Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Motorhome is Fixed!

As your read in a previous post, we had a few problems with the motorhome. To recap, an exhaust header broke which in turn burned out not one, but two starters and the front end was damaged by the towing company.

Below are the before and after pictures of the damages.
Broken Exhaust Header
Replacement Exhaust Header

Front End Damage

Repaired Front End

As the pictures show, the exhaust header is now a single piece and the front end looks like new. Oh Boy, on the road again!!!

We got the motorhome back just in time for we are joint hosts of a camping outing next weekend.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Just a Bad Day

Today was just a very bad day. We are on the last leg of our trip back home when bad luck struck.

First off, about 600 hundred miles into the trip, we developed an exhaust leak up around the engine. The leak turned out to be a broken header on the passenger's side. The leak got progressively worse during the trip.

We spent Friday night in Flatbush, WV and early Saturday morning hit the road for home. We made a stop for fuel just West of Cumberland, Maryland and when we tried to start the motorhome, nothing happened when the key was turned. The battery was fine, so that left the starter as the problem.

We called our emergency road service and a tow truck was sent. The driver said there was a Ford garage about 5 miles away and would that be ok to tow it to. We agreed. We followed the tow truck and when we arrived at the lot and got out to unhook the motorhome, that's when we all saw the damage.

Somehow a safety chain got caught in the front end and tore it. The tow truck driver was very upset that this happened and could not understand how this happened. We didn't know either as we were following the tow truck and did not see anything odd take place. We told him don't get too upset as it was just one more thing in an already bad day for us.

The service manager was still at the garage, so we were able to speak to him and make arrangements for the starter to be repaired. We packed a few items in the car, locked the motorhome and dropped off the keys in the garage. We drove the car home without any additional problems.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

St. Louis, Mo

We stayed in East St. Louis, Ill., Just across the Mississippi River at the Casino Queen Campground.

The Gateway Arch was very visible from the campground. It was very easy to cross the river into St. Louis. All we had to do was call security from the campground phone and a shuttle van picked us up and took us to the light rail station.

Since there was a ballgame today, we were able to purchase tickets that were good up to two hours after the end of the game, good deal!

We could see our motorhome from the top of the arch through the haze.

Yes, the trams are that small!

Because the South side tram cars were out of service, we had to wait almost 2 hours before we could go to the top of the arch.

We stayed in St. Louis and had dinner before heading back across the river to the motorhome.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Kearney, Nebraska

We stopped in Kearney, Nebraska at the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument.

It is dedicated to showing the road west and has an interesting presentation using headphones as you move from area to area. They also allow you to boondock on the parking lot. We spend the night and were joined by several other units and a truck. It was hot and muggy and we should have run our generator and air conditioners like one of the other motorhomes did.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hiking Day

Today was a hiking day. We planned to hike two trails, the Beaver Creek trail to Taggart Lake and the trail to Hidden Falls and Insperation Point on the West side of Jenny Lake.

We had hiked about a mile and a half when Leah spotted a Mule Deer watching us. Just a bit further down the trail was a herd of Mule Deer bedded down for the day. The herd watched us as we stopped to look at them and take a few pictures. The herd didn't seem to concerned about our presents as we did not appear to be a threat to them.

The Beaver Creek Trail is the long way to Taggart lake and because of that we only passed two other hikers on the trail. Every one else was taking a shorter trail to Taggart Lake.

The Tetons reflecting in the lake made for a great photo.

After completing the Taggart Lake hike of 4 miles, we drove to Jenny Lake. At Jenny Lake we took a boat to the Western shore to get to the trail heads. The trail was loaded with people as this is the only trail to Hidden Falls and Insperation Point. This was very hard terrain to hike and many persons were not wearing the proper footware and carry any water. We had both and found the trail rough going.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Teton Mts.

We left Dubois, Wy heading for Jackson, Wy. We stopped at Elk Ranch Flats and took our first real look at the Tetons.

After we got our motorhome setup at the Campground, we went down to Jackson Square to take a picture of the Elk Antler Arches. At 6:oo pm two streets were blocked off and a big song and dance infomercial took place. They were pushing to see a show at a local theater. We did not return any more during our stay as it was no big deal. The town of Jackson is located in the area known as Jackson Hole as it surrounded on all sides by mountains. It has become a year around tourist area. In the Winter time there is the skiing and the rest of the year there is hiking, biking and river rafting.

The prices in the stores reflect a tourist area, but we felt the restaurant prices were very good as was the food we ate.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dubois Wyoming

Today I am trying something new with the blog. I am using the slide show from Picasa to show the pictures I took in and around Dubois. To see the slide titles, you need to click on the picture and then on the little box in the lower left corner.

We have spent the last two days at the Longhorn RV & Motel 3 miles East of Dubois, Wy. New owners have taken over this old park and have put a lot of money and work into it. Along with all of the upgrades are price increases, about 40 dollars a night. Good Luck to them, but the rates are a bit steep.

As we were walking in the campground this morning, Doris Roberson came out of their motorhome to greet us. We were at a Newmar FMCA pre-rally in North Carolina last which they also attended. We also saw them at the Newmar rally in Gillette. They have been here for a week and will be here for another two weeks.

They told us about the Sawmill Lodge and Restaurant and what a nice drive it was. After spenting sometime looking in the stores in Dubois, we made the drive to the lodge and found it to be as the Robersons advised.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thermopolis, Wy

Nestled among the foothills of the Owl Creek Mountains and resting beside the Big Horn River lies Thermopolis, Wyoming. It is one of those small picturesque Western towns where the altitude is higher than the population (altitude 4500, population 3200), and is renowned for its World’s Largest Mineral Hot Spring and beautiful surroundings. The Big Horn Springs are located throughout Hot Springs County.

In Thermopolis (Greek for “Hot City”) the scalding water comes from the Big Spring, which is located in Hot Springs State Park. From this turquoise and green spring, the water flows into cooling ponds at a temperature of 127 degrees. A boardwalk leads you over terraces from the over flow of water. These terraces are made chiefly of lime and gypsum which separate from the cooling waters. The colors you see are due mainly to primitive plants (algae), which grow in the warm water. The cooler water then runs over rainbow-hued mineral terraces into swimming pools and Jacuzzis, and into the Big Horn River

When early explorers went through the Big Horn Basin they saw that all the water drained into what they would call the Big Horn River. Explorers from the South came through the Wind River Mountains and named the river found there the Wind River. One did not know the other had named the same river. The river changes names at the Wedding of the Waters just a few miles south of Thermopolis. Here the river leaves the Wind River behind and becomes the Big Horn River. The river flows lazily through Thermopolis with many public floating, fishing and bird hunting accesses.

The Wind River flows through the beautiful Wind River Canyon on U.S. Highway 20 just south of Thermopolis. The canyon walls reach 2500 feet into the sky at many points throughout this beautiful drive. As you travel you will see sphinx-like shapes of rocks a thousand feet above the bed of the river. There are castle formations and waterfalls that tumble out of the rock formed canyon sides. Look in the crevices for formations of perpetual ice and snow, which endure the summers heat.

We decided to spend the 4Th of July in this area before moving onto Jackson, Wy. It seems like a very nice little town with the Hot Springs and the river the big draw.

Leah and I went to the hot springs one morning for a soak at the State Bath house. The mineral water was warm and felt very good and relaxing. Because of the water temps, it is recommended that you only soak for 20 minutes at a time.

We are staying at the Eagle RV Park on the western edge of town. It boasts having a hundred shade trees and although I didn't count them, I believe there is. Everyday they are watering the trees and the grass.

This is a very active RV park. A lot of RVs leave in the morning an by mid-afternoon the park fills up again.

Inner tubes can be rented and the park will take you up stream so you can float back down the river. This trip takes about 2 1/2 hours.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Buffalo, Wy to Thermopolis, Wy

To get from Buffalo to Thermopolis, we had to go over the Powder River Pass. As you can see from the sign, it is 9,666 feet high. We had to climb in 1st gear part of the way but we made it without a problem either going up or down.

Shortly after we stopped at the parking lot, a van pulled in with 7 boys in it who crossed the road and climbed to the top of the pass. Leah, Travis and I climbed the bunny hill :-)...

Nestled among the foothills of the Owl Creek Mountains and resting beside the Big Horn River lies Thermopolis, Wyoming. It is renowned for its World’s Largest Mineral Hot Spring and beautiful surroundings. The Big Horn Springs are located throughout Hot Springs County.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Buffalo, Wy

After the rally in Gillette, we made a short drive to Buffalo, Wyoming - located in Johnson County ... tucked away between the rolling plains of the old west and the towering peaks of the Big Horn Mountains and the vast Bighorn National Forest. It's a land rich in both western history and scenery. A place of sheep herders and cattle barons, renegades and rustlers. Where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid holed up after their outlaw exploits. Where miners consumed with gold rush fever passed through on the Bozeman Trail. Where some of the most famous Indian battles in American history occurred. And where the Johnson County Cattle War, a rangeland dispute which historians often deem one of the most notorious events in our history, left its mark here in the late 1880s ... and that Owen Wister wrote about in his epic American novel, The Virginian.

After getting setteled in at Indian Campground we drove to Crazy Woman Canyon and made the drive throught the canyon. The road was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp. back in the 1930's. This drive is a loop drive and took us into some real back country.

On our return to Buffalo, we saw a group of people standing along the highway. We stopped to see what they were looking at and saw a big Bull Moose feeding. Boy what a sight!

Newmar Rally - Gillette, Wy

We are in Gillette, Wy for a week to attend the annual Newmar Rally. There are approximately 750 RV's at the rally. Like most rallies, we will have seminars, vendors, entainment and food.

While in Gillette I went golfing at Bell Knob golf Course. It had some of the meanest rough that I have ever seen. Most of us shot 10 storkes or more above what we normally shoot.

I also attended a local Geocaching event that was held close by on one of our free nights.

Friday, June 22, 2007


This evening quite a site pulled into the campground. It was Dave and Uta from Delaware. They have a Volvo truck, a Newmar Mt. Aire 5th wheel and a Mercedes-Benz SMART car. They are also on their way to the Newmar Rally in Gillette, Wy.

Deadwood, SD

Today we drove to Deadwood, SD, the town of western lore in the Black Hills. Many of the businesses in Deadwood are casinos which takes away from the history, but I guess it pays the bills. At any rate we walked around town following a walking tour map we got at the information center.

We drove up to Mount Mariah Cemetery where Wild Bill and Clamity Jane are buired. We didn't go inside because they are charging admission.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Crazy Horse Monument

We parked our motorhome in Black Hawk, SD and drove to the Crazy Horse Monument. Just after we arrived, a big rain storm moved in. Because of the storm, we were unable to get any closer than the visitor's center. They show a very nice video about the history of the Crazy House Monument. We walked around the display and gift shop areas.

We drove back towards Rapid City and past Mount Rushmore. It was raining, so we did not stop. We could see rushmore from the road and we had been there 7 years ago.

Wall Drug - Wall, SD

Like most westward travlers on I-90 we stopped at Wall Drug to get our "free" ice water. One has to look very hard for the drug section of the store. It is one of those places where you have to stop at least once.