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

Selection (22 May 2003)


The rules:

  1. Random latitude and longitude on the globe will be picked with the tool.
  2. The airfare budget will be $500 plus a random number between 0 and 100*pi dollars.
  3. The test dates for determining airfare will be 1 Sep 2003 to 7 Sep 2003
  4. The spot for the trip will be the first one generated which meets all of these criterea:
    1. On land
    2. Not in a country with a State Department Travel Warning as of 22 May 2003 (the day I am starting the picking process). Right now, this list of countries to avoid is:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Burundi, Central African Republic, China (including Hong Kong), Columbia, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel (including Palestinian Territorries), Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
    3. There are flights findable on from Newark Airport to an airport within 250 miles of the spot.
    4. The cheapest flight available on the test dates are less than the airfare budget.  (Note:  If the spot is less than 500 miles from my apartment, and accessible by road from my apartment, the "cheapest flight" will be considered to be $0, since I will drive rather than fly.)

Budget Selection

OK, so the budget is $500 plus a random number between 0 and 100*pi dollars.  So if X is a random number between 0 and 1 (the way such are usually generated) the budget will be 500+100*pi*X.  So lets pick X...  get my nice old trusty HP48X out...  OK, X will be...


X = 0.561556952003


So...  Budget = $(500+100*pi*0.561556952003) = $(500+100*1.76418319499) = $(500+176.418319499) = $676.418319499

Ok then, the airfare budget for the 2003Q3 random trip will be $676.42.  Now time to generate some random points.

Random Points

# Bearing Distance (mi) Latitude Longitude Nearest Landmark Judgement
1 255°33.60' 6538.72 13°55.366'S 158°36.292'W Pacific Ocean No: Not on Land
2 132°5.9' 3892.2 3°45.605'S 36°21.537'W Atlantic Ocean No: Not on Land
3 207°34.416' 3290.99 3°33.774'S 94°34.832'W Pacific Ocean No: Not on Land
4 289°56.885' 2008.07 43°48.018'N 113°45.516'W Challis National Forest, about 10 miles from Mackay, Idaho, about 40 miles from Hailey, Idaho, about 100 miles from Boise, Idaho Yes!!  Round Trip from Newark to Hailey, Idaho on test dates is $410.  Only $368 to Boise, which is also in range.


Wow.  That was quick.  Not the quickest ever, I got one on the first try once, but usually I have to generate dozens of random spots before getting one that meets all the criterea.  Not this time.  And the extra budget added randomly made no difference.  And yes, after it came up so quick, I did double check the tool to make sure it really was generating spots all over the world...  it was.  Well, in any case, here we go...

So the Winner is...

(All maps and such in this section from MapQuest.  Thanks MapQuest!)


OK, so the spot is in Idaho...


Zoom 1


Lets look a bit closer...


Zoom 3


Not that far from Boise.  And the town of Hailey not that far, which has an airport with regular flights.  Mackay is closer though.


Zoom 4


It appears to be in Challis National Forest.  And near Craters of the Moon National Monument. and the Magic Reservoir.


Zoom 5


The area right around the point seems pretty remote...  I'm thinking kinda doubtful that I'll make it to the exact spot this time, but we'll see...


Lets google a bit on the area...


The official website of the Salmon-Challis National Forest.  According to the picture on that webpage, its got stuff like this...


SCNF Picture


Looks like its got camping and river stuff and hiking stuff and Lewis & Clark historical stuff... 


There is an LL Bean Salmon-Challis page.  This quote about the Challis area is from them:


"The remote 2.5 million-acre Challis division hosts outstanding whitewater, lodgepole pine forests, high mountain deserts and a unique history told by its ghost towns, gold rush relics and Native American pictographs."  And apperantly mountain goats.


There is a Wildernet Page.  "Rugged and remote, this country offers adventure, solitude, and breathtaking scenery." "There are several scenic drives." "Camping is available in 34 developed campgrounds. Dispersed or backcountry camping is permitted in most areas of the Forest." "The Salmon and Middle Fork Rivers are known as the 'Whitewater Capital of the World'. Trips can be arranged privately or through a liscenced outfitter." "Hiking season is usually between April and October, with elevations above 7,500 feet usually clear of snow by early July. Many non-wilderness trails are designated for motorized use." "Summers tend to bring clear days, with afternoon thunderstorms possible. Daytime highs are normally warm to moderate, with relatively cool to cold nights, depending on elevation."


Of course there is also a Yahoo Page.  "This is wild, untamed country, where wolf packs roam the range and hunt in the largest wilderness area in the contiguous United States." "Expect to encounter a critter or two, as the wilderness areas are teeming with wildlife including Bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, mule, white-tailed deer, moose, marten, lynx, coyote, wolverine. And don't forget to check the skies for soaring raptors in search of prey." 


Oh yeah, I'm gunna go camping in the wilderness and eaten by a pack of wolves!


And lots of pictures on Gorp. (Note 2015-12-12: Gorp link now broken, removed.)  A lot of broken links to pictures too.  It looks sort of like what you would get if you took the kind of roads I saw in my Nevada random trip (2002Q2) and added higher mountains and a lot more trees.  In other words, very cool as far as Sam is concerned!


Now, also found this page for Mackay.  Most famous event is "Idaho's Wildest Rodeo" in June.  And "But Mackay's hospitality is famous because of the Mackay Free Barbeque, held each year on the third Saturday in September. This is a free barbeque sponsored by local merchants and citizens: 'Tons of meat, it's Mackay's treat!'"  Hmmm...  I need to go sometime in July, August or September.  I could go in September for the Free Barbeque!


And this page for Hailey.  Looks likes there is a B&B and a couple of hotel/motel type places.  So there are other options besides camping.


OK.  Enough googling for now.


OK, as usual, if anybody is interested in coming along, I'd be more than glad to have one or more companions with me!  This trip is for third quarter.  I'm thinking about September most likely.  If I was going solo, I'd mostly likely be thinking about going for a full week, flying into Boise, driving the scenic route to Mackay or Hailey from there (not that far), then exploring using one of those places as a base.  I'd be looking for anything interesting to do or see within about 100 miles of there.  I probably would stay at a B&B or hotel for most of the time, but do the camping thing one or two nights.  However, if I had anybody with me, that would all be open for negotiation, and the lodging, logistics, and schedule could all vary depending on the collective wishes of anyone going.


If anybody is interested in going with me, send me an email, and we'll work it out.  Should be fun!  Anybody?  Anybody?

Update (3 Aug 2003)

Well, who is coming and when we are going is now set.  On this random trip I will be accompanied by Chad, Marilyn and my cousin Seth.  The dates that turned out to be best for everybody were around Labor Day, so people could save on vacation days.  We'll be going from August 30th to September 7th.   Which means we will miss the great Mackay BBQ festival.  But that is OK, there will be plenty of other things to do.


In my research above, searching for things on the Challis National Forest, Mackay and Hailey, I neglected to discover that Ketchum, which is also close to the random spot is the heart of Sun Valley, which appears to be a well known place full of activities and things to do.  In the winter it is a major ski area.  In the summer, well, no skiing, but plenty of other things to do. 


Right now the plane tickets are bought, but we haven't yet made actual arrangements for places to stay and such.  I am thinking it may be more crowded than many of my other random vacations have been.  We are planning on camping one night, but we'd better arrange the rest before we end up with no place to stay!  This coming week I think...


And also, Seth pointed out that Maptech via TerraServer shows topo maps of the area.  I had looked there for satellite pictures, and the actual random spot is in a dead zone with no pictures, but there was indeed a topo map.  The random spot should be right in the middle of this:


Map of Area around Spot


Thanks to both those sites for that.  Looks like there is a road heading just to the south of the spot.  Dunno how close we'll be able to get.  There are mountains around.  But we shall see.  :-)

Update (24 Aug 2003)

Last weekend Marilyn visited me at my new place in Yardley, PA, and we made the lodging arrangements.  In case anybody wants to surprise us with a visit while we are out there, here is where we are planning to stay:


30 Aug 2003 - 31 Aug 2003:  Red Lion ParkCenter Suites (Boise)

31 Aug 2003 - 6 Sep 2003: Springs T'Home 7 2BR/2.5BA (Warm Springs / Ketchum)

6 Sep 2003 - 7 Sep 2003:  Doubletree Club (Boise)


Seth will probably only be joining us for 3 of the days, but we'll be sure to do the random spot thing that day.  One of those days we will camp, but we'll leave our stuff at the condo in Ketchum.


The vacation starts in less than a week now.  I'll be doing the usual daily log, but I will also give the others an opportunity to contribute their own comments if they wish.  :-)


We'll see how this goes!


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