Honey-Do Hot Tub for the Ski Touring Paradise

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 29, 2014      
Primordial ooze of western Colorado.

Primordial ooze of western Colorado. What’s this have to do with skiing and hot tubbing? Read on.

Think of this: after a spectacular day of ski touring by your ski in skin out cabin, you slip into a steaming hot tub. Stars are shining brightly in the clear night sky and the water temp is about 103F. That would sum up the perfect day for me. I fantasize about it whenever I get the least bit chilled, which is often when I’m backcountry skiing in Colorado.

“Dream it, do it.”

While Lou was in Chile I found an ad for a used wood-fired hot tub on Craigslist. After four months it hadn’t sold. “Good condition, needs a little TLC.” I made a low-ball offer at less than a quarter of the asking price, and the owner accepted it.

I briefly wondered how much TLC was “a little” but quelled those silly worries and started to scheme. If Lou would help me with this project, we could be luxuriously soaking on the deck of WildSnow HQ this winter

The day of our wedding anniversary arrived when Lou was in South America. I didn’t really mind, especially since I was happy that His Blogness was able to
meet up with Louie and his friends. But Lou felt guilty and he said he’d make amends when he got home.

so maybe, if I found just the right moment to broach the subject, he might go for it

Lou returns from SA with a terrible cold. Not the right moment. Then our sewer line blows and the backhoe rips up most of our yard looking for the 50 year old pipe. Not the right moment.

Then comes a lovely fall evening and we enjoy a bottle of delicious Chilean red wine. The right moment! I explain the unbelievable deal we can get on a wood-fired hot tub. “It’s in great condition!”

Our ripped up yard gives Lou a hundred more things he needs to get done before winter hits and I think he won’t want another project. But he does! Hallelujah! My amazing man comes through again!

To tread lightly and hopefully sidestep any second thoughts, I tell Lou I can easily get the tub with the help of our strong young friend, Scott Nelson. Lou won’t have to bother with it until I bring it back to Carbondale for “a little TLC” before we take it to HQ.

Ever gallant, Lou decides to join us. (After all, when it comes to things like using the winch on our Duramax Silverado, how can a real man resist?). I had envisioned a sunny day and a glorious drive on Colorado’s Scenic Byway, Highway 133, while we snacked on crisp, fresh apples that we’d buy along the way. But the day dawns and it’s raining. Hard. The forecast predicts the storm will worsen so we leave early.

We hook up our double axle cargo trailer, pick up Scott and head for a ranchette outside of Paonia, a farming area on Colorado’s western slope.

Directions? No problem! I’ll use my trusty iPhone. It cleverly takes us on a route that bypasses a closed portion of Main Street in downtown Paonia.

“How did it know to do that?” asks Lou.

“It’s a smart phone!” I laugh, so giddy to be almost there!

We drive a few miles and turn onto a dirt road with only .4 miles to go. The road is muddy and narrow. We pass an old sign half buried in a ditch that says “Road Not Maintained Beyond This Point.” (Note to self, when you see a “Not Maintained” sign buried in a ditch, pay attention.) The rain pounds down but we see the ranchette across a field. We continue on. More mud, less road, and our truck and trailer starts sliding uncontrollably in the legendary “clay mud” that coats much of Colorado’s lowland hills. Clarification: when combined with water this stuff can actually be used as axle grease. To scientists, it’s also called “primordial ooze.” Don’t look too close; you might see something evolving in there.

Lou carefully stops. Luckily I have a bar of cell coverage and phone the owner. She confirms that we’ve been GPSed and need to turn around. Soon. Because its raining harder and the road is getting even worse.

Lou backs up turn the truck around.  Scott gets thoroughly soaked .  His new mantra, "Say no to Siri."

Let me see if I can explain how we got out of the situation. We’ve got the longest pickup truck in existence towing a 14 foot trailer. We’re on a two-track with fences on both sides, in mud that barely allows us to move.

  • 1) Park trailer to side and unhitch.
  • 2) Back up truck so it’s behind trailer; front of truck is facing rear of trailer.
  • 3) Hook tow strap from front of truck to trailer tongue.
  • 4) Spin trailer around until trailer tongue is facing front of truck. Hope trailer tongue does not snap off while trailer is being dragged thru mud.
  • 5) Place ball mount in receiver that our aftermarket front bumper has, thankfully.
  • 6) Back up a half mile of mud road pulling the trailer at the front of the truck.
  • 7) Unhitch trailer when we finally get to a turnaround, and rehitch to rear of truck.
    All this in torrential rain. Scott gets thoroughly soaked. His new mantra, “Say no to Siri.”

  • Cranking up the heat while the winch yanks the trailer round.

    At least the heater works.

    Trailer tongue meets front receiver hitch.

    Trailer tongue meets front receiver hitch.

    We finally arrive to find a decent looking tub.  After propping up the 400+ pound barrel, Scott gets the two strap ready to winch it up onto the trailer.

    We finally arrive to find a decent looking tub. After propping up the 400+ pound barrel, Scott gets the strap ready to winch it up onto the trailer.

    Yes, we like hydraulics.

    Yes, we like electrical power.

    Scott imagining the fun times ahead.

    Scott imagining the fun times ahead.

    Late afternoon 9/28/14, first sighting of snow by WildSnow HQ!

    Late afternoon 9/28/14, first sighting of snow by WildSnow HQ!

    We get back to Carbondale safely. The storm clears. Strong rays of sunlight beam down and a mystical steam rises from the rain soaked tub. Neighbors start to gather. “New start-up, WildSnow Winery?” After I explain it’s a groovy wood fired spa, our hip neighbors are psyched to try it out. We discuss how to prevent water from leaking thru the warped (but not rotten!) wooden slats.

    Lou sighs and walks into the house, “This thing has honey-do written all over it.”

    Happy Anniversary, honey! Mrs. WildSnow loves her man!


    Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


    10 Responses to “Honey-Do Hot Tub for the Ski Touring Paradise”

    1. Louie III September 29th, 2014 1:41 pm

      Awesome! I’ll volunteer to test it out!

    2. Rachel Bellamy September 29th, 2014 9:41 pm

      This is going to be SO AWESOME!

    3. Marcin September 30th, 2014 3:37 am

      Please don’t misunderstand me: keep it wet.

      That wood warped because it cycled wet/dry. Just like a wooden boat. Depending on how leaky it is, you have a number of choices.

      If you can keep it filled for a few days, the boards may soak up enough water to swell and seal up.
      If you can’t keep it filled for long enough, but the slats aren’t too badly bent out of shape you can use something like untreated boatbuilder’s oakum (its rolled and hammered between the slats, when it takes up water it swells and seals… for the most part),
      Elsewise you could cheat and silicone tha bejeebers out of it (but then the gods help Lou when he needs to replace a slat).
      Replacing slats is the last resort, because cooperage is a dying art 😉 Of course Lou, being the handyman he is, could revive it. All you would need to do is ask nicely 😉

    4. Lou Dawson 2 September 30th, 2014 7:50 am

      Marcin, the woodwork is nearly ruined from years out in the weather of Colorado. It looks good but could never be made leak-free, we’ll just plop a plastic liner in there and be done with it. The snorkel stove is in good shape, and was worth the price. Luckily Lisa made the deal she did as the tub is worthless other than as a structure to hold the liner. Lou

    5. Marcin September 30th, 2014 8:58 am

      That’s a shame!!

      What would fit in there “ideologically” is a copper tub, scrubbed clean and rubbed down with an acidic solution to passivate the metal.

      Granted, that would probably run you way more than the purchase price of the tub.

    6. Lou Dawson 2 September 30th, 2014 9:12 am

      HDPE is our friend. It’ll work.

    7. Glenn Sliva September 30th, 2014 4:47 pm

      olease post pics during the -xx weather this winter! Priceless. Need one of these up the Frying Pan.

    8. Scott Nelson September 30th, 2014 6:48 pm

      What, no mention of the Paonia brownie edibles ? Just kidding…… it was a fun, soaking wet day. Never a dull moment with the Dawsons. Just glad Lou had a way to McGyver everything together, as usual.

    9. Lisa Dawson September 30th, 2014 8:00 pm

      Scott, thanks so much for your help. You are a true comrade!

    10. steve March 9th, 2017 7:10 pm

      hi,i have a snorkel tub which has the leaking syndrom,im up for installing a hdpe water tank also.q i have measured the cedar tub at the bottom =56 inchesx31 high.are all the snorkel tubs same size?do you have wiggle room at the inside bottom? and where does one get ahold of that size water tank?thanks a bunch steve.

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