Hello from Shoshone, CA

Hello from Shoshone, CA

Drafted:  Wednesday November 1, 2023 (second post of this travelogue)

Posted:  11/20/2023

We are staying in the Shoshone Village Campground (Google Map). When they say “village” they mean it.  The sign going into town says population 35 and the last census says that the population is 18 {big grin}

We have stayed here a few times in the past – mostly when we were in between trade shows in the California area. This area is very special to us as it is remote (does not even have a cell phone signal). The campground is not all that fancy but it has everything we need and not being fancy is actually part of the fun of staying here. In addition, it is in a beautiful area.

Shoshone is at the southern tip of Death Valley. I’ve said before that going to Death Valley would have been about the last thing on my bucket list if I had one.  However, the last few times we’ve been here have been extremely rewarding.  It is an amazing place with unbelievable variable terrain.  We toured part of one day and visited a couple of sites.  One was the famous site of Bad Water which is 282 below sea level. Another site was Furnace Creek visitor center.  They have a great outdoor museum with lots a very old equipment from the early days of mining Borax include part of the 20 mule team equipment.

 

 

Yesterday we visited another favorite place:  China Ranch.  This is a date farm which is really an oasis in the middle of a desert.  They have a huge variety of date palms from all over the world.  In addition, they have lots of fun date products – mostly bakery type products.  They are also famous for their delicious date shakes.

It was difficult for us to make the decision to come to this campground because a major flood in August of this year damaged many of the local roads.  One of the roads that is still closed is the road that goes from Shoshone to Baker California.   It is a is a direct route that connects with I 15 and leads into the Los Angeles area.   Instead, we have to backtrack through Pahrump (almost to Las Vegas) before we can connect with I-15 and then head to Los Angeles That adds about 100 miles to our trip.  But we just could not pass on staying in this campground with all of its wonderful memories.

The August flood also severely impacted Death Valley.  Many of the roads were washed out and some continue to be closed.  We had to stop for construction with a 10 to 15 minute delay.  However, most of the roads are now in reasonably good condition with exception of a few that have not yet been repaired.

The last time that we stayed here was in the bus and we were using a satellite dish connection to Hughes Net (a miserable service).  There was no cell service at that time and there is only intermittent cell service now.  Now, with the StarLink satellite connection we have not only great internet connection, but also good cell service via our internet.   Once in a while we will get a brief dropout as the system transfers from one satellite to another.

As noted, StarLink satellite connection continues to be a winner.  It is very easy to set up and we are able to stream TV via YouTube TV.  All of our favorite  television shows (including Denver shows) are recorded during the day and are available for viewing in the evening.

That is all for this post.

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Hello from Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Hello from Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Drafted:  Sunday October 29, 2023 (First post of this travelogue)

Posted:  11/19/2023 (yes, I am way behind on quite a bit of stuff{grin})

We are here to attend a National NHRA drag racing event.  It is the 20th event of a 21 event schedule.  We are parked with the truck and trailer in what is call the “Trackside RV Lot” (Google Map) .  If you look closely at the map, you will see that our camping area overlooks the dragstrip, and we can see the races pretty well in the comfort of our great camping chairs.

We have camped at these races a couple of times in the past, but never in the “high roller” area next to the track.  We decided to splurge this year and get “up close” to the action.  As noted, we can see the race pretty well and have a portable radio so that we get the “trackside” announcing.

The weather here has been pretty decent.  Highs have been in the 70s and lows in the 40s-50s.  However last night the wind was very strong and blew our chairs and table around a bit.  For the races today it will be in the 60s.

Race day and the temperature in the 60s but wind blowing

We are dry camping so that presents a challenge to keep our trailer batteries sufficiently charged.  I have run the big generator a few times and it really pours the current into the battery.  However, it is pretty loud.  The first day I fired it up a person behind us complained to me that his mother just had ear surgery and that the sound really affected her.  I tried to be considerate and only run the big generator during the races when it was noisy anyway.  I had to ask myself why anyone who has problems with noise would come to a huge drag race that is terribly noisy.  Oh Well!

I ran the small (quiet) generator a bit, but it had to power a battery charger to charge the batteries and the charger I have is really not geared to that kind of application.

The races were great.  There were three crashes and all ended up right in front of us.  We did not see two of them but a bike rider came off and landed right in front of us.  He signaled that he was conscious when they put him in the ambulance.

That is all for this post.

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Hello from Hutchinson, KS (Belated)

Hello from Hutchinson, KS (Belated)

Drafted:  Friday October 10, 2023 (Second post of this travelogue)

Posted: October 29, 2023 (but back-dated for 10/17 in the software)

We left Corning Sunday (10/8) and drove to Topeka, KS.  From there we drove to Hutchinson, KS.  We are staying in a wonderful state park campground (Sand Hills State Park).

We are here so that I can attend an event that involves folks using semi-trucks to pull RVs.  That might Sound like a strange event with limited attendance.  However there are in the range of 100 units at the Kansas State Fairgrounds.  The photo below (pirated from Face Book) shows many of the trucks and several Smart Cars.  Many of the truck/trailer combinations have Smart Cars mounted sideways on the truck (see second photo).  Others have provisions for other types of cars mounted lengthwise on the truck.

I was simply boggled by all the creativity with these combinations.  I have followed the FB group for these vehicles for a year or two and have really enjoyed all the discussions.  The main reasons given for using semi type truck are the power and the strong brakes.  That said, there are some pretty significant challenges.  The foremost seems to be getting insurance and the second being ability to use normal RV campgrounds.  As was the case with the bus, exposure to very large repair cost and consumables, like tires, makes it a pretty expensive option.  Many of the owners are full time and/or travel with large families.  Many of the units are set up for “boon docking” and that makes a great deal of sense.

That is all for this post and the trip.

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Hello from Corning, Iowa

Hello from Corning, Iowa

Drafted:  Friday October 6, 2023 (First post of this travelogue)

Posted: October 16, 2023

We are camped at the Icaria Lake Campground  (Google Map).  We have stayed at this campground for the past three years as a part of Pat’s Cousins “reunion”.  It is a beautiful campground.

We left Evergreen on Wednesday (9/27) and drove about 200 miles to Ogallala where we stayed at the Tri Trails KOA campground.  Our original plans were to meet up with Pat’s brother Jeff and his wife Julie who were travelling from Guffey, CO.  As it turns out, they sold their house a few days before our departure date and were not able to make the trip.

Our second stop was in Waco, NE where we stayed at the Double Nickel Campground.  This was an amazing campground with great Halloween decorations (early, but fun) and very friendly folks.

When we were planning this trip with Jeff and Julie, we decided to make the 600 + mile trip to Corning in three easy days.  We often make it in two days with a stop in Kearney, but these short days (average about 200 miles per day) sure worked out well.  Besides that, we had a fairly open calendar, and the extra day was no issue.

We arrived in Corning on Friday 9/29.  They were having an unusual hot spell with temperature in the low 90s.  For the first few nights we had to run the air conditioning at night as well as during the day.  The past few days have turned cool with daytime temperatures in the high 50s/low 60s during the day and low 40s/high 30s at night.  We have also had a bit of rain which they really need.

There was a large vintage car auction at the Corning Fairgrounds on Saturday (9/30).  There were close to 150 cars of all descriptions and conditions.  Most were from the 50s and 60s, but there were cars from several decades.  They were all from one person’s collection.  They have been housed in several locations in Corning.  Some went for well under $1000 and others well over $30,000.  I had my eyes on a great looking 55 Oldsmobile, but it went for $21,000 (way out of my league {grin})

 

 

Early this week, they started harvesting soybeans.  The beans are dry, but the stems are a bit tough and that makes the harvest a slight challenge.  They say the yield is good this year.

From Pat:

The cousins reunion was wonderful as always.  My sister and brother-in-law, Judy & Mike, also from the Denver area, were able to attend this year.  It was great to spend some time with them.  We also got to visit with my aunt & uncle, Jack & Janice.  I love our time in Iowa; I tell them I love it so much as it feels like a warm fuzzy.

We got to see and visit with the following cousins:  Jeanne & Bill, Mona & Terry, Terri, Dan & Jack, Joyce, Michelle K., Julie, Tracy, Jhett & Cash, Nikki, Joel, Bailey, & Chase,  Tony & Paul, Doug & Jennifer,  Michelle & Ally, Cody & Ashley.  I’m sorry if I’ve left anybody out.  We so appreciate all of them taking time out to visit with us.

 

One of my favorite things to do there is to attend an auction.  The Kretzingers have an auction business and they all work at it.  Several of them are auctioneers, and I love listening to them.  I always have to come home with at least one item.  This year I bid on a 3-pot crockpot, but I stopped bidding too soon and didn’t get it.  My second choice was another large crockpot.  It was almost new & I got it for the bargain price of $2.   I love bidding while my cousins auctioneer.  Jim bid on a couple of things but didn’t get either.  One of his items was a big vise.  My cousins teased him that it was the heaviest item at the sale.

That is all for this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello from Chatfield Reservoir

Hello from Chatfield Reservoir

Monday September 11, 2023 (First post of this travelogue)

We had reserved a camp spot at Chatfield Re11servoir to coincide with our daughter Kelly’s family stay here.  This location is close to their house in the Littleton, CO area (Google Map)

We come here a few times a year as it is close and so beautiful.  We usually start the camping year here for the first outing to make sure we have “our act together”.  This time we are camping from (9/7-12).  It is a very laid back time and super fun.

It turns out that the Bergmans camper had suffered quite a bit of damage over the years and the insurance company totaled it out for them.  That was not a bad thing as they had considered.

We were still able to have some time with them and Pat’s sister Judy when they visited our campsite.

That is all for this trip.

 

 

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Hello from Guffey, CO

Hello from Guffey, CO

Draft Started Friday September 6, 2023 (First post of this travelogue)

Updated and posted 9/11/2023

We again made our annual trip to Guffey, CO to spend the Labor Day weekend at Pat’s brother’s amazing place.  Jeff and Julie built this wonderful home on 60 acres in a very peaceful location about 10 miles west of the small town of Guffey.  It is so beautiful and quite here.

Jeff and Julie’s daughter and her family were here as well as all of daughter Lisa and her family.

 

The Shepherd and Kassel camping vehicles

We drove there on Thursday 8/31.  It is a bit over a two-hour drive from our house.  The drive was uneventful which was a good thing. On our trip to Monument Valley and Williams, AZ our truck overheated and we had to turn around and return home (later making the trip in our Mazda).  I completely rebuilt and upgraded the cooling system and it functioned flawlessly on this trip.

We enjoyed all the family time with endless meals and fun discussions.  We also took the time to set up a target practice day that was a ton of fun.  I finally got to shoot my new Smith and Wesson Model 19 revolver (.357 magnum) as well as my Marlin lever action 30-30 rifle.  These are my treasured weapons that relate to my TV heroes from my childhood days.  It is funny that the two Kassel grandsons love to fire these weapons as well.

The Target Practice Gang

My Lever Action 30-30 — Do I look like I was having fun?

Most everyone left on Labor day, but we stayed until Thursday (9/7) and enjoyed our time with the Springs.

On this trip I wanted to test our ability to “boondock”.  We parked in a field and had no connections.  We had installed two solar panels and took both a small and large generator.  The results were mixed.  The solar did not keep up with our electrical demands.  Admittedly we are somewhat power hogs, but I had hoped to do a bit better than we did.  We ran the large generator a couple of hours each day and that kept us at an acceptable level.  I am exploring our solar options, but I am concerned about the cost/value ratio.  We did pretty well with our water situation.  We were conservative and as a result our water supply was sufficient for the week and the holding tanks were not full.  We were close, but we got by.

Our trip home was a bit of an adventure.  We had planned to fuel up in Hartzel which is maybe 30 miles from the Springs.  When we got to the station we discovered that one our tires had disintegrated!  Fortunately an employee of the store helped us mount the spare and we departed about an hour later.  We have no way of knowing what caused the tire to fail.  I check the tire pressure each day before we leave.  It is possible that we picked up something that punctured the tire or that the tire simply blew out.  The rim had some cosmetic damage but should be OK.  We will be getting two spares (have to buy one extra rim) but I need that comfort level as we will be taking two long trips in the next couple of months.

Anyone want to buy a used tire?

That is all for this trip.

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Hello from Las Vegas, NV

Hello from Las Vegas, NV

Draft Started Friday August 25, 2023 (First post of this travelogue)

Updated:  August 28, 2023

We are staying at the Red Rock Casino Resort in Las Vegas (Google Map)

 

We are here for Pat’s Stampin’ Up! Leadership conference.  It is a2 ½ day event that started Thursday afternoon.  This conference is for the higher-level demonstrators.  There are approximately 700 in attendance.

We left Evergreen Monday and drove to Grand Junction where we stayed at a Holiday Inn property.  Tuesday, we drove to Cedar City, Utah and again stayed at a Holiday Inn.  Wednesday we drove to Las Vegas.  The scenery on this drive is amazing.  We never get tired of the drive.  We drove the Mazda on this trip.  Later this year we hope to be heading this way in the truck and trailer with travel on into the LA area for some car/racing events.

The Red Rock Casino and Resort is an interesting facility.  It is located about 10 miles west of the strip in an almost rural area (no other casinos around).  It is a huge facility that seems to cater to large meetings and is family friendly.  It has two Starbucks and a food court.  Unlike the hotels on the strip, the food and coffee prices are not jacked up too badly so you can find a decent food variety for “affordable” prices.  The casino is huge and has very modern slot machines and several game tables/rooms. 

Red Rock Casino and Resort

Our hotel room is on the 18th floor and has a great view of the Las Vegas Strip (see photo).  We are what seems like a half mile from the elevator {grin}, but we just tell ourselves that we need the exercise.  That said, my back issues have come back with a vengeance (about a month after my Epidural injections) and it is difficult to walk long distances (indeed, sometime even short distances).

View of Las Vegas Strip from our hotel room

Update 8/28.  We left Red Rock Sunday and headed to Richfield, UT, again staying at our normal HI property.  Today we drove to Grand Junction and are staying at the same hotel we were at on the way out. 

Las Vegas is about 750 miles from our house and that is just a bit more than we care to do in two days – especially given my back issues.  The shorter days are just fine with us.

That is all for this trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello from Bonneville, Utah

Hello from Bonneville, Utah

Draft started:  Wednesday evening– August 9, 2023 (First post of this travelogue)

Published:  Friday 8/11/2023

This year is the second straight frustrating Speed Week.  Last year, the day I got here the area experienced a huge wind/rain storm that cancelled the event. This year they experienced a very large rain storm the week prior to the event.   

I kept watching the posts and the weather and it looked like they were going to hold the event, but on a delayed schedule.  Under normal circumstances I would have cancelled the trip, but this was the 75th annual event.  I was at the 50th annual event and I really wanted to make the 75th.  I decided to postpone my departure until Monday (8/7) so that I would arrive on the 8th.  That was the first day of the races and 4 days later than scheduled. 

Once I saw the conditions, I was very disappointed.  The road to the pits was covered with 6 inches of water and the pits was covered with one inch of water.  They were able to get one course in reasonable condition, but it was what was called the “short course” and the speeds were very limited.  The long course was not usable and thus the big dogs could not run higher speeds.  Virtually all of the neat spectator cars did not come or left before I arrived.  The racing car count was well below normal.  That said, there were some decent runs on Tuesday.  Today the pits were in much better shape and several of the big dogs decided to run the short course to get some testing done and establish the high speed of the meet (a coveted accomplishment).  So far the high speed of the meet is a bit short of 290 MPH.  The runs were much better and I enjoyed my time on the salt (albeit less than ideal). Today I was able to tour the pits and talk to a few folks that I wanted to see.

 

Entering the Salt Flats with lots of standing water

I would normally go back to the track tomorrow for a half day before heading home.  Getting out there is such a terrible process, so I will probably fix my breakfast and then head out.  At least I got my 75th:T” shirt and can say I was here.

On Wednesday night we got hit with another drenching rain and terrible wind.  It knocked over several Porta Potties at the “bend” where I am camping.  Listening to the radio Thursday morning, they were still able to make runs on the one course available. 

My trip to the Salt Flats was via I70 with an overnight stop in Green River UT.  There is a relatively new Holiday Inn in Green River and I used points for the stay.  I will probably stay there on the way home.

I have been coming to Speed week since 1991.  It is a very special event for me.  Over the years I have brought various vehicles here including towing the Durango behind the bus.  However, the salt just reeks havoc on everything made of steel.  In recent years I have rented various vehicles so that our cars did not get exposed to the terrible conditions.  The past couple of years I have rented trucks so that I could sleep in the bed.  This year I am especially glad that I had a rented car as the salt/salt water is sure to damage the vehicle.

One of the fun things about recent trips is my “roughing it”.  I sleep in the vehicle and prepare freeze dried meals for breakfast and dinner.  Perhaps in a different setting these meals might not be all that appealing, but on the salt, they are great.  I even have a special coffee maker that lets me brew my favorite K cups.

That is all for this travelogue

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Hello from Centennial, CO

Hello from Centennial, CO

Drafted: Thursday – November 17, 2022  (First post of this travelogue)

Scheduled posting:  November 24, 2022.  Note, for some reason this travelogue did not get posted.  I am posting it on 3/15 but will change the date on the post software to make it appear that I posted it on time {grin}.

I am in Centennial, CO teaching two different two-day classes.  The first class is Bearings and Lubrication and it is a lecture only class.  The second class is Shaft Alignment.  That is a combination lecture and hands-on lab exercises.

When the class is held in Denver it is the best of all worlds in that I don’t have to fly to a destination, yet they approve a motel room (Staybridge Suites) and it is a very short drive to the office each day.

There were four students in the Bearings and Lubrication class.  The were all from the same company in Virginia (a ship building facility for the Navy) and they were all engineers.  It was both a fun and challenging class.  At least one of the students tried to second guess many of the discussions.  Still, they were great students and participated heavily.

That is all for this travelogue.

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Hello from Corning, IA

Hello from Corning, IA

Drafted:  Friday Morning  – October 7, 2021   (First post of this travelogue)

Posted 10/16 with significant updates since the original draft.

We are currently camped at Lake Icaria which is just north of Corning (Google Map)

{google_map}41.04577, -94.742819{/google_map}

We traveled here to attend a “Cousin’s Reunion”.  We attended a similar event last year.

We left Evergreen around noon Wednesday  (9/28) and traveled to a campground in Fort Morgan, CO.  We were scheduled to meet Pat’s brother, Jeff and his wife Julie.  However, Julie thought she might be called up for the Hurricane Ian evacuation, so they traveled further in order to get to Corning a day early.

From Fort Morgan, we traveled to Kearney, NE (Kearney RV Park & Campground) and stayed in the same campground that we did last year.  On Friday we arrived at the campground in Corning – a beautiful campground with winter rates of $20 per day!

The three legs of this trip (Evergreen/Fort Morgan/Kearney/Corning) were uneventful.  We held our speed to around 68 MPH which is a good comfortable speed.  Our mileage is not outstanding (about 10 MPG) but that goes with the trailer towing and significant wind events.

The reunion was great.  Over a several-day period, we got to see most of the cousins/relatives.

Update:  10/16/2022

On our second day out, our inverter started acting strange.  I did some work arounds, but in the end it died along with our 120V service.  We ended up having to string a cord through the window and plug it in to a power strip so that we would have some AC power (the DC hung in there as it does not go through the inverter).  We made it, but all the 120 V devices were dead (because of no 120V) towards the end of the trip.

Then, on 10/3 we took Pat to the Urgent Care unit of the hospital in Creston, IA for bladder discomfort.  The following night she had terrible pain in her side and I took her to the Corning, IA emergency room.  They admitted her and diagnosed her with a 7mm kidney stone.  The follow day they transported her via ambulance to Memorial Hospital in Omaha where she had surgery later that day.  I drove her back to the campground the next day and we stayed for a couple of additional days while she recovered.

We started home on Sunday (10/9) and arrived home Monday evening.  Pat has had some blood in her urine, but they think that might have been from traveling in the less than smooth riding truck on some horrible stretches on the interstate.

That is all for this trip

 

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