Hello from Monticello, IN

Hello from Monticello, IN

Wednesday April 29, 2009 (Second travelogue of this trip)

As is often the case, we are staying in a Wal Mart parking lot (map).

Our first post of this travelogue was written from our shop when we were snowed in and staying in the bus. We had planned to leave on Sunday (4/19). Obviously that did not happen. We finally got away about 2:00 PM on Tuesday. As we left the house, we noticed that the tow bar was not locking in the extended position on the passenger side. Every time we slowed down, the truck would shift to the driver side about 8 inches and kind of jerk around. Once we got into traffic, it got quite interesting. When I slowed down I would look in the mirror and watch folks try to dodge what they thought was an unhitched big truck coming at them {grin}. It was really not all that funny, but what else can you do to make the best of a bad situation?

We had planned on stopping to get the bus emission test done (mandated and always a frustrating and expensive experience). While I waited for them to do the testing I contacted the tow bar manufacturer and they told me how to disassemble the arm. Problem was, the parts were corroded in a way that they were “welded” together. The folks at the truck service location that did the exhaust testing used some BIG tools to get the parts separated. I worked on the parts a bit, and gave up since we needed to get down the road.

We drove to Ft. Morgan, CO which is only about 100 miles from Denver. It was getting late, and I was tired and frustrated and needed to work on the hitch. We parked in a Wal Mart lot. The next morning I cut some steel bar that I had with me and jammed the bar on the arm so that it was forced into the extended position, holding it with radiator clamps. It worked like a champ for the rest of the trip to Iowa.

Our next stop was York, NE. We again stayed at a Wal Mart. On Thursday we drove the rest of the way to Prescott, IA where we stayed with our relatives. This is always an enjoyable stay. The first day it got into the 80s. After that, it turned cold and rainy. Indeed, it rained over 2.5 inches in three days. There was some minor flooding and the farm sustained some damage to the terraces.

During our stay, I completely disassembled the tow bar and cleaned all the parts. There was a lot of rust scale in the tube portion of the arms and that probably caused the problem. It now works great.

We visited with a bunch of folks and generally had a great time. As always seems to be the case, we really fell off the diet wagon. Food in IA is always great, and Jeanie (our host) is a great cook. I even got the run the tractor for a couple of hours. That machine is sure a lot more sophisticated than my old International this I use to plow and mow.

On Tuesday (4/28) we left about 1:00 PM and started heading towards Goshen, IN where we have a couple of trade shows. Our route was planned so that we avoided the Interstate system in the Chicago area. Our route took us on US 34 and then US 24. Lots of folks enjoy traveling on two lane highways. This leg of the trip (SE IA to Goshen) is a bit over 550 miles and we allowed three days for the travel. Thus we were not pressed for time and really enjoyed the rolling farm land and great small towns that you travel through. We would like to travel in this mode more often. We just have to plan our travels accordingly.

Last night we stayed in Mt. Pleasant Iowa at a Wal Mart (detect a theme?). We are only a bit over 100 miles from Goshen. Tomorrow we will get the bus parked in the fairgrounds and be ready to set up on Friday.

That is all for now.

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