Thursday, October 22, 2020


Where just a month or so ago Jax and I would head out hiking at 7am to avoid the heat now we wait until about 8:30 for the sun to hit the lodge. The biggest change has been the sun which keeps moving south this time of year has begun coming up behind the Anti-Cline which instead of changing by about one minute per day suddenly changed about 15 minutes and then 20 more. 

The cowbirds have departed and the very same day the red-winged blackbirds showed up. I was pumping water yesterday at the pond by the main house and found them all sleeping in the reeds I was going to cut down. 

A couple of Haydukers came by for the first time since spring while I was in town but Linda wasn't able to get their trail names.

For numbers the lodge didn't just catch up with same time last year numbers after all the Co-vid cancellations it blew by them and then blew bye last year's total numbers by $12,000 so far. I think I'm going to finish up by $40,000 to $50,000 over 2019.
Probably the best possible financial news I could get I got. When I bought Last Hurrah next door I wound up with a substantial balloon payment, about $1.5 million due in January of 2022. A couple days ago I got a term sheet offer for a refinance that will pay that balloon off. Still depends on an appraisal and an environmental report but there's nothing I know of to cause a problem. It's a big relief.

Kobae Again

There have been so many more guests here this year and many of them have had dogs Kobae has been sticking around to defend his territory, chase dogs, and then of course hump the stairs, when he's not looking at himself in the oven window, tangled up in porch chairs or guarding the door.

Dual Sport School

Fran Tully has a school where he teaches you to ride street bikes off road. He decided as a customer appreciation of sorts to rent out the Last Hurrah side and invite everyone that had attended one of his schools. He had 30 something people show up and it was nice to see all the street bike off road people gathered in one place.

Jax and I Kayak

 For a second time Jax and I get to spend a little quiet evening time in the river.


 He's only going for hikes off the property about once a week now and it seems whenever he's ready to take a break he finds a spot with no shade for Jax or I.

But occasionally we find a way to make it work.
On this day it took me nearly one hour to get Kobae to turn around so we could start heading back and he fought me all the way.

The Days

 A full two hour hike with Jax is a rarity but occasionally we get lucky.

Still a four foot drop off at the bottom of the hill where we've had the kayaks for years. River does whatever it wants.
So everything is still at the boat ramp.
Because we haven't gotten any hard rain storms this year that flood the creek bed it's held up really well as a place to hike down to the ramp and get in the river.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Some Stuff

I'm still following the race and at 6pm David Goggins was in second place 20 miles behind. Now six hours later he's in second place and has closed the gap to 12 miles with 60 miles to go. They've been running for 41 hours. 

Some really good guests the last month or so. One guest pulled out, then pulled back in five minutes later to say she left a coffee cup in her room and forgot to wash it so she'll do that now. A few years ago I had one drive away, come back and say she forgot to put the toaster settings back like they were and promptly do that and then depart again.

“Amazing spot more far out than you anticipate and thus more special. One of the most beautiful places I have been; it is a bit of roughing it but given where you are it’s like being in a dream.”
“Oh gosh... where do I even start? Tom’s place is incredible. Since a lot of folks mention the drive in, it’s worth noting: if you’ve ever done off-roading before, you’ll have no problem with Hurrah Pass. I found it fun! For reference, I have a 2012 RAV4 with a little 2” lift. It took us about an hour and a half from Moab. I personally would plan to drive in during the daylight hours. We did the half day kayak trip and Linda graciously took us to the drop-off point. Rookie mistake, I forgot to bring extra layers and she LITERALLY gave me the long sleeve shirt off her back. Tom and Linda, whether they know it or not, are in the business of making magic moments. They may appear to be in the business of renting rooms, but that’s just their side gig. It’s what makes this place so over-the-top wonderful. Tom is ALWAYS available for your questions (everyone has a walkie-talkie) and is willing to get up at o-dark-thirty to get you off on your adventures for the day. His humor is second to none (so long as you speak desert-dry wit), his stories will have you wide-eyed and laughing, and the nightly animal feeding is NOT to be missed. “Going above and beyond” is what the English language has to offer for this situation, but somehow it doesn’t seem to cover the magnitude. The property itself is just amazing. From the pristine Milky Way to the sandbars on the Colorado within wading distance to the epic sunsets to the side-by-side trails to the views from our private patio, Tom’s place is utter perfection. Go.”
“This place was a breathtaking, once in a lifetime experience! The road in was a bit challenging for us flat-landers (Minnesotans), but so so so worth it!! We had so much fun exploring the land on the side by side, we saw wild life, kayaked, and played disc golf. We were lucky to see big horned sheep, deer, and lots of small critters. I will suggest this place to everybody I know. Our stay was too short, could’ve spent several more days. And Tom was a great host! He really knows his stuff.”

The math is crazy. Despite 77 cancellations in March, April, and May and who knows how many non bookings there were a result of the craziness, sometime, probably Tuesday the lodge will pass the total revenue for all of last year with 2.5 months to go.
“If you're looking to get away from people and enjoy the beautiful outdoors this is an awesome option. By the way, after leaving Tom’s our first park was Arches, which we were denied entry due to too many people, so we traveled on to Canyonlands. There we had to wait in line to get a picture at the grand mesa arch. I told my husband I wanted to go back to Tom’s. I enjoyed Tom’s place more than the local national parks. There were no crowds, no beaten paths or people climbing on monuments to get a good picture. Please keep in mind this is an “off grid” get away. There are no power lines or cell phone towers. Tom creates all the electricity with solar power and backup generators. There are no service stations, grocery stores or gas stations once you leave Moab proper, so make a plan and bring everything you need. You can travel to and from town daily but it seems like a lot of time in the car vs enjoying your stay. The Road “Hurrah Pass” First let me start by saying we are a 50ish year old couple from southern Louisiana and not used to mountainous areas and I don’t consider us big risk takers. We flew into Grand Junction, CO and drove to Tom’s place. (You should make sure the car rental insurance has coverage for off-road driving. Most only cover for paved roads. Avis in town did have coverge, but Avis at the airport did not.) We learned enough from reviews and Tom’s info that we wanted a Jeep and we would get everything we needed in town and allow more than enough time to travel the Pass during daylight hours. Once we got there we did not plan to leave until we checked out. We had enough food for 3 days and full tank of gas. It took us well over an hour to drive the 17 miles from Moab proper to Tom’s. Guests do not make it – meaning they give up and turn around – some arrived in tears. Tom has to fetch, lead and/or drive guests in/out regularly. For us it was a scary road, one lane wide for two-way traffic with a rock wall on one side and a drop off on the other, but we expected it. We did not have to use the 4-wheel drive but were comforted that we had it. In fact, the Jeep riding became a fun part of our adventure. I did not know it in advance but this offroad stuff is a major recreational sport (and necessitiy) in Tom’s world. There are many books and maps available in town with all the off roads classified by difficulty and obstacles. By the way, Hurrah Pass is classified as easy. If you continue past Tom’s to Chicken Corners, that road is classified as moderate. We did both and considered them equal, although there is one ‘corner’ that will make you hold your breath. My suggestion to you is to gather info; get the right vehicle; plan; travel during daylight, take your time –you are on vacation, enjoy the adventure and take a deep breath, you can do it! Tom is a great host. He will do whatever he can to make your stay a pleasant one. He and Linda provided us with friendly and interesting conversation during our stay. I don’t want to leave out Jax, he’s the best hiking guide out there.”

“This is a place of pure magic”
"Tom is a legend. The land is perfect. The homes are comfortable. The adventures are plentiful. The wildlife is abundant. What else are you doing? Go here, live laugh and love you idiot. It’s a dream here."

Still Learning

 I think the first vacancy I have at the lodge is around the 20th and the 1st vacancy next door around the 7th or 8th of November. It's been an amazing run. 

In the past I rarely read the reviews that people wrote about the lodge and myself but I've done a better job at it this year so I can keep up with any criticism and solve it early or if I can't solve it at least explain it.
There have been two criticisms of the lodge. The maintenance and up keep and they are correct. Someone checks out at 11am and we get four or five check outs and check ins that day. You go in a room to clean it and there's a coffee stain on the carpet but there's no time to shampoo it, new guests are already on their way. Linda is going in and getting all the important stuff and washing down walls and doors or places that people might touch or been touched by previous guests but a dust web in the ceiling corner, dirt on the fan blades, and those types of things are not getting handled. There's a sink rusting, some small ceiling water damage, railings needing painting and those types of things that we're slacking on. Linda gave me her time sheet and the hours are outrageous. There aren't days off. It's not even thought about.

What's left of the balanced rock on Hole 13 of the original course.

This one doesn't seem fair but the more things you offer the more things you have to be criticized for. A competitor lists a nice place to sleep and it appears to be. I offer a nice place to sleep, an animal show, Kobae, Jax, hiking, climbing, kayaks, side by sides, a night sky, and incredible scenery. If there's snow melt and the beach is gone, or the side by side breaks down, or it's a cloudy sky, if even just one of ten things doesn't happen the other guy gets a five and I get a four. I'm close to $5,000 in side by side rentals in town but one day the rental company needed it back and I didn't have a side by side for a few days and somebody comments bring your own side by side. I"m thinking the most expensive, least appreciated, most criticized things I'll get rid of.

Moab 240

The Moab 240 came through today and we were the aid station at the 34 mile mark of 240 miles. Here is the live tracking of who is where.

Some exceptional runners. Most when they got here looked like they hadn't started running yet. David Goggins was in about 5th when he came through. Black shorts on the left of the picture. Worth looking him up and his book "Can't Hurt Me".

One of the runners ask for something a bit more visible to make sure the parts of the road where they shared with the side by sides he was easier to see so I hooked him up. If you're reading this I want it back when you're done. I'm not kidding. Took me forever to find that.
As the day wound down there were three runners in tough shape. I got a call to go get a guy that had collapsed at Jackson Ladder and probably only I could have got out there in the truck. Before leaving the medic informed me there were two more that might need transport to the hospital. Over the HAM radio we got called that a SAR side by side had picked up the injured runner at Jackson Ladder and was bringing him to me for transport to Moab Regional. When they got to the lodge the other two runners were recovering but the medic said this one needed immediate transfer. I had them call the ambulance company and tell them to come this way as I'm going that way and hopefully we'll meet in the middle and they were waiting at the far side of Hurrah when I got there with the struggling runner.