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Old 08-21-2016, 05:10 PM   #547
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Gene:

I may have missed a mention of yours referring to this, but have you Googled "Great River Road"? Having grown up in the Twin Cities, I recall the so-called "pilot's wheel" road signs that mark those sections of U.S. highways marking the designated sections of road.

You may have visited their web site, but here it is again:

http://experiencemississippiriver.co...ve-in-america/

I'm sure you are getting all sorts of suggestions. But . . . when you get up north, Minnesota way, you might want to stop by Fort Snelling, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, in the Twin Cities metro area. Established in 1821, and now (the original limestone fort) completely restored by the Minnesota Historical Society, it commanded the upper midwest fur trade. Then, try to stop by St. Anthony Falls in downtown Minneapolis, especially the west side, where the old milling district has been handsomely restored.

Have a great trip. Lots to see all along the river.
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:26 PM   #548
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Thanks for the tips. I think I have looked at the website and the map on the website was too small to use. I'll look again. I am aware of the road symbols used. Some variations of that symbol seem to be used for side trips (in my more negative moments I think of a "side trip" as a road that is a dead end—sorry for that bummer).

There seem to be two concepts of the river road—the original one is one road that is on either side of the river depending on attractions and the best road. But the commission seems to be promoting two roads on each side, although there are places where there is no other road, especially in northern Minn. We'll figure it out—something over 50,000 miles and I still haven't had my worst fear realized—backing miles down a narrow road with numerous blind curves in the dark while a river next to the road is rising because of torrential rains—and then there is the troll with new questions and the low gas gauge.

I don't think we have enough time to do even half or a third of the road(s) justice. Even though I am prone to overplanning, we will try to be spontaneous. I'll plan on it. Just write on each day's lists, "be spontaneous!"

Gene
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:18 PM   #549
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We finally made a decision and will stick to it. We are going to drive part of the river road. We will drive east, probably on I-80 to the Mississippi, go north on the west side, thus being on the river side. When we get to Lake Itaska in northern Minn., we drive south on the east side. Maybe we'll make it to St. Louis, take I-70 back and maybe go further south on US 50 after a while so we can stop at my in-laws and check on them.

We only have 3 weeks, so we'll drive to the river fast and then slow down. I figured it means about 150 miles per day along the Mississippi. That's really slow for us.


Just a heads up about the River Road. We came back that way traveling home from Wisconsin to Kansas about two weeks ago. I can't speak to the west side, but the east side from LaCrosse on south was the roughest paved road I've ever been on. We bailed out as soon as we could find a bridge west and took off into Northern Iowa. Best of luck.... I hope your route is Much smoother than ours...

Hang in there on the parents in law... It's a part of life that's super hard. We just bought our Avion to heal up from exactly the same thing. 🌌


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Old 08-22-2016, 10:01 AM   #550
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Prairie,

Congratulations on your new toy and joining the Forum. Thanks for the road tip and I hope they will repave it right now. Did you buy a restored Avion or are you restoring it yourself? I don't think I've ever seen the inside of one, but the exteriors look really nice and I recall reading how they were right up there at the top end of the aluminum trailers.

So far as parents and in-laws are concerned, I keep telling myself I might be a worse at aging than they are. What kind of nutcase would remodel a big house in his 70's? Travel cross country? One of the problems with aging is that people tend to isolate themselves and they decide they can't do much. The inactivity lowers their quality of life, but doesn't necessarily shorten their lives much, if at all. Trying to get a 90 year old woman to do even mild exercise is one of the most futile things I have done. Both my mother-in-law and mother came from times when women did not exercise.

Cloudy, may rain, and lots of haze (and red or pink sunsets) from the California fires. The bad air reminds me of last year when we were in the northwest and there were fires in the US and Canada. After a hot and mostly dry July, August has been less hot, but the August monsoon has not happened. When they predict days of thunderstorms and possibility of flash floods, we get a few minutes of rain. I'd like to leave knowing the trees are wet and the grasses are soaked. Be nice if rain washed the trailer since it has been 4 or more years since it has been washed and waxed. They really don't look that different dirty (I tell myself).

Kind of a slow day today getting ready, but the next few will be intense. Figuring out which roads to take takes a lot of time—AAA maps, "official" map and river road book sometimes disagree on route numbers making it a challenge. Some states don't fit into the map size very well and the detail means using a magnifying glass to read it (no, it is not my eyes, they are the only part of me that is in pretty good shape). Some years ago AAA switched map companies (used to be Rand McNally) and the quality of the maps has suffered—you may get wrong mileages and route numbers. The paper quality seems lower too. We haven't had to use AAA for anything but maps, tour books and camping books for decades, but it is still cheaper to join at the lowest level to get them rather than buy similar maps and books from another vendor. I think in 30 years we have had one tow more than 25 years ago. If while traveling we had a problem, AAA would not tow our trailer, so we end up paying Good Sam for that kind of insurance—costs more than AAA, no maps (plenty of junk mail), but they have a good reputation if you are stuck and need help anywhere. Remember when maps were free at gas stations? Or you could send a letter to an oil companies requesting maps and they would send them for free.

Gene
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Old 08-22-2016, 02:34 PM   #551
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Gene,

She's not restored, but in really decent shape for her age. We've decided to travel with her as is and restore/upgrade as we go. Sometimes ya just gotta get a new view....


The journey is the destination!

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Old 08-22-2016, 02:56 PM   #552
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Good to hear it moves Prairie, and that you can work on it yourselves (I presume) at your leisure.

Thinking of the new names I see on the Forum lately, it reminds me I have been here for 9 years and many people who I knew years ago have disappeared. Are they alive? Did they move on from the Forum or Airstream? Did they get bored with all this? One absented himself worried about all the enemies he made, but is still lurking. Some have been in trouble with the authorities (I always get along well with rebels; one quit today) and either got removed or removed themselves. If someone stops posting, we rarely hear what happened and that is a void. If I croak, will my wife post the last post? Maybe I should tell her to, but I suspect there will be other things for her to do.

And there are the people I don't hear about anymore. My best friend from high school hasn't replied to my last e-mail a month or more ago. We found each other 7 or 8 years ago and would send an update every year or so. Another old friend of 35 years did not reply to my last e-mail months ago. There were grass fires south of where she lives and many houses were destroyed, but she lives on the other side of town. She is a poor correspondent, but will reply (usually) to a question about floods and fire (she lives a few feet above a river). It is disconcerting when people just disappear. Maybe I will some day, but not before the river road.

I am aware the real name is the Great River Road (GRR on signs), but river road is easier to type.

Gene
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Old 08-22-2016, 03:32 PM   #553
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Road Trips

I hear you, Gene.

The worst is when you call to check on a dear friend and one of their relatives that you don't know answers. Then questions why you are calling, and when satisfied, lets you know your best friend suddenly died.

It's a very tough side effect of living a long time...you start losing good people from time to time, without warning.

I don't have a good solution, other than regular contact with friends and family. Good thing cell phones don't charge extra for long distance, huh?


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Old 08-22-2016, 03:43 PM   #554
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It's a very tough side effect of living a long time...you start losing good people from time to time, without warning.
I lost my first friend at 30 and that was hard. She had cancer and I ended up driving from upstate NY to Kansas in 2 days through an ice storm and a blizzard to get to the funeral. And that was after not much sleep on New Years Day and leaving at midnight Jan 1. That drive featured the worst pizza I ever had (Columbia, Mo.) and the car being attacked by pterodactyls near St. Louis. Perhaps I hadn't had enough sleep, but those pterodactyls kept slamming into the windshield and I only drove another hundred or two miles before stopping. The next day the ice storm started, then the blizzard. I also had a really bad piece of blueberry pie in Salina, Kan. The funeral wasn't any fun either. Then I had to race back to take law school exams.

I'd rather go to funerals than be the featured player, but it does get harder to see the deaths accelerate. But at least I hear about most friends, when people on the Forum disappear, they really disappear.

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Old 08-23-2016, 04:11 AM   #555
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"We're all traveling the same road, some just further on..."

Travel safe...

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So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:40 AM   #556
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Heavy rain, flash flood watches, blah, blah, today. I was going to hitch up the truck today, but we just waxed it, so I'll wait for tomorrow to take it out of the garage. Funny how rain gets a vehicle dirty even when stationary. Try to pack as much as possible into the trailer before rain comes and I'd better check tire pressure soon as I just heard thunder in the distance.

It feels like we are pretty much on schedule, but that never seems to be true. Waiting for a shoe to drop….

We'll probably be able to go out and listen to the blues jam in town this evening. I got most of the planning of the route done last night, but bleary eyes and boredom got to me. I'll try to finish my OCD exercise later.

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Old 08-25-2016, 09:21 PM   #557
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This morning we got up early and it seemed there were a thousand things to do. Running back and forth to the trailer and truck getting the 25 tons of stuff stuffed. It was crazy time trying to get going and finally at 10 am, we were on our way.

In 20 minutes we were topping up the gas tank and it suddenly occurred to me I might not have brought the Verizon Jetpack. We need it to get internet on the road and at CG's with bad wifi. I looked, Barb looked, I looked again, no Jetpack. I drove across the road to a shopping center and unhitched, figuring it would be faster to drive back up the winding steep road to home and then back without the trailer. I raced home and the Jetpack was where I had left it, got it, put some more gas in the tank from some I had at home, and raced downhill.

This frustrating experience turned out to be a good thing. While hitching, one of us on each side, Barb saw a crack in the steel hitch head just behind the washers. It is an Equalizer, has served us well, but this is the second metal fatigue failure this summer. When I looked at my side, it also had a small crack. One crack was about 1/32" deep and the other much less. It appears most of the stress on the hitch is at the bottom below the crack and that was fine. Judging that this was not all that serious right then, we started towards I-70 and then drove east.

At Parachute (about 50 miles away), I pulled into a rest stop to examine the cracks. They were no different, but I went inside and asked about welders. After being directed to a garage which did not weld, I was sent to the NAPA next door and they knew where there was a welder. We backtracked 9 miles and found him. He spot welded it and it has held up fine. When drilling for natural gas was big around there, he told me he had 24 welders working for him. Now he works out of his truck and a little shed and appears to be just getting by.

Problem solved for now. Equalizer has a lifetime warranty, so I took pictures of the cracks and will be contacting them. Some miles down the road I asked myself whether I had plugged in the 7 pin connector to the truck. It was in the way for welding. I usually put it behind the jack post to keep it out of the dirt. I tried the lights; the courtesy lights didn't go on. I moved the lever on the brakes and nothing happened. It was time to stop and hope it was lodged behind the jack post. It was not. Half of it is on I-70 between West Parachute and the Wolcott exit in very small pieces. No one signaled to me that it was dragging on the road.

Hoping that there wasn't a cop behind me wondering why I never stepped on the brakes or used turn signals, we drove on while I tried to think what town would have an RV shop with a 7 pin male plug. Then I'd have to figure out what the color code was. I could probably have found it on the internet, but I was pretty sure Airstream's color code is not like others. We stopped to eat some lunch and I found a trailer and tire shop a few miles down the road and called them. They said they could fix it. So we then found the next town, Avon, has 2 exits and I didn't know which was the right one. We tried the first one and couldn't find the shop. We turned around and went to the 2nd exit and there was nothing there. I called again and they asked me if I had an Airstream. We had passed it at the 1st exit. Backtracking a mile we found it.

It took an hour to replace it. Normally I would buy the plug and do it myself, but by then I has screwed up too many things on this strange and difficult day and thought better of it. Vlad, a nice guy with an accent I had a hard time with, got confused by the different color codes. The owner was standing over him and telling him the best way to test each wire, but Vlad kept ignoring the boss. The boss was right, but I tried to stay out of it. Eventually everything worked (Vlad finally tried the boss's method and it worked). They charged me for a half hour, but prices in towns near ski areas are very high.

Meanwhile, Barb started looking for a CG around Denver (we had hoped to get at least a hundred miles further than Denver), but everything was full. Finally she found a KOA, a very expensive KOA, near Central City. This former mining town is now one of Colorado's 3 casino towns. The KOA is pretty new, the wifi is good and we are very, very tired. They put us in site 13. What did that mean?

We ordered a pizza and they delivered to our trailer. As Barb said, this pizza only tasted good because of such a hard day. While loading the fridge this morning, I broke a dozen eggs in a plastic container, we emptied out the liquid and yolks into a plastic bag and will have a giant omelette in the morning.

When we got here, one drawer in the bedroom was on the floor upside-down. Since it only had clothes in it, nothing too bad. This drawer falls out once a year. One of the door shelves in the fridge was falling out since the part molded to the inside of the door that holds it had broken off. I moved the shelf down one position, not as good for maximum storage. Haven't found the broken piece and hope to so I can glue it back.

We started wondering if the full moon was back very early. We have survived and are only a 100 or so miles behind. Long ago, when I was first in Colorado, I worked at a mine near here for a few years. I was purchasing agent, electrician, lawyer and eventually mine superintendent. Making me superintendent proved they didn't know what they were doing. It was quite an experience as investors' money was wasted and the accountants in Houston who ran the show sure got a lot of the money; I did pretty well too. Never produced any gold or silver as long as I was there. We are camped about a mile or two from where I worked. Central and nearby Black Hawk are completely different since casinos moved in more than 25 years ago. We'll go through the two towns tomorrow and see how different they are. It has been a long time since we've been here.

Tomorrow we should at least get half way through Nebraska. Lincoln may be a stretch (500+ miles), Omaha a fantasy. It is at least a half hour to Golden and a fast highway, but the rest will be fast and boring. It has got to be a better day.

Sleep will be coming soon…zzzzzzz.

Gene
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:29 PM   #558
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Sometimes you seize the day, other times the day seizes you😀😀

I think it was the day's turn. Better tomorrow...at least you are out camping in your AS.


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Old 08-26-2016, 04:34 AM   #559
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Our packing rule...."honey did you?".....is not a valid question.

If you think of it, you do it. If no one thinks of it, you have no one to blame.

Did the 7pin thing on delivery day.....zip tie or velcro strap ever since.

Stream safe...

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So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 08-26-2016, 08:21 AM   #560
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Vlad, the stubborn mechanic, gave me a bungie cord to tie to the cable. Never would have thought of it myself.

Rained hard for hours last night, or at least until we passed out. Another day, hopefully better. It has to be because it is hard to duplicate yesterday. Looking forward to that dozen egg omelette. No early start today either as we recover and the pursue the Omaha fantasy.

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