Friday, September 28, 2012

Logistics - Our Trip So Far

As of today we have traveled 1537 miles with the RV.  We also put on a lot more miles exploring. 

Killing Time

So here we are killing time in Rapid City, South Dakota.  We are supposed have a visit this morning from the insurance adjuster. Our RV goes into the shop for repairs on Monday morning at 8.  We'll be moving into a hotel for the week.  Fingers crossed, the RV will be finished on Friday.  We haven't even discussed where we are heading after we leave here.  

The weather forecast here called for thunder storms yesterday and we have holes in the membrane of our roof so quick action was in order.  EVERYONE assured me that it wouldn't rain and hadn't for months.  I responded by letting them know that if those holes didn't get covered, it would rain.   

According to the internet, the best way to patch them temporarily is Gorilla Tape.  Walmart carries Gorilla Tape and I needed groceries.  

After a successful trip to town I came back and attempted to find someone to climb up on the roof to apply the tape.  I started in the office where they called out an elderly man who said he couldn't climb onto the roof because he was too old.  The office lady said she was thinking "Terry" might do that for me.  

I went to the RV and unloaded the groceries.  After 45 minutes or so, several older (some very old) people in orange shirts and driving golf carts came to the RV. Terry was about Rob's age and climbed up to attack the damage with the giant roll of tape.  Before he went up, I asked him if he wanted a rag to wipe the spots first and he said, "No, this stuff will stick to anything".

It didn't rain but I'm sure it was only because we got those holes covered.  Thanks Terry!

We'll have several days to play tourist this coming week so hopefully the blog will be a bit more uplifting.  


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Damage Assessment Complete

This morning we decided to pack up and drive to Rapid City, SD to have the damage to the roof of the RV assessed and arrange for repairs.  We arrived at the service center around 3 pm and had to wait for a while to have them take a look.  

As it turns out, we need to have the entire roof membrane replaced which means removing everything from the roof (antenna, two air conditioners, various vents, the shower sky light, etc.)  and then removing the damaged membrane and replace it.  The roof membrane is a solid outer layer that has no seams and keeps the roof from leaking. We also need a new rear air conditioner, a new cover for that AC, a new shower sky light, some cosmetic work, new decals on the side and a lot of buffing to remove the scratches.  They said it would take about 5 days to do the repairs.  We'll need to be in a hotel for that time.  

I haven't talked to the adjuster yet so I don't know when we can have the work started but I should know tomorrow.  

I have to say the people at the repair place were absolutely wonderful.  They even went as far as contacting a local RV park owner and got us a free stay for a few days until they are ready to start the work.  Of course, we only have to sit through a 90 minute presentation in order to get the free stay.  I can deal with that for a free few days in a very nice RV park.  

We're looking forward to a few days of down time because we are both beat.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rob and Me and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Please tell me these bad days are not our new normal.  

Last night we camped in Sheridan, Wyoming in a decent little RV park near I-90.  I got up early this morning and went over to the local Walmart to get some groceries and exchange a couple of things.  Mission accomplished, I decided to stop at the car wash and scrub the truck.  It was a dusty, dirty, buggy mess.  I can just about see over the hood so washing it was a challenge.  Mission #2 accomplished.  Mission #3?  Starbucks.  I actually saw a real Starbucks and headed over to get some coffee and iced tea for our drive today.  So far, so good.

I found a really interesting sounding State Park online near Devil's Tower.  The information online said they were open all year and had full hook-ups including electricity.  The park is about 100 miles from Sheridan and about 30 miles off I-90.  

We hooked up and headed out about 10 am.  We carefully followed the directions and GPS only to get lost in a little town near the park.  We learned that Keyhole State Park is split into two areas on separate sides of the lake and more than ten miles apart.  After asking some of the locals for directions more than once we finally found the place we were looking for.  The campground we specifically wanted was called Tatanka and the gates were closed for the season.  It appears to be the only campground with electricity.  We must have electricity or run our generator in order to run the medical equipment we use at night.  30 miles through road construction, dirt roads, getting lost and we now had nowhere to camp for the night.  Lovely!

One of the things Rob and I wanted to do while in the area was see Devil's Tower.  

I searched for a campground near the monument and found a KOA so we thought we'd give it a try.  

According to the Devil's Tower National Monument website Devil's Tower is "A geologic feature protrudes out of the rolling prairie that surrounds the Black Hills. The site is considered Sacred to the Lakota and other tribes that have a connection to the area. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest traditional crack climbing areas in North America. Devils Tower entices us to explore and define our place in the natural and cultural world." It was also featured in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". It's big and pretty cool to look at too. 

Anyway, after a very long and irritating day we finally arrived at the campground and checked in.  That's when the real fun started.  The trees in the campground have pretty low hanging branches and we ended up getting hung up in one.    We were tired, cranky and not communicating well and had trouble getting parked and set up.  Then we took a long look at the RV and noticed that half the cover was ripped right off the rear air conditioning unit. Rob was about to climb up and inspect the damage when a kind neighbor camper came over and offered to go up on the roof. Other than the AC cover there are a couple of tears in the roof membrane as well.  Looks like we'll be in for some more repairs.  We have noticed our RV is higher than most of the other 5th wheels we have seen so we have to be extra careful with heights.  Hopefully a good nights sleep will improve my outlook on things. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ghost Towns, Fishing and Chasing Antelope

A few days ago I called our mail forwarding service to have our mail sent here to the RV park.  I thought it would arrive yesterday and we had planned to leave today but our mail is still on its way.  The park we are staying at has a stay 6 nights and get the 7th free so we are going to take advantage of that and will leave here on Tuesday morning.  Rob could really use some rest and I plan to work on a few domestic things. 

Yesterday planned ahead and packed some drinks and a lunch and went to photograph some of the ghost towns that are only about 15 miles from here.  Virginia City and Nevada City are old gold mining towns that have been preserved.  Virginia City has quite a few residents. 
Don't park your car at the end of this gutter.

Outlaw's Cafe in Virginia City

Nevada City, MT

After we perused the ghost towns, we drove to some of the fishing spots we checked out the other day.  We actually continued on to find another one that was quite remote. We found a quiet spot with a picnic table, some shade and an easily accessible spot to wade into the river.  Rob did some fishing and I did some business. Specifically, reporting our mishap to the insurance company.  Grant spent his time making sure we were both fine because we were about 50 feet apart through some heavy brush and he couldn't see us both at the same time.  That is completely unacceptable in his book.  

The altitude here is about 5000 feet and that makes it harder for Rob to breathes so he gets winded and tired much faster.  There is still a lot of smoke in the air and we can't see the mountains surrounding us.  

In the evening I took Grant out to take care of business and discovered a small heard of antelope in the field about 50 feet from the park.  
 It didn't take long for Grant to discover them.  He started barking and chasing them away from the park.  Fortunately he stopped before he got too far away.  Glad it wasn't a buffalo or a bear.  He'd have been a snack. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's The Little Things

Life is mostly a collection of little things that make me happy.

Last night's sunset

My morning latte'

Seeing Rob enjoy life (photography is his happy place)
Getting new photos of my favorite little farmer
Grant (our neurotic dog) looking happy
What little things will make you happy today?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Catching Up

After all the excitement yesterday I forgot to share a few pictures with you.  While we were in Kalispell, we stopped in one of the lakeside towns.  I was walking near the docks to take some photos and noticed something in the water.  MONEY!  For a quick second I considered attempting to fish it out but I came to my senses and moved on.

The boys waiting for me in the truck.

We're going to stay put for a few days here in Ennis.  It's a beautiful place, the campground is great and Rob can get in some fishing.  This is one of THE great fishing spot in the country.   This afternoon we went out and scouted for a good fishing spot and found this place;
I'm thinking a good book, a picnic lunch and a blanket.  For Grant and I that is.  Rob will be fishing but we'll share when he is ready. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"The Crusher" Our Version of "How Not to RV"

Several months ago I read a book called "How Not to RV" by Jennifer Flower Ph.D.  The book included many mistakes the author made while learning the RV ropes.  Today we had our own how not to RV moment.  This morning we hitched up the RV and got ready to take off.  When Rob started to pull out of our campsite, there was the most awful sound. The pin had pulled out of the hitch and the 5th wheel had fallen onto the bed of the truck.   I didn't think to take any photos of the RV sitting on the truck so you'll have to use your imagination.   

This is what the tailgate looked like after we raised the landing gear on the RV.  

Unfortunately, there was more damage.  Both side rails of the truck bed are pretty banged up too. 
We re-hitched the truck correctly and headed to Kalispell thinking we might stop at the Ford dealer to make sure the truck was safe to drive but there was no way to pull our 50 foot length into the parking lot.  During the drive we finally settled on a name for the 5th wheel.  We'll call her "The Crusher".

We continued on to the RV Dealer a few miles down the road. In case you don't know, the 5th wheel can't be hitched or unhitched without putting the tailgate down so we had to do something.  The service guy came out to take a look and sent us OHS' Body Shop a few more miles down the same road.  OHS' was awesome.  They came out and took the now useless tailgate off.  It was damaged beyond repair so they offered to discard it for us.  They would not accept any payment for their help. I would do business there again but I hope I never have to.  

And we were off to southern Montana.  It was a long drive but this evening we set-up camp in Ennis, Montana.  We are near several ghost towns, great fishing and not far from Yellowstone National Park.  I think we'll stay for a few days. Hopefully tomorrow's post will be happier!