Wandered around the ranch for a bit...


I hooked up with Jess at the Safeway in Orting, WA. and then followed her home. I spaced out halfway through the drive when I wondered if that was really her Kia in front of me or am I following the wrong car. What if the person is freaked out that I'm following them up and down every little beautiful road and their husband is waiting at home with a shotgun? This marks one week on the wild open road and I'm starting to hallucinate.

We arrived at the Riley and Jess house. Thank god because I'm unarmed. Love this place, still have a hard time finding it, very much off the grid. I'll have more shots here as the weekend unfolds but in the meantime, The Garden:

Nothing like a good vehicle emergency to validate a road trip and mine happened this morning. The engine started running real rough and it happened just as I'm coming down that mountainous hill towards Wallace. I barely made it to the exit where I pulled off and she died.

Ahah, I said, it's my Farmers Insurance Roadside Assitance time to shine and I called the 1-800 number on my card. After identifying myself to Farmers with my insurance policy number I was asked if I wanted to start a text session, and we did.

I'm telling a robot via text where I am (just push a button when asked and you're gps is snagged), what the issue is, do I want a tow, yes, here's a few mechanics to try, ok, I'll go with Danny's Lube and Oil and the deal was done. They hooked me up to a web page that showed how many minutes out the tow truck was and that it was taking me to Danny's. It showed up 5 minutes early.

This little shop on the side of the road in mountain country was manned by salty magicians who ran a smoke test on her to check for compression leaks and the poor old girl was leaking like a sieve. There are many rubber caps attempting to prevent previously used connection ports from giving up compression and they get old, melt, break and I carry many in my glovebox. I looked at them of course before calling the tow and they all looked alright.

Garry's guys put some sexy things on top of several of the unused ports. I'll check them out more when I get to Rileys. They even replaced a hose that had cracked on the end and was leaking smoke. Bottom line she's airtight and back better than ever!

Where am I now? Rest area off I-90 about 30 minutes east of Moses Lake. Here you go:

I flipped the coin of life high into the Montana air yesterday and as it rotated around in the cosmic cloud it was strongly nudged West by an invite to my sons house on Friday for a couple of days.

I'm currently in Missoula Montana, one of my favorite places. Tomorrow I'm heading down to the Dalles with a drive up to Rileys the next day. And the road trip rocks on...


As I rolled out of Lava this morning immediate decisions had to be made. South on I-15 and every steamy hot thing that move would require, or swing North to the sanctuary of the open sky. Well, I'm currently in Butte, MT. so there you go. My gut said North and here I am.

Butte's a good town, had more than one good time here. But today I'm simply hanging low and recharging my inner self while at the crossroads of my life.

Had a fine time with the kids last night at Lava Hot Springs. Idaho was a breath of fresh air after the absurd, grungy, insultive mask down your throat bullshit of Colorado. The first thing you see when you drive into that state is a freeway sign saying Masks are required in all public places.

Bonded with Brian's new lady Nadia and re-established that bond I have with my nephew and friend, Brian.

I walked around town this morning waiting for the Wagon Wheel to open for coffee and grabbed some Tube shots. Sure glad I ain't slingin tubes today. In fact, why am I surrounded by tubes anyway? What is life trying to tell me?

Landed in Lava LaLa Land this afternoon. Secured my camp for two nights, took a long soak across the street and now back. My camp spot is still the most bad-ass spot in town and a large hill behind me has my back.

I visited Maggie on the Farm when I hit Colorado Springs this morning. What a zoo, masks everywhere and traffic I would not deal with.

I'm remembering fondly where I live and currently relaxing in a nice little motel room in Castle Rock, CO.

So where am I really at, I might ask? Good, happy as shit, stoned, a little drunk on warm water, vodka and no ice, and really glad to be alive!

I got up at midnight and drove twelve solid hours to Kansas. I'm hunkered down in a great little rest area 7 hours out of Colorado Springs using my phone as a hotspot to get this post out.

I called the motel at Lava Hot springs and changed my reservation from a room to my favorite little camping spot behind their property up on the hill. Brian and his lady can then bring some chairs up from their motel nearby and hang out. This aint my first hot springs rodeo ya know...


I've got an itinerary, for the next few days at least. I'm leaving early tomorrow morning and driving to Wichita, KS. Saturday I drive to Colorado Springs, CO and Sunday on to Rock Springs, WY. Lava Hot Springs is just a 3 hour drive and I will meet Brian (and perhaps his new lady friend) there around 0900. I have a room booked at my old favorite motel and Brian will setup his own. A fine day at Lava is in store and Tuesday they will head back to Jackson and I will continue West.

The reason my little travel truck is alive and purring like a kitten is because I pulled all of the emission control crap off the engine and replaced it with a Weber carb and a header. In the process I lost cruise control.

Keeping my foot on the pedal all of the time is exhausting on long trips and I'm taking off shortly on my longest. I needed to find a solution and I did. It's called a throttle depressor and I love it. Once I get to my desired speed on the open road I put the tip down on the throttle, press the lever to release the holder and slide it till it fits the edge of my seat and bingo!

So how did I spend my birthday morning? I did my laundry down at the Wishy Washy. While I was there I read a Forbes magazine article that stated 1.5 million children under the age of five die every year around the world from malnutrition. Compare that to the number of deaths from Covid worldwide as of today. Wait for it... 631,238.

Draw your own conclusions.

Yeah, I got the call from Crissinda today. Been hanging out with Steph all afternoon talking about her sister Sandy, her family, and life. I realize that she and I are no longer a couple but she is still my best friend and we can talk about anything, and we did.

Her car was heating up so I hooked her up with my local mechanic who helped her through a solution over the phone. We worked out the details for taking over my place and feeding our cat. She said she is ready to go, I just paid next months rent, and then the call came.

They found a replacement for me, some guy out of Pennsylvania who decided not to work for the Post Office and they took him out driving today and he appears good. Happy 74th Birthday to me! Thanks guys!

Here's a shot of Steph's siblings taken at Sandy's celebration of life. Just thought I would share...

Lower right...


My indoor/outdoor kitty has become full time outdoor. Not sure why but she's way more fearless now and just owns our little dead end street. Last night I coaxed her in for some food and brush, which she needed badly. I can't leave food out for her because the possums and coons get it.

She's also got a skin condition under her fur that's rough and scaly which I brush out hard. Here's a video I shot last night, just being chill with my baby before she went back out and I went to bed.

Lava Hot Springs is open and firmly implanted in my list of road trip places. Here's a shot I took heading there a few years back. I do love Idaho...


My current gig is not my first tube rodeo. I was telling my co-workers yesterday about one of my favorite places, Lava Hot Springs. It's a quaint little town south of Idaho Falls, ID with world-class hot springs and several tubing outfits. I had many adventures there and it's high on my upcoming road trip list. I've thrown a few photos together into a photoset you can view by clicking the shot below:

And yes Crissinda, the last shot is the biker dude drinking buddy who helped get me 86'd from the 112 degree pool.

Madison was riding along with me today and we were trying to verbally define the spots where we put people in and where we take them out and her simple solution was Put In and Take Out. Well, I would like you to take a moment and view our Take Out spot.

Well, I gave notice at the tubing company today. I told my boss Ricky that I was just working too hard. We as individuals are the only ones capable of knowing this and my poor old body let me know loudly. I also told him that I can't continue to intimately expose myself to so many strangers. Covid kills old people and what's the point of working to build up road trip cash, if you're dead.

I told Ricky I had his back completely until he can find a replacement. There's got to be a young buck (or doe) out there with a license and the integrity to pull off this job. I can have them ride along and trained in a day. Hell, I used to train transit supervisors!

So, we are parting ways in the most honorable way. Ricky told me two things: I'm surprised you lasted this long and you will be hard to replace. Thank you sir. And I've had a ball! My coworkers have become friends and it's been just downright fun.

Next up, road trip baby...


Just a thirsty squirrel...


Steph sent me this photo of sweet little Emma today, and it breaks my heart. I know this girl as she spent time with us in Idaho and I always thought she was precious. Her world is now upside down with Sandy's passing and hell, if I wasn't an old grumpy codger, I would welcome her into my world.

And then Crissinda and I found a baby bird under the homeless bridge and I assured her that the infant was fine, that's just how it rolls for them, they fall from the nest and learn to fly from the ground.

I offer up a prayer to my god that little Emma learns to fly!

This is my new favorite breakfast. I pan fry a wild-caught Alaskan whitefish patty in butter on one side for three minutes, flip it over and cook for two. Then I break three cage-free brown eggs over it, sprinkle on a generous amount of grated local Amish goat cheese, cook until the eggs are solid enough then flip it midair and cook for just a bit more.

It's 1530 on Shoal Creek below my house on a Sunday afternoon. The bosses will decide if we launch people into it tomorrow, or not.

Torrential rain and fireworks came sweeping into town this morning and I knew the beep on my phone meant the tubing day was canceled. Quite frankly, thank god. My poor old body has been in recovery mode since that nine hour non-stop, ass kicking, record setting day we had yesterday. Apologies to my co-workers for being in a pissed off mood, missing lunch and dinner will do that...

From my office window as I write this the creek is brown, angry and rising. Quite a contrast to yesterday when every load of tubers returning had at least one flat from sharp rocks on a low creek. Piper is back in, finally, laying here on my desk contentedly watching the show outside. She's been outside for three days but finally broke down soaking wet at the front door.

I need to delete the EGR valve on my truck. It is the last remanent of an insidious emissions control system imposed upon that vehicle. I've been running a Weber carb and a header for years now and that stupid damned EGR valve is still pushing exhaust back into the combustion process.

To delete means to remove it but I have to replace the hole it leaves with a solid plate. The local machine shop wanted $250 just to create a cad drawing from a gasket and who knows how much to cut it. So, I called my boy Riley, master auto body guy, and he said he could make one.

I purchased a gasket from Amazon, mailed it to him, and he just finished it. We're calling it my birthday present. Here's the EGR valve:

Here's the setup for the cut:

Here's the piece:

Love you son.

Had a fun group of teachers from Alabama ride with us today. These kids know how to party! They even went around twice, tubes tied, beverages held, working off steam.

You just can't get a good fish sandwich in this town so I went to the store, bought the fixins and made my own.

Ate both of them.

What a weird, sad, cosmic day it's been. We had a steady flow of interesting tubers today and as I was loading up one group down on the creek I got a call from my son Riley. First off, he never calls during a work week at 1600 and I could tell by the timbre of his voice I wasn't going to like what he had to say.

Turns out the mother of his childhood best friend, Shelia, also a friend of mine, had died from a heart attack. What the hell? Two friends in a few days!

Shortly after, I was standing on the old bridge watching our last group of the day approach and I told Jacob I wanted to walk down and meet the homeless person living under the highway bridge as the group floated by. He declined to go so I walked down alone.

Her name was Kayla, with a sweet smile, and we became instant cosmic friends. She described herself as broke and homeless and I thought back to a time when I was also. I reached into my pocket for the two $10s I got today as tips and slipped them into her palm as the group floated by. We agreed to talk more next week.

When I got home the check I've been waiting for had arrived from the gas royaltiy company. I had no idea what to expect from the class-action lawsuit but I was hoping for thousands and it turned out to be $66 bucks and change.

Hey, no complaints, at least I ain't living under a bridge...


This was one of my workhorse vehicles over twelve years of driving at the base of the Grand Tetons in Idaho.

Just thinking about Sandy and how quickly we can leave this place. I'll post photos as they pop up in my extensive colection. Any doubt who the leader of this family was?

Sandy was loud, sometimes abrasive, strongly opinionated and had a heart of gold. She adopted her sister Wendys two drug born grand-babies and gave them a home they so desperately needed. When she and Jimmy left our place in Idaho after a visit two years ago she said to me well, I guess I won't see you again. She thought I was heading South while Steph was heading East. Turned out I went East and if she had just lived long enough to get out here, I would have.

I feel very sad, she died way too young and I can't imagine what will happen to her family as she was the rock. I also don't think Steph should try to get back there for the funeral, after all, Sandy always gave Steph her frequent flier miles just to go visit...

So, I am going to attempt a virtual funeral attendance for the both of us. I have all the tools: camera, microphone, software, all I need is someone back there to handle a phone or a camera so we can attend.

Here's Sandy (in the shades) with Steph and I and her daughter Monica up at Grand Targhee a while back.

Some more shots:

At Cornucopia with my boy Riley, Steph and her daughter Tori: Photo, at her home: Photo, at our place in Driggs: Photo, back at their old house: Photo and an old Video.

I asked Crissinda to grab a shot of our parking lot from up on the hill at the height of our busy day today. She did good:

Took a drive south on the Natchez Trace Parkway this morning into Waterloo, AL (never been there before) and snapped a shot of a little body of water, and then created a sketch from it when I got home.

The dopamine neurons in my substantia nigra are quickly fading away, the internal vibrations are bouncing off my old skin like a caged angry ethiopian fruit bat and I've been thrown under the bus, again. But at least I have a mask!