Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, A Month Has Passed!

I am so happy that people are reading my blog! I hope that you continue to be entertained and interested in our travels and our project! Thanks for reading! What I thought I would do today is give you a bit of history and information about what we are all about. As many of you are aware, I was a career firefighter in Dallas, Texas, for over 32 years. It was a very challenging and interesting career, and I learned a lot from it. One of the things that I learned is that firefighters are a family. Sometimes a dysfunctional family! Lol... And I mean that in the kindest way. But, seriously, when one of us is hurt, we all feel the pain. Firefighters spend their lives helping others, and many times they put their lives on the line to do so. Sometimes, they give the ultimate sacrifice in their quest to help others. So, when I got ready to retire in 2013, several things happened. We lost a number of firefighters over a few years in Dallas. Most of them, I knew. I went to the funerals, and was heartbroken along with the rest of my firefighter family. And if you have never been to a firefighter line of duty death funeral, it is something amazing. Firefighters come from all parts of the country to show their respect and honor the fallen.

So I came to the realization that it would be hard to just walk away from part of my family. And, with some of the issues that pop up regarding survivor benefits, and things like that, we decided to form our non-profit, Support For Firefighters. You may be aware that we are registered with the IRS as an official 501 (c)3 non-profit organization. We clearly wanted to put our efforts into helping survivors, so chose the Fallen Firefighter Foundation, another national 501 (c)3, as an avenue to help. But as we did our research, we realized that there were at least 2 other organizations that we wished to benefit. One is The Thin Red Line, which helps volunteer organizations obtain needed safety equipment, and the other is Sons of the Flag, an organization which supports research into healing burn injuries. This particular organization was founded by former Navy Seals, and is doing a phenomenal job of raising money for their cause. But we have decided to split our donations among these three awesome organizations.

You may wonder what the Running for the Hoses really is all about. We knew that we needed a kick-off event, and wanted to get the word out nationwide. Since Jeff is an ultra-marathoner, he thought that if we "ran" across the country, stopping at fire stations and talking to the news media, that more people would hear about us. We are getting a wonderful reception in most areas, so far! Hopefully, word will spread as we get further across the heart of America, with our goal being to arrive in NYC before the 9-11 ceremonies this year.

Our theory is basically that everyone, most everyone, knows a firefighter or has one in their family. Or maybe, is a firefighter themselves. There are over 2,000,000 firefighters in this country, and 75% of them are volunteer. I was blown away by that number, as I never really thought about it! We have set our fund raising goal for $2M. That is a very high goal, but we would rather shoot higher than lower. The idea is that if at least some of the people, say 100,000 that know one of those 2 million firefighters, donates just $20, we will meet our goal.

So please, if it makes sense to you at all, and you are one of those people that has been touched by a firefighter in any way, please consider making that donation! Every little bit helps. We are averaging about $100 per donation, but they are slow in coming in. If you considered perhaps donating ONE PENNY per mile, that is a simple $35 donation. But if all you can spare is $5 or $10, we welcome that!  Share our blog, share our website, share our Facebook page, with your friends and family. Help us make a difference for firefighters in America!

Today, we left our little gravel plot pretty early. There was an amazing sunrise, but sadly I didn't get a picture of it. And last night, you could have reached up and touched the Milky Way, it was so bright and beautiful!I did finally see an antelope, although people have been telling us there are tons of them across Oregon and Idaho. This guy passed right in front of the RV!

Here we are parked next to a wheat field. 

This is Black Gorge, near Grace, Idaho.

I also found this field of something with little yellow flowers! So pretty!
It has been a fairly easy day, just making it down the road mile after mile. We had lunch in Soda Springs, which is a small town on the Oregon Trail. The area was known to the pioneers because of the number of springs in the area. Many of which had effervescent bubbling water, and some even tasted like beer! Many of those springs are now under a reservoir here. I also made a stop at the Pioneer Museum here, only to find out it was only open Friday and Saturday, 1-4 pm. I am so totally awed by the pioneers and what they accomplished. They had to have been some really tough, persistent folks!

The Pioneer Museum in Soda Springs.

This guy was highly lauded around here!


Of course, Jeff made some friends on the road. These folks stopped to say hi, and gave him some cold water, after reading about us and what we were doing on the Pocatello Running Company Facebook page! See, social media works!

I also stopped to see a park area where there were Oregon Trail tracks promised by the signage. I'm not so sure I could pick them out!

And of course, Jeff spotted the local fire department stuff! He has a better eye for it than I do!


You never know what other interesting things catch Jeff's eye while he is jogging through an area! Stuff that I never even see from the vehicle.
Loved this beautiful herd of horses!

He also managed to find a very large, shiny object on the side of the road, whereas the only shiny things I ever see are beer cans!

Then there was another place, on Georgetown Summit, where the sign said the trail followed back down there, and it was state land so you could walk up it. We went back to it, only to find it had been black topped at some point in time, but it was not maintained. Hmmm....

So we made it to Georgetown today, but there is no place to stay. So, we drove on to Montpelier to find a spot. Jeff will either run backwards or I will drive him back to where he stopped. Since we are sleeping at a country truck stop, the Trail Stop, or something like that. We actually ate dinner at their restaurant, as we didn't want to actually fire up the grill outside in a truck stop! It was pretty darn good, too. There was a KOA  in town, but they wanted $50-60 for a slot, depending on whether it was pull through, back in, or on the creek. No thanks. We found a free dump site in town at the park, and pulled up in the parking lot, near some grass (weeds!) for the dogs. We are fine here.

Mailbox of the Day!

June 29, My Mother's Birthday

Today was my Mother's birthday. Although I tried to call, apparently I waited too late! It was still full light here, it was late there and no one answered the phone. I left a message. I feel really badly about that!

And now, we have been forced to park in a very out of the way gravel spot near a river and fields. We had a really nice place, right in front of this old school house, with some shady trees, right off the highway where Jeff stopped running. We got busted by the guy that manages the place while we were eating dinner sitting in our chairs outside of the RV. He works for the railroad, and was on his way home, and stopped. We told him we were leaving after dinner... we had planned on staying there, but didn't really get a good vibe from him. So we cleaned up our dinner and left. Drove down the road to the next town and there was nothing. No where to park and no RV parks. I had dumped the tanks earlier, and we figured we would stay on the side of the road somewhere anyway. Jeff found a place on the internet and directed his phone to lead us into the place. She took us on gravel roads, winding around, and finally we "arrived" at the RV park which either didn't exist, or the iPhone couldn't find it! We finally stumbled across a HUGE river gorge out here, which I wish I could have seen in full light! The road we were on was suddenly closed up ahead, so we turned around, and spied a flat gravel spot. That is where we are. No phone, no internet.

I'm not really liking this spot too much. I think it is too remote, although as the crow flies, I think that Grace is less than a mile away.

And, without internet, I can't download pictures or post my blog. I am forced, once again, to simply write in Word, and hope to upload it tomorrow!

Today was a very good day for Jeff, though. He left the McCurdy's house, and it was about 15 miles downhill to the next town! It was a beautiful area, too. I loved driving back down the back of that hill, although I never saw any moose. I really wanted to see a moose! I did see a beaver standing on the side of the road, but when I got close, he turned tail and ran back down to the creek. Anyway, Jeff ended up with 40 miles on his feet today, which is the most he has done. Thankfully, most of it was downhill. He is getting in shape really well! The Road Ahead is looking good!

Early in the morning, Jeff is heading down the road.
This was a great road to run on! Glad I got my turn on it!

Not sure what these huge birds are!

I had coffee with the McCurdy's before leaving. They had to be to church, and I went searching for Jeff. There really was nothing else about the day that stood out, other than the high mileage, and getting busted where we planned on parking!

There were some interesting flowers on the side of the road, too.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a good day with internet! 

And I just realized that I forgot to post a Mailbox of the Day yesterday! Actually, I don't think that Jeff found any, as I didn't see any pics of them. But there are several good ones for today!

Interesting bank of boxes.

I love the metal work on some of these!


June 28, Quite a Busy Day!

Today was a really interesting day. Lots of things happened! First off, I can't post this tonight as we have no internet service. But, I will be able to post it tomorrow I hope! (Nope, didn't happen!)

Jeff got out this morning, and I still felt horrible. Last night I had a terrible stomach ache, and this morning woke up really puffy and with a terrible headache. So, it took me a while to get moving. Since we were at an RV park, the Buffalo Meadow RV Park at the Fort Hall Casino on the Shoshone reservation, I had to dump the tanks and get everything ready. By the time I got my shower and took care of all that, I was feeling a bit better. Not sure what happened. Jeff and I ate the same things, and he feels fine!

A Monument on the reservation at Fort Hall

He really hadn't gone that far, and I found him easily. Then we went into our normal routine of my going ahead and parking for a bit. At one point, it seemed like it was taking him a while, but I figured he would be along. I guess I should have listened more to my intuition. That was the time that he got bit by a big pit mix. Interestingly, the bite left a mark in the shape of a V.... hmmmm..... Anyway, after we treated the bite, we decided to drive back that way and get the address, just in case. I suggested that we maybe knock on the door and ask the owner if the dog has been vaccinated. Jeff thought that might be a good idea, so I pulled into the driveway. Well, the big dog was sitting on the front porch! So, we decided maybe that wasn't the best idea. One of the dogs was wearing tags that he remembered, so he opted to blow it off.

We stopped for a quick lunch, then I went to run some errands. There were some copies I needed to make off my flash drive, I needed to go to Costco, and we were looking for a local running store so that Jeff could maybe get some more shorts. He is wearing his running clothes and his running shoes out! I went into a local outfitter store, but was told that they really didn't have much in the way of running stuff. So I asked, is there an actual running store in town? I had googled it, and came up empty handed. Well, one of the customers made a suggestion that she thought there was a new one downtown on Main Street. We consulted the map, so that I would know where to go. She couldn't remember the name. I let Jeff know, and went to pick him up so we could go check it out. It wasn't far off the route, but why not drive??? We found it exactly where she said it would be! And the name of the place is the Pocatello Running Store. The owner, Brian, was there, and his personality shown from the moment that we walked in! He and Jeff talked running stuff for about an hour. We actually did find a pair of shorts, and Jeff got a running hat as well. Brian gave him a Pocatello Running Store T-shirt, also. He carried my 2 favorite running shoes, too! So, if you are in Pocatello, please stop by the Pocatello Running store on Main Street! They were great. Turns out they really just had opened, 2 days ago!

Since I had forgotten to get ice at Costco, I pulled into an Albertson's parking lot to pick some up. Then noticed that right next door was a large fire station! So, while I went in to get ice, Jeff went over to talk to the firefighters. Once I was done, I went over there to chat for a bit also. The guys were great! They were so friendly and really excited about what we were doing. They asked a lot of questions, and we spent nearly an hour there talking to them. And, they gave Jeff a patch. He is adding patches to his Super Hero cape now!

Since we had plans to stay up on the hill at Gary and Marlys home, who are cousins of our brother in law, Steve, we finally broke away and headed up there. What a beautiful drive up the side of the hill! They have a wonderful piece of property with a lot of forest back behind them. It is quite a bit cooler up here, too! And they have had all kinds of wild life on their property, including moose and mountain lions! While we were there, all we saw were the birds that she feeds, which was awesome. I love feeding and watching wild birds! 
The McCurdy house, nestled up to the hillside.

Their great back porch/deck. So peaceful there!

Anyway, we visited with them for a bit, then they wanted to take us out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant that they really like. The people were so friendly there! The owner, Caleb, came and sat with us while we ate our supper, and talked with us. He does a lot of things to help the community, particularly with kids. Once he found out about our run across America, he also comped our dinner! He was great. So, again, if you are ever in Pocatello, please visit Caleb Corona at Senor Iguana's at 961 Hiline Rd. Be aware, though, that portions are big! It was more than I could eat!

Such a nice man with loads of community spirit!

On the way back, Gary gave us a short tour of Pocatello, including their antique shop. They are retired educators, but have been buying and selling antiques for many years.
This is the antique shop where the McCurdy's place their items.

A very nice fountain in Pocatello.

A statue to the Chief Pocatello story.

Pocatello is proud of it's heritage!

They also showed us a way to go down the back of the mountain and short cut to the road we need to be on tomorrow. So now we don't have to drive back to town to head east! Life is good.

Friday, June 27, 2014

June 27, Missed the Geisers

This morning dawned cool and rainy. Jeff procrastinated for quite a while before he finally ventured out the door! In fact, he walked over to McDonald's for breakfast, and brought me a cup of coffee.

Jeff was surprised to get a plain white wrapper at McD's!
Procrastinated a bit more, trying to decide if he should wear his running rain jacket or not. Finally, he left without it. I went to Walmart for a few things. Then drove out after him. Since he was backtracking to where we left off yesterday, I picked him up and drove him out to the mile marker. Then we both slogged back in the rain. Well, it didn't really rain all day. But the showers were pretty determined. It was great watching them over the plain from a distance.

Although today was a sort of short day, well, over 30 miles but not 35.... Jeff seems to have had a pretty good day. We stopped for lunch, and waited for it to stop raining again. All in all, I think he is doing really well! Here are some thoughts from Jeff:

"Well what has the first month on the road taught me?

Log trucks drivers are the best
Hay trucks suck, well blow actually
Side of the road is best campground
Nothing tastes good after eating it for a month, not cookies, not crackers
Shoes wear out
Your favorite running shorts are like shoes, they wear out
No running store has anything that you like in a strange city

They only things that I still truly enjoy is my kona cola Nuun and string cheese. I am so tired of nutter butter cookies. Peanut butter cheese crackers and peanut butter crackers get really old after three weeks
Mexican food is always amazing
Eating ice cream to keep your weight up gets old"

We also wasted some rainy time going to the Idaho Potato Museum. Really, we had very high hopes. We now know quite a bit more about potatoes than we did before!

For instance, Marilyn Monroe was the spokesperson, or model, or something, for the Idaho potato!

They also had a good collection of Mr. Potato Head's, and also potato mashers and peelers. That was kind of interesting. Not to mention, the Guinness Book Record chip!

Pretty interesting stuff. We were also blessed with a carton of dehydrated hash browns, just for visiting. Taters for out of staters....

History of the local russet potato. If you can enlarge and read it! 

Another Guinness record.

And historical facts regarding potatoes.

Now that you are brought up to speed on the potato thing, there was another really cool thing that was supposed to happen today. Our neighbors, Barb and Gary Geiser, and their family, were flying into Salt Lake City, then driving up to Yellowstone National Park. They just happened to be coming through Pocatello the same day, essentially, that we were. Well, Blackfoot really. But it is close. Anyway, we had been communicating about when and where we might meet "on the road" so to speak. We sort of had it figured out, then one of their rental cars went haywire on them. After lots of hassle, they ended up with a different rental car company, and left the one that broke down on the side of the road. Sure don't blame them for that! However, the end result was that they were running so behind, that they were already not arriving at the park until about 10:30 PM. So, we missed them after all.... But, it was a great idea. Sometimes you just never know what could happen. You know, those best laid plans....

So, back to the road ahead. Tomorrow, we plan on making it on into Pocatello. Unfortunately, none of the news people that I contacted have followed up on our story, so we won't be in the news here as we were in Boise. I guess with all the storms in the Midwest and all, there is plenty of important news out there.

Although it rained a lot, Jeff was still able to get some photos of stuff. Of course, he managed to find a Flower of the Day. I think it is just a weed, perhaps a thistle which they consider really bad around here, as it is invasive and not from around these parts!

Something they do do around these parts is play Mailbox Baseball. It was pretty obvious as we moved closer to town, the number of mailboxes that were dented. We even saw one post that was missing its box! Missed that pic, though. Jeff was pretty amazed at some of the ways that folks engineered their mailbox to be Mailbox Baseball proof! So the Mailbox of the Day is all about Mailbox Baseball today!

This guy put a spring on it. If you check
out Facebook, you will find a video of it springing!
So this guy just hung his on chains so it would

                                               And this guy just made his so large that it didn't matter if it was dented up!