Saturday, April 7, 2007

Where We Are AFTER Salmon Mar 07

Well me made Salmon, Id from Raymondville, TX in 3 1/2 days. We did stop at Comfort, Tx to see Lloyd & Judy Berryman. We got there about 3PM and spent the night. The next morning abou t 8:30 we left and headed for Matador, TX. To see Gordy and Linda Ruhl. Linda was not at home but Gordy was a congenial host, as always. We left there the next morn about 7 AM. We were making pretty good time but the truck wasn't shifting right and I thought "OH BOY". We made it as far as a convenience store that was closed for the night and pulled in there to sleep as it was after 11 PM. We left bright and early the next morning and I felt better about the transmission. In the middle of the night I realized I didn’t change the shift points when I super tuned it back in Raymondville, TX. At one of our scheduled stops I retuned it. The tuning is all done with the computer and only takes a few minutes. I tuned it back to stock and then I retuned it for pulling heavy trailers. Even Sally could tell the difference and she said I even smiled a couple of times. That change picked us up about ½ MPG. When you’re only getting about 8 MPG a ½ mile more is quite a jump percentage wise.
The weather was beautiful all of the way and we even had a tail wind now & then. There was a shopping center just South of Salt Lake and Sally wanted some groceries and I wanted a nap. It took her about an hour and I really enjoyed my nap. Near Salt Lake City only 2.68 per gal, we got fuel and a local cop came by and I told him I wanted to report a unarmed robbery. I told him some Arab fleeced us out of some money at the fuel pumps. He just smiled and said he’d make a report on it.
About 10:30 PM we were in Salmon all backed in an had electricity. Very tired.
I was enthralled with the Salmon Area. I spent the first day getting all hooked up and set up. The next day he told me find out where the water turns and lets get going. I took me about 3 hours to figure out that an electric valve turned the main water line on. Boy did the water run but, I still couldn’t get any to the restrooms & showers. So I opened up an inspection hole under the floor in the building and got my second shower of the day. Nobody had drained the system (good enough anyway) and there were leaks all over. I spent the next 1 ½ days repairing water leaks and finding more all of the time. There were copper pipes, pvc pipes and galvanized pipes all leaking. I hadn’t sweat any fittings (soldered) for many a year but it all came back to as I laid on the wet ground under the bldg.
Wednesday evening we had a talk and he said because Sally wasn’t talking to his wife and I wasn’t progressing like he thought I should with the water leaks, we were all done. I said when do you want me out of here he said tomorrow and I said ok, as soon as I get slide-out on the trailer and Sally went to town and did the laundry. By noon we were pulling out and he came out to say good-by and gave me $200.00 for some fuel. I told him it was greatly appreciated and we left.
We headed South back toward Idaho Falls. I said maybe we can contact some of the people from our Tex Creek WMA days. We struck out on every phone number. I even tried the RV Resort out by Ririe and said we’ll got to the Ririe Dam to that campground. Well they’re still closed for the winter. So on we went Easterly bound and into Swan Valley, ID and believe it or not there was a sign and room for 7 trailers in a mans yard and he says $15.00 and that includes WIFI (wireless internet).
Sunday March 18,2007
We ended spending 2 nights there and left early Sunday morning before the wind picked up & etc. I said (I talk to much) lets go out towards Driggs, Id and towards Jackson (Hole) WY. It is shorter that way and we can cut through Yellowstone Pk. and go to Cody, WY to see Neil Thagard. He was our moose hunting archer while at Tex Creek. He works for FNAWS (Foundation for North American Wild Sheep) in Cody, WY.
As we head out of Driggs up into the mountains and looking at all of the snow above the 6500 foot level.


BUT, I forgot about Togotowe and Teton Passes. The roads were great except for some frost heaves (more about them later). All together the passes are over 10 miles long with a lot of 10% grades. Going down one of them I told Sally I’ve got to get this outfit stopped and let things cool off. We finally got it stopped on some little up grade with a parking area and the pickup brakes (front) were smoking. Trailer brakes were relatively cool to the touch which told me they weren’t doing much work. Another thing I found out was the transmission (auto) over heats in low gear going up or down hill. As long as I left the transmission in drive the temperature stayed where it was supposed to, never going over 160degrees. Which I proceeded to do as much as possible. I did get some pictures of the signage and some of scenery along the way. It makes Sally awful nervous when I’m driving and trying to take pictures at the same time. At the top of the mountains were many skiers and snwmobilers doing their thing.

The air temp was in the 60’s. The skiers were climbing up towards the summit and then skiing down. They might make 2 or 3 runs in a long day. With 100’s of thousands of acres the snowmobiles were having a great time. Some of the resorts even have port-a-potties on runners for their guests.
Jackson, WY. is very pretty and a great tourist trap. Hundreds of people were walking the streets looking for a place to spend their money. We drove through town and stopped at the information center and found out they were selling (sleigh) ride tickets to see the elk. The sleigh were actually wagons that hold 25 to 30 people pulled by horses and in turn could go out amongst the wintering elk. There were thousands of elk in the one 800 to 1000 acre pasture. All of them wild and eating the natural feed there. They do not feed them anything anymore because they’re afraid of Brucellosis. While I was in the nice clean dry parking lot I adjusted the trailer brakes. Not a hard job and as long as it was warm and dry it was not bad at all.
When I went inside the info center I asked about road conditions and that is when they told us the road to Cody was closed and wouldn’t be opened till mid April. I said Holy Cow! How can I get to Cody, driving.
Well the young lady said go back to Idaho Falls and go north and go in at West Yellowstone then North into Montana and then drop back South to Cody. I told her that was half way back to Salmon, ID and that there had to be a different way, maybe? She showed us how so we went north about 20 miles and then south and east towards Riverton, WY. Which had no open RV parks and then north to Thermopolis, WY. They have a state park with hot springs and everything. I kept telling Sally look in the mirror and see how close the trailer is to the pickup bed. There was only about an inch of clearance instead the 4 to 5 inches it usually had. We found a little (5 space park) and I proceeded to check out some things. I took some pictures and they’ll be online, I hope.
The pin box (that holds the pin that goes into the Fifthwheel) was bent at a upward and out angle. So that when looking at it was going uphill. With Sally’s help I got it unhooked and started removing the sheet metal under the nose of the trailer and I said WOW!!!!. Things were bent and there were some broken welds. I asked the proprietor of the park about a welder and he told me about D and D Machine. We went down there this morning and they straightened out the pin almost as good as new and then he repaired and reinforced the structural integrity. What a great man in 4 hours we have something that is stronger and better than it was when new. $217.00 was a fair price and we’re thankful we weren’t in a big town where it would have 2 or 3 times the price. We figured the damage had happened over a period of time. The frost heaves were the last straw and we have discovered ehrn Idaho says frost heaves they mean frost slow down, a lot. It took me 4 hours to replace the sheet metal and insulation that I’d taken off the night before. But I got it done and it all appears to be A-OK. We’re back in the little park that we were in last night.
The weather has been in the70’s and dry. Of course the wind is blowing as it always does out here. Tomorrow our adventure begins anew.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
We ambled out of Thermopolis about 9AM and headed up towards Cody, WY. A short 130 mile trip with lots of scenery and quite a few antelope to see. Arriving in Cody we’re amazed at the changes in the last 3 years.. It is still one of the neatest towns in the west in our opinion. Typically western with nice wide main streets and lot of businesses not only on main street but the other streets as well. None of the campgrounds are open but one and he is busy. He stayed open all winter and it is full of construction and pipeline workers and etc. No TV and poor cell phone reception but we got electric, water and also sewage hook up.
We drove around town ad the best phone reception is the new Wal-Mart Super Center parking lot. Our inter net connection is in footnote Econo Lodge Motel. Neil Thegard got back into town about 1PM and he proceeded to take us out to lunch at the Irma Hotel. Buffalo Bill named his bar after his daughter, Irma. A beautifully built and turn of the century back bar that is bigger than any I’ve ever seen (I‘m not an expert on them). A great lunch and his friend Melissa showed up for lunch on her break as a hairdresser near by.

Then we went to Neil’s new home up on one of the hills. A really nice comfortable home with a cathedral ceiling where many of his archery wild game mounts are tastefully displayed. Even his basement and office is well suited to this man. It was a enjoyable 3 hours that we had with him as we tried to make up the 3 years since we’d seen each other.

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