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Midwest Journey - 2011
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Entrance to Churchill Downs
Friday, June 10, 2011: Today we spent the whole day touring Churchill Downs, the location of the Kentucky Derby. The 2011 Kentucky Derby was the 137 running of the race. Only 3 year old colts are allowed to run in this race so a horse gets only one chance at the Derby. With the entrance fee to the museum you get a historic tour of the facilities. Gwen and I have visited the horse races in Grants Pass, Oregon, our home town and enjoyed the experience. In Grants Pass, the horses are quarter horses. In Kentucky at the Churchill Downs, thoroughbreds are raced. The race is run once each year and lasts only a fraction over 2 minutes yet it is bigger than the NFL Super bowl in Kentucky. Over 160,000 spectators attended this year. Churchill Downs has created a wonderful museum where they have done a great job of creating the Kentucky Derby experience for people like us who have never attended. This included the historic tour and a 360 degree movie of the Kentucky Derby experience. We also included lunch at the Derby Cafe as part of our day which included a Mint Julep and commemorative glass.
The start of the Kentucky Derby inside the museum
Our tour guide to the historic Churchill Downs Just outside the Paddock area at Churchill Downs
Inside the grandstand Our Mint Julip with commemorative glass
Racing was happening today We were fortunate on this Friday. Races continue at Churchill Downs and as we were walking to the admissions booth a Kentucky gentleman handed us two Box tickets which gave us a better view of the race in the shade without paying the admission fee. We've seen the quarter horses run at Grants Pass Downs in Grants Pass, Oregon. Now we've experienced a thoroughbred race and we could see the speed difference. This was another great day in Kentucky learning about the traditions of "Kentuckians". Click on any photo for additional views.
Sunday, June 12, 2011: Today was moving day from Kentucky to Indiana. We drove a bit more than 100 miles to Anderson about 30 miles northeast of Indianapolis. We actually have a purpose for making Anderson our Indiana destination. We were not very impressed with our Mexican dental cleaning so we researched hygienist schools and found one in Anderson. We made an appointment more than a month ago knowing Anderson would be in our route to northern Indiana. The good news was the $20 fee for the cleaning. We were informed NOT to expect the usual one hour cleaning. The college secretary assured us we would have a thou rough cleaning but expect to be in the chair as long as 4 hours since this was for training. The instructor must inspect the procedure each step of the cleaning. Our first campsite in Indiana, Mounds State Park in Anderson, IN
The White River looks pretty muddy

Monday, June 13, 2011: The southern charm and hospitality is gone. This was our first day in Indiana, we are now in solid Yankee country. In 1847 my great ... grandparents left Indiana and used the Oregon Trail arriving in Brownsville, Oregon in 1848. They were given 640 acres of land which I've walked over. So far, I don't see the reason to leave Indiana but in 1847 a good life and land may have been hard to come by and Oregon promises must have been very attractive. Indiana doesn't have the southern hospitality we experienced in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and even Kentucky (one of the states which struggled choosing sides during the Civil War). So far, both Gwen and I have noticed a difference in the way people look (it looks like depression or anger to me). There is also a difference in how "Yankees" speak to us.

Southerners have a way of talking which immediately makes you feel like they are your friend. To be fair, the first people I met after driving from Texas into Louisiana were two ladies who drove up in their car beside me in a mall parking lot. They asked for "gas money".

On a 25 mile bike ride this morning I crossed the White River which flows through Anderson then on through Indianapolis. The "White River" looks pretty muddy to me. The rivers in Oregon are clear except after a rain storm. Maybe that's enough reason to leave Indiana for Oregon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011: So while visiting Indiana a must-see for us is the Lucas Oil Stadium where the Colts play football. This is probably as close as we will ever get to a real NFL football game. The colts (Payton Manning) is one of our favorite teams. We did see where the Tennessee Titans play ball while visiting Nashville but it's just not the same thing. When we arrived at the stadium we learned of a tour happening after lunch. We decided to visit Shapiros Deli which was recommended by the Colt Pro Shop staff. As it turned out, Shapiros is a cafeteria style deli where you choose from a long display area and pay for each item. The seating was more cafeteria style too. The food was great and deserved the recommendation. We returned to the stadium to meet our guide. We began the tour on the field which is actually 25 feet below street level. This field is artificial turf with a base of sand and bits of old tires. The feel of the turf is "spongy" and we learned it is softened with downy and sprayed with anticeptic after each game. Next we walked into the visiting team's locker room knowing the football stars of every other NFL team has used this room. Gwen even tried out the shower room. Click any of these photos for additional views including Gwen in the shower room. Next we took the elevator to the Quarterback Suites. These are exclusive leather viewing suits with a private lounging area for food and drink. The fee is about $25,000 for three years which includes two seats. Driving through downtown Indianapolis to reach the Lucas Oil Stadium where the Colts play football
Lunch before our tour we had lunch at Shiparos Deli. A cafeteria style deli recommended by Colt staff. Our tour guide walked us through the stadium.
The visiting team locker room and shower room. The Quarterback suits
One of the huge windows is open Just inside the entrance
The Colts Pro Shop Before returning to the Pro Shop, we took the elevator again to the press room which hangs over the field at about the 50 yard line. What a view. We returned to the street level and walked through the refreshment area of the stadium (for the normal - paying fans). On the way to the elevator we saw the "Instant Replay" room which is a high security room. The operator of the room is locked into the room during a game. Be sure to click the Pro Shop photo to the left to see a view of the secure door for instant replay. The only thing that would make this tour better would be here during game day. We'll have to save up for that experience.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011: This is the day we have been planning for a couple of months, our day with Ivy Tech Community College where hygienists are trained. Our 9 am appointment was right on time. Gwen and I had our own student hygienist. The students were very thorough spending more than two hours in "assessment" and measurement. We both felt comfortable and the students are professional. Ivy Tech is doing a good job. Click the Ivy Tech college photo for a sign of their dental services. Ivy Tech Community College, Anderson Campus
Gwen with Hygenist student Karen Gwen and Karen pose for a photo toward the end of the session. The sun glasses were provided to reduce the glare of the lights since we had such a long session. The services here remind me of the dental assistant training lab at my community college in Medford. Unfortunately our plans did not work as we had hoped. Our cleaning session ended at the assessment and another session was required to finish. So if you choose to try visiting a training facility, be sure to ask for the number of session needed for completion and make all the appointments at the time of the inquiry. We will do our best to return if we can get completion in June, we will be nearby for that long.
Our HughesNet satellite Internet system has been unstable for quite a few weeks. I've received suggestions from other satellite Internet users. They suggested replacing the transmitter and power supply. I've done both and the system hasn't improved. I'm faced with calling HughesNet support which means talking to India. In the past, they have been helpful but it generally takes 1 to 7 days to get to a proper fix. So my goal for today was to talk with support after lunch at Steak and Shake so we could use their free WiFi to upload yesterday's pages. When I arrived back at our campsite I decided to re-point the dish but the system was so unstable, I could not get a signal until it was too late in the day to try support. I'll have to save the call until later. It has taken so long to make the call because we spent so many months in the trees I thought it might be the wind blowing tree limbs into the path of the signal. During the camping days where we had a clear view of the southern sky, we didn't have a cell signal. Finally, we have both a cell signal and clear view of the southern sky, but I'm not sure I'll have time to make the call before we leave on Friday. We'll see how it goes. Dale at Steak and Shake getting free WiFi since our system is so unstable.
California Strawberries in Indiana

Thursday, June 16, 2001: Hurray for the trucking industry (although this is not "green" thinking). The grocery stores in Indiana have plenty of fresh strawberries and they are coming from California. The price for a pound is $2 about the same as Oregon except for Winco Foods when they are usually $1/lb this time of year.

I spent most of this day on the phone to HughesNet support trying to get my system repaired. Even "advanced" support did not know what the problem might be. They are scheduling a "technician" to visit me.

Friday, June 17, 2011: Today was moving day, north to Middlebury, Indiana. That's the middle of Indiana Amish country. We seen more one horse buggies today than we've seen our whole lives. We've come to this part of Indiana to get a slide repair on our fifth wheel. Fox RV Repair has been recommended as folks who are experts on the Cameo and they should be since Carriage manufacturing is located only 10 miles to the south. Fox does not work on Friday or the weekend but they have allowed us to park in their lot until our 8am Monday morning appointment. Click the photo to see our location. We did a little exploring after arriving today of the tiny town of Middlebury. We found a nice hardware store where I bought a wood train for my granddaughter. We have made it to Amish Country
I've not seen marbles for sale since I was a kid
Parked at the grocery store

I also notice a display of marbles. I've not seen marbles for sale since the 1950s. Apparently, the folks around here like to make games of wood which require marbles as game pieces. Only 10¢ for the regular marble.

There are hitching posts everywhere. The hitching post at the left is at the grocery store. Click the photo to see a rear view of the buggies. Note they have an Indiana, non-motorized vehicle license so they are paying a small amount of road tax. They also must have a battery system since they have tail lights and running lights. Look at the rear axle, I believe they have drum brakes on the rear axle. I've seen no more than a one horse buggy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011: Next door to Fox RV repair (where we are camped) is a shed and cart store. Morgan and I visited the store today to take photos of the braking system of the horse carts. Pressing the peddle moves a rod which pulls a band around a brake drum. Click the brake lever to see the drum mechanism. This is a simple braking method for carts. The carriage braking system seems to be more like a traditional drum brake system. The brake for a horse drawn cart
Free home made ice cream for Dads today While driving through Middlebury today looking for ice, we came across "The Ice Box" with "home made ice cream". As it turns out, the ice cream was free today because it's Father's Day. Yummy good.

Monday, June 20, 2011: The most important happening today was the repair of the uncooperative living room slide plus a few minor repairs at Fox RV in Middlebury, Indiana. I'll post more later about that. While the repair was happening, Gwen and I visited Menno-Hof where we learned about the Amish and Mennonite history and culture in America. Here we are in Amish/Mennonite country. Both groups are descendants of Anabaptists as are several other groups. An Anabaptist believes in adults choosing baptism rather than infant baptism. This movement began in the 14th century and resulted in serious persecution from the Catholic church. The persecution continued in several European areas which brought the groups to America. The Amish remain strict in avoiding anything which may separate them from God including automobiles and electricity while the Mennonites don't feel threatened by the automobile and public utilities. So it is the Amish which use the buggies, not the Mennonites. Both cultures do not believe in violence (war) to protect themselves or others. The Amish have no communication with outside world. No TV or Radio and no telephones inside the home (apparently they will use a telephone booth). Life is centered around farm, family and community with most of their time spent

Menno-Hof to learn about the Amish and Mennonite cultures
working the farm then socializing and worshipping within the family and community. The culture I'm a part of is more interested in acquiring new "things" where the Amish retain a simple life without the need for things and see "service" to others as more important. Their story was interesting and the struggles before coming to America were very real. Be sure to read Gwen's report.

We have moved to the Goshen County Fairground. We have power for Air Conditioning, otherwise a wide open lawn area to park, one of our favorite ways to park. Lots of room for Morgan and Annie to play. Click the photo and you'll see what I mean.

Visiting the Shipshewana Flea Market Tuesday, June 21, 2011: Tuesday and Wednesday are the only two days the Shipshewana Flea Market is open for business. Since we are in the middle of Amish country, I was expecting country handicrafts but I was disappointed to see it was exactly the same junk as the Arizona Marketplace. I say "junk" but if you happen to be looking for something specific, you will likely find it here cheaper. Gwen was interested in bird feeders, those below were made locally. I also spotted clothes drying units which we use while traveling. We didn't buy anything except some locally made "Pumpkin Butter" which I intend to bring to my Father. Be sure to click the photos for additional views, especially the auto parking lot, the photo behind it is the Amish parking lot.
Birdfeeders made locally Lots of parking for those attending the fleamarket
Wednesday, June 22, 2011: This was a "utility" day. I delivered the Dodge to the dealer for repairs by 7 am, then spent the rest of the morning with the HughesNet repair person. I will have to return the Dodge to the dealer tomorrow to complete the repair to the air conditioning. The HughesNet system seems to be working but VERY slowly. After lunch, we packed up and moved only a few miles to Millersburg, Indiana where our Cameo was built. The Carriage factory has an RV park where we can camp for free then take a tour of the factory. We'll do that tomorrow just before returning to the Dodge dealer. Camped at the Carriage factory RV park
First item of the day, a tour of the Carriage manufacturing plant Thursday, June 23, 2011: The first item on our list today was a tour of the Carriage factory where our Cameo was built in 2007, they are currently building the 2012 models. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed. I found the tour to be very informative and made me feel really good about our Cameo choice even though we've had some problems as I've detailed in my annual reviews. Some nice changes have happened since our 2007 model but we aren't ready to trade ours in yet. In the four years we've lived full time in our RV our minds have changed about the type of unit we would prefer and in a few of the options we would choose. I'll talk about that in the 2011 annual review. The quality and warranty of the Carriage models is worth the extra money.
Carriage fifth wheel brands lined up ready to ship
After the tour and lunch, I drove the Dodge back to the Goshen Dodge dealer to complete the repair to the air conditioning. While at the service department I walked to McDonalds for their free WiFi to download the new update to our GPS maps. I knew the file was large and our Internet system is pathetically slow. I first check McDonalds Internet speed and learned it was only 600K download speed... NOT fast enough for a large file. I walked across the street to Martin's Market because they have a very nice cafe with upstairs seating with free WiFi. Their speed was 2.5 Mbps (megabits per second). Fast enough for the file I needed. They also have a Starbucks so you get to see me upstairs overlooking the fruits and vegetables with my Starbucks Mocha and my GPS plugged into my laptop. Using free WiFi at the local market
The Amish park at Wal-Mart ... a garage built especially for them
As it turns out, I was able to download the file but was one minute shy of updating the GPS maps before my laptop battery went dead. I forgot to bring my AC power supply with me. I finished the map update later at home. After paying for the AC repair, I drove to Wal-Mart for new windshield wipers. The carriage garage above was built by Wal-Mart especially for their Amish customers. No doubt the horses appreciate this on a hot day and it was pouring rain when I returned to my truck. Note: one carriage with a utility trailer and the carriage next to that is a "pickup style". The two Amish ladies just arrived and exited their carriage as I walked the parking lot to take the photo.
Saturday, June 25, 2011: When you think about a recreational vehicle, it almost seems silly to tow around 16,000 pounds (in our case) behind the tow vehicle in order to have a place to eat and sleep where ever we might travel. My first experience was seeing my grandparents travel the USA in their 1956 Airstream. My grandparents made it seem like trailer travel (they weren't called "RVs" in those days) was a science. I remember the Airstream as comfortable living. Now I look at it as a chore. It had no holding tanks, one propane lantern only a very simple AC electrical system and no air conditioning. Seeing how the RV evolved from 1913, it was easy to understand how their 1956 Air Stream was far superior to anything else in those days. There have been many improvements, most in convenience and many made possible by the improvements to the tow vehicle. In our tour of the Carriage manufacturing plant we learned that the "Big Foot" leveling system has replaced the front jacks and the rear stabilizers found on our fifth wheel. That system automatically levels the fifth wheel with the push of a button eliminating the need to drive up onto leveling blocks or jockey back and forth looking for the most level parking location. It almost makes our 2007 fifth wheel into an antique and easy to understand the years of improvements we saw in the museum. Still, Gwen and I agreed, any of the models in the room, even the 1913 model, would be better than camping in a tent. Click any photo for additional views. The RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum
The museum has RV from 1913

So why tow your house with you when it would be less expensive to rent a motel room. For us, it's the idea that this is our "home". We prefer to park in one location for at least two weeks and sometimes longer before moving to the next location. Our home has everything in its place, familiar objects and comforts, the bed we are use to, home-cooked meals and everything arranged just the way we like it. Sometimes it seems cheaper (but really isn't) like these last few days camped for free in the factory courtesy campground. It is possible to camp for $10 at National Forest and Corp of Engineers campgrounds. Also, you can't forget something "at home" because our home is always with us.

Towed by a Model T

This one has a rear observation deck One of the ugliest models
Parked at the Anderson, Indiana Elks Club Sunday, June 26, 2011: We are on the move again. This time back to Anderson, Indiana to complete our Hygienist experiment tomorrow morning. Then we will be moving nearly every day. My Father has not been well the last couple of weeks so we have decided to head west to central California to assist my Mother and two sisters with watching over him. The next several days will be lots of miles. We looked at the map and found the distance to Boise, Idaho (where Gwen will visit her grandchildren) is more than 1,800 miles. Then it will be another 600 miles from Boise to central California. We will be doing that mileage quickly, not the type of travel we like to do but now that the decision has been made, we need to stay focused on the objective. We'll pick up our Midwest Journey some other year.

Monday, June 27, 2011: We were right on time for our Monday morning Hygienist appointment at Ivy Tech Community College. You've met Gwen's student hygienist Karen, Cherish is my student hygienist. Both were very professional and Gwen and I feel we have the cleanest teeth in all of Indiana. We believe they are ready for work but they still have another year to complete their preparation.

Our experiment with hygienists in training has been successful. We can high recommend finding a training facility for your care if you are away from home. Just be sure you understand how many sessions are needed. The fee in our case was only $20 each. Mine included "bite-wing" X-rays which I was able to take with me.

Dale and student Hygienist Cherish
Elks #20 in Peoria, IL Tuesday, June 28, 2011: We spent the night of the 27th at the Elks Club in Peoria, Illinois. The next day we drove Interstate 74 until we reached Interstate 80 at Davenport, Iowa. We will be seeing a lot of I-80 as we head west. The Illinois and Iowa farmers grow more than corn and soybeans, also electricity from wind energy. Click the wind turbines to see our Tuesday night campsite near the Kings.
The view we will see for the next 5 - 6 days Wind generators in the middle of Illinois
Wednesday, June 29, 2011: So long to Janet and Ralph. We've spent move than six months traveling together. They are headed to South Dakota while we are returning to California. We have whizzed through Illinois and half of Iowa. What great fun we had together. We'll have to return to these states and South Dakota too. Today, we passed through the rest of Iowa on Interstate 80 heading west and stopped at Fort Kearney, Nebraska. That's another state we will want to return. No doubt we could have found a boondock site but the temperature is in the 90s so we want our air conditioning. Click the photo to see our shady Fort Kearney campsite. We say good-bye to the Kings
Sierra Trading Post headquarters in Cheyenne, WY Thursday, June 30, 2011: After leaving Des Moines we drove through Iowa and into Wyoming. On the way, we stopped in Gothenburg, Iowa because they advertised a authentic Pony Express station. They had a very nice city park with the Pony Express station as the center of attraction. It had been moved from 2 miles south to this location at the city park. A station keeper greeted us and invited us to bring Morgan into the station. We chose the Terry Bison Ranch RV park for the night in Cheyenne ... as it turned out, it was
Rainbow over our Cheyenne RV Park

100 yards from the freeway and 200 yards from the railroad track. It was only $18 for full hook-ups but too noisy for us. We did have dinner at their restaurant with the promise of real buffalo. We took off the next day looking for someplace quiet to spend the weekend of the fourth.

We passed a Pony Express station on the way to Cheyenne

Friday, July 1, 2011: We left the noisy Terry Bison Ranch RV for a boondock location near the Lincoln Memorial only 36 miles distant, about 10 miles east of Laramie. When we got close we saw a "campground" sign, exited I-80 to check out the campground. It was a Forest Service campground with paved sites but nothing else. It would be $5 with our Senior Access passes. We left our fifth wheel in a space. One neighbor was running a contractor generator while the other neighbor was using a chainsaw. We drove on to the monument, only 6 miles down the road. All the campgrounds in the monument area were closed so we drove down a gravel road and found several boondock locations along the ridge overlooking Laramie in the valley below. We drove back to the campground which was now full, picked up our trailer and drove back to our campsite. No neighbors, no worry about letting Morgan and Anne outside to run around the hills. The site was perfect except for ONE thing. Click on the photo to see what I'm talking about. Yes, those pesky little things all over my jeans are mosquitoes. I took the photo while I was setting my the satellite dish. When I saw the clouds of mosquitoes I immediately changed into long pants, socks, long sleeve shirt and hat which covered my ears and most of my head. I sprayed the rest of me with repellant. It all seemed to work except the socks, those little buggers could get through my socks so I sprayed them with repellant too. Still, it's quiet (not like the chainsaw and generator) except for the buzzing. We are at 8,700 feet and have a great view of the valleys. Our campsite at the highest point off Interstate 80, 10 miles east of Laramie, WY
Little America Wyoming, a fancy truck stop and travelers oasis

Monday, July 4, 2011: Still traveling west on Interstate 80. Today we covered the state of Wyoming from Laramie to Evanston, a bit over 300 miles. What a state! We will have to return sometime. This is probably a good place to boondock for the summer months the same way we spend our winter months in Arizona. We stopped for lunch in Little America in the middle of western Wyoming on I-80. They had free WIFI and 50¢ ice cream cones plus a good turkey burger for me. We planned to stay at the Bear River State Park in Evanston only to learn that it is day-use only. We were completely out of water so with water, we could camp anywhere. Fortunately, the rest stop next to the state park had water. Evanston also has a Walmart so we decided to try our first WM camp-out. I asked for permission and was told the area next to the garden center would suit us best. After stopping, I checked for a WIFI signal and found none. Wendy's was 150 yards from our camp location so I walked there and asked about WIFI. They "think" they have it and gave me a password in case it worked. I'll try it later tonight. I-80 is only 150 yards so this will be an "earplug" night. Click either photo for additional views.
Our first Wal-Mart campout, Evanston, Wyoming

Tuesday, July 5, 2011: We left Wyoming early this morning on our way to Salt Lake City, Utah to pick up Gwen's grandchildren. They were visiting an aunt so we got the pleasure of returning them to Boise, Idaho. The ski jump is as close as we got to Park City, Utah just before Salt Lake. It was a wonderful, overcast day for traveling until we got into Idaho and the skies cleared making the temperatures soar. We have spent the first half of the year in the south and east of the Mississippi River. The states are green with a heavy tree canopy, humid, sometimes buggy with many busy little towns scattered around. Now we are back into the west with wide open spaces and the towns are much further apart and sometimes not well defined as are the little towns of the east. I really enjoyed our travels through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois and hope to return. But there is nothing like the western states for lots of sun, mountains and open spaces. We especially appreciated the hospitality of the folks in the southern states. We arrived in Boise late in the afternoon and found our favorite Meridian RV park had be turned into a KOA. We NEVER stay at a KOA because they are always $10 - $20 more than they are worth. Since it was late, we had little choice but we'll look around. As close as we got to Park City, Utah as we drove by ... the Olympic ski jump
Traveling into Idaho on the Oregon Trail Gwen, her son David, his wife Char, and her two grandchildren, Melanie and Jake
Our favorite grocery store Wednesday, July 6, 2011: After a 30 mile ride this morning found on Map My Ride we had lunch then off to WinCo Foods. We think this is the best grocery in the nation (so far). They have the best prices, selection, bulk food, good fresh vegetables and open 24 hours. It's been nearly a year since we last visited a WinCo. We did find other Grocery stores we enjoyed such as Kroger Foods but no match for WinCo. I spent the rest of the afternoon installing supporting air shocks for two storage doors (I'll detail this later). The grand kids and son David returned for dinner. Everyone thought the trailer was too warm so after dinner we headed to Dairy Queen for ice cream then about 1-1/2 hours of card playing in the DQ lobby.
Monday, July 11, 2011: Saturday was our travel day from Boise to Verdi, Nevada. This was our lunch stop in the middle of no where on the border with Nevada and Oregon traveling US-95 south. The photo behind this one is of the Steens mountain range, a fabulous range alone in eastern Oregon. You are seeing the eastern side of the range with the Alvord desert at the base. The range rises to more than 10,000 feet. We visited a couple of years ago. This day we ended up spending more time parked on I-80 than traveling due to a tire blow-out. I'm slowly catching up with posts, I've been extremely busy with family. I'll post more as I can. Lunch in the middle of no where
Rear right side trailer tire blows Tuesday, July 12, 2011: During our Saturday travel day, the right rear trailer tire blew at 16 miles west of Winnemucca, Nevada on Interstate 80. We experienced blow outs on our King of the Road fifth wheel but never on our Cameo. I can change a tire in about 30 minutes but I don't have the greatest equipment to do it. Click the photo and you will see why it would not help to change the tire. A shackle broke during the blow-out. We called AAA and offered to send a photo of the shackle which needed replacement. The service
man couldn't receive the photo (although both his drivers sent to "save" us COULD have received the photo. They sent a large semi truck and flat bed trailer to transport us but as soon as the driver saw what was needed he said it would be easier to just fix the problem in-place. He drove off saying he would send a "service truck". Robbie arrived in the service truck with custom made shackles but the holes were drilled too small ... he left to redrill the holes. He was able to complete the repair with shackles then mounted the spare. The tire blew at 1 pm Saturday afternoon and we were on the road again at 7:30 pm, 6.5 hours on the side of I-80. I calculate we would have saved 1.5 hours had Wayne, the boss and first person we talked to be able to receive the photo I was prepared to send. Robbie fixes the problem
Chloe makes it all worth while Wednesday, July 13, 2011: On Sunday, I was able to spend the entire day with my grand daughter in Reno. What a treat, she has grown and changed much in the nine months since visiting last. It took her most of the day to get use to my visit but I was part of the family by the end of the day and on Monday morning.
Thursday, July 14, 2011: I purchased the trailer tires at Discount Tires in Yuma, Arizona in January. Unfortunately there is no Discount Tire in California but American Tires are here, the "sister" store. I stopped in Roseville, CA on the way to Lodi, CA (our destination). American tire measured the depth of the tread and agreed to replace the blow tire at no charge. I also paid to replace the remaining tire on that side since it took the whole load after the blow-out and was likely damaged. My experience with the King of the Road blow out ... the remaining tire blew-out only a few days after the first. American Tires also took the information to provide reimbursement for the repairs needed to the trailer. I have two new tires on the right side of the trailer. New tires installed
Our campsite in Lodi, CA Friday, July 15, 2011: Our destination is Lodi, California where my parents own a home with a large enough driveway to fit our fifth wheel. My Father's health has been slowly improving and with hard work, I expect he will be sufficiently mobil again to continue with his favorite activities. Lodi is in central California, the San Joaquin Valley, which can be very hot in the summer months and foggy during the winter months. The area is known of wine grapes plus other agricultural products. Every Thursday evening the main downtown street is closed and then occupied by farmers and crafts vendors for a farmers market. Our "campsite" is only about 25 feet from a four lane major road in Lodi but we still sleep soundly using ear plugs. Click the photo to see the campsite from the rear.
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