

Marilyn: I want to go down the river again. I was having too much fun to stop!



Headwaters 8


Headwaters 9


Headwaters 10


Once again we had made it!

Marilyn: And we did not tip over and no one fell out of the boat. What an accomplishment!



Made It!


Before we knew it, we were beaching again.  Not for a break this time, but because we were done.

Marilyn: Bummer! Did we really have to leave?



Beaching When Done


Final Group Shot Minus Marilyn


Had to get the raft all tied up on the van that was ready to pick us up.

Marilyn: I guess so.



Loading the Van


Loading the Raft


Then a van ride back to where we started, and the rafting adventure was over.

Marilyn: Well, I had a blast and will definitely go rafting again soon.



Van Ride

20:00 UTC - 21:00 UTC (Lunch)

After getting back, we ended up having lunch at the little diner where we started with Tim the guide, and later his wife joined us as well. 


Tim gave a little schpiel about some home business he was in, but it wasn't really something any of us were interested in, but we listened.  Never did quite figure out what he was selling.


He also brought up the computer in the diner and looked at the little bit of the trip website that was already up. 


Meanwhile, Marilyn had almost nothing.  She was worried about camping in the middle of nowhere, and the lack of normal "facilities" that involved, and was trying not to eat.


I ate though.  Yum!


And then it was time to get on the road to head for a second attempt at the random spot!!!

Marilyn: I was getting very nervous about camping and certainly did not want to eat anything where I couldn’t use a bathroom later....forget that…I will starve instead! Really, I was ready to go back to the condo and forget the camping part altogether.

Chad: I, however, ate a full breakfast- a decision I would come to deeply regret the next day...

21:00 UTC - 00:00 UTC (Back to the Spot - Ticket)

I started the drive, but after about 30 minutes, maybe a little bit more, I realized that I was very very tired.  I was barely keeping my eyes open.  And the fact that Marilynw as putting sleepy trance music on the XM radio was not helping.


After a few times where I found myself starting to nod off while driving, I asked Chad if he could drive.


Now, we had not picked the option to allow people other than me to drive the rental, but in this case, if we didn't, I was going to drive off the road.  So Chad would indeed drive.


Chad was much more awake than I, and we were speeding along.


Did I mention SPEEDING along?

Marilyn: I could have killed Sam for taking pictures. If the cop saw that, we would have all been in an Idaho jail.



Chad Pulled Over


Yes indeed, Chad had been pulled over for speeding.


The officer asked for the licence and registration and such. Chad gave him his licence, and the rental registration from the glove compartment. I was worried about getting in trouble for letting Chad drive. But I guess that would only have been an issue if we'd been in an accident and then it would be an issue with the rental company. In any case, it was not an issue with the officer. He asked us if we were on vacation, from where, etc. Made some small talk. Then went back to his vehicle to check us out.


The officer came back to the car and said "Well sirs, I was going to give you all a ticket, but I seem to have lost my pen."


Marilyn said "I think I have one!" and immediately proceeded to search for a pen in her purse.


The officer rolled his eyes and say "You may not have heard me... I *think* I *forgot* my pen!


*OH!!!* the three of us said in unison as we got what was going on. The officer told us to SLOW DOWN and then to have a good time on the rest of our vacation. Then he let us go.


Thank you officer!!!


Chad was pretty freaked out though. Apperantly this was the first time he had ever been pulled over or some such. Chad religiously drove at or below the speed limit from then on...


Which wasn't bad, because we were going past some great scenery again...

Marilyn: Fortunately, the cop was cool and let us go. I was really nervous for a second there. I was sweating bullets!

Chad: Thank you, Mr. Idaho state trooper!  I went below the speed limit the rest of the trip!


Mountain and Trees


More Mountains and Trees


The Road Ahead


And then, as we headed down the road toward the random spot again, traveling next to streams, forests and mountains... it started to rain. And Day 6 ended.

Marilyn: I was getting very concerned about the rain and was worried that it would bet harder and there would be lightening and thunder in Challis. Camping was turning out to be not so smart of an idea to me but I knew it was a waste of time to convince Sam to go back to the condo. I just had to grin and bear it. This sucks!

Chad: Wait, it gets worse...



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2003 Q3 Random Vacation
(43°48.018' N, 113°45.516' W - Mackay, Idaho, USA)