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Old 03-23-2008, 09:11 PM   #1
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Adventure starts Wednesday…

But preparations started days ago. Cleaning up things including the Tundra. After months of snow and then early mud season, we finally got to wash the Tundra last week. First time since about December. We forgot what a nice blue it is. No time to wash and wax the Safari—maybe later.

We bought some toys for the Safari—a Honda 1000 Kv generator was on sale at Camping World since they'd lost the box and the manual. We couldn't resist, though when I started it up yesterday, it was 124 v on AC and 19 v DC. It's the DC that's much too high. I'll call them tomorrow, but I doubt I'll ever use the DC anyway. And we just installed the new Doran tire pressure monitoring system on the A/S. The sensors stick out farther than the edge of the tire, so we'll have to be even more careful about curbs.

In going through the owner's manual and oiling things, I noticed that some of those things never appear to have been oiled at all. This unit was made last August and we took delivery at the end of October, so I should have seen some evidence of lubrication. It's hardly the only things that were not done well and I am not too trusting of taking it to the dealer for warranty work.

I wonder how the dealer in SLC is for warranty work?

When I went to lower the spare, I found it hard to release the retainer pin and get the clevis pin out. It's crammed next to the battery cable on the tongue. This does not encourage checking the tire pressure. I have come to believe a lot of things are designed by people at Airstream who never talk to one another. I removed the tire from the carrier and threw (not really, "placed") the spare in the back of pickup. If I get a flat, I want to get to that thing easily and fast. Despite paying a premium price for the trailer, the spare is on a cheap wheel, so it can't be rotated with the others unless I want to buy a fancy aluminum wheel, or don't care how the wheels don't match. Probably the most economical thing to do would be to buy 4 cheap steel wheels to replace and then sell the aluminum ones.

We are taking a short trip to Santa Fe. Anyone have any recommendations on campgrounds there?

It'll take a day or two to get there and we'll stay 3 or 4 days. It's only 300 miles, but I'm not sure I want to push on the first day since we have to get ready in the AM and get used to towing again on 27 miles of very winding road along the north side of the Black Canyon. Not many guardrails, 1,000 foot drops and many blind curves—it's challenging, but mostly slow in a 4Runner even though we've taken this road scores and scores of times. Then there's Colo. 114 from east of Gunnison to North Cochetopa Pass—a lot of it winding along a creek with the usual narrow road, blind curves, but no 1,000 foot drops this time. That kind of driving gets us right back into it, but it is slow. The narrow streets and heavy traffic in Santa Fe will also be interesting with a trailer.

We'll make a side trip to Albuquerque to see Barb's 98 year old grandmother. She'll probably make us dinner and give me a hard time. She talks so fast in 2 languages I can't understand half of what she says. Her body has deteriorated, but her mind is sharp and she's feisty. She still works harder than a lot of younger (like 75 years old) people. It's always fun to see her.

We always enjoy Santa Fe, but have always stayed in motels. This will be a new way to be there. Maybe this time I'll figure out the DVD player. I can't wait; I crave aluminum.

With gas prices as they are, we will probably be taking shorter trips than we are used to this year. A trip to the Pacific coast may not happen, but we'll see. I usually break down and pay the price though gas in Cal. may be $5 if it's $4 elsewhere.

Gene
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:50 PM   #2
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Flush, drain, flush, drain, flush…

Yesterday was all about flushing out the water system. First I had to attach the trailer to the truck by myself so I could move it to the exterior faucet on our house. Actually it was pretty easy to line up the ball and the tongue.

Then I drained the fresh water tank to get the antifreeze out and then flushing the rest of the plumbing from the city water inlet and drain from the grey water outlet. Though it takes a long time to drain through the pet cocks, that was only the beginning. Next added bleach to the fresh water tank, using the water pump to get it though all the pipes and faucets. Let it stand for a hour while I ate lunch.

Then started draining through the grey water tank for the pipes using the pump and draining from the fresh water tank petcock simultaneously. Then fill the tank again with fresh water, then attach hose to city water to flush the pipes, drain, flush again, drain again. Maybe I did it all another time—I can't remember anymore, but it took most of the day.

I bought a cheap second water hose so I'd have 50 feet of hose from Walmart last year and it took only a few hours to spring a leak. More Walmart junk.

I will most certainly install a bypass for the water pump before next winter so I don't have antifreeze in the fresh water tank again, but the sanitizing process and flushing and flushing and flushing sure are tedious. I was envying people who live in Florida for a while.

I found the instructions for the Moen filter on the internet and discovered wear the battery goes. This was not the only set of instructions not included in the packet we received when we bought the Safari.

I turned on the heat pump, set the temp at 42˚ and went to a meeting.

Today we load up food, clothes, books, maps, tools, junk and even more. I feel like I have been doing maintenance, de-winterizing and packing forever. I'll sure be glad to get on the road. Forecast is good for tomorrow with 60's in Santa Fe. Chance of snow in Colorado from Wednesday night through next Monday, so I'm hoping no big storms are coming next week when we return. This is the season where we alternate winter, spring and summer every few days, sometimes into June.

Gene
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:05 PM   #3
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Sounds like you have a good start on getting back on the road. Make sure and post some pics of your trip for us.
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:22 PM   #4
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We thought that we did a lot of stuff to get Lucy ready for the road, but you sure have us beat. All of your efforts should result in a trouble free adventure.

Safe travels and great adventures,
Brian
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:20 PM   #5
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Driving myself crazy

Brian and Rodney,

Thanks for your good wishes. I turned on the refrigerator and thought it wasn't working on electric, checked everything and it appeared there was no power to the refrigerator receptacle. I was about to take the AC part of the converter apart and check that, but I had power to all the other receptacles. I did the Dometic test procedure and it showed it was working—nice feature I found in the instruction manual. Pheww! I was wrong and I'm glad. The handy little polarity tester that came with the trailer can't be read accurately in the sun from an angle. I should have used my multimeter first. Of course, maybe I was right and a loose wire unloosed.

A couple of weeks ago I looked at the propane cover and saw what others report—it rests on the single conductor wire for the jack and the two wires for the brake release. The jack wire was already losing insulation after 2,500 miles. I wrapped the wires in lots of electrical tape, installed a metal pipe clamp for a one inch pipe over them and put the cover back. Solved for the moment. Others have cut a "mousehole" in the cover, but that means cutting the reinforcement piece at the bottom of the cover too. Not a good solution either. Maybe I'll re-route the wires later on. My pipe clamp solution cants the cover back into part of the assembly for the Equalizer hitch and started scratching it, fortunately in a place no one looks at. I put a stick on piece of Velcro on the cover to prevent further damage. I guess the guy who designs the cover doesn't talk to the guy who routes the electrical cables. It sure is easy to get disgusted with Airstream when I keep finding all these design problems. I love the trailer, but it sure needs a lot of modifications and it's hard to trust the things I haven't found yet.

Yes, I do everything possible to prevent troubles down the road and drive myself crazy. We'll take pictures, but I still haven't figured as easy way to post them. Maybe I'll get it this time. I have to look all the posts from last year that explained to me how to do it.

Gene
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:25 PM   #6
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Gene, yer kill'n me!!

Our tube still sits on the Pad awaiting it's wheels and the spring get ready.

Good luck and have a great time on your trip. It sounds a lot like our return

trip on the "Mother Road" in AZ. with the 63 Safari back in 98. What a great

highway, one of the longest original stretches of 66, and the scenery was

spectacular.

Have fun, and don't forget the photos
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:15 PM   #7
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Robert,

As I recall, there was ice coming down the Niagara River on Memorial Day during my 7 long years in Buffalo in the '70's. Of course, when I lived at 8,000' in Evergreen, Colorado, one June day in the mid '90's—the 1st day of summer—it snowed 2 inches.

Several years ago we took all the old US 66 in Arizona and a wonderful trip. I'm not sure I'd like to take an Airstream on some of that road in western Arizona—very narrow with sharp corners, built to 1920's standards, except it's paved now. But then, why not? It's all about adventure and taking a few chances to see what you've never seen.

Have you seen "Road Trip USA"? It details a number of cross country trips along 2 lane US highways including US 66. We've done some of those trips and they are a good way to travel.

I hope you get your wheels on and can sneak out of town between snows.

All maintenance done, clothes packed, food being loaded. Refrigerator working properly and getting cold fast with the help of frozen gel packs. I'm wiped out, but will recover when I drive out of town.

Gene
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Old 03-26-2008, 04:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
Robert,

As I recall, there was ice coming down the Niagara River on Memorial Day during my 7 long years in Buffalo in the '70's. Of course, when I lived at 8,000' in Evergreen, Colorado, one June day in the mid '90's—the 1st day of summer—it snowed 2 inches.

Several years ago we took all the old US 66 in Arizona and a wonderful trip. I'm not sure I'd like to take an Airstream on some of that road in western Arizona—very narrow with sharp corners, built to 1920's standards, except it's paved now. But then, why not? It's all about adventure and taking a few chances to see what you've never seen.

Have you seen "Road Trip USA"? It details a number of cross country trips along 2 lane US highways including US 66. We've done some of those trips and they are a good way to travel.

I hope you get your wheels on and can sneak out of town between snows.

All maintenance done, clothes packed, food being loaded. Refrigerator working properly and getting cold fast with the help of frozen gel packs. I'm wiped out, but will recover when I drive out of town.

Gene
Gene

This is what we used on that Great section of old "66"

It was slow and BEAUTIFUL, just made it more memorable!!!
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:43 PM   #9
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Have a great time! We are also getting things ready for take off. New brakes, and grease, new tires for the truck. The 15th is our departure, we are very excited too. Drive slow, Take care George
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:32 AM   #10
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Day 1

We weren't quite ready on "Day 1" and got off to an "early" start at 12:15. I was concerned that after 4 months I would have forgotten how to tow, but it went easily. The 27 miles along the Black Canyon on Colo. 92 wasn't too hard even with its twists and turns and only took an extra 10 minutes with the Safari. That section of 92, west of Blue Mesa Dam and US 50, has very little traffic and is a beautiful drive. Fortunately few people know about it, so don't tell anyone.

60's in Crawford at noon, 41˚ in always cold Gunnison at 2. Another wonderful stretch is Colo. 114 from just east of Gunnison to Saguache. It winds though a beautiful canyon, over North Cochetopa Pass (a/k/a North Pass) and then down into the wide San Luis Valley with views of the Sangre de Cristo Range across the valley. Once away from Gunnison, temps in the upper 50's and low 60's all the way to Santa Fe. A lot of the older parts Santa Fe have very narrow streets, cars parking up to the corners. Not the place you'd want to take a trailer, but St. Francis Drive (US 285) is wide and took us out to I 25 and then 8 miles east to a campground. It was dark and we couldn't find the campsite for a while. Went around twice and ended up getting out and looking for the right number. Very narrow roads and desert trees to avoid. I couldn't easily tell just where the trailer was in the dark with trees in the way of seeing behind me, but didn't hit anything. Nonetheless, we remembered what to do to set up even after a 4 month break from our first days with the Safari last Fall. An Excella is across the road, but it was too dark to tell much else.

Everything was going fine until Barb asked me what that red light was in the bathroom. It was telling us the water heater wasn't working—it had been working a little while before. After trying some things, it appears both, not one of the propane tanks, is empty. The heat pump will keep us warm (supposed to be 38˚ tonight), there was some hot water and tomorrow we get more propane. There was just enough to keep the refrigerator cold today. Not a tragedy. I have to get this propane thing straight. And I hope the tanks are both empty—that's the easiest thing to fix.

Morning: slept like the dead. Very windy today and supposed to be 66˚, but felt like 30˚ in the wind. Both tanks were empty and the one I knew was full must have mostly drained through a leaking connection I found under the trailer last week. Lesson—close the tank valves when stored, open before dewinterizing and check all connections for leaks. Tanks filled and water heater fired up right away.

Gene
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:35 AM   #11
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Wow! I'm impressed with your organization! Don't just love an "adventure"!

We will soon be doing the flush-drain-flush-drain of antifreeze ourselves. I can't wait!
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Old 03-29-2008, 12:29 PM   #12
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We are staying at Rancheros campground SE of downtown Santa Fe. There are 2 reasons why we won't be staying here again. We just emptied the grey water tank and the sewer connection is higher than the tank drain. That meant draining as much as possible into the hose, coaxing it along the hose, over and over. Of course the hose eventually came off the drain—the quick way to empty it. I had to do the same thing yesterday. Bah!

The second reason is the poor wireless internet connection. It's intermittent and weak. Sometimes it seems to work 30 seconds every 5 minutes, although it's working better today.

However, I'm sure other sites have lower sewers and not everyone cares about internet service. This is an older campground, a KOA a long time ago. A Clint Eastwood movie was partly filmed here. It's in a piñon forest and the sites seem a little more isolated because of that, but they're not. Maneuvering into the site in the dark meant weaving among trees I couldn't see too well—I had to remember where they were. That was after driving around in a circle twice trying to find the poorly marked site, finally walking around until I found the number on the wrong end of the site. Nice location, some difficulties.

Next time we'll try Santa Fe Skies, well regarded in camping books and on the Forum. We didn't stay there because it doesn't have cable TV and I'm addicted to news channels and Discovery and History channels (though the latter two are getting goofy with programs like AxMen).

We've been coming to Santa Fe for 20 years and always enjoy walking around the plaza and other areas. Just about every building is adobe or made to look like it. There must be height limits too and the result is a city on a human scale. Parking is difficult during the busy tourist seasons, but yesterday we found a space right away. Some of the 'burbs are adobe looking houses crammed together and look a bit like Anasazi ruins before they fell apart. These won't last as long since a lot of them are frame with stucco made to look like adobe, though adobe needs maintenance too.

We had lunch at the Blue Corn Cafe, about a block off the plaza (there's another one out along Cerillos Rd.). Usually quite good, a little off this time, but a good lunch selection and not as crowded as the restaurants on the plaza. We walked around seeing familiar places for a couple of hours and went back to the Safari to relax and read (with news channels on, of course; will this presidential campaign every end?).

Yesterday we went to Albuquerque to see Barb's 98 year old grandmother. She's bent over and her head is barely above the stove. She'd been cooking all afternoon and we were served a wonderful genuine New Mexican meal of chile and tortehuevos and her homemade bread. She's quite a character and spent a lot of her life on a remote ranch east of I-25 that's been in the family for almost 150 years. Barb's many times great-great grandfather settled in Taos (coming from Germany) in the late 1850's and some family is still around there too. Whenever we go to Taos Barb tells me stories of visiting family there in the 1950's and what a different, and smaller, town it was. If you want to read the story of what's happened to Taos, somewhat fancified, John Nichol's New Mexico Trilogy is a must (Milargro Beanfield War is the most famous of the three novels, but each one gets more depressing).

We also went to Trader Joe's to get items we just can't find in western Colorado. Barb recommends Joe's O's, a much better version of Cheerios.

Today we go to a museum, not sure which, but there are so many, we still haven't seen them all.

If you want to see Santa Fe, go during the off season. Don't come in summer or fall (opera season I think). 2010 is the 400th anniversary. There are some very old buildings around, so it's something like living history. There's no other large city like it. Traffic is bad and rush hour is to be avoided. Other restaurants: Tomasinas is a very popular restaurant, and though I found is ordinary for years, last year I thought it much improved. Zia is not far away and is excellent and funky is a bright sort of way. Both are near the old railroad station, a shopping district that has come into its own in the last decade.

Ginja is Asian and in a shopping center somewhat NW of the plaza area. El Farol is a tapas restaurant, oldest bar in Santa Fe, and quite good and busy. We haven't gone there in years though. There are lots others of course.

Canyon Rd. is another shopping street with many very expensive galleries. Some of the galleries' proprietors seem to think they are above it all, but some are friendly. River Trading Post is a friendly place with a more reasonably priced collection (they have other galleries in Scottsdale and near Chicago). There are many stores with Navajo rugs (weavings is present term) and the prices are high in Santa Fe. Some places will bargain, some not. If you are interesting in these amazing weavings, go to the Navajo reservation and there you can bargain. Ask about the "code" which appears to be a price, but is often a multiple of two or three times the price, and then work it down. There's an auction at the Hubble Trading Post (a national monument) near Ganado in Arizona twice a year where some excellent deals can be made, especially late in the auction. We have to avoid the auction because we leave with more rugs and we've already run out of space in our house (two in the Safari also now). We'd find space, but we bought the Safari, so no big purchases until the stock market gets better. The old trading posts on the res are disappearing quickly. We've gotten to know some of the old traders over time and always enjoy trading lies with them.

Gene
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:41 PM   #13
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Seligman

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS
Gene

This is what we used on that Great section of old "66"

It was slow and BEAUTIFUL, just made it more memorable!!!
Robert,

Ah, Seligman, Arizona. We stopped in at the barber shop/curio shop next door and met the other Degadillo. Really nice guy and very active in his community. Did you go through Oatman?

Gene
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Old 03-30-2008, 06:11 AM   #14
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66 Trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
Robert,

Ah, Seligman, Arizona. We stopped in at the barber shop/curio shop next door and met the other Degadillo. Really nice guy and very active in his community. Did you go through Oatman?

Gene
Oh, yes we did!!

Good luck finding a place to park the Stream. Watch out for the Burro's,
and don't let Casper scare Ya.
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