8:00 am sharp we were at the office of “Cheap Thrills” snowmobiling rental company. This was a BIG day for us. We have NEVER been smowmobiling before and I will admit, for the few days leading up to this morning, I was nervous. What if I tipped the snowmobile over? Then what? Ugh. So many thoughts running through my head.
On top of those early worries, I was also not sure what to do with Oliver. We could not keep him in his kennel in the Airstream all day while were gone. That was for sure. And what was more cetain is that he could not come on this trip with us. *sigh* Fortunately, thanks to the local vet in McCall (Dr. Parks), he referred me to a wonderful couple, Barbara and Buzz Smole who run the Happy Dog Inn.
“You will love Barbara and Buzz! I bring my dogs there and some other doctors in the area also bring their dogs to them when they need a sitter. They are the best!” Dr. Parks tells me over the phone and relief sets in.
So the night before we were going to go snowmobiling, we packed up Oliver’s things and headed 15 minutes from McCall into the town of New Meadows to the Happy Dog Inn. The truck was very quiet during that 15 minutes except for some long pauses between questions from B.
“Will there be other dogs there mommy?”
“Can I see them?”
“We can ask Mrs. Barbara”
“What about crumbs on the floor? Will they have crumbs on the floor?”
B has a serious phobia of Oliver eating something off the floor like a miniscule piece of chocolate that will send the puppy into a medical catastrophe. He loves his dog, very, very much and really worries after him.
“I’m sure they keep their floors very clean.”
So we arrive and B goes first and rings the bell. Barbara comes out and invites us in. Her home is cozy, warm and Barbara is just a doll. Totally easy to talk to and makes you feel like part of the family. I explain how to prepare Oliver’s food, how he likes to sleep, how he will cry because he does not like to be alone — I went on and on and she smiled and listened patiently.
B asks to see the other dogs and she lets them out. Two Cairn Terriers and one sweet Dachshund. Bradley seemed satisfied as we petted the sweet dogs and then made our way back to the truck to head back to the Airstream.
Oh boy, the truck was quiet and when I turned around to peek at B he looked very sad looking out of the window :(
“Just one day honey,” I tell him. “Just one day”
“I know mommy…24 hours”
So we head on into Cheap Thrills and are ready to go. Then I see the wall of gear. Okay the walls of gear. Wow — suits, helmets, boots, gloves, you name it — they’ve got it. I came thinking I was fully prepared with all of my ski layers and coat and ski helmet.
Nope. Not even close.
Peggy and her husband Chuck run Cheap Thrills and this morning Peggy was there to help us get outfitted.
“Oh, I think I’m ready to go as I am Peggy” I tell her not wanting to put on another outfit.
“Are you sure? When you are skiing Monica, your body is warm but when you are snowmobiling, your body is not warm and the wind chill is very cold”
I hesitated and then agreed.
“Okay, suit me up”
Peggy worked her magic whisking suit after suit off the racks for all three of us. Then came the boots and the helmet and lets not forget the most amazing warm gloves I have ever tried on.
I felt like a true Michelin Man but did not care because I knew I would be warm.
We proceed to the counter where Peggy shows us the map of the terrain we would be covering and we decide that we should first head straight to the town of Warren (which sounded interesting from the gold mining history Peggy mentioned to us) and then head to Burgdorf Hot Springs where we could spend a few hours before heading back.
And here is Chuck with Hubby and B :)
Chuck is absolutely WONDERFUL. This man will take his time explaining to you everything there is to know about snowmobiling from how to start, stop, navigate get the snowmobile unstuck to changing the belt which he made us feel confident we will NEVER need to do, as long as we stayed on the path. I memorized Chuck’s every word as if I were going to take a major exam. I mean, I was afraid of snowmobiling but now, after listening to Chuck and having him explain how to go about it – I felt very at ease and RELIEVED. I was ready and excited!
“Let’s go! Do you mind if I lead?” I shouted through my helmet (which I later learned is pointless – no one can hear you)
And we were off!
Our first stop? The town of Warren :)
Elevation: 5,906 ft (1,800 m) | Population: 16
30+ miles later and we arrive in Warren. We park our snowmobiles and have a look around and imagine what it would be like to live here and what it could have been like “Back Then.”
We decide it’s time to head over to the hot springs and continue back the way we came. B is having the time of his life and is riding on the back of hubby’s snowmobile. I was fine with that since I take more confidence in Hubby’s snowmobiling skills than mine at this point.
Thanks to Fred Burgdorf who saw the ($$) potential in these natural hot springs he turned Burgdorf into one of Idaho’s first resort towns opening in 1870.
Here for $6.00 you can soak for as long as you like in either the large swimming pool or in one of the smaller pools but be warned. The smaller pools are where the natural hot spring inlets are and they average a temperature of 113 degrees farenheit. For that simple fact, it is not recommended for a soak longer than two minutes (hubby came out after three and from his neck down he resembled the color of a beet, lol – it is that hot!).
One cool fact we learned was that these hot springs are infused with lithium (that’s right) and it’s true to say that after our soak, we definitely felt relaxed :)
In addition to the hot springs, there are cabins that can be rented to camp in, making for a great weekend. On our way out we were told that we may pass a group of snowmobiler’s coming in. They were from a ski gear company that had rented out all the cabins to do a photo shoot covering their new products/gear.
What a cool setting for a shoot like that!
We climb out of the hot springs and are refreshed by the cool air against our skins. Before we get too freezing we enter the cozy dressing rooms and slip back into our warm snowmobile clothing that has been kept warm by the wood burning stove.
We take one look back at Burgdorf to bid farewell and start up the snowmobiles to head back to the trail head where Chuck would be waiting for us.
What a beautiful day it was.
“We’re going to eat at Steamer’s tonight” I tell Chuck excitedly back at the snowmobile parking lot.
“Oh wow, really! Let me tell you what you should order!”
I ♥ Chuck. He insisted that his wife Peggy is a Halibut connoisseur and has had the best Alaskan Halibut in none other than Alaska on one of their last visits. But the other night at Steamer’s Chuck tells me, Peggy ordered a Halibut with a Lobster Bisque/Sauce and he told me she said it was the best she has ever had.
I mean, he went on and on.
I was SOLD! And lucky for me, it was the special of the night at Steamers :) Hubby ordered the lemon trout with lamb and both were a huge hit. B ordered the kid’s pizza and you know, what kid doesn’t love a pizza and this one was no exception. We were a bunch of happy glampers that evening at Steamers.
Not to mention the cozy ambiance of the restaurant and the service which was impeccable. Friendly staff and all smiles always checking up on us. The tables were awesome too, nice and big so you had plenty of room and your dishes were not all cramped together. They also had some great picture books covering McCall that I very much enjoyed spreading open on the table and having a look.
Speaking of big tables, I was actually able to set up my tripod ontop of the table, on the lowest level to snap some pictures of our food when unfortunately my battery died :( I was heartbroken. Even my backup batteries were dead (something I have learned on this trip is that batteries do not last long in cold weather). I was relieved to have my iPad with me so I shot some pictures with that, but still — wish my camera would have been up and running. Lesson learned.
“So what did you think about today?” I ask B over dinner. “Did you have fun?”
“Oh yes mommy, it was epic! I’m happy that I could ride back on the snowmobile with you and I think the hot springs were awesome. Do you think there is really gold in the river in Warren?”
“Oh yes, I really do think there is still good there. Would you like to go gold mining someday?”
“Oh yes! But first mommy, can we go and pick up Oliver? It has been exactly 24 hours” he tells me, eyes wide with anticipation.
“Yes! Let’s go get Ollie!”
We could hardly wait :)
Our day spent with Cheap Thrills snowmobiling through the backcountry to the sweet town of Warren and then to Burgdorf was something that we never even imagined existed. To be able to snowmobile to hot springs and soak the day away was an incredible adventure we will never soon forget.
Dining at Steamers and the excellent food and service the we encountered gave our wonderful, adventure filled day a wonderful ending.
What an amazing town you are McCall and all the people here that we have met so far, thank you for your warm hospitality and warm welcomes! ♥