Friday, July 3, 2009

Doh, de doh, doh, doh, doh

Barney Rubble said it so eloquently, I had to use his line for my title today. We awoke in a nice enough campsite in Bearsmouth, Montana. (Yes, there is a place with that name!) After a breakfast of blueberry eggos with strawberry preserves, you would think a guy's brain would be in perfect working order, but not today.

As I did my walk-around in order to get ready to hit the road, I remember looking at the water connections and thinking "Hmmm, I don't think I need to add any more water to the tank. We are going up some major climbs today, and at 8 pounds per gallon, I don't think the RV needs any more weight to carry." I thought about unhooking the water and the power line, then determined that I should wait, in case Willa needs the electric to run her hair curler. Besides, there is a herd of mosquitos swarming around the PEWK (poop, electric, and water kabinet) and I am hoping that if I return to unhook in a little while, the mosquito herd will mosey on over to the neighbors and suck all their blood, instead of mine. So, I move on to stacking all the unburned firewood back into the Trail Limo. That turned out to be a pretty big deal, since I had to unload, and reload, the Jeep in order to get the wood and axe at the bottom of the load.

After reloading the wood into the Trail Limo, I take a short pause to reflect on how much better it is loaded than it was yesterday. Not every man can stack junk in the back of a vehicle and make it smaller. I am soooo goood! I move on to carefully coiling the dog line and putting it neatly back into the basement storage cabinet of the RV. Of course, it is even neater than it was yesterday, so I have to stop and admire, once again, my masterwork of loading.

I gaze around the area jist to make sure there is nothing laying about that I can stack neatly into the RV. Seeing nothing there, I jump up into the RV, and notify Willa that everything is ready to go on the outside. I spare her the pompousity of telling her what a wonderful job of stacking wood in the Jeep and coiling the cable, and then I verify everything is ready to go on the inside.

As I ease down into the driver's seat, I turn on the leveling jacks and raise them up, feeling the RV settling down onto the springs, ready to roll. Then, I start the RV and put it in gear, slowly pulling away from our site. After a few seconds I look back in the mirror, and see something laying in our site. It is quite large, and I really don't recognize it. Then, I happen to notice something else in mirror. It is my water filter system, water hose, and power cord, all being drug down the road behind the RV! "Craaaap! I forgot to unhook the water and power!!!"

I stop, throw the tranny into "Park" and run back to see that the large object I had first noticed is the power box for my site. It tipped over when I drove off with the power cord still connected. Apparently, the power cord is very stout, as it was able to tip over the power box, even though it was mounted to a pole and set in concrete. I ran back to look at the damage, and saw that the power box was miraculously still in one piece, albeit laying on the ground, and the wires that feed it were still connected at the base. I tried to prop it back up, but the ground is pulled up around the cement, and it won't go back down without some digging, so it will take some skilled labor (shovelling) and probably should be down with the power off before somebody gets too close to the feed wires. I leave the box leaning at about a 45 degree angle and go back to assess the damage to the RV.

The water hose was still in excellent shape. I had a pressure regulator between the faucet and the hose, and apparently the manufacture of the regulator had know I would be using my water line to try and uproot the faucet, so they made the regulater very weak. That was excellent design, as it protected both the hose and the faucet very well.

As for the power line, whoever designed it did not, apparently, consult with the designer of the water pressure regulator. The power line was strong enough to uproot the cemented-in power pole before it then ripped off the connector, which was still plugged into the box. I didn't want to go back and try and retrieve the connector, as it was a molded plug, and would not be worth anything. Beyond that, I wasn't so sure the box may have power shorted out, and I thought this repair would probably be better done by the park operator.

I looked around the park, and it seems that the only fortunate think about this whole morning calamity was that everyone must have either still been in bed, or already gone fishing. There were no people to be seen. I did search down the owner of the park, and told him what a bonehead I was. He wasn't really that happy to get the news, but he did thank me for letting him know. I guess he was really happy that I gave him a nice repair job to do on the day before the 4th of July hoards of tourists attack his pet herd of mosquitos.

Note: I really don't suggest that any of you who happen to be camping use this technique for doing a speedy disconnect from the hookups. I plan on going back to the more conventional method, myself!

Tonight, I put on a new power connector and cleaned up the rest of the water and cabling. When I leave Ray and Colleens, I think I'll check 3 or 4 times to make sure nothing is left undone. Back to the checklist!

Doh, de doh, doh, doh, doh
I'm and idiot, and I blunder my way through life,
I keep laughing, 'cause I know
Crying doesn't help me get though this strife
But I'm sure glad that as I go
I've got a very understanding wife!
Doh, de doh, doh, doh, doh

Gil Doh

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Catsup, Ketchup,,, no,,, Catch Up

As the title of this post implies, I have some "catch up" to do on this blog. It has been over a month since my last post, and in that month we have had many adventurettes.

We've travelled from Utah to Iowa to Michigan to Virginia, and then come back as far as Montana. Overall, we've spent most of the time "camped" in my son, Bruce's, driveway in Lovettsville, Virginia. While we were there, we spent a lot of time chillin' (which at our advanced years amounts to sitting on the couch enjoying the air conditioning and gazing stupidly into the television.)

Every once in a while, we did pry ourselves off of Bruce and Donna's couch to do some out 'n back (outback?) trips. With my AADD onset (which actually started when I became an adult, which cured the ADD I had as a kid) I will do a series of posts covering some of the highlights and lowlights of our journey over the last month.

I will attempt to post with the correct dates, now that I have finally advanced to the state of figuring out I have the option to change post dates. So, supposedly, once I've backdated everything this post will be at the end, instead of the beginning. By doing this, I hope to confuse the hell out of any unsuspecting readers I may have gathered, and therefore will have brought you all to my state of unconciousness.

While I have you here and reading, before you tear up the blog url and burn it so you never again have to be subjected to my rancid ranting, I may as well give you my July 2nd Update:

Yestereday was a big travel day. We awoke in the forested setting of the Covered Wagon RV Park in Piedmont, South Dakota and I washed all the bugs off the front of the coach in prep for applying a new batch. Then, we hooked up the Trail Limo and headed west. With exhaust spewing from our cracked manifold, sounding like an old beater truck on its last legs, we coughed and choked our way down to the I-90 onramp and headed towards Wyoming.

With all the rain they have this spring, the area around Rapid City is still lush and green, even though it is July now, and usually the wild grasses would be brown. It makes everything look lush and inviting. I thought, "Wow, what a nice place to be in July!" Probably more than most years.

The euphoria of the green hills with piney tops and the deep blue sky continued throughout the day as we flew down the hills and crawled up them. The crawling wasn't too bad this time, as we didn't hit any hills above the Interstate limits of 6%, and even those were relatively short.

Our green euphoria continued for over 300 miles, until we pulled into the west side of Billings, Montana. Suddenly, verdant and pastoral hills were replaced by smokestacks and railroad tracks. The areas between these were filled with blight, and the smell of oil refineries.

One sniff of the oil refineries, and we knew, "This must be the place!" (ref. North SLC, UT, Brigham Young, etc.) We stopped and camped in the Laurel, Montana Walmart parking lot amidst refineries, railroad tracks, and the I-90 freeway to complete the ambiance.

After Willa completed her obligatory Walmart shopping trip, she came back with arms loaded, and knocked on the door of the RV to have me open it and help her up the steps with her bounty. During the process, Monty did his Houdini impression and slipped out the door, then took off running across the busy Walmart lot. He decided it was time to get to know the neighbors. He beelined to a guy who was standing outside a motorhome parked a little ways across the lot from us.

As I recaptured Monty from the fellow, we started talking about what brought us to this place, and it turned out we had similar travels for the last week. Gus and his wife, Heather, left Pennsylvania just a few days before we left Lovettsville, and we both ended up taking the norther route across the midwest, ending up in this less-than-idealic camping spot in the Laurel Walmart. After enjoying our travels, we exchanged contact info and wished each other happy trails.

This morning, I woke up and read the blog for Gus and Heather's travels at and it motivated me to start with the catsup, ketchup, err... catch up you now have endured. To see what we have done in the last month... stay tuned!