Hello from Howard, CO

Hello from Howard, CO

Drafted:  Monday Afternoon July 18, 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

Posted: July 28.  I am way behind on my travelogues.  I have lots of excuses but that is all they are.  One travelogue that is pending is our trip to Crested Butte for our grandson’s wedding.  I am hoping to get a good picture of the ceremony for the travelogue.  Hopefully, the picture is forthcoming.

We are camped at the Pleasant Valley RV Park (Google Map).

We stayed here a few days in early June (travelogue link).  As I noted in that blog our site was right on the Arkansas River.  We said that we would come back in the future.  Well, it turns out that there was a big IHC rally in Salida (link to website).  I have attended these rallies in the past and always enjoy seeing what we call the “old Binders” (mostly Scouts out of the 60s and 70s plus a few old trucks).  I am including a few photos.

This photo shows a few of the Scouts on display

This is a long-time friends Traveler with an original diesel engine.

The Traveler is an extended version of the normal IHC Scout.

We drove the truck and trailer down on Friday and we will leave tomorrow.  This campground is so relaxing with the sounds of the rushing water and beautiful views (the grass is very green right now).

Across from the campground there is a rather large house and acreage that has several hundred feet of river front.  One day we watch the owner fly fishing.  In the morning I did not see him catch anything, but in the afternoon Pat and I watched him catch several nice sized fish.  He was quick to release them.  I have watched several other folks fishing in that area, but I have not seen anyone have any luck.

On Sunday Jeff and Julie (Jeff is Pat’s brother) drove down from their home in Guffey.  The is not all that far as the crow flies, but the roads are far from direct to the campground.  The main purpose was just a fun visit/lunch.  However, they were also scoping out the campground for a visit later this year.

That is all for this travelogue.

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Hello from Westcliffe, CO

Hello from Westcliffe, CO

Started:  Sunday morning – June 12, 2022 (Second post of this travelogue)

Posted: 6/18/2022

We are camped at the Grape Creek RV Park (Google Map).

We made the short trip from Howard to Westcliffe on Thursday (6/9).  This area is known as the Wet Mountain Valley.  The floor to the valley is very green and picturesque.  Out campsite looks off to the west and includes the beautiful valley and the amazing Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

Friday, we made a relatively short tour of the area including the town of Rosita.  Rosita was a mining town founded around 1874.  It became the county seat for Custer County.  There was not much left of the original town.  It is mostly newer homes.  We were able to view several of the mine tailings dumps as we headed north out of town on county road 329.  The mining was mostly copper and silver.

As the population of Rosita declined (mining petered out). Silver Cliff became the county seat and later Westcliffe became (and remains) the county seat.

Our campground is in a large aspen grove which is quite pretty.  Unfortunately, the sites are close together and the aspen do not furnish much shade.  We parked the trailer so that the slides would not hit the aspens, but the awning could not be extended – hit the tree.  This is a pretty area to visit, but we don’t think we will return in the near future.

I have added two photos.  One shows the view of the valley and mountains and the second shows our trailer in the campground.



That is all for this travelogue

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Hello from Howard, CO

Hello from Howard, CO

Wednesday evening– June 8, 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

This is our third trip out in our new trailer.  We are camped at the Pleasant Valley RV Park (Google Map).

We left home on Friday (6/3) and drove to Pat’s brother’s house near Guffey, CO.  Jeff and Julie are great hosts and they have 60 acres of beautiful land.  We went into the town of Guffey two nights for great dinners at what they call “The Bakery”.  One night was pizza and the second night was with some of their friends (Zach and Jen) where we had a great three course meal with the main course being a special beef plate.

Besides wanting to spend some time with the Spring’s, we wanted to try dry camping with our new trailer.  That turned out to be a bit frustrating.

We had three problems testing our dry camping capabilities.  First of all, the afternoons were very cloudy so we did not get a lot of solar.  Secondly, we gave up on pure dry camping and plugged into the Spring’s 120V outlet.  After an hour or two the GFI outlet (not the breaker) would trip. This often happens with campers equipped with inverters – somehow the inverter makes the circuit look like the system is going to ground.  Lastly, we tried our 2000W Honda generator and it went bonkers after a few minutes, acting like it was overloaded. I did not have the proper test equipment, but the inverter data panel would suggest it was not overloaded.  I had tried the Honda with an 1800W resistance heater at home and it did fine.  I will have to troubleshoot it at home where I have the proper testing equipment.  We finally ended up using the Spring’s Generator (Firman 3000 watt (link)).  This handled the charging load just fine.  However, we ran two CAPs and one concentrator (plus some small loads) off the batteries during the night and that let us know that we need to add battery capacity.

We left the Spring’s on Monday and came to this campground.  It is a very beautiful campground.  We paid extra for a river front site and it was well worth it (see photos).  For reference, we are in site 8 but sites 8-10 would work well for us in the future.

We had thought about going into Salida for a day, but it is so relaxing here that we just stayed in the campground.  We tried to see if they would let us stay in the site for another couple of days, but they are booked up.

View from our Patio

View across the Arkansas River (our campsite is in the middle of the photo)

That is all for this post.

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Hugo, Colorado – Epilogue

Hugo, Colorado – Epilogue

After I wrote what I thought was the last post for this travelogue, there were some changes.  The weather prediction for the Denver/Evergreen area for Tuesday (5/24) included snow.  We decided to stay one more day.

We had been observing what appeared to be a railroad roundhouse out our west facing window.  I did a little research and found that it is in the process of being restored (link).  It was built in 1909 and restoration began in 2003.  We decided to drive the truck and trailer over to the site as we departed on Wednesday.

We wandered around the roundhouse site (which is fenced off) and took some pictures.  As we were leaving, a man in a truck hailed us down and asked if we wanted to go inside the structure.  Obviously, we were thrilled to be able to get a closer look.  As you will see from the three pictures, the exterior is fully restored.  The interior is bare and will be the next effort of the restoration project.

That is all for the travelogue/epilogue.


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Hello from Hugo, Colorado

Hello from Hugo, Colorado

Monday evening – May 23, 2022 (Second post of this travelogue)

So why are we staying in Hugo, Colorado?  Well, no real good reason other than it is about halfway home and we wanted to stay out a couple more days.  That turned out to be a good idea since there is still a bit of snow at the house.  We are staying two nights at the Hitching Post RV Park.  That sort of sounds impressive, until you realize that there are only 5 camp spots and the “park” is right on US 287 (lots of traffic and train noise).  However, it is cheap {grin} and it has full hookups.  It also has great truck watching as they travel on 287.  The campground is located (here).  I have included a photo of the impressive campground {fun grin}.

The weather here is still not all that great.  It is in the 50s and often pretty windy.  For us that does not matter as we planned to spend our time inside doing a bunch of catching up on our projects.

At both John Martin and here, we have had decent internet connection via AT&T.  Verizon was not any good at John Martin and we have not tried it here.  At John Martin the bandwidth was good enough to support a “Teams” meeting that Brandon needed to participate in and we still had a bit left over for poking around the internet.

We head home tomorrow (not the best weather forecast) and then head off to another camping trip on Thursday.  Stay tuned.

That is all for this travelogue.

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Hello from John  Martin Reservoir State Park

Hello from John  Martin Reservoir State Park

Sunday – May 22 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

This is our second trip out in our new trailer.  We are camped at the base of the dam at the reservoir (here).

We left Evergreen on Thursday (5/19) and will be leaving today.  We are camped with our daughter Lisa and part of her family.  Dan and Brandon are here but Josh and Amanda had to work.

When we first got here it was 99 degrees, but then the cold front moved in.  It has been chilly and rainy since then.  However, that is better than at home where we got about a foot of snow!

The weather has not been much of an issue.  Dan was able to go fishing two days (he caught about 30 crappies).  We got to spend a lot of fun time with all of them during these couple of days.  Lots of good food and some game playing (not me {grin}).

Before we started this trip, I set the engine to a higher HP level (via a programming box).  It sure made a difference, but it also revealed that I will probably have to upgrade my clutch.  That will not be a fun job.  It is not a problem for now, but it will have to be done in the near future.

That is all for this post.


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Hello  from Chatfield State Park Campground

Hello  from Chatfield State Park Campground

Thursday – April 21 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

We are making a camping check-out trip of our new 2022 Crossroads Sunset camping trailer model SS285CK (information here).  We arrived Monday and will leave tomorrow.  We are camped (here).

We purchased this trailer on January 14th at the Colorado RV Travel Show.  We went to the show to look at couches for our 2014 Passport trailer.  Well, not only did we buy a couch, but we bought the trailer that went with it {grin}.  Our older trailer suited our needs fairly well, but it had two shortcomings.  First the fresh water/gray/black tanks were pretty small.  But more importantly, the seating in the trailer was not at all comfortable (hence the search for a new couch).

Picking up the trailer was another story.  The day we bought the trailer it started to snow and it snowed a bunch for the next week or two.  We traded in the Passport trailer and had to get it down to the dealer and pick up our new trailer.  We had to delay the transaction several times because of the snow and I ended up spending a few hours plowing a path out of the backyard to get the trailers in and out.  We were finally able to pick up the trailer on January 31st.  Only recently did the snow melt and allow us to get the new trailer out.

This trailer turned out to be a bit of a splurge.  It has two slide outs, a wine cooler, and an outside mini kitchen.  We had a solar panel and inverter installed so that we could do some dry camping.

The trailer systems have functioned well and we have not encountered any significant issues with the trailer.  We have to “adjust” our storage areas, but we will do that in the future.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said about our Winegard TV satellite dome and Dish Network receiver.  The combination worked well in the old trailer, but this installation has given me fits.  I have spent over 6 hours on the phone with both Dish and Winegard.  I have also spent several hours trying to troubleshoot the systems on my own.  As is often the case, Dish said it was a Winegard problem and Winegard said it was a Dish problem.  Somehow today with a lot of button pushing and menu manipulations (both Winegard and Dish) it seems to be working OK.  Of course, I thought that earlier this week.  The DVR may still have a problem.

It may seem strange to go to the “boondocks” to relax and then have TV to watch.  While we only watch a few series and some news shows, we still enjoy that part of watching TV.

We have several trips planned for our truck and trailer over the next few months – stay tuned.

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Hello from Scottsburg, Indiana

Hello from Scottsburg, Indiana

Thursday morning  – March 3, 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

I am in Scottsburg to teach a three day Mechanical Drives Class for NTT.  I have been staying at a Holiday Inn Express property just off I-65 and just across the highway for the class location (Google Map).

When I accepted this assignment a couple of months ago, Pat and I got excited about driving here.  Well those plans turned to mush when the weather got very marginal.  So at the last minute I booked a flight and came on my own.  The decision not to travel by car was probably a good one, but right now the weather is great both here and at home.

This was a very unusual class.  It was arranged through a continuing education arm of Purdue.  The facility that the class was held at is community vocational training center.  The actual customer was Morgan Foods who are vendors of canned soups to WalMart (and others).  They are a family owned business that been in existence since 1899.    The unusual part of the class was the fact that all of the students were production workers and had almost no experience with maintenance processes.

The class started off well and the students were anxious to learn about all of the mechanical components we cover (bearings, belts, chain, couplings, gears, etc).  The first two days of the class were lecture with the third day devoted to doing all the hands-on labs.  The “lecture” part of the class went well.  The students asked great questions and seemed anxious to learn.  The labs were going reasonably well until an HR person came to the class.  He told the class that they would all be given a trial maintenance position within six months.  I thought that was a great gesture by the company.  However I talked to the group after the HR person left and they were all very negative.  There were lots of dynamics going on within the company and somehow what should have been a positive offer was construed to be a slap in the face.

The end result is that the student’s attitude towards the labs became a real issue.  They were not at all interested in the processes and treated the equipment rather badly.  I had to bounce around to each station and make quick repairs to offset the damage they did.  Nothing major, but all I could hear was almost continuous hammer blows to the equipment.

Fortunately they were respectful to me and were very good about helping me load the equipment into the two huge shipping crates.

This is the last NTT assignment I have on the calendar for several months.  I blocked out the middle of the year so that Pat and I could do some travelling and I could devote some time to my projects.  I am very happy to take a break from teaching.  I have been tempted to pull the plug entirely, but I enjoy the work and the money helps fund my play toys.  I guess I will hang in there for a while longer, but I will definitely cut back on accepting offers.

That is all for this trip.

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Hello from Vancouver, WA

Hello from Vancouver, WA

Sunday Evening  – February 13, 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

Pat and I are in the Portland, OR area so that I can do some classes for Boeing.  Our hotel (Candlewood Suites) is across the Columbia River in Vancouver, WA (Google Map).  The Boeing plant is just off I-84 east of Portland.  It is about a 20 minute drive from the hotel to the plant.  We chose this IHG property since it is a suite and has some amenities that allow us to fix some of our meals in the room (including a full-size refrigerator).

This trip changed rather suddenly.  I was scheduled to teach two classes this week, but the instructor who was scheduled to teach the same classes last week had a health issue.  Originally I was going to fly out today for the three days of classes and then fly home Thursday.  NTT was in a bind and “sweetened” the pot and that together with being here a bit over a week and a half justified flying Pat with me.

The classes I am teaching (both weeks) consist of one day bearing and two day lubrication.  Both of these are Boeing classes that NTT contracts to teach.  The bearing class is kind of a hodge podge and I end up teaching from three PowerPoint presentations.  That combination really covers some detailed territory.  The lubrication presentation is very detailed but one PowerPoint covers the material very well.  It is interesting that we cover the same subjects in some of our NTT classes, but for significantly shorter periods.  For bearings I spend perhaps 4 hours of class time and lubrication perhaps 3 hours.  When I first saw the schedule for the Boeing versions, I wondered what in the heck I was going to do with all the extra time.  However the material has expanded to fit the schedule and it works out well.

The classes start at 6:00 AM, so I set the alarm for 3:45 to do a bit of computer work and make the trip to the plant (about 30 minutes).  When I return mid afternoon, I am ready for a nap!!

As is often the case, we stop at Trader Joe’s and stock up on food that we can prepare in the room.  I get salads for lunch at the plant.  We have several meals of crackers and cheese.  We also eat out once in a while.

We flew here on Sunday February 6th.  Our flight took us just to the north of Mt Hood which is a magnificent snow covered mountain very close to the Portland area.

Thursday we just cooled our jets and I attempted to “recover” for the intense 3 days of class.  Friday we took a drive down the Columbia River Gorge on I-84.  We have driven that route many times over the years and still enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Friday was kind of a special tour.  As many times as we have been to Portland, we just never realized how close Mt Hood was to the city and the Columbia Gorge.  I did a bit of mapping and it turned out that it would be an ideal one day tour.  The map below shows or approximate route.  Portland is just off the left of the map.  As you can see it was a circle drive around the east side of the mountain.  I have also included two photos.  The first is one that Pat took through the windshield as we drove towards the mountain and the second is a photo I copied off the internet.  It shows a bit more detail of how rugged the mountain is.

Our Tour Route around Mt Hood

Photo of Mt Hood taken from car

Internet Photo of Mt Hood showing detail

Lifting a bit of text from Wikipedia:  Mount Hood is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc.  It is located about 50 miles east-southeast of Portland, on the border between Clackamas and Hood River counties. In addition to being Oregon’s highest mountain, it is one of the loftiest mountains in the nation based on its prominence, and it offers the only year-round lift-served skiing in North America.  It has an elevation of 11,249, but when viewed from Portland at sea level, the height is amazing.

That is all for this post.

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Hello  from Centennial, CO (Belated)

Hello  from Centennial, CO (Belated)

Thursday – January 21, 2022 (First post of this travelogue)

Actually I am cheating a bit here.  It is Sunday February 13, 2022. However, I like to bookmark every “trip” for our blog/travelogue.  So here goes {grin}:

I attended what was called a beta test of a new class that NTT is working on.  My role was to offer comments and suggestions on the class.  The class is a new version of our Vibration Analysis class.  I was involved in the old version as a co-instructor.  I have been out of the loop for a couple of years and both the old and new versions have improved significantly.  I would guess that the new version will undergo further changes before it goes “live”.

Currently the class is written to be a two day class.  It appears that it will need to be expanded to a three day class to address all the suggestions from the “peanut gallery”.

It was a ton of fun to be with several of the mechanical group instructors and participate in the process.

That is all for this travelogue.

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