Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I love my mail order RX company!

I got in a big tiff with Walgreen mail service prescriptions this morning when they couldn't tell me a thing about  my prescription from ten days ago.  Walgreens has been a big disappointment since my insurance switched to them at the first of 2010.

Seems that the computers were acting up, and I needed to give them some time to get it fixed.  Well OK then, I'll call back.  I waited about a half an hour, and called again getting another customer service rep.  This time she looked up my problem and fixed it.  At least she claims it is fixed if my insurance company will authorize the change order.

It really doesn't matter that the Doctor ordered the script, only if the insurance company agrees, can I have it.  It is my main diabetes med, so I am sure glad I'm not out yet.  You don't think for a minute they will deny me?  Oh, no wonder I am in a bad frame of mind about this.

So with that behind me I set about paying bills with the bill service on line.  By then it was lunch time.  Boy days can go by fast when you are having so much fun!!!

Mid afternoon, I went out with the motor scooter to adjust my attitude.  Just drove around aimlessly.  Over in a different part of town that I never get to.  I had lunch in a different Arby's that I have never been in before.

And, since I came back, my new John Grisham book kept me occupied.  It was about 95 this afternoon, but I must be used to it as I never noticed it being too hot.  The sun was partly under the clouds, and that makes for a much more pleasant afternoon.

Retired Rod

Monday, August 30, 2010

Off to Wal-Mart and a new book!

I have been sitting here taking it easy all day.  Well I did leave and go to Wal Mart looking for an over the counter med, that I didn't find.  So I went over into old Olathe where there is a brand new Wal_Mart, and they had it.

So as I was browsing, I picked up a book of short stories by John Grisham.  I've read almost all of his books at one time or another, but this is a new twist.  Its like he was sitting around a fire telling tidbits that have happened over the years.  Its called "Ford County."  That is supposed to be in Mississippi. It is fictional, but makes for some tall tales.

So that has kept me busy this afternoon.  It is just as well, as the temperature on the scooter dash read 97 as I was coming back thru old downtown.  We got stopped for a BN train on the main line.  Had to sit there on the bike, in the heat of the car in front of me.  Traffic on a bike is a pain.

We are in a holding pattern here as next weekend is the big Labor Day Holiday, and our family will gather in Lake Ozark for the weekend.  We generally don't do campgrounds on the big three holidays.  That's how we got the lake place in the first place, because of the nasty experiences in CGs over big holidays.

Back then we sold our RVs and got completely out of the business.  Too many people and too much of a zoo.  We were working full time and had to have a place that was reliably ours on a short notice.  Our schedules didn't allow for reservations to be made ahead much.  When we broke free, we just went!

We are both so glad that part of our lives is over.  Maybe I'll read another one of these stories!!!

Retired Rod

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What day is it?

I'm confused, what day is it?  Saturday, I think.  It was Thursday when I went over to the Doctors office, and then came back home to try and write the technical blog about the diesel stuff.  That gets rather time consuming to research and make sure you are not telling stories out of school.
Then on Friday, I decided that it was time to take up that project that I had been putting off.  It was to be our last cooler day, before we got back to normal temperatures, so I drove the pickup over and brought the motorhome back to the house.  The wash job was about to begin.

Just stringing out 150 foot of garden hose from  the back hydrant seems like a bunch of work.  But then the washer needs a power cord from the garage, and a 5 gallon bucket of wash soap needs made up.  And all that before you can actually start washing.

I use a big truck brush that my dealer in Des Moines included with the purchase of the coach.  Its a good thing, but heavy and makes me arm weary.  I washed until I became hot, and then came inside for a little breather.   I scrubbed and sprayed.

Once the curb side was complete, I turned the coach around so the other side was now the curb side.  That keeps me from being out in the street.  Neighbors struggle to get by as it is without me and my wash equipment out in the middle.

You are covenanted against parking anything in the street here for even a few minutes, let alone a 38 foot motorhome for most of the day.  Just a matter of time before I get busted again.

By 4 PM, I was done except for the UV treatment that goes on the diamond shield film on the front.  Remember that takes the place of a bra or any other device to reduce rock chips and bug chips.  Ya the bugs were knocking paint off.

I drove back over to the storage place and parked up against the big garages in the shade for the space age UV treatment.  That has to be done without sunshine, so it is impossible to complete here.

After that job, I was really tired, but did manage an hour bike ride as the sun was going down.

Now today, Saturday, I was out in the morning, before the heat began to arrive.  The yard really doesn't need mowed except where there is shade.  And it is beyond needing mowed in those spots.  And this was the day for mowing.  Mowing the crab grass that isn't dormant.

I think a lot of the yard here is wrecked for this year.  Lets hope that the roots remain and it will come back next spring.  The several weeks of 100 degree plus weather has really done the yards a disservice this year.

We became baby sitters for the late afternoon today with our youngest grand daughter Abby.  Once she was down for a nap, I ducked over to son Ben's house for a quick visit, but returned before she got back up.  Loyce was here while she slept.  Grandpa is the only one that is unreliable.  LOL.

So that's all that we have done here.  We are making appointments to get medical stuff completed and trying to think of stuff to get out of the way before we head out for our trip  back to Arizona.  That is still months away, but will be here before we know it.

Retired Rod

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Funeral of LeRoy E Bauman Eulogy By Allison Bauman Wachtel

At the Service for LeRoy E Bauman in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Saturday August 21st, his Grand daughter Allison Bauman Wachtel gave a most fitting Eulogy. 

Allison lives in the upper suburbs of New York City, and flew back for the service with her family.  She has a graduate degree, and is a speech pathologist.  She is the mother of an industrious two year old boy named Luke, and keeps her husband in line as he commutes into the city on a daily basis.

She did an admirable job of delivering this, under difficult circumstances, as funerals always seem to be.  I print it here, as many folks have found this blog while searching for news of Reverend LeRoy's passing.

Allison's Eulogy

Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. - Ephesians 4:1-2

The purpose of life is to LIVE A LIFE OF PURPOSE. ‎

For me, this is exactly what Grandpa did! He led a life of purpose! Rev Leroy Bauman knew it is not what you have, it is what you give! All we need is LOVE! And LOVE is what he gave! Selfless love. Giving love. Generous love. He shared his love for life, love for family, love for his wife, love for his children, love for community, love for his church, love for God, love for the Lord Jesus Christ, the love for his many congregations, the love for his friends and neighbors. He did this UNCONDITIONALLY and at all hours of the day and night, whenever he was called to do so. He couldn't help it. He was made of it. His smile, the twinkle in his eye, his wink from across the room, it was in his chuckle. He simply radiated love, light and joy.

As a little girl, aged three or four, I remember sitting at my Grandpa's feet on the steps of the alter of his church at a Christmas service. I vividly recall looking up at him, listening to him speak and feeling SO PROUD to be HIS granddaughter and more importantly that he was MY grandpa! I knew then at that moment how special he was! I knew he carried these messages he was preaching of love, and was in fact living them too!

Grandpa is my example of a true moral compass. He was totally selfless, honest, kind, compassionate, patient, he did not judge, he could forgive our wrongs and accept our imperfections, and because he was not perfect he also asked for forgiveness and tried to right his wrongs. He loved deeply, he lived FULLY! He was a happy man. He was also a simple man. And while he was here on earth he was FULL of life! He expected the good, had deep faith and a spiritual life.  HE gave guidance, counsel and comfort. He was a man of service, a man of grace. He had a vision for his family, and while he had a vision he also lived fully & in each & every moment. ALWAYS supportive and encouraging. He was a glass half full- kind of guy. He had a huge open heart. HE exuded peace, happiness and joy. HE WAS MY ROLE-MODEL. HE WAS A GIFT FROM GOD.

He had a purpose. To spread the word of God's love and to be an honorable family man. He took both of these jobs seriously and did them joyfully!  

He was a glorious minister. He was also a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, an uncle, a friend, a student of life, an adventure seeker, an outdoorsman, a counselor, a healer, a peacemaker, a protector, a joker!

Mother Teresa once said, "We are pencils in the hand of a writing God who is sending love letters to the world." God certainly wrote a beautiful love letter when he created Leroy Bauman. And we, his family and friends, all were recipients of this love letter. This is to be celebrated and cherished forever. WE are always able to carry this love letter with us wherever we go. We will carry it in our hearts. His love and legacy found in each of us will forever remain. I think if he were here today his advice would be to live fully, to have a purposeful life, to forgive those who have wronged you and to love, love, love.

He has left us a beautiful legacy.

Seven children, 11 grandchildren, 1 grand-dog and 7 great-grandchildren with more to come!

In John 3:11 it is written, "This is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another".

I know this is what he and Nana would want. For their children and their children's families to come together in love. To remain a family unit in good times and in bad. To forgive and realize not one of us is perfect. To continue Bauman traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas. To know that we each have our individual family units but we are a part of a greater. WE are one.

He would want us to be grateful. Grateful for each other. Grateful for this beautiful world and all the blessings it is capable of bestowing unto us.

Just prior to Wyatt and I getting married, Grandpa gave Wyatt and I counsel at his kitchen table. He told us to above all love each other in good times and in bad. He said marriage is a partnership. The union and each other are to be honored, respected, nurtured and supported. He offered this advice, "When hard times come, try to come from a place of understanding and above all communicate-- never go to bed angry". For me, his marriage with Nana is my role-model of what to strive for in a marriage. I remember them holding hands as a little girl, always sitting by each other and laughing together. I believe they are with each other again. Holding hands, dancing and laughing.

When I became a mother to my son, Luke, Grandpa gave me a call. He told me he was the one who got up in the middle of the night with each of his children when they were newborns. He said this was a special time with each of his children. He loved the silence of the night holding each of you and he also enjoyed listening to the radio programs too while he held you in his arms. He loved each of you equally and unconditionally. He had a deep love for his children.

As a grandchild of Grandpa's I will remember Christmas Days with the Baumans. Waking to the sound of jingle bells ringing from my sleeping bag in the basement. I will remember Thanksgivings of mashed potatoes, turkey, green bean casseroles and tons of pies. I will remember Indiana Dunes, Lake Michigan's cold water, warm campfires, sand castles, roasting marshmallows, and smores. I will remember Amana Colonies dinners and ice cream treats.  I will remember playing spades and hearts with grandpa. I will remember his sweet poker face and his little chuckle when he laid his cards down to win! I will remember grandpa coming to Atlanta to take care of Paul and Erik and to support his daughter Cathy. In turn I will never forget of Erik's awesome assistance to grandpa in his last days. What a beautiful gift returned. This is what families do for each other. They show up. They show up in times of need and in times of celebration.

And since now I too am a mother, I will always remember Grandpa's admiration of his great-grandchildren. He looked at EACH of his great-grandchildren with such awe as they played at his feet. He loved that his family was at his 90th birthday party but it was his great-grandchildren who really stole his heart! And now, with our stories of Grandpa passed down to OUR children, his great-grand children, he will live in their hearts as well.

I will remember his smile and how he shared it with everyone. Mother Teresa once said, "Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing." Grandpa had the smile down, it was almost a permanent fixture on his face! And to jazz up the smile he would add a wink too! So he added an extra sprinkle of love in there!

He will go on in all of our hearts. We will carry him and Nana in all of our days. And trust that we will meet again.

For in Corinthians  4:18 it is written, "We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal".

They now reside in God's eternal, heaven watching down on us and wishing only for our happiness, peace, comfort, love and understanding of each other. Our days on earth are in the here and now. Let us honor their beautiful lives by treating each other with the love they taught us all and demonstrated.  And let us live fully and with purpose.  Whatever your beautiful god-given purpose may be. A purposeful life is one that makes you feel really ALIVE and fulfilled and so grateful for your days.

So today, in this time of reflection and remembrance,  let us celebrate Rev Leroy Bauman's long, happy and purposeful life and when we look at each other let us see him in one another. Let us forgive. Let us give thanks. Let us be grateful. Let us know the truth that we came from love and so we must be the embodiment of love. Let us always remember what a wonderful man Leroy Bauman was. Let us be grateful for his long and beautiful life.  Our thanks be to God.

Allison summed up our family's feelings better than anyone could have, and for that we are thankful.

Retired Rod

Friday, August 27, 2010

More on the SCR system DEF Part two of two parts

As is usually the case in technical blogs, I'm not sure I made it clear that both Ford and Chevy are going to be urea consuming SCR systems on all their diesels.  So just sticking with one of them thru experience and brand loyalty will not get you the same truck or engine that you are familiar with.

Dodge on the other hand, is sticking with the exhaust gas recirculation technology of the past three years.  While you won't have to buy DEF and keep a fluid tank full in order to drive,  there are some major draw backs to staying in the EGR camp.

And it is worth noting that on their heavy trucks, they recognize that SCR is the way to go and add the system.  Are they just getting another few years out of the older technology in order to amortize their prior costs of research and development?

So I found specific arguments for each system out on the internet and will reprint them here.  From MHC Truck Source dot com.

"Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR)  Urea injection

   It enhances thermal efficiency & fuel economy
   It reduces heat rejection and cooling system stresses, allowing for a
     smaller radiator and cooling fan and extending oil-drain intervals
   The smaller, lighter engine may equate to increased payload and less
     expensive (fuel) injection system.
   Can reduce emissions up to 90%
   Ideal where fuel economy and weight are primary considerations and
     trucks operate on main travel lanes.
   Availability of urea - searching for suppliers may add out-of-route miles
   Consumption of urea is unpredictable, since its mixing ratio varies with
     driving conditions.
   Vehicles will be fitted with a NOx sensor to ensure the urea level is not
     neglected. Failure to maintain the urea tank will result in a minimum 40%
     reduction in torque output if the additive runs out.
   The urea system cost doesn't really scale with engine size. It's a fixed cost
     and as you move down in engine size, it starts to account for a larger
     percentage of the engine cost.
   Least effective in stop start situations such as city operations where the
      constant acceleration creates the most NOx.
   Unknown price stability of urea.

Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)

   Ideal for users running less traveled routes and those eager to avoid
     replenishing urea
   No additive, no extra tanks, and the loss of payload and fuel capacity
     associated with SCR
   No risk of experiencing a power down event due to NOx monitoring
   The addition of EGR coolers increases overall engine size and the
     additional heat loads could mean an increase of 10 to 30% cooling capacity
     might be required
   Technical risk related to the SCR catalyst and doser is eliminated.
   The simpler fueling requirements are easier for hired drivers, thus good for
     small-fleet driver retention.
   When combined with a DPF can reduce emissions up to 90%
   Engines are larger and possibly heavier, depending on power rating
   Larger radiator and fan are needed to handle small increase in heat
   The fuel cost is higher than the cost of fuel plus urea in an SCR system."

As I understand this, with SCR we will be able to make more simple, smaller engines without all the pollution stuff added on.  They will get the fuel economy that they did years ago and not cost as much to run.  But, you will have to buy urea solution and maintain the injection system.  Urea is corrosive and has to be handled in plastic tanks.  And I'm sure will do nasty things to your exhaust pipes.  Also, it is fertilizer used in agricultural applications and has experienced massive wild price swings over the years that I was an agricultural accountant.  It could very easily cost twice or three times as much next year.

But using the EGR system causes us to keep getting bigger engines that can handle being suffocated with their  own exhaust being re piped into the intake.  This robs power and makes for inefficient fuel consumption.  So the engine has to be bigger just to make the same power as the little one did years ago.  (This is why Dodge Cummins went from a 5.9L to a 6.7L in 2007.)

I have read several places that the fuel economy of the non suffocated SCR engine will more than pay for the DEF you have to purchase.  Even create an overall savings in the long run.

Ya, maybe you can save some of that money to put on new tail pipes at the end of a year or two.

This stuff fascinates me  because there is really no good answer.  Experience will bear out the actual cost over time.  And as Rick pointed out in his comment, I'm not sure I want to be a first year purchaser of this system.  Who's to say they won't come up with an entirely different system next year and you'll be stuck with a white elephant when no one except you needs DEF. 

So for me, I'm not too sure I will trade my pickup until this all settles down some.  The motorhome is EGR, which means I am purchasing way more fuel to keep the pollutants in check.  So perhaps I am spending just as much, if not more and just have no way to measure it.

Only time will tell....

So why am I using this a a blog topic?  It is because I spent today getting ready to go over to my doctor's office, and sit in the waiting room until my blood pressure went thru the sky, and then go get it tested!!  Oh, its really that high?  Imagine that.   But I have been having indigestion problems, so lets hope they can solve some of it for me.

Somehow that doesn't seem like much of a blog topic.  But studying new diesel trucks is always fun for me!

Retired Rod

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Urea! DEF! Part one of two parts.

I was over at our local Ford dealership yesterday, and noticed that there were a lot of white cab front truck chassis and bare frame trucks in their lot.  They evidentially have the contract to supply these vehicles to a body manufacturer.  This dealer has always had many all white trucks in inventory that will go to cities and commercial customers, so nothing is new.

But what did strike me, was the little Blue cap  on a separate filler tube for the 2011 model diesel trucks.  In a word "Urea" is here.  Oh my!  We ran into this on the motor home chassis down in Red Bay this spring.  Most of the newer chassis for motorhomes had Urea tanks.

Now what is this Urea thing all about?  Bring on the EPA and their new standards that took place in 2010.  They have turned down the amount of Nitrous Oxide that a vehicle can emit by about 80 %. Everything made after 2010 has to comply.

In Europe, they have been using urea injection into the exhaust of diesel engines for several years.  We are just now getting up to speed here in the US.  This urea product in Europe is called AdBlue.

I am not a chemist, and only understand the very basic concept of this, but adding urea in a 32.5 % liquid form into the exhaust stream at temperatures around 750 degrees causes a chemical reaction that changes Nox to Nitrogen and  Water.  Both perfectly harmless.

In the US we are going to know this liquid urea as Diesel Exhaust Fluid.  It is going to cost anywhere from three to five dollars a gallon.  Buy it at the truck dealer, and pay the most.  Once it becomes a standard thing, I'm sure it will get cheaper and be available everywhere.

Diesel Fuel still goes in back here.

DEF tank

This new Ford Truck had a small tank along the frame that contained this fluid.  It also had the machinery along with it to inject it into the exhaust.  They say you will refill this tank when you get an oil change.  The DEF will freeze at 15 degrees F, so part of the equipment on the tank would be a heater.

So how much of this stuff will the truck use?  I've seen estimates of 3 to 5 % of the amount of fuel used.  So use 100 gallons of fuel use 5 gallons  of DEF.  So add about $20 to the fuel bill for the 100 gallons.  Say $3 a gallon for diesel makes $300 + $20= $320.  So at 10 mpg pulling an RV that would go about 1000 miles. 
I looked on the Ford Vehicle web site to see if they explain any of this on their truck pages.  And no they don't.  They only say the new system is:
"industry-proven technology and Ford-designed innovations to meet the latest strict federal emissions standards, reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels by more than 80 percent compared with the previous regulations."

What does that mean?  We aren't too proud of this new deal, but you have to buy it just the same!

Dodge  4dr 4500

So next just out of curiosity I went to the Dodge dealership.  And rode around on the bike until I found the Bare Chassis cab only trucks.  And there again was the blue filler cap.  These trucks were 4500 and larger series.  At Dodge, a salesman came right out and inquired what I was looking at.  I was taking pictures, and that always causes a reaction.

The Urea tank is up under the floor.  Dealer said it held 7 gallons.

Injection point in exhaust. Insulation keeps heat inside so reaction takes place.

So with a little conversation, I learned that only Dodges  4500 and over would use the DEF solution, and all of the 2500 and 3500 dually pickups will continue to use the catalytic converter system designed in 2007.  I have that system on my motorhome.  It is now substantially more refined from 2007 to meet 2010 standards and does not need DEF.

If you go look at the Dodge web site, they spend a lot of time explaining the fact that they meet the 2010 regulations without the use of exhaust fluids.  Unlike their competition.  The salesman was right up to snuff on this and made sure that I understood the entire concept.

So of course, buy a new Dodge pickup from us (Me) and be done with all this DEF discussion.

But if we are in the market for a new diesel Motorhome, or truck that is not a Dodge, or is heavier than a half ton in the case of Ford and Chevy, we will be using the DEF product.  The motorhome chassis we looked at in Red Bay had a 30 or 35 gallon tank right behind the right rear wheel.  Its going to take $150 to fill that one.

All of these engines had the new diesel particulate filter exhaust mufflers as well.  Particulate, is a nice way to say soot.  That eliminates the black part of the smoke.  So without soot and Nox, the diesel will be almost cleaner than a gasser!

Again I am an accountant, not a diesel mechanic, and this is just my understanding of the new technology, and may need corrected in part or totally.  So if you find an error in my thinking please leave a Comment!!!!!!

Also please comment on whether or not you are willing to purchase a truck or motorhome with these new innovations installed.  I'm not sure what choice we will have, but at least we can talk about what it will mean. 

Retired Rod

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Keeping Busy

We have florescent light fixtures under our cabinets in the kitchen.  Just before we left on our trip to Colorado, they mysteriously quit working.  We were packing and trying not to forget anything, and I decided that fixing them would have to wait.

But late at night, when the dinner hour is over, and the spot lights over the island are turned off, the little florescents were greatly missed.  Its one of those things that by the time you remember that they are broken, you are too tired to look into them.

But today was the day to look at them.  Loyce was cleaning the floors and keeping house, and for some reason I remembered that they were out.  I went to the basement and grabbed my wiring belt and pouch.  I messed with a couple of the lights, but they seemed to be alright, just dead!

So next I took the wall switch apart.  It has a dimmer on the main light over the table in the same box, so out with a bunch of screws.  I measured the voltage, and had the 110 that I should have had.  That's strange.  But turning the switch on did nothing.  Then I measured the voltage on the light side of the switch with it on, and had no voltage.   ????

I have never seen a wall light switch that just stopped working!  But that is exactly what I had.  It felt fine when you turned it on, but it didn't connect inside.  Rummaging around in the supplies from the basement produced a replacement.

You take simple things like the lights under the counter for granted, until they don't work any more.  But tonight, now that it is dark, I am kind of marvelling that they're on again! 

I did all the normal stuff today, like went to the Cartridge World place with the printer ink cartridge because I couldn't print.  It was clogged, and he fixed it.  I offered to pay but he said next time!

I had lunch at the Wendy's up by the local Wal Mart.  I am a regular customer, and the lady that makes the burgers reminded me that I didn't want onions.  Of course she can hardly speak English, but she knows Onion.  Si, no Cebolla!

My Spanish is much worse than her English, and they don't let her wait the counter because she can't speak English very well.  Spanglish?  We usually get the job done.

And then tonight I was off to a local motorcycle shop that is North of here up on I 35.  I was looking for a handlebar tie down gizzmo that is kind of like a Chinese finger cuff.  It slides over each hand grip and then when you pull on the loops, it compresses on the bars.  This allows the bike to be tied down without crossing the straps over the tank or fairing.

I had to look the shelves over quite carefully, but way in the back, I found exactly what  I wanted.  If I take the bike to Arizona this winter, this strap will help me keep from damaging the paint and plastic.  You still get some road rash from trailering a long way, as stuff rubs on the bike.

So like this post, the day kind of rambled on.  I had hoped to wash the Motor Home, but it threatened rain all day, so I gave up on that idea.  We still have a lot of mud from the rains on Lizard Head Pass.

I teased the fellow over at the car wash that I had a vehicle he couldn't wash, but he gave me a card for the Blue Beacon truck wash, because they are related.  The car wash is called Green Lantern.  But that costs big bucks, so I had better do it myself.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back in the Groove

I'm not so sure where today went, but it was gone quickly.  Not that much productive happened, but it seemed important anyway.

Some of it was working on the computer, and another part was washing cars.  Just the ordinary mundane get back in the groove sort of stuff.  As always, the computer can captivate and seem to waste a lot of your day.  But I am totally caught up on missed blogs and activities from the weekend now.

The washing cars thing can take quite a while here, but today I cheated.  I started by driving them over to the local drive thru wash.  It costs $8 and does a fairly nice job.  Of course it blow dry job leaves a lot to be desired, so I bring them back here and start in with the chamois. 

I managed to get both cars and the pickup thru the wash, and finished back here at home. 

I called it quits with that project, and came inside just to find that Loyce had our older HP laptop out and was starting it for the first time in about 3 months.  It is an XP machine, and had  a ton of updating to do.  I coached as everything started to update at once. 

I cancelled several of the updates until the previous one could finish.  Removing the beta version of Firefox called Minefield, and updating Firefox to its latest stable version.  But I got bored with all that, and finally just turned the machine loose to do as it would.

It was becoming dusk outside, and the motorscooter was calling for an evening ride.  I went about 15 miles out into the country South of here.  It had cooled from our high of 92 back into the mid 80s so the ride was pleasant.

So all and all the day was fun, with some work to go along! 

Retired Rod

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sleeping??? In the Hotel

I'm a bit slow tonight, as the hotel last night seemed to never want to settle down.  I am a very light sleeper anyway, and the kids seem to bang the room doors at all hours.  We just never have to put up with that kind of thing in the RV.

So sleep was at a premium for most of the night.  And of course it was hard to turn off my mind with all the inputs and experiences from the funeral.  We have been married for 42 years this fall, and Loyce's dad married us.  Not too many folks are married by their father in law.

So this morning as I was finally sound asleep, Loyce woke up and got ready to go with her sisters to breakfast.  So there went any chance of more sleep.

I'm not too sure how to report the drive back to KC other than long.  It is 2 and a half hours back to Des Moines from Cedar Rapids, and then 4 hours more back down here to our house.  We live on the very South end of the City, which makes the drive even longer.

I, of course have many blog posts to read in order that I might catch up with everyone.  That has consumed the night hours since we arrived. 

My own bed will be a welcome place tonight, so perhaps I should.............ZZZZZZZZZZ

Retired  Rooo

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We had a nice Funeral Service Celebrating Grandpa's Life

I'm not able to recap the funeral service as it was way too emotional for all of us.   We have been married for 42 years this fall, and LeRoy was as much my dad as he was my wife's.  He was there for both of us uniformly just as he was there for all of his children.  We will miss him in everything we do.

Once the service was over, we gathered in a Family Center, that was away from the Chapel.  It was kind of like we went to someones home for a reception.  We had coffee and Iced Tea.  The kids had lemonade.  Large plates of cookies were offered and my grand kids were in heaven.

We talked with many of the family friends that have been involved with the churches that LeRoy served, and also had many members of the family present that are too distant to see on a regular basis.  The conversation seemed endless.

Eventually the Family Center was to be used by the next service, so we regathered as a family in the Amana Colonies West of Cedar Rapids.  Link

For those of you that are not familiar, the Amana Colonies was a communal farm and village up until the middle 1930's.  They built the Amana name refrigerators and appliances in factories at the commune for years.  Of course this way of live was given up during the WWII years, and capitalism took over.  The old world craftsmanship is not gone however.

Meats are still smoked in the colony smoke house.  Breads are still cooked in the bakeries.  It is just that these things are now for sale.  If you go by on Interstate 80, please take a minute and stop for some really good food served family style.

We had one of the oldest rooms of the Ox Yoke Inn that was our meeting place.  They set a table for all of us, which was at least 40.  I didn't count but we were all one big family.  We were served platters of Chicken, Ham, and Beef steak in brown gravy.  All family style! We passed the plates around until they were empty, and then a waitress would gather them up and offer another that was full.

The sides were corn, German fried potatoes with gravy, coleslaw, cottage cheese, sauerkraut, fresh breads and butter, and desert.  Cherry pie, and to die for Rhubarb pie with the baked brown sugar crumbles on top.  I had a piece even though I am not supposed to.  Sometimes you just have to live a little.

So our family was together all day, and I'm certain that, that would be exactly what LeRoy would have wanted!

Retired Rod

By the way,  the Amana Colonies have a Campground, where you can come with your RV and while away some time.    Lets see, woolen mills, smoke houses, bakeries, wineries, giftshops, and furniture stores.  Seven individual villages, each with a craft specialty and old communal dining halls converted to more modern restaurants.  You have to stay here a while to understand what Amana is.  But one thing it is not is fast lane big box stores.  Or big box anything!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

We have made it to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  This is where we will have the memorial service for Loyce’s dad tomorrow. 

We met several of the family members here at the hotel we are all staying at.  Then we headed out to a local pizza restaurant that is not a chain.  There are not too many really local places any more in our society, but this one is.  We sat out under the awning in front of the place enjoying the night air.  At times the road was quite noisy but we carried on.

We will have to be up for breakfast in the morning, so I really don’t have much to add tonight.  So we are all here, and everyone made the trip without consequence so for that we are thankful.

Have a good weekend!

Retired Rod

Friday, August 20, 2010

Getting Ready to Roll Again

Today was another routine day, where we just hung out and our son Chris came over for an hour or so.  We again revisited Colorado in our minds as we talked and enjoyed pictures taken this last few weeks.

We are all getting ready to leave for Iowa tomorrow, so we have been traveling around to different stores purchasing stuff to get ready.

Tonight I went out in search of a new shirt.  I went to JC Penny and purchased one on the motor scooter.  I was so excited by the shirt, that I haven't gone out and brought it in from under the seat.  Gota go do that yet tonight and see if it comes close to fitting this rotund body.  Buying clothes for a fat guy is no fun at all.

I also ordered another pair of Teva Sandal shoes from Zappos.com yesterday.  They ship overnight, so I knew they would be here today sometime.  Well sometime didn't come very early, and I waited around for the truck.  Finally at about 4 PM the driver showed up.  I didn't have a tracking number, so I was just hoping that they would get here sometime.

I have been very happy with Zappos and there ability to have a new pair of shoes in my hand overnight.  And for the most part I have not sent anything back, but they stress that if you don't like what you get, just call and they will give you instructions on how to send it back.  The return shipping is on them.  How can you beat a deal like that?

I rode the motor scooter around as I have done my errands this last couple of days, and am enjoying reconnecting with it since I was gone for 19 days.  Wouldn't think you would miss ridding, but I did.

Retired Rod

Since Gipsy asked about gelling of diesel in the first comment below, I swiped this from Yahoo answers:
The question was at what temperature does diesel fuel begin to gel?
It depends on the grade of diesel fuel, the additives in the fuel, and water contamination.

When the temperature drops, wax crystals can form in the fuel, plugging the fuel filter and/or fuel line. This will prevent the engine from running.

Diesel fuel #2 should resist gelling down to about -10 deg. F (-23 deg. C), while winter blends of diesel fuel #2 and fuel #1 (kerosene) can typically handle temperatures down to -4 degrees F to -20 deg. F. But some "winter" blends may gel at higher temperatures if it contains too much #2 diesel and not enough #1 (say around 18 to 20 degrees F).

The pour point of the fuel (the point at which it starts to gel) can be lowered by additives, and by using heaters in the fuel filter, fuel tank and around the fuel line.

The truck doesn't run. If the fuel gels in the fuel line it stops the flow of fuel to the engine and the engine won't start or run.
This gel effect can happen while moving or standing still. Many big trucks have fuel heaters in them that circulate the fuel thru the heater and back into the tank. I am not aware of these heaters in our pickup trucks, but perhaps some have them.  If there is a heater, then gelling while driving would be greatly reduced.  

Again I am not an expert on these matters, but I have had diesel gel in the winter when I used to drive to North Dakota in February.  It is as though you had your keys removed from your possession.  Once I found the Power Service Products, I never gelled again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Water in Fuel Light

The water in fuel light that I saw illuminated the other day is found on most diesel engines, including trucks, tractors, and yes motorhomes.

They tend to be persnickity devices that report water or corrosion or anything that will short the probes together.  They are usually in the water separator filter housing.  Sometimes just washing the truck, or rain will set them off.

If every now and then the separator is drained and no water is found, and you use a good fuel additive to clean the fuel, you should be OK.  I have used the Power Service additives for years, when I have owned a diesel.

In the winter below freezing when gelling is a problem they are second to none.  We have taken the MH to Arizona in the winter so we have not had any gelling problems.  They have a diesel Kleen product for general use, and I need to start using more of it.  It costs about $7 at WalMart and treats 100 gallons.

Remember, I am not a diesel mechanic!!  I was an accountant in my working career, so what the heck do I know about it?

Retired Rod

Decision on water/ Haircut

I have decided that I will deal with the water in the fuel situation as it arises.  When the time comes that we will travel, I will empty the water separator every day, until the tank of fuel is gone.  Trusting that it will remove the water before it gets to the engine.

Also I will add several bottles of additive to subsequent fuel fill ups.  If water continues to come from the separator, the tank will have to be drained and cleaned.  It will be what it will be!

So I did not even go near the coach today.  It is time to get ready to go to Iowa for Loyce's fathers funeral, and I look like a mop, so a hair cut was in order.  I rode the motor scooter over to the shop on the Missouri side of town.

We have a good time at the shop, so its a pleasure to go get fixed up.

I have been dealing with my Doctor's office on the phone, as they can't give any appointments for more than a month out.  Heck, I need help today folks!  Being diabetic, I can't just wait a month to fix something.

The calls went back and forth over voice mail, as you can never actually talk to anyone face to face.  Nothing got resolved!  This is standard with this practice.  And remember we are a for profit health care system.  It isn't run by the government or anything.  They have to take care of you as you are free to find a new physician.  They have so many patients that they hope you do leave them.

In between the phone calls, I rode the motorscooter over to my son Chris' house, more as a destination than needing anything.  We talked about our trips to Colorado and the stuff we had seen.  We were at many of the same places but not at the same time.

That fairly much spent the day.  But we are one day closer to leaving for Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, where the service and internment will be.

I'll keep blogging, but with family stuff, I'm sure it will be short ones.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A water problem!

On our way home yesterday, I stopped and decided to top off our diesel fuel tank.  Since it is a problem to find fuel here in Overland Park.  Loyce went on home, and I stopped about 25 miles South of here to fill up.

Once the tank was full, I jumped back on the interstate and headed North.  That's when I noticed a little yellow light on the dash that is normally not lit.  "Water in Fuel"  #%$#@####!!!!!

I had just topped the tank with diesel laced with water.  Well enough to cause the light to come on anyway.  My thoughts turned to $500 injectors being ruined and yes there are 6 of them at $500. And that doesn't include installation.

After a while the light went out, so I thought it might be just a little water.  The worst of it is we are storing the MH as we will not use it for a while again.  And storing it with water in it?????

And as you might guess, once I turned it off and then started it back up to go to storage, the light came back on.

Since I had the receipt from the station, I looked up their number and called them.  Nope, we don't have water in our fuel.  No siree!!!  Manager is not here, and won't be back...   What's your number I'll have him call you on Tuesday.....

The lady finally hung up on me as I expressed my concerns for all the other customers that were getting fuel with water.

So, of course there was no call from a manager today.  So I carefully thought about my options, and then called the Department of Agriculture here in Kansas.  They were instantly concerned and wanted all the details.  Said they would have someone check it out immediately!!!   The thought of "shut em down" crossed my mind.

I went over to the storage lot and crawled under the rig in the rain with a jar.  Carefully I drained the water separator until the fuel came clear.  I got about a half a cup of water before it came as yellow fuel.

I had purchased some Power Service brand deicer, dewaterer, called diesel 911 which I added to the full 80 gallon tank.   I then started and ran the engine, and the water in fuel light stayed off.  There is enough fuel in the tank to go 700 miles, so driving around just to use some of it is a bit of a waste of time.

I will be draining the water separator a lot as we use this tank of fuel.  Or perhaps I should drain the tank and separate it manually.  But that is 16, 5 gallon jugs  and how do you control an open tank with 80 gallons in it?  Not an option, should it get away from me and not be able to be shut off.

So we have a problem, that I'm not sure how to resolve.  Perhaps the 911 product will take care of the issue until it can be attended to.... but I'm not optimistic..

Retired Rod

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Core of Engineers Campgrounds

As Lynette points out   the web site is recreation.gov.   I think I referred to is as reservation dot gov or something that was wrong a couple of days ago. 

You know, kind of close but no cigar!!!!

Retired Rod

As we arrive!

Loyce likes to clean up the motorhome at the park on our last day camping.  Since we are hooked up to all of the utilities, and the water is hot and the AC is running.  We did some getting ready to move our stuff back into the house. 

I like to flush out the tanks, and declare that drains and such are now off limits.  I did pour some of my pinesol mixed with a shot of bleach down each drain as we finalized our departure.  I find that a bunch of the stuffy smell when the RV isn't used for a while comes from the gray tank.

As the water evaporates from the traps, then that tank doesn't get treated with chemical like the black tank does, and I am usually reluctant to pour the black tank chemical into the gray tank.  But perhaps it would be fine.  So Pinesol with bleach is what I use.

We were on the road for the final trip at noon, and were only 74 miles from home.  Per George our GPS.  His brand is Geosat.  So we took Geo and made it into George.  I picked the male voice  to guide us rather than the female voice.  He doesn't sound as naggy as she does.  Loyce just shakes her head on that one.

So once we got home, it was carry it all in time.  Actually Loyce puts a lot of stuff into the back of the car at the park.  She claims it is much shorter to park the car right beside the house door and put it all inside.  Me I think she is making two trips out of everything by carrying it to the car in the campground and then carrying it a second time into the house.  We argue about such things, never solving the issue.  Of course we both know we are right!  And it is a long way from the motor home in the street, then up the drive and into the house.  The MH is too big and heavy to park in our driveway.

Tonight we are getting settled back into keeping house in the house.  So much stuff to get done.

The yard has not been mowed for 19 days, and the water grass has grown quite tall, but the rest of the yard has gone dormant.  I quick like mowed the really tall parts this afternoon, but the entire yard needs Mr John Deere tomorrow or sometime very soon.  We have an irrigation system, and it runs every other day, but it has been over 100 for the last two weeks, so the yard is only partially green.

So our excitement is just being home, and moving the MH back to storage.  It looks so forlorn over there!

Retired Rod

Oh, yes Pidge, we did have full hookups at the Core of Engineers park.  If you google the core of engineers and the state you are looking for it should come right up.  You mostly have to make reservations now days in order to stay.  I took a chance that there would be an opening on a Sunday night now that school is starting. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Melvern Lake at the COE Park

We are at the tail water campground of the Melvern Lake, West of Melvern, Kansas.  This is about 65 miles Southwest of our home in Overland Park, Kansas.  We drove here from Garden City, way out West.  It was over three hundred miles of ordinary two lane roads to get here.

Kansas goes on for ever, and today it was raining cats and dogs.  As we were leaving this morning, it began to sprinkle, and I commented that we had better get on the road, as the dusty campground would turn to mud quickly.  We didn’t hang around to see that happen.

We did stop in Dodge City for a short while, driving around in the Escape while the motorhome hung out in the city parking lot on the South side of Wyatt Earp street.  We buzzed around looking at the newer part of town and the newer old part of downtown.  But then we pulled into the part they call Boot Hill.

This is the part of town that looks like it did in the 1870’s.  Of course it is fenced and costs money to go into. 


(Sorry if your screen isn’t wide enough)

They must have had a big party there last night, as there was a tent and many tables still set up.  Folks were busy folding all that up and loading it on trailers.  We needed to press on, so we didn’t pay to stroll the old town.  Perhaps another time.  As I look at this, I wonder if there were light poles and electric lights in the stores back in 1872?  Maybe not!

I headed out North to US 50 and bought some diesel.   This was in a Cenex quick stop type of station, that was not nearly big enough to get the MH into the pumps.  I waited for the longest time for a pickup and 5er to pull out.  He had to wait for patrons parked in front of the store to move so he could make the swing to the street. 

Once in by the pumps, I had to ring it up twice as they had the $74 limit on purchases.  I use two completely unrelated credit cards, so I look like a different customer.  Sometimes I have been refused on a second purchase with the same card, so now it is just routine to use the different cards.

From there it was just your typical 300 mile day on the road.  The rain came so hard that it was causing Loyce to hydroplane with the Escape.  We slowed way down and drove safely.  Once the serious rain let up, it just sprinkled for a while.

We came thru a cold area, that caused me to seek long pants and a sweatshirt.  But once we made Emporia, we must have crossed the front, as it went right back to 82. 

This is a Core of Engineers lake and dam.  The Tailwater campground is a COE facility.  So,,,,, our senior pass has us on a 50 Amp full hook up blacktop site across from the bathroom.  Trees are all around, and the little tailwater lake is right out or our windshield.  Loyce said she could stay here for a week.  I’m betting that reservation dot gov has other ideas about how long we can be here.  It cost us $9.50!

Tomorrow we will be home!  Boo, Hiss!!

Retired Rod

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Garden City

We are in Garden City, Kansas tonight.  It is 300 miles East of Alamosa where we stayed last night.   We are still 400 miles away from our home in KC. 

We were up after 7 this morning, which is early for us.  We knew we would loose an hour today as we entered the Central Time Zone.  Still it was after 9 when we departed.  It is hard to remove the stripes from the Tiger!  We had not hooked to the water last night, but had used the water from our tank, so our gray tank was needing attention, and dumping at the parks dump station will usually eat up about a half hour.

Alamosa is at 7500 feet, and it was really brisk overnight.  I was up about 4:30 and the temperature read 44 degrees.  And about 52 inside the MH, so I plugged in our little oil radiator heater.   It is thermostatic, so it was set at 68.  It makes no noise and you really have no sensation that it is running, unless you touch it, but I am sure it helped!

Once on the road, the miles began passing fairly quickly, until we had to climb  another pass.   La Veta pass is the last pass out of the mountains on highway 160, before you reach Interstate 25 South of Pueblo.  We climbed to 9500 feet and reached the summit.  After driving thru so many passes on this trip, it seemed anti climatic.  That is why the locals zoom over these passes and see nothing at all.  They are only thinking of the destination and that they are late.

I had decided to take a short cut on Highway 10 rather than go North to Pueblo.  That turned out mostly all right, except the East end of the highway where it paralleled US 50 was decidedly rough.  We rumbled and bounced our way thru it.  Once on US 50, the road was much better, and we had missed driving in Pueblo.  I think we saved about an hour.  Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas are prairie land that sometimes has crops, when it can be irrigated.

It all looks the same after a few miles.  Go slow thru a small town, then speed up and race to the next.  But traffic is light, and it seemed as though we made good time, even after a half hour lunch break in a truck stop parking area.

We arrived here at RJ’s RV Park about 4, but that was really 5 since we hadn’t fixed our clocks yet.  It was hot!  I think 97 or close to that.  I had watched the temp on the dash climb steadily as we left the mountains back at I 25.  We are not used to the heat now since we have been away from it for two weeks.

Not much to do here so we went to Wal Mart again tonight.  I think we have been in at least half the Wal Marts nation wide.  We are parked under some trees, so the satellite doesn’t see its bird, so TV will be limited.  A slow nite to be sure.

Retired Rod

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The return trip starts.

Tonight we are in Alamosa, Colorado.  This is in the Southern Central part of the state.  It is South of the big sand dunes, and East of the continental divide.

We left Cortez, without a plan.  We were packed and gone about 9:30.  We were not in a hurry but moved right along toward the East on Highway 160.  Passing the gate into Mesa Verde, Loyce made the comment that you would have no idea what the place was all about just driving by.  Since the ruins are over 20 miles South and also over several mountains, that is certainly true.

We climbed up into the mountains to the East and the scenery changed dramatically.  It is 46 miles from Cortez to Durango, but when you go over the Mountains East of Mancos, the forest becomes green and lush.  Both fur trees and deciduous trees grow up the hills as far and you can see.

We stopped for a while trying to decide if we should stop for a day in Durango, but then I thought about the train and how I would want to ride it to Silverton, which would take two days of camping, and Loyce wants to be home soon, because of her fathers funeral.  So we just pressed on to the East.


The drive from Durango to Pagosa Springs is one of the most gorgeous in all of Colorado.   I just loafed along at about 50 holding up traffic.  Staring at the hills all around me, I’m sure the folks trying to pass thought I was a drunk.  I pulled over for several pull outs letting them all pass.  I tried to take some pictures thru the windshield as I was driving, but that isn’t too successful. 

The valley between the hills is Ranch land with crops and barns.  Ranch homes lined the road, set back from the highway with a lane.  There were cattle and other farm animals.  There seemed to be an abundance of old rusted farm machinery.  I saw one huge hay barn with the drop down mow doors open. The barn was wooden and without paint.  It was a very dark gray, almost black.  I wanted to stop and take its picture from all different angles, but nowhere was there a pull out large enough for the MH.


I crossed the Piedra River, and thought of Howard and Linda of the R-V Dreams web site.  They spent the summer on a ranch 15 miles North of the highway, with Doug and Joan of Living our Dream.  That was in 2008.  They both repeatedly explained how wonderful this place was, but I had no idea until today.

Winding thru the valleys we eventually reached Pagosa Springs.   A thriving town that comes from nowhere.  I stopped in a mall with the City Market, thinking I could get some diesel and relax for a while.  I read one of the blogs to get a name of the campground East of town.  It was Pagosa Riverside.  So we drove out there.

The place was gorgeous, as it is along the river and has a log clubhouse.  It was also all booked up.  Its Friday after all.  And the last Friday before school starts for many folks.  If we had only thought of it sooner. That bummed us out, but we decided to press on over Wolf Creek Pass.


This is an easy pass, but it is quite steep. The road is wide and has guard rails most of the way.  It takes 8 miles of climbing to reach its summit.  My diesel worked hard at 2500 RPM and 3rd gear for 40 MPH.  Once in a while we would round a hairpin turn and I would loose momentum and it would take forever to get back up to 40.  I never tried to go any faster.  We stopped at the summit to let the engine cool down and regain our composure. 

Then it is 8 to 10 miles back down the other side at almost the same steep pace.  I used the Jake Brake and at times stayed in 2nd gear. But as the road straightened out more I was in 4th with the exhaust brake off.   Then we rolled right along at 50.  I’m getting the hang of this Colorado driving with the MH a bunch better now.  Again the road is wide most of the way, and there is a tunnel thru a mountain where the road was narrow before.  The date on the tunnel was 2004.




The GPS as we sat at the top.  10875 feet of Altitude and 65 miles to Alamosa.


That’s when we arrived here in Alamosa.  Since it is Friday, and we only called as we descended the mountain, we have a 30 amp site with water and a lot of dusty dirty roads here at the KOA.  It still cost $33, and we haven’t even hooked to the water.  We are using from our internal tank, since we will have to empty it anyway when we get home.

The sand dunes are just to our North, which explains the ground here at the camp.  We laughed that $33 would have bought 11 gallons of diesel and that would run the genny for 22 hours straight.   But perhaps the folks at the Mart parking lot would want quiet hours after about 10 PM. 

I’m not sure why, but once we turn and head back towards home, we seem to put our head down and drive right there.  Loyce really likes her house in KC and can’t wait to get back, so we will arrive in a couple of more days. 

Retired Rod

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mesa Verde

The word Mesa is Spanish for table.  Verde is the color green.  The green table they are talking about is the ridges or mountain tops between canyons in this park.  As I understand it, originally the Indian peoples lived on the tops of these mountains.  But eventually they dropped down over the sides of the canyon walls and built homes on the cliffs below.

Usually facing South, the folks built their homes in alcoves along the cliffs taking advantage of the shade from the overhead cliffs in the summer.  But in winter, the sun was lower in the South, and brought sunshine directly into their homes and kept them warmer than the snow covered tops of the mountains.  All of this took place between 600 and 1200 AD.

The peoples living here were Ute, and Navajo and many other tribes of Indians, all before Europeans came to the North American Continent.  I am not qualified to explain much about this history and would encourage you to study further on other web sites for accurate content.  But with that understanding we toured a bit of Mesa Verde today.

From the entrance gate 8 miles East of Cortez, Colorado on highway 160, you go past the ranger station where those of us over 62 show our golden age pass. If you are pulling your RV, you must drop it in the parking area before you come in.  They do have camping about 2 miles in, and in that case you can take it to the campground.  I did see motorhomes farther into the park, but one our size would be a real pain in the patutee in all the parking areas and tight cornered roads.

It was 15 miles to the visitors center from the gate, and it was up steep mountain roads with hairpin curves.  They had guard rails in most places when it was straight down.  And the views are exceptional.  You are several thousand feet above the surrounding valleys and can see for miles.

At the visitors center you decide what tours you are going to take, and pay $3 each for the guided tours over the sides of the cliffs.  They are mostly listed as Strenuous, and we opted for the free stuff as we are not capable of strenuous anything.  So with map in hand we proceeded to the  Chapin Mesa Museum. 

Chapin Mesa is the main mountain ridge that the dwellings are located on.  Across from the Museum is the Spruce Tree House.  Access to this is free and not overly strenuous.  We toured the Museum and watched the 25 minute film about the park and its inhabitants so many years ago.

Spruce Tree House



From there we headed out to the Mesa Top Loop, and drove ever so slowly stopping to see most of the attractions.

The Canyon in the distance

The original Indians lived in Kivas or pits in the ground with wooden structures over them as roofs.  P1000387

This one was more elaborate with tunnels and fire pits with storage for food grains.  The park service has built a metal roof structure over it to preserve it from nature.

Next was the Square Tower House.  I walked about a 1/4 mile away from the cliff in order to look back.  I have seen this photo in many publications.  Never realizing I would someday take it myself.

I am not going to try to describe all the pictures I took, as it is beyond the scope of this blog, but I will show them and encourage you to click on the ones you want to see better.

P1000389 P1000391
P1000392 P1000396
P1000402 P1000398
P1000399 P1000400

These last three are of the Sun Temple and the Canyon that it overlooks. 


This last picture is of the famous Cliff Palace.  If you look, there is a tour group descending into the ruins.  They have taken a stairway down from the top above them.  It descends in a crevice to the right of the picture along shear canyon walls. You would want to look right at the steps, as vertigo would be really easy to have.  I have no idea how many steps it is from the parking lot, but many of the folks were older.

We drove over to the Cliff Palace loop, and from above you can’t see a thing except the canyon.  There are big parking lots and benches to assemble the tours.

On the far side of this loop is the Balcony House  This is listed as the most strenuous, and even taking a picture from above required a 2 mile hike round trip.  I passed as the afternoon heat was in the 80s by now.


This picture was taken from the National Park Service Web Site, even though the live writer put my watermark on it.  I have no idea how folks were descending to it in the tour group.  There appear to be folks in the picture and usually they have to climb the Indian style ladder pictured to the right.  They were listed as thirty feet or more tall.

We did the fairly quick 6 hour tour, just getting acquainted with the main ruins and where they are located within the park.  Should you want to go on the tours, you need to get to the main Visitor’s center well before noon, in order to get on a tour that same day.  We were there about 11, and they were selling ticket for the 4PM tours.

There is another mountain ridge or mesa to explore to the West called Wetheral Mesa.  It includes the Step House and the Long House.  It also has a tram ride to various other ruins deemed too far to hike to.  We will have to do this another time.

As a parting thought, one of the ladies next to me made and interesting comment about the folks touring the Cliff Palace as she was attempting to take a telephoto of the site.

“I wish all those people would go away, they are ruining my picture of the ruins.”

Retired Rod

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Four Corners

Tonight we are KOA ing it here in Cortez, Colorado. 


We left River Bend RV about 9:30 in the morning.  The sun was shining and it appeared to be a great day.  Since we were retracing our steps back to Telluride during the first leg of our journey, I never started the GPS.  I was confident!

That didn’t turn out bad either, as I rolled right along making the right turn onto highway 62 at Ridgeway.  Once thru the town, you begin to climb and it is steep.  The town in correctly named, as you are following a ridge along the mountain wall.  But there were guard rails, and for me that makes it seem all better.  I know it is in my head, as the motorhome would jump that guard rail in a heartbeat, but I feel better anyway.

The road goes thru some really nice green lush fields and treed cliffs, which lull you as it climbs up over 9,000 feet.  This goes on for many miles until you reach the intersection of 145.  This is where you turn back East toward Telluride.  The bridge over the little river was narrow, and a flat bed semi with a wide load sign had most of the lane.  He was stopped and I crept by.  From there, it is up hill along the mountain wall.  Headed into town, you are along the outside drop off.  Sometimes there are guard rails, but as you approach the airport, it is several thousand feet down, on your outside side!  The motorhome is as wide as the road, so your attention is on high alert. 

You turn South and climb the South wall of the box canyon where Telluride is located, with a hard switchback on the outside mountain wall.  Just beyond that switchback is the turn in for the mountain top village.  This is the top of the ski lifts above town.

With the Phish concert completed these roads were jammed with younger folks cars like Scions, and of course the thousands of Jeeps.  They were all going the other way as I approached town, but once I turned South, I was in the traffic.

From Telluride South, you climb up, up over Lizard Head Pass.  It winds around and ascends slowly.  But then at the last minute you climb up over 10,200.  Lizard is the mountain on the West.  Its over 13K.  By now it was totally overcast and raining quite hard.  Temperatures had dropped to the mid 50s.  It felt like it was November outside.

We wound thru the forest, but the roads were never alarmingly scary like the Million Dollar Highway.  I drove around 50 for most of the trip down. I had bunches of cars following me that wanted around.  Perhaps my slower speed  made their trip just a tad safer!  The cliffs are blood red with rocks to match, and in the rain most of that mud was on us.

At 1 PM we rolled into Cortez and found highway 160.  The sun came out and you would have never known it was raining. Unless you looked at our muddy motorhome!  That’s when we pulled into the Safeway parking lot and fired up the laptop deciding on the KOA.  It was $36 with the discount card.

We are here in the four corners, where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico come together to spend a day in the Mesa Verde National Park.   And before you say it, we know that only one day is not nearly enough, but we are beginning to run up against the time limit before we need to return to KC. 

Tonight, the wind and all that heavy rain has built up here over Cortez, and the lightening has tripped the surge protector. Stopped the computer dead in its tracks, as I had the battery out.  But that is precisely why we bought the protector, and everything came back on and worked!!

Tonight the Southwestern winds are with us, making the awnings over the slide outs flap and flop.  Even though we are still at 6200 feet, it is much more desert like here and reminds us that Arizona is just over those hills beyond the Sleeping Ute Mountain.  Arizona seems like home, after spending the last two winters there!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


You may wonder what we are doing as we seem to approach this area from our camp at Montrose.  I am inspired by the single page write up I found online.  Link  Titled “Scenic Drive in the San Juan Mountains.”  Though the author starts at Cortez and goes the opposite way, the scenery is the same in both directions. 

We drove the 65 miles to Telluride heading up hill all the way.  The road was good and did not have too bad of drop offs until we got onto the final segment into the town.  The last few miles are on the side of the mountain cliff and do have the straight down feature.

As we approached town, we were waved over into a parking area, and a gal came to the window and asked, “ Do you have Phish tickets?”  Well no I said and inquired what that was.  Seems that a rock band named Phish is having a concert tonight and no one is allowed into the town unless you are going to the Festival.  Oh Really?

I explained that we were tourists, and had driven an hour and a half to see the town of Telluride and hoped we wouldn’t be told to leave.  So, I got a three hour parking pass, but was told that I would be ticketed for being in town after 4:30.

There are 10,000 folks here in a town designed to hold about 2,500.  There were tents in the city parks, and on the school house lawn.  Cars were jammed in every conceivable nook, parking on lawns and in allies.  Reminded me of Aspen two years ago at Labor Day.

Telluride Downtown

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Not everything was nice and new, but the older buildings add character.  Wait up above that old garage, there are the ski slopes.


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There is a village up on the top of the hill where folks can have lunch and stuff, but we didn’t go up there.  The lifts were running, and you can also drive up to the top from the South route out of town.

Telluride is in a box canyon, and as you head East from downtown, you go past the city park and up into the canyon.  There are two water falls that must be the start of the creek that flows thru town.



The road went around up there but Loyce nixed that almost immediately!  You had to go up past this old mine.


The last thing that put an immediate damper on our visit today, was that we parked and went into a hardware store, that still had the small town feeling.  It was in two store fronts with wooden floors that creaked.  The basement was block walls and had even more stuff.  We browsed for a while.

As I was coming out, I noticed the local Sherriff taking down my license plate!  “Did I do something wrong????”

Well it seems that my parking pass for the 3 hours, didn’t include the place where I had parked.  It was only for folks with a different permit.  And he was issuing a $60 ticket to me.  I spoke of the pass that I had been given, and he said “you really don’t know what’s going on do you?”  Well no I have only been in town for two hours, and I barely got in at all.  But I was pleasant and talked about positive stuff, and he explained that these Phish tickets were being scalped for $1000 each.  Wow!  Then he said “if you like that sort of thing!”

After explaining that I had no idea what they even were, and didn’t care too much either, he tore up the ticket and wished me a nice day.  Oh and he said if I needed to get another three hours, to go out the road and get in line for another pass and just come back in.  But please don’t park here!!  Yes Sir!!!  We left town and came back to Montrose where the Motorhome is parked.  They really don’t want us old folks in Telluride anyway!!


As we were buzzing around town today, I noticed even more Jeeps than in usual Colorado towns, so I started to take pictures of them.  Mostly just as proof that these things are everywhere out here.  I want the Jeep dealership in any town in this state.

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These last two pictures are as we were following a Jeep out of town, but when they pulled over at the check point where the three hour passes were issued, there were 5 Jeeps in a row.  Do these things multiply like rabbits?  Counting the five at the final picture, there are 14 of them pictured in these photos alone!

Oh, and one Jeep wana be.  LOL


Retired Rod