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Old 09-09-2016, 06:33 PM   #603
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Mimi, I did read Connecticut Yankee when I really young, the Calavaras County Frog story in high school and later on a critique of the Leatherstocking Tales when I was in grad school. The last showed how Nathaniel Hawthorne made up stuff that made little sense and promoted the myths of the west; it was part of a course in western history. The critique is the only one I remember. It was quite good as well as humorous.

Today we drove along the east side down to Alton, Ill. Some places we saw the river, more often we saw corn fields and soybeans. Or, rather, plants stripped of their produce. More bushes turning yellow and red, but not much from the trees yet. More old towns, a bigger river and finally, we reached the end of our trip along the Mississippi. We took one of those bridges with the suspension cables from one central post and this bridge had two posts and two suspension sets of cables. We didn't take the road that would have taken us to the free ferry and traveled over the Illinois River on a bridge. We looked for the ferry across the Mississippi in Grafton, but never saw it. Maybe that's why it struggles to keep going—no signs telling anyone where it is. The river looked a mile wide when we left it.

Once in Missouri, we skirted St. Louis and started across the state. Three times over the Missouri River and we stopped half way across Missouri. We are in the most basic of CG's in Boonville, large pieces of gravel, self check in, no one here, full hookups, decent wifi, no cable though it says it has it, and behind a McDonalds. Not luxe by any means, but we are happily in our trailer. The clouds broke up for a while (it rained this morning) and we hope for clear skies and the cold front struggling to get to us finally arrives. Tomorrow we will make it to somewhere in central Kansas. I'll have to check whether we got any good photos later.

We have made good time and seen a lot also. We have plenty of time to get home and will spend another day with in-laws and get home a day early too. The list of repair items gets longer and longer and will keep me busy next spring.

Gene
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:13 PM   #604
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Last night it rained hard at times. We were just north of the worst of the storms. In places in southern Kansas there was flooding. When we were driving west of Emporia today, many fields were flooded and all the creeks were out of their banks and very muddy. Our CG tonight is mostly a long term resort with several ponds and they are out of their banks and one road is flooded. No tornados that I have heard ofówe had a memorable crossing 8 years ago from Indiana to the Colorado plains with tornados all around for more than two days.

Quite a nice place with many amenities and it is cheap for travelers (around $25). Last night at a place reminiscent of some places far north where we had primitive CG's (not primitive like a FS campsite, but like a run down CG) and it costs the same. It is Spring Lake RV Resort near Halstead Kansas. It is big and has a lot of members with trailers that never move. There's a concert by a band tonight and since the mosquitos are alive and very well after all the rain, we can hear the music from our trailer while we kill mosquitos that have snuck through gaps in screens and the screen door, or rode in on us. It is country rock and not too bad.

We drove interstates from the middle of Missouri, around Kansas City and as far as far as Emporia. Emporia is known for William Allen White, noted journalist of the first part of the 20th century. He owned the Emporia Gazette and it is still owned by the White family. With interstates, we never saw the town, but we are heading home and want to eat miles. At Emporia we switched to US 50ójust down the road (750 miles) and we turn left a few times, drive 10 miles south and half a mile up and we are home. US 50 in the plains is mostly 2 lane, fairly busy and a moderately important truck route. But traffic moves fast because it is straight and pretty flat.

To us mountain folk, Kansas is something to get through and it never seems to end soon enough. I have tried to appreciate the subtle shades of green and brown and the gently rolling occasional hills, but, sad to say, I never have quite succeeded in convincing myself this is interesting. It is either drive and try to keep attentive while thinking about things complex or dumb, sometimes at the same time. As a passenger I can read on the iPad, plan how far we will get, research CG's, reading interminable reviews online, or eat more travel food (protein bars, mixed nuts, dried apricots, sometimes cheese and crackers or some surprises). But whatever, Kansas just keeps rolling by as if it is an endless giant scroll on each side of the road picturing, at this time of year, harvested fields, repeating over and over. But by tomorrow, out towards Garden City, Kansas, the dryness of what was once called the Great American Desert will be evident. Then we arrive in Colorado, drier and higher, looking into the distance for a glimpse of the Rockies.

The storms were part of a cold front which dropped temps and humidity significantly, a welcome change. The sky is blue again after days and days of thick grey clouds. Colors are bright after being tones of grey. I notice that in parts of northwest Colorado there is a freeze warning. Seems like we have gone from high summer to clouds and storms to fall much too quickly. We usually hate the A/C by now. It is noisy and we shout and try to hear (and understand) the TV over the constant wind and compressor noise. It will be good to only use the fans or nothing at all tonight. Less than 300 miles to Colorado, another 100 plus to the mountains.

Gene
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:22 PM   #605
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Photos:

1, 2. The Mississippi River bridge at Alton, Ill. Lots of interesting shapes.

3. The kind of sloppy, basic CG of last night (RV Express) in Boonville, Mo. Garbage was overflowing, some trailers seemed to be parked there unattended for long period and it was a place to stay inside.

4. Tonight's extensive, well groomed grounds with many ponds and even a flooded roadway on the right.

Gene
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:23 AM   #606
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A long day yesterday (350 miles) as we closed in and then got to Colorado. Evan after a day, lots of flooded fields and high water in the creeks in central Kansas. Further south there was much worse as we saw on TV. US 50 is pretty much straight and as we moved west, towns looked sad as if Kansas is becoming a poor state. We have not taken this route in some time, and only Dodge City looked more prosperous.

Anyone who watched Gunsmoke as a kid has curiosity about Dodge. When we first traveled through, maybe 15 years ago, there was a short tourist block off US 50 and not much else. Any resemblance to the TV program had to be imagined. The next time we drove through they had developed a block along the highway as a tourist attraction. I seem to remember an all day breakfast restaurant in Dodge, but couldn't find it this time (I'm always interested in breakfast—why not have the "most important meal of the day" several times?). But a lot more development to capture tourists. New restaurants and shoppers along the highway and some new sidewalks, street furniture and such. Though there really isn't anything left from the 19th century, they have improved the look of some of the town along the highway.

Parking for RV's could not be found, so we parked across the railroad tracks on a gravel lot that seemed to be the place of last resort for people looking for parking, or possibly was a lot owned by a car dealer. We tried an Italian restaurant for lunch—Bella something—and I thought the entrees and the sauces were all mass produced frozen stuff, but Barb liked it. We have not had good luck with Italian restaurants on this trip. Even though we brought enough food for months on the road, a restaurant break seems a good thing from time to time. And eating lunch in the trailer can be oppressive with high temps and (sometimes) high humidity.

After a cool day on Sat., it got hot again on Sunday and by the time we reached Garden City, Kansas, it was 97˚. Maybe it was the heat, but once again we got lost, but found our way back to US 50. But 97˚ in western Kansas with low humidity was more like 80˚ with humidity along the Mississippi. As soon as we entered Colorado, the towns looked more prosperous than we had seen in Kansas. We stopped at a KOA in La Junta—between the middle of Kansas and La Junta, there are few CG choices and most of them seemed to be pretty bad. A lot of p-laces we have stayed, a KOA was the best place to stop—not because they have lots of amenities, but because they had hookups and weren't run down, or they were just about the only thing around. They are all getting older and many look it. Once they would have received superior reviews on review websites, but now they are just average. The "big" change about them is they are offering mini-golf (their term) at some of them, but you have to pay for it. One place it was $2 per person. Maybe that's cheap for miniature golf, but it seems the era of miniature gold passed about 50 years ago.

Today we have a short day on the road and will stay at another KOA near Pueblo as we visit Barb's parents. My father-in-law seems to have quickly recovered from his fall. That's a relief. But we remain concerned about their future.

I'd better get ready to get on the road. Another hot day, but supposed to cool later. Snow in the northwest part of the state today I think and they had freezing temps a day or two ago. Crazy swings of temperature are common to Sept. The river road seems far in the past and the high desert is here. Altitude is more than 4,000' and liquids closed at low elevations want to "explode" out of their containers here.

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Old 09-12-2016, 09:05 PM   #607
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A short day driving to Pueblo to see Barb's parents. They seem to be doing very well. We've stayed at the KOA here before, though not in several years. It seems to be going downhill fast. The stairs and ramp to the office are rotting and dangerous. Our site is between long term residents and their junk. They are storing 20 or more MH's on site and it looks like a storage lot behind the jumping pillow. No one in the office can tell me where CNN has gone so I can watch news. They blame Direct TV and I guess asking their provider would be out of the question. Worst KOA ever and never again. Pueblo is not a good place to look for a CG, but we will in the future.

Good to stop for a while and looking forward to being home. Of course, it will be another busy time once we get there. Better than being stagnant.

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Old 09-13-2016, 08:52 PM   #608
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Not much happened today except I solved the tv cable problem. Using cable connections we have gotten everything from nothing to clear pictures to lots of snow. This morning I took the receptacle on the wall behind the TV out of the wall and figured out which coaxial cable did what. There are a lot of them. Although some were labeled, I checked them too. I used the coax from the connection to the CG system to direct wire to the TV and all the many other connections. It gets confusing.

It seemed the problem was partially shorted coax in the wall somewhere between the wires attached to the receptacle and the connection outside. A part of that coax may have been pinched when the trailer was assembled and now after years of travel the insulation is worn and the outer wire (the ground) is touching the frame sometimes. I'm not sure how touching ground to ground matters, but it does.

I was afraid I'd have to drill a hole through the wall and attach new coax connectors inside and out and then run a wire to the back of the receptacle plate. But I wondered what would happen if I tried using the satellite connector under the table. That's the one with the jumper wire. I disconnected one end of the jumper wire and attached the TV directly to the coax connector on the left side. It worked. Then I attached it to the cable/sat. coax at the back of the receptacle plate and both TV's worked. I ran new coax under the dinette seat and it just made it to both ends. There's a hole in the wall below the plate and I threaded the work-around coax though it. Cable again!

That took 1 1/2 hours and a lot of walking back and forth to two TV's and outside. Total cost about $5 worth of coaxial cable, although I may get or make a really short piece to get it less tight.

Tomorrow we go home. 300 miles across the mountains is a long day and then we have to unload the big whale and the truck. It is supposed to snow in the central mountains, but it will be too warm to stick. Maybe. We have travelled as late as early Dec., but at that time of year we usually have gone west or south where the passes are lower or have snuck in from the south where there are no passes on one route through Cortex and Moab. Our house is at 6,900', so we hope our steep driveway is bare when it is late in the year. We have talked about finishing the river road trip, but going either in the spring or fall to avoid hot weather in the south. But before a spring trip, lots of work on the trailer is necessary to catch up.

We'll have all winter to think about it. Finishing the kitchen this year would be good, but impossible. After that, the master bath. And when we get home, there is always a lot of catch up.

Gene
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Old 09-20-2016, 10:23 AM   #609
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I didn't get around to paying for another year as a "supporting member". Maybe that's why I'm getting all the extra ads now that drive people away from websites. I'm not sure I want to pay up because some Forum friends are being harassed (PM me to find out what that means). I've got a few photos, but without being "supporting", I probably can't post them.

We've been home a week and are trying to catch up on life. Good to be home with larger bed and shower (not combined in one place) and not have to get up "early" by our standards every day.

Winterizing coming this week and waiting for Equalizer to send me a new hitch head. I found a suspension shop that will change the ball (I would need a 20' breaker bar to take it off one hitch and put in on another) and set up the hitch for $50. Considering how much effort it would take to get the trailer and truck level at our house, it is worth that to me.

I need to get some body work done on the truck—someone bashed in part of the bumper just before we left. Hit and run obviously as no one could bash that bumper without knowing it. I also have to get a dent fixed I did several years ago before I became accustomed to the width of our garage doors. The truck is over 112,000 miles and runs fine though the gas mileage seems to be dropping a bit. Something to think about. Lots of little items to fix on the trailer after nine years. I re-glued the decorative strip at the bottom of the rock guards. The strip has experienced a lot of stones and other road damage over the years and I may have too replace it. I need to clean up all the other strips at the belt line and around the trailer and see if they need replacing. I'll most likely put off most of the repairs until spring.

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Old 09-20-2016, 12:53 PM   #610
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Gene we can't PM you.

I forgot but when forum support membership expires so does the extra storage room for pm's.
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:20 PM   #611
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I just figured that out. I'm 2,000+ PM's over the limit of 200. I deleted a bunch, but that only got me down about 200. There are people on the Forum who cannot be mentioned in a post or they get very, very upset and slap you. Friends are boycotting and maybe I will too.

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Old 09-20-2016, 01:31 PM   #612
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Okay, we appreciate your posts and pictures. Hang in there.

In the scheme of life it's all good.

This forum is just a reflection of people and we've got a pretty good assortment here.
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