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Old 05-17-2009, 11:26 PM   #113
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Just been looking at the RV campground reviews site (Google rvparkreviews) and the KOA in Cody sounds not so good and high priced, and the Pondorosa Campground somewhat better. The KOA in Craig, Colo., doesn't sound so great either, but there's not much around there.

I should have found this website before. Some of the reviews are really goofy and others are funny, but just average it all out. It's amusing to read two reviews next to each other and they have completely different experiences. It's like Trip Advisor which is good for lodging and restaurants.

So, I'll check out the Buffalo Bill place on Trip Advisor next. I'm wondering what that whine is you speak of, Chief. That doesn't sound good. Is the fan doing something strange? Those halogens take a fair amount of power combined with the even less efficient incandescent bulbs in the bath plus being too bright, but they shouldn't strain the converter. Have you had the same problem with the AC on? If you're still in Denver, there's an Airstream dealer, but I'd avoid them and try to find another RV shop.

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Old 05-18-2009, 06:39 AM   #114
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There is also a Buffalo Bill Cody museum there, more guns than you can imagine, looks like a large armory, includes guns Bill and other famous people used. There is a nice bench inside, where Maggie sat and crocheted while Doug perused assorted weaponry.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:55 AM   #115
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We went to the Buffalo Bill museum in 2006 after our week in Yellowstone. It does look like an armory in that part of a very large collection of western items. We'll only have time for dinner and sleep as we do about 400 miles a day for the next two days. Hot weather today and tomorrow. Snow melt is accelerating in the Rockies and flood advisories in NW Colorado, but it doesn't look too bad unless a gully washer hits an area. Restaurant check on Trip Advisor shows a lot of mediocrity and a few a little better. I hope we're not disappointed.

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Old 05-18-2009, 09:18 AM   #116
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Heading out June 18th for Washington state for a week, The wife is taking a board medical review coarse up there. Our family is there so we can see them also. Then She flies back to Colorado to work and I take the kids down the Oregon and California cost. Then we stop by Inland RV for some new axles. Thanks ANDY. and then head home. Not sure if we are coming back after or before 4th of july yet.

Got to get working on the Trailer again. Have to rip out the rear bath and redo it. and finish the Kitchen and front bed/couch.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:34 AM   #117
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Jason, sounds like a good trip for you, perhaps a junket for your wife. And a lot of work to do on the Airstream. On the way down the Cal. coast, stop at Upper Crust Pizza in Gualala. It's on the east side of the highway towards the south end of town. Best pizza in the world. Al, the owner is kind of crusty himself.

We stayed at a campground on the Gualala River amongst big trees. Pretty nice spot. May be in Oregon and N. Cal. in August, but haven't decided yet.

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Old 05-18-2009, 11:13 PM   #118
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Gene,

I've decided that the high-pitched noise from the converter can just wait until we get home.....doesn't seem to be affecting anything.

If you're in Craig, you're only 150 miles from us in Grand Junction. I know your wife is anxious to get home, but if you stop by the KOA here.....I'll buy you a cold one.....maybe even burn some steaks. We'll be here until Thursday morning.

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Old 05-19-2009, 12:21 AM   #119
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Thanks for the offer, Chief, but must be home for her birthday on Thursday. She's got road fever, too much time on the road only cured by extreme pampering and home.

Today we traveled across the ranchlands of central Montana. Very few towns—one section of more than 100 miles had no towns, villages or settlements. From Glasgow to Malta and then south it was rolling hills and few trees, some cows and hay fields. We crossed the Missouri River through a deep valley and it looked like the national recreation area might have some RV sites there, but I'm not sure. As we went south, we started to see some mountain ranges to the west—not the Rockies, but some isolated ones—Judith Mtns., Big and Little Snowy Ranges. The latter two were snow capped and the kind of sights you see in movies about Montana. The land kept rising and we started to see conifers.

We drove through Billings and looked for a restaurant that is in Next Exit and RV friendly, Cracker Barrel. It's just south of an I-90 exit just west of Billings that wasn't there. We couldn't figure any way to get to it and didn't see the usual yellow sign way up in the air. Did they demolish it? No second breakfast today. We're showing signs of raggedness and going out to eat instead of eating in the Safari—we stopped at a Subway and it seemed wonderful. We usually play the Subway card once on every long trip; actually it's not bad and cheap.

Another 100 miles to Cody. I was so tired I backed into the wrong space (2 joined together) when we got to a campground and had to do it again. I couldn't get the numbers straight and since I was looking at them in a mirror and they looked like different numbers backwards, I was totally confused. Cable TV for the first time in 3 weeks! Pretty good wireless but it was failing for a while an hour ago. This is Ponderosa Campground on the west side of town. Older sites (where we are) have mature trees and feel nicer, but some are really narrow and/or short. Newer spaces are larger pull thrus, but in about 15 or 20 years the trees will help it from looking like a parking lot. If it were busier, it would feel very crowded in this older part.

We went to Zapata's for Mexican food. The chile relleno was different, hot, and good. Served with a good green chile and poblano pepper. The tostada was very ordinary. Barb said the fish taco was good. We are told La Comida, across the street, is bland Tex Mex. Finally back somewhere where there is Mexican food that is not just Mexican influenced. Cody is all about tourism and Buffalo Bill especially. The small hotel associated with him dates back more than 100 years and has an beautiful bar in the restaurant donated by Queen Victoria. The bar in the bar is nothing special. The building is stone outside and lots of dark wood and simple Victorianism inside. The restaurant is called the Irma and is a steakhouse I believe. Not in the AAA book and not particularly recommended for food, just atmosphere. Cody is the route to Yellowstone from the east and lots of people stop here before or after visiting the Park. It's also becoming a place for retirees and second homes outside town and housing prices are fairly high. As we've travelled south, it gets drier as we are moving toward the desert southwest. Since Cody is just over 5,000', conifers are common, but it looks less wet than 500 miles to the north.

This is our 3rd time in Cody. The Buffalo Bill museum is well worth the time and we were there on our last visit. Fortunately we are in the last stretch of this trip so there's no time for recreational shopping. We did 380 miles today with Barb driving 200 on one lonely stretch of road. Tomorrow is 400 to Craig, Colo. Among things we need is a sewer at the site so I can thoroughly flush the black tank. No free dump stations we know of on our way home, so I guess it's the KOA and not the state park which only has a dump station. I don't like to tie up a dump station at a campground for 20 minutes while I do the repeated flushes necessary to do it right. Colorado visitor centers have a dump station and I figured as a Colorado taxpayer, I paid for it plus it's less likely a lot of people will be using it. But no visitor centers this way home. If you're on I-70 in western Colorado, there are visitor centers at Edwards, west of Vail, and Fruita, west of Grand Junction. There is a secret one off US 50 in Delta (between GJ and Montrose), but it's hard to find and a trailer would block the parking lot.

We're taking the slower, more scenic route through Cody and the middle of Wyoming even though we want to get home. Faster would be from Billings via I-90 and I-25 to Casper and then southwest. Some balance between just getting there and enjoying the view. We go through Thermopolis tomorrow. There's a state operated free hot spring, but they kick you out after 20 minutes because some health dep't guy says it's dangerous. I've been in hot springs for hours and am still breathing. The deal the state struck with the Indians who had this land orginally was that there always would be free access. But the state has also leased part of it to commercial resorts who charge to use the springs. No doubt the state makes money on this and I doubt the Indians had this in mind, or they'd be getting the money. No doubt the commercial ones like that the state free one doesn't let people stay long. I doubt we'll stop since we'll be in a hurry, but maybe not.

The change the oil light briefly flashes at 4,500 miles and started here in Cody (comes on permanently at 5,000), so that's how far we've gone. It'll be about 5,100 when we get home, our personal Airstream record.

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Old 05-19-2009, 07:51 AM   #120
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... Among things we need is a sewer at the site so I can thoroughly flush the black tank. ... There is a secret one off US 50 in Delta (between GJ and Montrose), but it's hard to find and a trailer would block the parking lot. ... Gene
Hey, Gene, where is this one?

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Old 05-19-2009, 08:29 AM   #121
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On US 50 in Delta turn south on 3rd, go in the second entrance to the small municipal parking lot (just before the doctor's office, a one story building) and where you can turn right towards Palmer there's an almost invisible dump station on that inside corner. It would be hard to get close to it with anything but a small Class C or a truck camper without some moving back and forth. People park strangely at times and best to use at night before people are using the lot. I think it's shut down in the winter. Now it's not a secret anymore. Paonia used to have one in town, but they built the new library on top of it.

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Old 05-19-2009, 09:29 AM   #122
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There is also one in Fruita Colorado that you can use if you are coming in that way. Not sure where it is but the gas station people by the Wendy's should know.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:51 AM   #123
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purman, are you thinking of the one at the Colorado Welcome Center on I-70? Or is there one in the town of Fruita?

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Old 05-19-2009, 10:01 PM   #124
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Closer to home, a bigger bed, more TV channels, a newspaper, and not having to wait for Barb to move before I go from one end of the house to the other. We left Cody and entered sagebrush territory. Drier and drier land all day with the snow capped Rockies visible in the east and then both sides of the road. It feels good to see the Rockies, our home mountains. Wyoming is the least populated state, even less than Alaska. Few towns and all small. Makes for covering territory quickly. Back in the high desert, I forgot that I miss it. The trouble is I miss lots of vegetation, broad leaf and conifers together and lakes, real rivers (a river in the west is a creek or stream in the east) and even lots of rain, but not the humidity. This is the trouble with having lived in different parts of the country—where ever I go, there's nostalgia to deal with.

We drove through the Wind River Canyon, part of the Wind River Reservation. A nice canyon and somewhat greener than many western river canyons, or less rocky. It's wider than many and the road is too, so fewer curves and a quick trip through. Mostly the trip is through rolling hills, sage, bunch grass and probably cheat grass, a nonnative grass that is an awful scourge to westerners. Mountains are always the backgrounds.

We wanted to buy gas in Lander, but the first station was on the wrong side of the road, but there are always more, aren't there? Then the road we're taking leaves town right away and the only gas station is very closed—gas pumps even gone. Well, there has to another station in the 120 or so miles to Rawlins, but not really. After 40 miles of one closed station, the gas pump lit, the readout saying 0 miles left, I got out the 5 extra gallons we had and dumped it in the tank. Still 80 miles to go and probably, but maybe not a gas station. Maybe we make it, maybe not. With 40 miles to go and the read out saying 4 miles of gas, which means about 35 or 40 or maybe 45, we see a building at a junction in the distance. I got out the binoculars—I could see gas pumps and someone driving up to them. Saved! High prices, put in enough to make it to Rawlins. Why didn't I turn around at Lander, or go into town? The answer—never go back. Barb doesn't always agree with that philosophy.

Earlier she had tried to call the KOA in Craig and see about reservations. She got a message—we're either helping other campers or it's winter hours and we're open later in the week through the weekend. Huh? Which? It didn't look like a good place, but put us only 200 miles from home. She looked up Rawlins, Wyo., saw it had 3 campgrounds and here we are. The KOA here looked overpriced for the facilities and there are two next to each other on the west side of town, RV World (where we are) and I forget the name of the other. RV World is a little cheaper, that clinched it. They both look pretty bare, but RV World has a few trees. And cable TV! We're living now.

It's been windy at times today. Typical western Thunderstorms—too dry to rain, it evaporates before it reaches the ground, and makes for a lot of wind.

Some photos:

1. Mac the Moose in Moose Jaw.

2. Wind River Canyon looking north and, of course, TV and Safari.

3. Wind R. Canyon looking south and something better looking than an Airstream.

4. Wyoming—through the windshield with Wyoming bugs. Split Rock in the distance, a landmark of the Oregon Trail. We are near South Pass, the easiest crossing of the Rockies and for a while the road follows the Trail.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:58 PM   #125
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Home at last! Our house seems so big!. Sometimes I have to walk 30 or 40 feet to get something. On the other hand, it has three toilets and they are big and there's lots of room around them. We can both be in the kitchen at the same time and not bump into each other. We must have a mansion.

The last day on the road was uneventful. Rawlins, where it was always very windy, is on the edge of the Red Desert. For easterners, desert does not usually mean sand dunes and bare rock. It means dry—rainfall can be in the low teens/year or less. Probably less in this desert because there are no trees. Piñon and other desert trees will grow at the upper limits of desert precip. I'm sure there's an official number, but I'm not looking it up.

The Red Desert doesn't look red—there are probably some red rocks somewhere—it's high desert with sagebrush and grasses, wind and extremes of temp. It's a closed basin meaning any water stays within it and does not flow into either the Atlantic or Pacific watersheds. The Continental Divide splits and goes around it on each side. Elevation well over 6,000'. At the north end of the basin is South Pass, a very popular transcontinental route as it avoids some of the worst of the Rockies. The red Desert is much abused since there's a tendency to think of it as wasteland. It has many cattle ranches, but there's so little grass and water, it takes a lot of acres to support stock. This can lead to overgrazing. We saw antelope, now called pronghorn (this is "where the deer and the pronghorn play" just ain't right).

Natural gas has been discovered in southwest Wyoming in recent years and there's little oversight by either the state or by BLM, the federal agency that often administers the mineral rights that were mostly reserved to the gov't when public lands were sold a century ago for ranches. The BLM also administers public lands. Ranchers may say they have a 5,000 acre ranch, but often they own a few hundred acres and the rest are grazing leases on public land. The feds lease the land far below market prices because ranchers have a lot of clout, but they don't do much to protect ranches, air, water or land when the oil and gas industry comes calling because that industry has more clout than any other.

We drove through Craig and then the road south begins to get more interesting. We enter the Rockies and a good road goes to Meeker and then Rifle on I-70, then east to Glenwood Springs, and 100 miles across one pass to home. Gas in Meeker, Rifle and Glenwood are at much higher prices than outside that area. It must be the closeness of Aspen and Vail.

At home, I backed into our parking spot quickly, proving experience does matter. We unloaded a lot of stuff, and still unloading. Plenty to catch up one and a big load of mail to go through. Yesterday was Barb's birthday and we went out to the North Fork Valley's only fine dining restaurant. She's getting closer to a really big birthday next year and is going through all the strangeness that brings. Since I'm 10 years older, I enjoy watching this because she seems like a kid to me.

So we made it. 5,100 or 5,200 miles. our longest Airstream trip in miles and days. Things got screwed up and got fixed, but doubts about this trailer and QC remain. I have to redo the WD hitch and adjust it properly. Another legacy of the Denver dealer which put on the wrong bars and didn't properly set things or tighten bolts. Waiting for us when we came home was the settlement check from the dealer for the damage done to the trailer, so that helped pay for the trip. I have to get the proper sealants and do some sealing and make a list for our next warranty trip.

We travel differently than some others. We don't put up the awning, sit outside, put out pink flamingos, and drink beer or G&T's. Some alcohol does get poured inside tho. We drive, and when we stay somewhere for a day or more, we go do things. We wear ourselves out, collapse, and start another day. We act younger than we are, and joints hurt, muscles ache, we get sleepy, and naps are mandatory. We don't grill, Barb makes amazing and usually healthy dinners inside, or sometimes we go out to eat. We read, figure out the next days driving, museums, or whatever. We watch the news or DVD's. As a result, we don't meet our neighbors often. We spent almost all the time within sight of one another and talk to each other a lot. We are not good at sitting around, and the weather is often cold or rainy or snowing or windy or too hot (too hot when I live at high altitude seems like 75˚ to me), or being too close to the next RV (too close is also relative, but I feel everyone is too close since we have a 37 acres and can't see our neighbors). When we traveled pre-trailer we did the same thing. We brought a folding table and two lawn chairs. One lawn chair got used for an hour.

We also didn't boondock since we liked the creature comforts. Sometimes the public lands option is inconvenient to where we want to be. It doesn't often save money because the drive out of the way may be a 20 or 30 mile round trip and the gas cost can be more than the difference in camping fees for one night. Running the heat pump is a lot cheaper than propane for heat, so non-electric sites aren't necessarily a money saver. We did spend some nights without sewer and two without water and survived. We get attached to wireless and the ease of full hookups.

So, the next trip is to Barb's grandmother's 100th birthday party in Angel Fire, NM, in 5 or 6 weeks. We'll spend 4 days at eubank's campground and then probably go to Santa Fe for a few days (stocking up at Trader Joe's among other things). Have to think about the August trip and then what after that?

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Old 05-22-2009, 01:03 PM   #126
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... So, the next trip is to Barb's grandmother's 100th birthday party in Angel Fire, NM, in 5 or 6 weeks. We'll spend 4 days at eubank's campground and then probably go to Santa Fe for a few days (stocking up at Trader Joe's among other things). Have to think about the August trip and then what after that?

Gene
Gene, have you already found a place in Santa Fe?

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