Thursday, June 30, 2011

Flagstaff, Arizona


We’ve made good our escape from California.  Maybe now I can get that Guy Clark tune, “If I can just get off of that L.A. Freeway without getting killed or caught.” out of my head.


6 year-old Conner learned a lot on his trip to Great Britain.  He learned to stay out of the nettles.  Three times!


Brother David commented recently on the evolution of travel across our country.  It used to take six months to travel from the east to the west by wagon train.  Then the railroad changed all that to six days.  Then airplanes changed it to six hours.  We’ve improved on that six hours a little bit in the fifty-plus years since, but that’s all.  No more paradigm shifts.


Now we’ve been building this incredible grid of power lines across our country for the last hundred years.  They’re particularly visible criss-crossing the desert.  Giant power stations spewing out electricity to distant destinations.  It’s time for a paradigm shift in power generation and transmission as well, isn’t it?


A beautiful drive across the desert to Flagstaff.  Eroded volcanic terrain with grass, cactus, and bushes grown into it, giving way to pinion juniper forest, then full fledged Ponderosa Pines, still with volcanic peaks in the background.


Tomorrow, Cortez, Colorado.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A successful day

We’ve left Palmdale behind. Palmdale was good to us; a nice respite. Stuffed everything back into the Silver Bullet

and drove south, over Cajon Pass, down Interstate 15, 215, and Interstate 15 again, back to Escondido by noon. We got all our stuff transferred over to the Jeep, turned in the rental car, and were ready to check the Jeep out of the repair shop, where we ran into the warranty company rules. They don’t authorize payment until the final paperwork, including the rental car, is submitted, so the repair shop could not actually check us out until they faxed the paperwork and got a response. I asked about the turnaround time for approval. The warranty company had advised that they’d try to get it done within 2 hours.

Two hours? We were buried deep within Southern California traffic and now it was 1pm. We wanted to be long-gone before rush-hour started and turned our 3 hour trip to Barstow into a 6 hour trip. We gave them 15 minutes. Time to create a solution. We paid our share of the repair on our credit card. We paid the warranty company’s share on our credit card as well. The repair shop is paid. We’re good to go. When the warranty company payment comes through to the repair shop, they’ll credit our card back. No harm, no foul, we’re gone.

We retraced our morning route on Interstate 15, 215, and 15, to the north this time, continued past the Highway 138 turn to Palmdale, and stopped in Barstow for the night. We’re on our way back to Colorado. Tomorrow night, Flagstaff, Arizona.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

FW: Thoughts

Our daughter's trip to Great Britain is winding down:

-----Original Message-----
From: Becky Alexander []
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 4:50 AM
To:; Joyce; Steve Taylor
Subject: Thoughts

We're hanging out in the hotel for a few hours. The rental car place will
pick us up around 12:30, and we'll start our explorations then.

Things we will not miss about England:

Toilets that don't flush. Everywhere we've gone, we have found that the
toilets take three or four tries to flush. Once they do, they go with a bang
and several gallons of water.

No sheets. At all four places we've stayed, there are sheets on the bottom
of the bed, and a comforter in a cover that is easily removed to be washed.
It's perfectly comfortable and sanitary, but I sleep hot, often with only a
sheet as a cover, and don't have that option here.

No washcloths. All four places we've stayed have had towels but no
washcloths. Hard to wash my face.

Wifi is not as easy to find here, and you must often pay for it. The free
wifi in most places is restricted to people with British Telecom accounts.

Things we will miss:

Stone walls and hedgerows dividing fields. SO much prettier than barbed wire
fences. And sheep dotting so many of the fields. Very picturesque.

Scottish highland cattle. Fuzzy cows. They are very reddish, with very long
hair. We only saw them in northern Scotland, but they were really cool
looking. They also had extra-shaggy sheep

Kettles in all of our accomodations. There is always an electric kettle,
tea, coffee, sugar & cream provided. I've gone through a lot of tea here!
However, I haven't seen iced tea on a menu the entire trip!

Green. It's so green and lush here. Especially in Scotland, which had fields
of a color I didn't know occurred in nature! Add to this fields of
wildflowers, and lots of gorgeous flowers along the roads and rail lines.

Public transit that works. The tube system was a wonderfully efficient way
to get around London. Once you figure out how it works, you can get within a
few blocks of anywhere. I also like the attitude that walking several blocks
is a perfectly acceptable way to get around. Between the willingness to walk
and the public transport, there are way fewer cars than at home. For
instance, we are in a hotel right on the "ring road" around Oxford. We are
sitting here with the windows open and very little traffic noise. In both
Yorkshire and Perth, we could hear no traffic noise at all from our

The people. I've heard the people here are "quiet and reserved". Not so. I
can't tell you how many people have struck up conversations with us on the
train, in a store, etc. I don't know if it's because we're foreigners or
what, but people LOVE to chat about our holiday, and tell us which of their
family members have been to which state. Also, people go out of their way
to help. There was the guy (not a tube worker) who went out of his way in
the Baker Street tube station on our first day in London who led us around
to a men's room and then to our connecting tube line when he noticed us
looking lost. The woman who overheard us talking to the kids about finding a
bus to Alnwick Castle, and came over to explain that the busses only ran
once an hour and one had just left, but the taxis are right there and cost
the same as the bus fare. Then the taxi driver there who knew the train
schedule and came back to the castle to fetch us in time to catch our train.
The girl in the car rental office in Perth who told us about the strange
things she has seen in Loch Ness.

The architecture. Almost all buildings are stone or brick. Even newer ones
are built to last. Many of the old buildings have lots of character.
Surprisingly, even the new buildings in London have a lot of character.
There are almost no square brick prison-looking buildings.

Overall it's been a great trip and the kids have travelled well. Teigan and
Conner, being less adventurous eaters, will be happy to get back to their
normal diets. Brian and Taylor have had the stomach flu for the last week,
and have gone through a lot of immodium. I think Brian and I would love to
keep exploring here, but are ready to get the kids back home.

There is hope!

The Jeep is supposed to be done today. The Warranty covered the new front driveshaft.

The other Warranty Company has approved the motorhome fix. They’ll be paying a lot, but not all, of a brand new engine. We’ll have to pay for some things that need to be replaced, but are considered Maintenance items. Maintenance items on a big diesel engine can be pretty expensive, but we’ll only be paying a few thousand dollars of a $30,000 motor.

We’re supposed to pick up the Jeep tomorrow, and the motorhome next week sometime. We’re going to start heading back toward Colorado. It’s time.

Meanwhile: California desert scenery, Creosote, Joshua Trees, Ravens, Red-tailed Hawk, and an Anna’s Hummingbird on a nest.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Along the Way

In the elevator of our hotel there is a sign. It says:

“In the event of an emergency, don’t be alarmed. If the doors won’t open, push the alarm button.”

After we push the alarm button, is it okay to be alarmed?

There were Yellow-headed Blackbirds at the river. We had bunches of them while we were in Colorado too.

Sunday, June 26, 2011



Yesterday was reconnaissance.  Today we went after the Mountain Quail in earnest!  A 4am start.  A 1 ½ hour drive up the Angeles Crest Highway.  We knew the best places to get the bird.  We were there early enough to hear him call.


Didn’t happen.  We got even more good birds than we got yesterday.  Many more White-headed Woodpeckers, and we added Band-tailed Pigeons, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Western Wood-Pewee, Oak Titmouse, Bushtit, Pygmy Nuthatch, and Purple Finch.  No Mountain Quail seen or heard.


No matter.  It was another great day.  Perfect weather, a scenic drive, a good hike, good company, good birds.  Now we may have had about all the adventures we can stand.  We’ll hunker down here in Palmdale, work, and wait for news about one vehicle or another.





A good day birding.


We’re done with everything else, so we went birding.  We drove through the L.A. Basin and out the top, up the Angeles Crest Highway.  Way up above 5,000 feet, we got Anna’s Hummingbird, Acorn Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Say’s Phoebe, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-jay, Common Raven, Mountain Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Wrentit, Western Bluebird, Spotted Towhee, Dark-eyed Junco, and a lifer, one of our two target birds, the White-headed Woodpecker!  That was so cool.  Got good looks at it.


A little later we stumbled onto a flock of Lawrence’s Goldfinches, a lifer we hadn’t even started looking for yet!  That’s a great thing about looking for a specific bird.  Whether you get the target bird or not, you’ll probably get something else really good anyway.  To get a new bird, that means you’re going to be looking in new places.


We stopped for the night at the Holiday Inn in Palmdale.  We’re out of the cruddy air in the L. A. Basin, but we can still reach the San Gabriel Mountains from the backside.


One more target bird to go, the Mountain Quail.  We’ll try again tomorrow.


Here is our updated map.,-106.875&spn=22.765444,56.118164



Saturday, June 25, 2011


No news on the motorhome.

We called for a tow on the Jeep and they were great. They had us hooked up and towed away in half an hour.

Luis towed the Jeep and me to Jack Powell Chrysler Jeep and dumped us off. It’s California. They have outside bays.

They were great there and had us over to Enterprise Car Rental in half an hour. Enterprise Car Rental put me in a Chevy HHR. It looks a lot like a PT Cruiser. In less than a half-hour, I was on the road back to the motel to pick up Judy and our luggage. We’re done with the Hotel California. We’ve moved on.

We’re at the Anaheim Sheraton next to Disneyland.

It’s a very nice hotel.

We met up with Matt, Lindsay and the boys at Disneyland. The dogs went to the Disney Kennel Club. We got to ride on Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, the Haunted House, and Space Mountain. Space Mountain is always Judy’s favorite. She can’t enjoy roller-coasters because she’s afraid of heights. At Space Mountain you can’t look down because you’re in the dark, so she gets all the benefit of the motion of a roller-coaster without the paralyzing fear part.
The diagnosis on the Jeep is a bad U Joint on the front driveshaft. No projection about when it will be fixed yet, because they couldn’t connect with the Warranty Company. They’ll try again Monday.

I think we’ll just keep on driving in the rental car until it drops too.

Thursday, June 23, 2011



Some days don’t turn out like you expect.  Like today for instance.


We met up with Chad for lunch.  You remember Chad.  Friends with Matt since kidhood.  Chad is a Navy Lieutenant Commander now.  He lives on Whidby Island in Washington.  He happens to be in San Diego for a few days, because he is on his way to Afghanistan for his *fifth* tour to there or Iraq.  It was good to hang out with him for a while and visit.


No problem on the trip to San Diego and back.  Traffic on the freeway kind of sucked, but this it Southern California.  Traffic on the freeways always sucks.  One last dinner with Barb before we leave.  On the drive back home in the dark, we feel the wobble and clunking underneath us in the Jeep.  Darn.  We made it back to our room, but by that time it was worse.  I don’t really know what the problem is, but my guess from the feel of the seat and feet is front differential.  The Jeep is not moving under its own power again until it has had professional help.


It’s not like we invited this.  We’ve never missed a service interval.  The motorhome had just had a full service about 1,000 miles before the engine blew.  The Jeep had just had its 90,000 mile, very expensive, go-through-everything service, before we left Colorado.


We had planned to check out of this hotel tomorrow, drive to Anaheim in the morning and meet up in the afternoon with Matt, Lindsay, and the boys, who happen to be at Disneyland for three days.  The car died, so we’ve changed our plans.  Now, we’re going to call for a tow-truck tomorrow, *then* check out of this hotel, drive to Anaheim, and meet up in the afternoon with Matt, Lindsay, and the boys, who happen to be at Disneyland for three days; but we’re going to do it in a rental car.


We don’t care if we’re leaving a trail of wreckage behind us, we want to go see the grandkids on their first-ever trip to Disneyland!  We’ll decide what to do next, after we’ve done that.



Motor update

It’s still on the bench. Photos have been sent to Good Sam, the warranty company. Good Sam has acknowledged the photos, but hasn’t responded yet. They still haven’t settled on the extent of the repair. We’re staying tuned.

Judy shipped more stuff back to Colorado. We can put both the back seats up now. It looks a little less like we’re living out of our car.

We think it’s a little tough on the dogs; traveling in the car and staying in hotel rooms. Not much time outside. No grassy yards lately. So today they got a play day at Dogtopia.

Judy dropped them off early. Annie slept off to the side by herself. Henry played with other dogs in the play-yard nonstop all day long. Tonight they’re both snoring.

I like to lie on Sue and John’s floating dock while the boats are zooming up and down the river in Parker. I like the motion when all the mixed up wakes hit. I’ve never had a problem with motion; boats, roller-coasters, airplanes, jumping out of airplanes. This trip, though, after lying on the dock for a while, I got vertigo when I got up. I had to walk sideways to the ramp to get back to the deck. That was odd.

We drove on the freeway between 5 and 6 pm to go get the dogs from the doggie day care. That wasn’t good. We found our way back to the motel on surface streets.

I describe our hotel here in Vista as “California Classic”. Judy’s description is a little less charitable. It’s old. Thin walls and ceilings. There are people here that seem to have nowhere else to go. Sometimes the working poor get to a point that they can’t come up with enough money for house payments or monthly rent. They’re living week to week. It’s ironic, that having got to that point, they end up in a place they can rent weekly, at a cumulative cost of more than they would have to pay monthly for an equivalent place, but they’ve lost the momentum it takes to get there. Some of them are here.

Meanwhile, Becky is having a fine time driving around the English countryside. The biggest challenges seem to be keeping to the left while turning at intersections, and shifting with her left hand.

Tony adopted a hat.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What a drive!

From the scorching triple digit teens of the Arizona/California Mojave desert to the cool misty coast in just a few hours. A 50 degree drop in temperature. We’re in Vista, visiting with Judy’s sister-in-law, Barbara.

Vista. That’s really close to Oceanside. And where do you suppose we ate dinner our first night in Vista?

ANGELO’S! In Oceanside.

And what do we eat at Angelo’s?


(Well, I eat hot pastrami sandwiches. Judy eats taquitos.) Hot Pastrami Sandwiches. A blast from our childhood in Long Beach.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life on the River


The Colorado River.  Peaceful and quiet.




Peaceful and quiet.  Unless it’s a weekend.  Then the jet skis and big boats are out.


It’s hardly fair that the river water is so beautiful here.  Clear and green and cool.  All the rivers in Colorado, including this one, are blown this time of year; churning brown in an effort to erode all the Rocky Mountains into the Pacific.  It’s our brown river in Colorado, but apparently all the silt drops out before it gets to Arizona and California.  Must be all those dams along the way.


Hot and sweaty.  Even with the low humidity.  It’s triple digits every day.  I hiked in the desert on Saturday and Sunday, but stayed in all day at the computer today.  We’re on the ground floor, so I ran around in the hotel room in the air conditioning when it was time for exercise.  I probably hardly annoyed anyone.



Friday, June 17, 2011

Parker, AZ


Gone from Las Vegas.  Now we’re in Parker, AZ to visit with Judy’s sister Sue and John at their house on the river.  An updated map of our travels:,-109.731445&spn=22.543992,56.118164&z=5



Thursday, June 16, 2011



Actually, this place is pretty cool.  Having mastered the learning curve, we now have all the electrons lined up, just waiting for the word from us.  When we leave the room, we hit a switch by the door and the room goes dark.  On our return, when we scan our room key card at the door, the room wakes up and restores all our customized settings for lights, curtains, temperature, everything.  When we hit the sleep button at night, everything migrates to nighttime settings, including the room temperature selected for sleeping.  At the pre-set time for waking up, the curtains, lights, and temperature adjust to the specified morning settings.


Next time we check in here in a year, when we scan our card at the door, it will recognize us and apply all our preferences to the new room!



Engine update from this morning.  Still disassembling the motor so it can be removed.  We didn’t talk to our mechanic, he was up to his elbows, so we talked to another guy.  In the words of the other guy though, “He’s got it whipped.”  The projection was for the engine to be out of the chassis and on a bench by the end of today.  A little more disassembly, and they can call the Warranty Company to come back out and have another look so they can agree on the repair required.





The Conference, the Practitioner’s Symposium, is over.  Now Ken and I hang out together for a couple days and have a Partner’s Meeting.  We talk about what we’re doing, what we’ve done, and what we want to do.  It’s a good Partner’s Meeting.  We’ve just gone through three days of presentations about how best to do what we do.  Most of what we hear doesn’t really apply to us, we’re so specialized, but there are always a few of the ideas we hear each year that resonate.  We get to talk through those.  We get to reinvent something.


A word about hotels.  We’re in the Aria, not the Vdara.  The Vdara is the hotel with the death ray, a beam of concentrated solar energy from the concave glass face of the hotel, that sweeps across the swimming pool area each day.  Both hotels are part of the new City Center complex.  Ken and I don’t have to run screaming from the Aria pool in the afternoon, but people at the Vdara pool might.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011



This hotel.  It has 4,004 rooms.  A walk from the elevator to the end of the hall is 200 steps.  That’s about 600 feet; two football fields.  The hallway goes both directions from the elevator bank.  Then it splits in two partway down.  There are four hallways on each floor, configured like a flattened rounded X; no straight lines.  I took my walk tonight in the hallways without ever leaving our floor.


The rooms are high-tech.  Everything in the room that involves electrons is centrally controlled, either by the television remote and the big flatscreen on the wall, or the iPad on the nightstand.  There are control switches, not anything that resemble conventional light switches, on the walls, but it’s hard to figure out what they do.  When we first got here in the afternoon on Sunday, we were trying to change the lights when Judy inadvertently pushed the “Goodnight” button.  The sheer drapes, then the blackout drapes motored closed across the floor to ceiling windows while all the lights slowly dimmed until they were all the way out, leaving us totally in the dark with no idea how to turn anything back on.  We found our way to the door and let some light in from the hallway.  Luckily for us, a housekeeper came by and helped reboot and start over.


That was the end of any trouble we had with the lighting……….until later when I decided to turn the desk lamp on.  I pushed switches I was not familiar with.  Judy pounded on the wall from the shower when all the lights in the bathroom went out leaving her totally in the dark.  If I could have seen what I was doing then, I’d have turned them right back on for her.


The adventure continues.



Monday, June 13, 2011



We don’t have to do anything interesting today.  Our daughter is taking care of that.  It’s her birthday.  Not only that, she and her family left this morning for two weeks in Great Britain.


Here is a link to what we know about her trip so far:,-29.003906&spn=67.704245,224.472656&z=3



Meanwhile, back here in the states, we discovered we were sleeping (or not sleeping) in the Oven-bed of Doom.  They have very expensive pillow-top mattresses here.  Custom made with 7 layers of foam!  Foam.  My mortal enemy.  Too hot.


I ended up sleeping on top of the covers, trying to get some separation from all that foam.  Tonight, they came and flipped the mattress over for us.  All the foam in now on the bottom and the unfoamed bottom is on the top.  It’s a little on the firm side, but they added some extra bedding under the sheets for us.  It’s an involved retrofit, but it should be perfect!




Took another early morning drive; this time to Hoover Dam. Not actually to the dam, but high above it on the new Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge! That bridge is worth an exclamation point!

What an engineering marvel.

We’ve watched the bridge being built for years. It’s complete now. We considered driving across it, just for fun. Some of us are not fans of high places though, so we did not approach this bridge driving feat casually. We did, however, screw up our courage and in spite of sweaty hands and feet, ventured out. What an anticlimax. From below, you can see what a dramatic bridge this is. From on the bridge…all you see is concrete barriers! You can’t even tell you’re on a bridge!

We left our “suite” at the Holiday Inn Express today

And checked into our room at the Aria.

There *is* a difference.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


It’s 100 degrees here. We wanted to go for a hike today, so we got up early. Up and gone by 6. (It’s easy to be a morning person when you’re traveling west through time zones.) It was only 70 degrees when we hit the trail at Red Rock Canyon.

Judy has downloaded an app on her phone called “My Tracks”. It tracked us for 5 miles over the course of 3 ½ hours (we stopped to look and listen for birds a lot), with a total elevation gain of 1,700 feet. A nice hike in spectacular desert mountain scenery. (And it had warmed to 90 degrees by the time we finished.) We timed it just right and headed back down the hill for lunch.

Got some cool birds: Anna’s Hummingbird, Gray Vireo, Western Scrub-Jay, Violet-green Swallow, Juniper Titmouse, Verdin, Phainopepla, Black-throated Sparrow. All unusual for us, but not unusual for here. It’s fun to go different places.

Judy checked in with the dogsitter. Guess what. She says Annie and Henry are the best dogs she has ever dogsat! Imagine that! Annie is quiet and just wants to mooch treats. Henry plays all day. When it was time to go to bed last night, she told them to get in the crate and they both did and slept all night. No trouble at all.

Tomorrow we check out of the Holiday Inn Express, and check into the Aria. That should be different.

Friday, June 10, 2011



Engine update.  The Warranty Company approved the repair.  They just haven’t decided what kind of repair yet.  They want to see more of the engine’s guts.  It’s time for the motor to come all the way out of the motorhome, then discuss it some more.  That will take a while.  The repair shop estimates 60 hours work just to remove and replace the engine.  There is not room for it to come out the rear.  It has to go out the bottom.  I don’t know how much the engine weighs, but they’ll have to go underneath to unbolt it, then lift up a 35,000 pound motorhome to get it off the engine.


South from Cedar City, across the corner of Arizona, through the Virgin River Gorge, into Nevada.  Now we’re in Las Vegas.


When we’re traveling, we have our rituals along the way.  When we stop at a store and Judy goes inside.  Henry, Annie, and I stay in the car.  We all watch for Mom to come back and practice not jumping out the window.


Dropped the kids off at Sleepover Rover.  It sure is quiet tonight.  Well, it’s quiet in our room.  It’s not quiet outside; this is Las Vegas.  In fact, it’s not even quiet in the hallway outside our room.  We miss the motorhome.




If you insist. One more Badlands picture before we leave Utah.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Update from the repair shop. The critical parts of the engine are open for inspection. The warranty representative paid a visit and hypothesized several ways the engine blow-up could have been our fault. None of those scenarios were supported by the evidence before him (as explained by the engine mechanic). The warranty inspector settled on the explanation that we must have over-revved the engine somehow. This engine is electronically controlled. There is an engine log. There were no over-limit records on the engine log. The Warranty Rep left to file his report. We’re supposed to hear their determination in 24 hours. (Of course they’ll cover it. The engine is included in the coverage we purchased. It’s probably a $25,000 decision for them; replacing an engine. They’re just being prudent.)

A drive through the Utah Badlands

Lunch in Richfield. Dinner in Cedar City. (A photo of Cedar Canyon.)

Here in Utah, we’re dealing with the low-altitude suck. You open a bottle, and air rushes in. So much easier to manage than the high-altitude puff we encounter when we first return to Colorado each year. I have the Exploding Catsup Incident in mind. Judy with both hands on the bottle, unable to control the erupting volcano. At lower elevation, we don’t have to struggle to keep contents in their bottles. We just have to keep from being sucked into each container as we open it for the first time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


We headed out in the Jeep bright and early, drove past the grease spot on the ramp to Interstate 70,

…and made our way into the high country.

A stop at the Dillon Overlook

Black-billed Magpies,

Robins, White-crowned Sparrows, Cassin’s Finches, and a little gray mystery bird at the Vail Pass Rest Stop.

Lunch at the Charbroil Burger in Glenwood. Dinner in Green River, Utah.

The repair shop has opened up the motorhome motor. It seems there is a skirt around the inside of the bottom part of the engine block. That skirt came loose and intercepted a piston. The service manager says he’s only seen that once before in all his years working on Cat engines. The warranty company says they will come by to have a look within the next two days. Can’t do anything with it until the warranty company approves the repair.

When the rig broke down we had to cancel all our plans and start with a new plan. The trip to Ridgway State Park and Orvis Hot Springs with the massage didn’t fit anymore. That was disappointing, so we treated ourselves to a make-up massage at a local spa in Littleton yesterday afternoon instead. As the massage was drawing to a close, I was wishing I could make time stand still so that great back rub wouldn’t be over yet.

That got me to thinking. Can I make time stand still? I came up with a plan. Out on the open highway in Western Colorado I waited until the navigator said we had 76 miles to go to our destination in Green River. I set the cruise control on 76. One hour to our destination. When I saw the marker for 75, I changed the cruise control to 75. Still an hour to go. I did it again at 74. This worked for several minutes. The time to our destination never changed. This is an auspicious start to the Taylor Time-control project. I haven’t figured out how to make time stand still indefinitely, but I’m sure I’m on the right track.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


No motorhome news today. We’re still in the hotel in Littleton.

When we moved out of the motorhome and into the Jeep, we pretty much took everything we had. It’s too much stuff. We weren’t really prepared to move out. Today we thinned it out somewhat, and dropped off a lot of stuff at Matt’s house tonight. Now we should at least be able to see out the rear window.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we’re off to Green River, Utah (in the Jeep), on our way to the Accounting Conference in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, along the way, Bullock’s Orioles at Chatfield State Park.

Monday, June 6, 2011


The motorhome news isn’t good. The engine is blown. There is a hole in the block underneath the number 2 cylinder.

The hole is just to the bottom right of center in this picture. The service manager tells us that this particular situation is unusual. Usually, if there is a hole in the block, there is a piston rod sticking out through it. Our number 2 piston rod is still attached to the crank shaft. They’ll have to dig deeper.

Meanwhile, we’ve moved out of the motorhome. It was sad to pack up and drive away, not knowing when we could come back.

They’ll get our rig towed into a bay and start taking things apart. When they get enough forensics, a representative of the Warranty Company will come out and have a look to see if they approve the repair. The warranty company has already asked us for the complete service record on the vehicle to make sure there isn’t any owner neglect involved.

We’ve asked how long the repair might take. If everything goes perfectly, it will be two weeks. We’ve also heard estimates of four weeks and six weeks.

We’re checked into a motel in Littleton. We’ll stay here two nights, then head off for the Conference in Las Vegas (in the Jeep).

On my evening walk, I got an Eastern Meadowlark. Colorado is loaded with Western Meadowlarks, but this is the farthest west we’ve ever gotten an Eastern one.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Here's the plan

We leave Chatfield and host grilled burgers and homemade chocolate malts with Jon and Deb, and Janis and Brian, at Rifle Gap State Park, on Sunday. A couple days there, then south to Ridgway State Park and Orvis Hot Springs for a soak and a massage. Two days from there to Las Vegas for the accounting conference for a week. From there, we’re off to Truckee to get the White-headed Woodpecker and Mountain Quail, Redding because it’s on the way, and Crescent City on the Northern California coast for two weeks.

What actually happened: We were up by 7, on the move by 8:15, all the way out of Chatfield Park by 8:30 and pulled over on the shoulder of the ramp from C-470 to I-70 westbound in a cloud of smoke and pool of oil by 9!

The big-honkin tow truck was there by 1.

The tow-truck driver, Aaron, had to very carefully lift the front of the bus, then disconnect the drive train. He popped the decorative hub off the right rear wheel and un-bolted the axle, but the axle wouldn’t pull out past the decorative wheel-work, so he had to put the axle back in, crawl underneath the rig, and take out the driveshaft.

Even having to pull the driveshaft, it only took an hour and a half to get the motorhome underway.

We were towed to a repair shop out on the east side of Denver. Our plans are on hold while we wait for more information. A preliminary look from the mechanic suggests that this is serious. We should find out more tomorrow.

Today’s installment of: Life on the (Side of) the Road.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Remember the family portrait picture for Henry? I should identify the participants

Henry on the left, Annie getting kissed by Abby the Golden Retriever, then Sophie the mom, Ellie the sister, and Max the dad. The human mom is Jazi.

When Henry won the cute-pet-picture contest, the prize was a doggie bed, custom made by Jazi.

It appears to have been custom made just for Henry!