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Old 05-14-2010, 02:03 PM   #15
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Gene - It sounds like you have a wonderful trip planned, one my wife and I would like to duplicate in the future. We were up there for six weeks in 2001, and were in Denali on the infamous 9/11. We tent camped then, but are really loooking forward to taking our Safari the next time. You probably don't get down to Montrose very often, and almost certainly won't before you nead north, but if you do my wife and I would like to meet you sometime. Have a great trip, we will be looking forward to reading of your adventures. -Bob-
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Old 05-14-2010, 02:33 PM   #16
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Actually, Bob, we were in Montrose yesterday so I could talked to a dentist about implants. This was not a discussion I really looked forward to, but things like this come with senior citizen status. The week before it was to the orthopedist and getting my knee shot up with steroid; arthroscopy is on the horizon. It's taking more maintenance time to keep me going than the trailer.

We also went to Grand Junction yesterday and I broke down and bought a Verizon aircard. I figure we will spend less time looking for CG's with wifi and probably come out ahead or even by saving on more expensive CG's. We got the prepaid version since the economics of having a contract don't make sense to us. The prepaid network isn't quite as extensive as the contract one since cell companies hate prepaid plans, but know they have to offer them. We will find out how well it works in Canada and it appears to be pretty limited in Alaska. If Verizon proves to be too difficult to work with, they will eventually lose our business and we will have made a bad investment. Now I have to figure out how to use the thing.

Gene
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Old 05-18-2010, 12:30 PM   #17
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6 days.

Good news is that I just rinsed the house and the red dirt from the mudstorm came off the windows so I don't have to clean them again. That's a relief. The deck is also finished and I've cleaned up a ton of papers piled up in my office. My filing system doesn't require file cabinets, though I have those too. I deal with the papers every 5 years or so because I like history.

We have washed and applied paint sealant to the trailer and it is temporarily clean. We found a leak from the rear Fantastic Fan and I know pretty much where it is coming from. We've had 2 days of good weather, but another storm is coming in for a few more days of crappy rain/snow/wind. But I did rotate the one tire that was eligible with the spare. My theory of getting a good wheel for the spare was to rotate it with the other tires and get 20% more miles out of the new 16" tires. Seems like a waste to buy 5 tires and have a steel spare wheel that you never use because it doesn't look right with the others. Brakes adjusted. Windows have been washed inside and out. Most maintenance items are done and what's left is summerizing and getting up on the roof with sealant and silicone for the TV antenna and oil for the fan door mechanism.

Every time we go over the trailer for maintenance I see all the evidence of poor workmanship. That is not good. The front to vack rivet line over the kitchen upper cabinets and about 10" above the door have been popping. Some were replaced in JC, but are loose. I pulled one out to try to get one in tight, but the inner skin doesn't seem to be attached to anything there. Maybe I have misjudged, but it seems like they cut the aluminum panel too short and compensated by pulling it away from the ribs there. I wasted a bunch of rivets trying to get one to stay in but they all failed until I used an oversized diameter one.

The truck still needs to be detailed. The dripper system around the house has to reactivated and the grass needs to be mowed. The shop has been mostly cleaned. Basement windows and mirrors have to be cleaned. I have to put a window A/C back in upstairs. A friend needs helping unloading a piano tomorrow (ugh) after I get a cavity filled. There's more but if I continue listing them I'm going to start crying. In-laws are coming this week and Barb has a birthday. Never a quiet moment here.

I don't know how, but it is all coming together.

Gene
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:47 AM   #18
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The in-laws have left, Barb has had another birthday (she looks better every year), the truck has been detailed except for the windows, the trailer has been summerized (it's waiting for me to fill the potable tank with 5 gal. at a time to check how accurate the monitor is), my cavity has been filled, our friend's piano was already moved by the time I got there, basement windows and mirrors cleaned, the Fantastic Fan leak fixed, and there are some clothes packed. The shop has been mostly cleaned, a lot of the area around the house has been mowed, but the mower died 2 days ago and needs surgery, the dripper system is almost all set—a few more leaks to fix. The deer chew on parts of the system during the winter and break things and some places the water doesn't drain and things freeze and crack. When I pressurized the trailer water system, no leaks this year.

The realtor is supposed to bring us a listing contract this weekend and the house will be on the market while we're on the road.

There's more to do—like install the window A/C upstairs, but it seems like we'll make it by Monday, maybe leaving around our usual time at the crack of noon.

Windy days again and 60 mph gusts expected today bringing red dust

Gene
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:06 PM   #19
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Gene;

I hope you are saving your posts somewhere. The amount of detail you provide on your preparations, as I'm sure you will on the actual trip, will make great reading for future generations of your offspring.

John
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:55 PM   #20
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Hi, looks like Alaska is not on our list this year. Actually we don't have any trips planned. Maybe when you return you could give us a copy of your plans for this trip and we could just follow them next year. I don't know how you do it; That is why we have random trips. No real plans, just pick an area or state and go. Sometimes a gamble, like when we went to South Dakota last October. It was a real adventure dealing with weather and road conditions like that, but we made it and had a great time doing it. We could never make plans like you and Chief do. Have a great trip and post lots of pictures.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:34 AM   #21
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No one can make plans like Chief does. He has a looseleaf book of the next trip started the year before. My planning seems random compared to his. Everybody does it a little differently and the results seem to be about the same anyway.

Two good things: after 6 months our new Michelins on the trailer held just about the same amount of air as last fall. This compares with the OEM Marathons which needed air every couple of days when we travelled. I checked the monitor for the potable water tank and, amazingly, it was accurate—I put in 5 gallons at a time, and each time it registered 1/8 more. I quit at 20 gallons (half full). If I weren't so tired, I would have pumped it all into the grey water tank and checked that against the monitor, but that was more than I could handle.

Things are getting into shape. Tires were checked this morning and TPMS system activated for the trailer. Truck is hitched up and refrigerator was started yesterday evening and is cold this morning. 40,000,000 trips back and forth to the rig today to load everything. It's about a 300' round trip each time, so there's miles to go.

Possibility of rain or snow tomorrow, but we'll be in the Utah desert by afternoon.

Gene
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Old 05-23-2010, 11:12 AM   #22
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Happy trails, Gene.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:43 PM   #23
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This morning when I dragged myself out of bed at 8 am, it was snowing. Barb had gotten up at 6 and came to see if I were still alive and told me about snow. This was not good news, but when I looked outside, it wasn't sticking and it was 38˚.

She was in house cleaning mode getting the house ready to be shown. So I wandered around for a while trying to remember how to get dressed. She insists I dress myself and I managed to do so eventually. So, after breakfast, I started loading about 15 tons of food into the refrigerator and another 25 tons of stuff into the trailer and the truck. Every time I put more stuff in the fridge, I was sure nothing more would fit. Then back to the house and Barb gave me another load of food and somehow I got it in. Then another load, and another and another. We will eat well and often.

By late morning the snow showers had stopped, there was some sun and it got windy again. The little bit of moisture had turned all the dust to mud and the clean blue Tundra was spotted with mud blotches. At least it doesn't show so much on aluminum.

We missed the usual crack of noon time to leave, but stumbled around 'til 2:30 and finally left. So far we know we only left one thing at home, Barb's seat cushion (I remember telling myself to put it in the truck several times, but …). We stopped in a neighboring town to get a sandwich—seems like a tradition by now since we are unable to make ourselves lunch by the time we have stuffed truck and trailer beyond all reality.

We made our goal, Green River, Utah, 175 miles from home, by 6:15. Barb probably doesn't remember the 100 miles from Grand Junction to Green River as she was usually out cold. By the time you reach Utah on I-70, you are crossing desert and the road is boringly straight. Just set the cruise control, tie the wheel down and take a nap.

This is a pleasant KOA and something is blooming because it smells good here. Temp is 63˚ and for the first time in days the wind isn't blowing at 40 or more mph. Maybe it's a little early in the season, but less than half the spaces are filled. The CG is linked with a motel and restaurant that overlooks the Green River. Another tradition is to have breakfast in the restaurant and then we will start north. US 6 goes through an area where there was a coal mine disaster last year (Helper, Utah), then over the Wasatch Range. There was a winter storm warning today there, but it should be fine tomorrow. Just south of Provo we pick up I-15 and drive fast to the border. We expect to make it to Idaho Falls tomorrow (422 miles) and Shelby, Montana Wednesday (435 miles). It'll be 35 miles to Alberta and I hope they'll let us in.

When we went to Alaska in 2006, we crossed at the same place (Sweetgrass, Mont.) and we had to go into the office where the Canadians asked us all sorts of questions for about 40 minutes. I've crossed the border many scores of times, but that was the first time I've ever had a problem. I still don't know why but that was about the time Canadians were angry how the US was soon to require passports for everyone to cross the border and maybe they were showing us they didn't like it. Last year when we crossed from International Falls, Minn., it took about a minute.

After all we have done in the past several months, it's good to be on the road again, even though we are very tired.

Gene
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:14 PM   #24
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:54 PM   #25
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Gene,

Glad to see that you're on the road, and looking forward to the updates. We're off on our Great American Road Trip in 2 1/2 weeks. After last week's rather rough trip on the MS roads, I had all four shocks replaced on the truck today. I went to coil-over load leveling shocks on the rear.....hope that wasn't too much.

I know you won't be surprised at this, but I have already started packing gear in the truck for our big trip.....one can never prepare too soon!

Don't PO the Canadians when you cross....Prince Edward Island is part of our itinerary.

Safe travels,

Ron
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Old 05-25-2010, 05:27 AM   #26
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Aaah, nothing like the open road on the early days of a long trip. Makes me smile just to think about it.

Will watch for your posts and pics. Travel safe.

Maggie
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:37 PM   #27
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After a full night's sleep, life looked a lot better. The sun was out this morning and the wind wasn't blowing. After a filling breakfast at the Tamarisk Restaurant overlooking the Green River (not green, but brown from spring runoff), we were off.

US 6 north crosses more desert with the rocky plateaus to each side and we were soon in coal country—Carbon County, Utah. Then up to the Wasatch Plateau on a winding highway and across a grassy high plain. The Wasatch Mountains, snow capped, were to our west and eventually we went down to Spanish Fork on more winding road, some of it under construction. There we met I-15 and fortunately drove through the populated part of Utah at midday missing the traffic, but not the perpetual construction. I thought they rebuilt this interstate for the Olympics; maybe they're widening it again and it will someday stretch from the Wasatch Mtns. to the Great Salt Lake.

By midafternoon we were in Idaho with rolling green hills and mountains framing a valley as were got closer to Pocatello. We decided to stop in Pocatello instead of going to Idaho Falls, 50 more miles down the road. Why?

For years when we have driven through this area we have noticed that in Blackfoot, about 25 miles further north from Pocatello, there is the Idaho Potato Museum, but have never gone to see it. I could never live in Idaho for several reasons, but prominent among them is that I would have to have license plates that said on them: "Famous Potatoes". But I like potatoes and this museum sounds like one of those typically American roadside attractions.

It has the world's largest potato chip and the world's largest potato. Not only that, but a collection of potato mashers. This is worth changing our plans for and getting to Canada a little later (probably Thursday midday instead of morning).

We'll be sure to take potato pictures.

Gene
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:43 PM   #28
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