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Old 10-06-2009, 08:58 AM   #211
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Jeff, almost the same photo! The clouds look nice. It can get pretty cold at night in Lake City.

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Old 10-06-2009, 12:55 PM   #212
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In mid September, we left for the Navajo res and the auction at the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Park. This Post was established in the 19th century and is near Ganado, Arizona. Hubbell lived in a house behind the post and house tours are available. There are some amazing Navajo rugs in the house. The trading post has been maintained as it was. There is the store with food and other items—an early convenience store. Another room has the bullpen where the trader usually worked. He would buy rugs, jewelry and baskets (and still does). The trading posts also acted as banks, lending money on pawned items, usually jewelry, or lending some money on trust. Some still do. The third room has hundreds of rugs as well as some historic items. The rugs are both new and old. The trading posts are closing—a supermarket chain is showing up on the res and we saw a bank branch on this trip.

While at most trading posts you can bargain, it seems more difficult here. Some years ago we did buy a 1930's rug and did get a good price. The trader wasn't there and the woman I dealt with seemed more ready to make a deal. The trader is employed by the Park Service and the post is run more or less like an historic trading post. At some trading posts on and near the res the "prices" listed are 3 times the actual price. Always ask if there's a "code" and what the actual price is. Then work down from there. Even before the Great Recession, prices on Navajo weavings had dropped, so this is a good time to find bargains.

Twice a year the Friends of Hubbell, a volunteer group that helps the park, runs the auction and some traders volunteer their time as auctioneers. Two who have long supported this effort are Bruce Burnham, a trader from Sanders, Arizona (just south of I-40) and Hank Blair of the Totsoh Trading Post in Lukachukai. The proceeds of this auction go for scholarships for Navajos and Hopis. There were almost 500 rugs, jewelry and baskets plus some other items.

We got there at 9 am to view rugs—that's what we were there for. After a while they all start to look the same, but we wrote down the ones we were most interested in. We were looking for some larger ones for the bedroom and 2nd floor sitting room. We focus more on the rugs that will come up in the later bidding—items after about # 200 get a lot less interest. People have spent their money, the chairs are uncomfortable and the hours slog by. I think the auction started about 1 pm and went past 6. One of the rugs we were interested in was two from the last one, so we knew we were in for a long, long day. We brought cushions for our chairs.

When a rug comes up, sometimes it doesn't look the same as it did when we previewed it. That eliminates some. There was a hundred year old J.B. Moore rug that was offered by Burnham with a reserve of somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000. Moore was a famous trader who published catalogues of rugs and popularized them nationally. These designs should go for a lot. This rug in better times would go for around $10,000 and up—maybe $15,000 in Santa Fe. It was in nearly perfect condition and I really wanted it. It was agony, but that's a lot of money. There were no bidders for this historic rug. Then a rug we were interested in did come up—Teec Nos Pas design, usually very expensive and with very detailed geometric designs. Everyone calls them "Tes" with a long "e". It was long for our bedroom (98" x 54"), and we hadn't planned on bidding on it, but when we saw it I started recalculating the amount of space and we decided to bid. No one else bid and we got it for the reserve. It was a bargain and would have gone for about 3 times what we paid a couple of years ago at retail.

By this time it was clear items less than $100 were getting bids and going for $75 to $150, but bidding was slow for more expensive items. Items below $700 or so were getting far fewer bids than in the past. Larger rugs were going for reserve, getting no bids or few. The weavers, who deserve far more for their work, are not getting much now.

There was another historic rug I thought of bidding on—it was 1/10 the price of the Moore rug. I did bid at the beginning, but there were two other bidders, I wasn't that excited by the rug, and decided buying a rug I wasn't in love was because it was historic wasn't a good idea. Addiction is hard to fight, but I was strong.

As the hours crept by the items went faster as there were fewer bids and sales.

Finally, rug #468 came up. I wished my butt was numb, but it was just sore. I was hungry and tired. This was a Chinle design—characterized by banding and softer colors. It would fit in one part of the sitting room, though a little smaller than we wanted. The better fits were just too expensive. This one was going at a lower price because it wasn't perfect, but it was for the floor where I don't look as closely. I bid and surprisingly some else did too. Barb groaned audibly and perhaps the bidder, who was right in front of us, heard that. The other bidder had also waited for 5 hours for this rug and must be committed to it. I countered, the other did too, and I countered again before the other bidder got her paddle down. That's my strategy—if I want it, answer as fast as possible so they think you will bid them too high. It worked. Another bargain. I still haven't taken photos of the rugs, but hope to.

A lot of items didn't sell—20-25%. I talked to Bruce Burnham after the auction and he was pleased with the results given the state of the economy. Last time I saw him we talked about our bad knees and what was the best Medigap insurance. He's one of the traders who has always treated the Navajo fairly (his wife, Virginia, is Navajo).

We took our rugs back to the campground in Chinle, about 40 miles north, but more on the rest of the trip later. We unrolled the rugs on the bed, then put them on the guacho, and stared at them a lot.

The photos—a view of the area with the trading post and associated buildings including a stable. The auction tent is on the right. The second photo is inside the tent. That's Burnham as a spotter on the right in the white shirt, Blair in the black shirt auctioning, Burnham's son on the left as the other spotter. There's a smaller Navajo rug. It's a Yei rug and those are dancers represented.

Gene
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:48 PM   #213
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The Navajo res (reservation eveeyone calls the res or rez) has only few RV campgrounds. There is a spot on the Hopi res (surrounded by the Navajo res) that is an informal campsite. I believe it is next to the Hopi visitor center and motel. The ones ones on the Navajo res are located at the various national parks on the res.

Canyon de Chelly is just east of Chinle and the Cottonwood CG is just before the entrance to the canyon. It's free, has a dump station and water. Lots of shade. It's next to the Thunderbird Lodge. The Lodge has a cafeteria and doesn't get a very good food rating from AAA. The Holiday Inn just west is better. We had breakfast there and it was passable.

We spent 3 nights at the Cottonwood CG. The first full day we went to the Hubbell auction, about 40 miles south. On day 2 we took a tour that is offered by the Lodge—slightly more than $100 for 2 for a half day. They have 4 and 6wd open trucks they drive you through the Canyon. The alternative is to hire a Navajo guide and take your own 4wd, something we did in the late '90's (now $15/hour). Either way, you can only go with a Navajo guide except for one trail from the Canyon rim. Barb wanted to be able to see the canyon without a roof overhead, so the tour. The canyon is subject to flooding and the "roads" are sandy trails and the bottoms of washes.

This area has had several cultures living in it for thousands of years. The Fremont Culture came long before the Anasazi. The Fremont Culture is responsible for the "ghost figures" seen in various places in the southwest, notably at Canyonlands NP. The Anasazi came later and built the settlements seen at Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly and in hundreds of other places in the 4 Corners area. There were a lot of them, it was a complex culture and it seemed to disappear in the 14th Century. There was a severe drought a generation long and it appears the culture collapsed even experiencing cannibalism. In a dry part of the world, a prolonged drought is a disaster. It appears some of them migrated east to the Rio Grande Valley and established a number of settlements. The Spanish called them the "Pueblo" Indians. The word Anasazi is of Navajo origin and is said to mean Ancient Ones or Enemies. The word has fallen out of favor lately amongst anthropologists and gov't officials, but everyone else still uses it.

The Navajo have lived in the canyon probably since they came to the southwest some 600 or so years ago. The Apache may have come around the same time and both belong to the same language group, the Athabascans. When the Spanish explored the area they asked the Navajo the name of the canyon and were told something that sounded like "shay" or "chelly" to them. The actual Navajo word meant "canyon". The contemporary spelling is "chelly" but pronounced "shay". And it means: canyon of canyon. The Navajo often raided Spanish settlements and soldiers were sent about 2 centuries ago. Some Navajo hid in Massacre Cave in a branch of Canyon de Chelly called Canyon del Muerto. The Spanish discovered them and started shooting upward to the cave and richochetting bullets killed all or most of them.

Later in the 19th Century, the Navajo were still not being "good" Indians and the US soldiers came to the Navajo lands ("Dinetah") and rounded up many of them under the leadership of Kit Carson and took them to an army fort in eastern New Mexico where they were treated badly. Eventually they were allowed to return home several years later. Some hid out in Canyon de Chelly during this period.

Now the national parks on the res appear to be jointly administered by the US and Navajo nation. There are a number of Anasazi ruins in the Canyon. The most famous is White House ruins. This is one trail where you don't need a Navajo guide—it goes from the rim to the bottom (about 600' elevation gain coming back). There is also some agriculture and cattle. The Navajos with land in the canyon appear to live there in the warmer months only. Either way you go, the guide will stop at a couple of areas where jewelry, rugs and other items are sold.

Gene

Photos:

1. The truck with tourists going to look at something.

2. Pictographs.

3. Anasazi ruins above canyon floor.

4. White House ruin.

5. Canyon near west end (has to go in next post).
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:22 PM   #214
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Thanks Gene for the very entertaining travelogue.

Having just read the whole thread, I wanted to thank you for the interesting descriptions, details & diversions. It's nice to read of another couple of Type-A Airstreamers...as my wife & I tend to over-schedule & pack our trips full of goals & activities that seem to crowd out any chance of actually sitting still. We're learning to deliberately make to time to just sit and read the pile of books we brought but it doesn't come naturally. It is reassuring to know that others out there can also struggle with this too.

I have the same unit as you do & it's interesting to read of what problems you have had & what design flaws bug you. It's quite interesting to see what solutions you have come up with.

The overhead pot-lights are definitely too bright for anything but packing the trailer or looking for the d@*ned missing corkscrew. I opted to install dimmer switches instead of LED's & that has worked very well. For Boondocking, your solution would probably help reduce the load but I do like the mood-lighting we have now. A good bottle of wine, good music and the lights down low... next thing you know I'm on the floor & wondering who 's doing all the snoring.



http://eheffa.zenfolio.com/img/v0/p203104345-3.jpg


We were keen on a microwave but put ours in the curbside rear overhead locker. (This required a little cutting & re-fabrication but it works...) We do use the couch bed when one or more of our university kids come with us so I wouldn't want to lose that bed. Your solution looks good though & puts the Microwave in a more convenient location.

I've had leaks too due to lack of caulk in the roof-line panels; presumably because the guy doing the job used up his quota of caulk for the day or had a few too many brewskies at lunch and left a few areas unsullied by the gray stuff. Thankfully both leaks manifested themselves in the first few months when we were using the unit & not at the end of a winter sit...



Your description of the EQ hitch adjustment was very helpful & makes me think that I'll have to add that to the Spring-time list when we bring the unit back out of its winter state.

Our Rockguard windows have this paper-like packing around the perimeter that falls out in little pieces when I wash the unit. I wonder whether I'm going to have the same problem as you when it finally all falls out & the frame divorces the plexiglass for good.

Anyways, enough of the quibbles.

Your stories help underline the fact that this hotel room on wheels has a purpose - getting out there & exploring our world. It is a pleasure to tow a trailer that was designed to move on a road & allows one to look forward to sitting around the table in a new place at the end of the day. Some days after a long tow, I feel a deep sense of contentment as we sit in the lounge with a good book and a good single malt, knowing that we can do it all over again tomorrow.

I find that after we get home from a trip & after the cleaning up & all, I soon start dreaming of heading off in a new direction all over again. Your stories and acute observations are a great reminder that it is about journey & not the destination after all - even for us type-A's.

Thanks for the ride.

-evan
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:45 PM   #215
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Evan, thanks for the compliments.

I considered the rheostat, but couldn't find out whether it actually reduces power usage, or just converts it to heat, so I opted for the LED's. The switch you got fits in well and I'm sure installing it in that space was a challenge (another reason I got LED's). I just received LED's for the rest of the Safari today from Superbright and now will have them in all the fixtures except the wardrobe, under the bed by the utility door and the step light. I feel so 21st Century.

We were in Victoria several years ago and it's a wonderful city. I didn't think I'd like the Borchard (surely the wrong spelling) Gardens that much, but I did. When we got there from the ferry from Port Angeles, the teachers were striking, marching and haranguing Parliament, so I knew I was in Canada. It just isn't Canada without a strike.

We toured the whole island and hope to get back someday soon, this time with the trailer.

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Old 10-09-2009, 03:08 PM   #216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
I didn't think I'd like the Borchard (surely the wrong spelling) Gardens that much, but I did.
Um, as a Canadian, I think it's:

The Butchart Gardens
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:44 AM   #217
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We're getting ready for our last trip of the season. But first, the last days of our last trip were spent at Heron Lake SP in north central NM. The FCU had had a rally there, and some people were still there. We hadn't seen Rodney in over a year and it was good to catch up on things with him. We met Mike (Scrapirony-2) and Tracy and saw why he's known for his flamingos. He gave us a small flamingo which has been on our dashboard since. We also met Sandy at the campfire which Mike hosted on our second night there. The park is a nice one along a large reservoir; it was much cheaper than Colorado SP's and our campsite had electric and water at the site. We forgot to take pictures.

Tomorrow we leave for JC, and, as usual, we are already exhausted from the work of getting things ready. Rain and snow is predicted for the Colorado mountains on Tuesday, but it looks like it will be very light snow and too warm to stick to the roads. Last time we went to JC we made it to the Strasburg KOA, just east of Denver on I-70, so that's the goal. Weather the next day looks like rain and light snow, but again too warm to stick and by the time we get to Kansas, showers and warmer. I think we can beat winter.

We plan on going to Springfield, Ill., on the way and see Lincoln stuff and then on to JC for warranty work. Our warranty expires at the end of the month. We also are getting 5 new wheels. The OEM's clearcoat is peeling off and I made a deal with Airstream for new ones after a lengthy discussion on what's covered under warranty. These look better and I'm getting them cheaper than retail. Once in JC, we run down to Dayton to pick up new Michelin LTX tires and Aistream will mount and balance them. I'll have 5 wheels that look the same, so I can rotate them and get 20% more miles out of the set. While in Dayton we can go to Trader Joe's and stock up on road food.

After we leave JC, we travel through Ky., W. Va., a little corner of Va., Tenn., Asheville, NC, then to I-95 (ugh) and down to Fla. where we can see my cousin, then down to Key West, back and over to the Gulf Coast, NOLA, San Antonio, Padre Is., and then home. This should take a month and we return on Nov. 21 having clocked about 6,000 miles. This'll be good practice for Alaska 2010!. There's a lot of interstate in this trip and we can drive long distances between stops when we collapse in a heap, but feeling good knowing we have better tires.

Now we have to take 1,000 loads of stuff to the trailer. Each trip is 300 feet, so each of us will walk well over a mile today.

Gene
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:07 PM   #218
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It is a little exhausting reading all this. That's a lot of driving. The Lincoln Museum and Historic Area in Springfield are excellent, plenty to see and enjoy there.

Just left JC ourselves, there were 6 trailers at the TerraPort when we got there Saturday pm and several more arrived after we did for Monday am appointments. One of the regulars there said the Port had been full a few days ago, so be aware.

Have a great trip, try to get a little R&R in and travel safe.
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:58 PM   #219
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Thanks for the heads up on the Terraport. We plan on taking 1 1/2 days from Springfield to get to JC so we get there early enough and take a nap. We left enough slop in the schedule to get to JC that if a major storm hits along the route we can hunker down somewhere and still get there in time.

I finished the conversion to LED's in the trailer. These all came from Superbright. Good news is they are cheaper this year than last—around $15/lamp. Now all the bedroom lamps, stove fan lamp and patio lamp are LED's (last winter I did the rest and only the step light, wardrobe. Last year I got some of them from lewster, but he isn't selling them anymore (he is selling other things, but being a dealer for Superbright isn't a good deal from him and they are supposed to be the best lamps). These are brighter than the ones lewster sold. When we replaced the ceiling lamps in the main cabin, one reason is the OEM halogens are too bright and the lewsterlights were just right. If you get Superbright lamps and you want fewer lumens, maybe you can find a less bright version, or you'll have to put a dimmer in the circuit. LED's, unlike CF's, can be dimmed.

Another thing we did for ourselves (especially me as the sewer guy) was get a better sewer hose—this one comes in 2 ten foot pieces, the ends are permanently connected, and it has end pieces to seal it when not in use. Altogether a significant upgrade. Can't remember the brand name but I found it at Walmart for around $29, well worth it for not having to fumble with the cheapo 14' one I had. I kept the old one in case I have to go more than 20' remembering the sewer connections at the Terraport are far, far away.

I just checked on the age of the tires I ordered from Discount Tire and they are two months old. That's a reason for ordering from a high volume retailer as they are less likely to have tires that have been sitting around for 2 years. Ideally I want the tread to wear out before the tires get ready for the rest home and the tread (15/32" vs. Marathons' 10/32") should give me years more use.

By writing this I am avoiding loading the trailer.

Gene
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:14 PM   #220
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Hi Gene,

Perhaps you already posted this somewhere; but, are you moving up to 16 inch wheels for your new LTX M/S tires or are you using 15 inch P rated tires?

-evan
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:45 PM   #221
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Evan,

I can't remember what I've posted and need a personal assistant. This has been discussed at agonizing length on various tire threads. I am getting 225/75R16 LR E. The P tires don't have quite the capacity of LT tires (the LT in LTX), especially in horizontal carrying capacity. That matters because sidewall strength is important when you are backing a trailer and should lead to less sway when driving. ST tires may have even more sidewall strength, but I haven't be able to find anything definitive on that. Load Range is a measure of horizontal load capacity; Load Index measures vertical capacity. Usually LR E tires have a Load Index around 115; LR D, somewhat less. I've learned more about tires than I ever wanted to know.

Michelin tells me to run these tires at 75 lbs., not the 80 maximum, for the weight of my trailer (and yours). That means that people using far less pressure in their LR E tires are running on underinflated tires. I was also told to use 45 F and R without towing and 50 F and 60 R on my Michelin LTX A/T2 tires on my Tundra. Pressure on the truck depends on the weight of the truck. If you call Michelin, depending on who answers, you'll get different numbers, but the last guy I talked to appeared to be the most knowledgeable. The A/T2 tires seemed like too much tire for the trailer (plus about $40 more/tire).

Gene
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:14 PM   #222
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Those sound very good. I thought you would want to go up to the 16inchers for the better load range & side wall strength.

Is Airstream agreeing to replace your wheels with the new 16 inch rims?

Sorry to be so nosey but I have a notion to do the same thing some day ( I have some filiform on my wheels but the clearcoat seems to be holding up OK. We don't have the same harsh weather you - still why can't they put rims on that perform like most automotive rims?

-evan
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:27 PM   #223
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Evan,

Airstream says the wheel warranty by the distributer is one year. I have a different interpretation of the warranty and the law. We reached an agreement. You don't have the same winters or heat, but you do have salt air.

Gene
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:41 PM   #224
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Thanks for the Clarification Gene.

Have a great trip & let us know how those 16 inch Michelins work out for you.

-evan
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