Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Fair Deal

Apache Junction, AZ   High 78   Low 54

After we got the Bungalow unloaded, Jim took the trailer back to the tire shop. They were really great about everything. (And no Jim doesn’t ever yell. That would be me.)

When they took it all apart they weren’t able to save the axle. It was done for. The service guy looked all over trying to find us an axle and finally found one with all the right parts in Mesa. So new axle, new hubs, new bearings and we also need two new tires. We are very blessed to have made it back down into the valley safely.

He and Jim were able to work a fair deal for both of us and the Bungalow is safely backed into her spot for the winter.

Our neighbors from Canada arrived today. They tangled with a tailgate on a pick up as they were pulling out of the park in Canada and then lost their air conditioner cover during a storm in Washington. Our neighbors at the end of the block had to have their hot water heater replaced this week. There is always something to be fixed or repaired on an RV.

Now that we are back and settled, you won’t be seeing very many blogs from me. I’ll post when something exciting happens or it’s time for an update.

The weather is perfect. The sun is shining. The girls are sunbathing on the warm rocks. Doesn’t get much better. At least for me. Jim will be happy once he gets the boat out on the water. Had a flat tire on the boat trailer and the carburetors need an overhaul but it should be good to go shortly.

Jim’s surgery is scheduled for November 9th so I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Moonlight in AJ


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

8 1/2 Hours

Apache Junction, AZ  High 87  Low 62

After leaving our free campground we drove through Las Vegas without even stopping and ended up in Kingman for the night. Then we headed towards Flagstaff and were greeted by this beautiful site. I have no idea what mountain it is but it’s sure pretty with all the snow on the top.

mountain snow2

At Flagstaff we headed south on I-17 towards Camp Verde. This was our neighbor’s truck in the RV park in Camp Verde. It’s a 1956 Ford Medium Duty truck on a 1959 Chassis. They pull their Montana fifth wheel with it.

56 Ford medium duty

From Camp Verde we only had about 130 miles back to AJ. A nice easy drive down the mountain. It was for about ten miles and then it came to an abrupt halt.

wheel bearingJim looked at his outside mirror and saw smoke. He immediately got us through traffic to the shoulder and went to check on it. He originally thought it was a tire but we lost the bearing on the left front tire of the Bungalow.

We contacted Coach Net, our roadside assistance about 8:20. They got out information and when they found out we were sitting on the side of the interstate, they sent out a Highway Patrol Officer to check on us and make sure we were safely off the road far enough. I thought that was really nice of them. We were parked at a terrible angle so we had to sit in the truck and only used the camper for those necessary things.

But it kind of went downhill from there. I don’t have any idea what the issue was, but it took almost five hours for the service guy to get out to us. One guy called and said it would be about an hour and a half. About that time, another guy called and said he was quite a ways from us and it would be another hour and a half before he could get to us. Their idea of an hour and a half are not the same as ours.

But he finally showed up and he and Jim crawled under the rig to see how much damage had been done to the axle. Jim saw the problem before we lost the wheel which was a majorly wonderful thing.

wheel bearing1

They determined that the axle didn’t have much damage and that only the bearings need to be replaced. Next problem – the service dude only had one bearing and we needed two. So off he went to find another bearing and we didn’t see him again for another hour and a half or so. Finally got back and we did a happy dance when we found out he was able to locate another bearing.

He replaced the bearings and 8 1/2 hours later we were able to get off the side of the road. By this time it was almost sunset and we were exhausted. We pulled into Sunset Point Rest Area for the night.

sunset point2

Thank goodness Jim is able to sleep through a lot of noise because the trucks were really noisy and I sure didn’t get much sleep.

We were up early the next morning and stopped for breakfast in Rock Springs. We felt we deserved it. Got back to the RV park about 10:30 and we were so happy to finally be home.

sisters The girls were fabulous. They knew something was wrong and didn’t bother us at all except when they desperately had to go. That was a problem for Skittlez because all the trucks going by scared her so she held it until she was desperate.

Took this picture of them at Sunset Point when they were both snuggled up together in their nest behind Jim’s chair.

We had all the bearings replaced and repacked on the Bungalow in May before we had planned on leaving AJ. Needless to say, Jim is going to take the trailer back and have a long talk with them. I’ll let you know what happens.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pahranagat NWR

Alamo, NV   High 78  Low 44

I promised you a post about a wonderful gem that we found but first I wanted to let you know we are back in Apache Junction. Not without some stress but that will also be another post.


So back to the gem. As I said previously, we weren’t impressed with the boondocking site in Ash Springs and headed further down the road. We got fuel in Alamo, NV and continued south on HWY 93.


We noticed a sign that showed RV camping and decided to check it out. So very glad we did.

Pahranagat NWR  - 5,382 acres of lakes, marshes, meadows and desert located on the Pacific Flyway (a major north-south migratory route). 264 bird species have been recorded on the refuge.


We drove down a dirt road for about two miles and wondered if we were ever going to find the campground. Finally saw a camp host site and stopped to check in. The camp host came out to greet us and found out she is from Columbia Falls, MT. She was excited to see a rig from Montana roll in.


The campsites are wonderful – looking out over the lake and marshland. Once again they are only recommended for RV’s under 30 feet. I am so glad we have our Bungalow which fits almost anywhere.

DSCN1433And best of all it was FREE. There are only 14 sites and four of them are for tents only. There is also one disabled spot. That leaves only 9 spots for RVs. When we left the next morning there was only one available spot. If you want to stay here you need to arrive early and in the middle of the week.



Friday, October 23, 2015

The Snowbirds Are Headed South

Ely, NV 

We pulled into Saguaro RV Park about noon and had the place almost to ourselves. Between 5 and 6 p.m. the RVs started to roll in. One right after the other. Completely filled up the park with many of the rigs coming in after dark. In fact, a couple of them rolled through about 9:30 at night looking for a spot. They ended up out in the parking lot boondocking.

In our seven years of being on the road we have never really been on a path that was taken by so many snowbirds. Just amazing to see all the rigs rolling toward the south.

When Jim was out walking Scooter, he met up with two couples from our park in Apache Junction. Small world. They are moving much faster than we are and will be in AJ before we get there.

We covered about 200 miles and ended up in Ely, NV at the Prospector’s Hotel, Casino, and RV park. We were going to just park at a casino here but we really need to dump and take on water. Once again the RVs started to roll in and the park was full.

We knew we were only going about 150 miles the next day so we got up and had a nice breakfast and Jim dumped the tanks before we pulled out around 10:30. Had to wait for almost 20 minutes at some road construction but other than that the journey was very pleasant.

We had thought we were going to boondock at Ash Springs, NV but were not impressed with the place and kept going further down the road. Sure am glad we did. I’ll tell you all about this wonderful gem in my next post.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Jackpot, NV   High 53  Low 42  Windy

We left Craters of the Moon in a fog. Literally.


I love how the clouds sit on the mountains.



Idaho roadblock


We were headed to Jackpot, NV for a couple of nights. Going to meet up with my sister and her hubby who are celebrating their wedding anniversary.

More clouds.


It sprinkled on us a few times but we never really had rain. Nice easy drive.

We stayed at Saguaro RV Park at Cactus Pete’s casino. It’s only $18 a night and offered basic cable. We had planned to dump while we were there but the water was turned off – no idea why and nobody could seem to tell us why – so we didn’t get that job done.

I only took one picture in Jackpot. Nothing to take pictures of and my sister hates to have her picture taken. 

the girls

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Peaks to Craters

Craters of the Moon – High 64  Low 44

DSCN1424 We have been to Craters of the Moon a couple of times but this was the first time we stayed in the campground. Once again we had no contact with the outside world which is really kind of nice but I did miss my cell phone.

We had a really nice pull thru site but the girls kept dragging in little black pieces of lava rock in their paws.


During our previous visits we were either rained on or snowed on. This time the skies were overcast but we didn’t get any rain until our last night.

There is a loop drive through the park and we are constantly amazed at the number of people who tear through the park and don’t take the time to enjoy the strange beauty of the landscape. We took our time exploring and pulled over every chance we got to let those folks roar on past.



These little white flowers grow everywhere and are called Dwarf Buckwheat.


Lava Cascades


How about a Halloween Tree?


We went into Arco and found a laundromat. Desperately needed to get some laundry done. We took Jan’s advise and did NOT eat at Pickle’s Place. We found a deli and had the best sandwiches. They were huge and we had enough for lunch the next day. Jim also ordered an Italian Soda and it was wonderful. I actually helped him finish it and I usually don’t drink anything but water.

If you have never visited this area, you should put it on your bucket list. It really is an volcanic wonderland.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Change is Inevitable

Rexburg, ID – I don’t remember what the temps were but it was nice.

Many years ago in 1967 I finally graduated from high school and headed off to college in Rexburg, ID. At that time the college was called Ricks College. The registrar thought that the enrollment that year would be about 3000 students and was very surprised when it was well over 3400. This made Ricks the largest two year college in the nation.

I found this picture on the internet of the college back in 1967. I lived in the fourth dorm in the upper left hand corner of the picture.

ricks 1967 I thought it would be fun to revisit this site where I spent nine months of my youth. Yep. It only took me nine months to figure out that I did not want to go to college any longer. I was ready to move on someplace more exciting than this small town in Idaho.

I couldn’t find the population for the town back in 1967 but it was probably around 6000 people. Today the city has over 30,000 folks living there. It has changed just a bit.

In 2001 Ricks college became BYU-Idaho and went from a two year college to a four year university. The enrollment has also increased greatly – 2015 enrollment showed 16,738 students on campus and 17,979 students enrolled online.

The changes were rather overwhelming and I didn’t recognize anything and didn’t take any pictures. I found this picture, taken this year, online.

ricks 2015

We had planned on staying at Beaver Dick Park and it looked wonderful when we drove out there. But when we got out of the truck the bugs were horrendous. Millions of them flying everywhere. Those of you who know me, know I don’t do well with bugs. (And that’s an understatement) It looks like a fantastic place for only $5 a night.

But we made the decision to try and find an RV park which was a difficult chore. Wakeside RV Park didn’t return my call, Thompson RV Park is closed for the season and that left Sheffield RV Park. The owner was really nice but we will never stay there again. The sites are really crammed together and very difficult to get into. It was hard to tell what was road and what was a site. Definitely not our kind of park.

We had planned on staying two nights but one night was enough and we headed on down the road to Craters of the Moon.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Robbers Roost

Ennis, MT  High 78  Low 31

We took a drive up to Virginia City and Nevada City. During the summer these two towns are really happening places but this time of year they are pretty much shut down.


Virginia City got its start when gold was discovered in Alder Gulch in 1863. Within a year, some 10,000 people were living in a number of mining camps lining the gulch.


Rapidly becoming the territory’s social center and transportation hub, the shanties and tents were replaced by permanent buildings and Virginia City became home to Montana’s first public school, newspaper, and telegraph.

During the summer, a train rums between the two towns.


As with most gold mining towns, as the gold ran out the towns were deserted and most fell into ruin. Captivated by the historic city, Charles and Sue Bovey began to raise money for preservation, collected artifacts, bought buildings which they preserved, and reconstructed others which had been destroyed.  Nevada City which had been almost totally obliterated by dredge mining, was entirely rebuilt.


In 1997 the Montana Legislature voted to purchase the Bovey properties in both Virginia City and Nevada City. The Montana Heritage Commission was formed to manage the properties.

Robbers Roost

Pete Daly built a roadhouse here in 1863 which became a hangout for Montana’s most notorious criminal gang – the “Innocents” – which was led by Henry Plummer, the Sheriff of Bannock and Virginia City.


Definitely time for us to move further south.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ennis, MT

Ennis, MT  High 78  Low 31


Jim needed to get a two day fishing license so we headed into town to grab some lunch and a license.

ennis1We stopped at the Yesterday’s Soda Fountain. Jim had a club sandwich and I had a cold roast beef sandwich. They were okay. We each brought half home with us and had them for lunch the next day on our good bread. Made all the difference in the world.

We thought their idea to protect their wood floor was very creative.


Jim got his license and we decided to stop in Willie’s Distillery.


This is from their website:

We knew we wanted to make whiskies and brandies, and a few specialty spirits, so we sought out one of the finest small batch stills in the world. Our still is handcrafted out of copper, and hand-hammered to create more surface area to react with our spirits vapors. Since we specialize in whiskey which has a lot of flavor to it, copper was an important element to the design, as it reacts with unpleasant tasting compounds, allowing the better flavor to shine through. The still comes from Germany.

They have a tasting room and offer such selections as Montana Moonshine, Bighorn Bourbon Whiskey, and Huckleberry Sweet Cream Liqueur.


Definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Free Is Good

Ennis, MT   High 74  Low 31

We still had some wind to contend with on our 88 mile jaunt to Meadow Lake Campground on Ennis Lake. This is a free campground right on the lake.

We followed the Madison River down through the valley. If you are a trout fisherperson, this is the place to be. There are campgrounds everywhere along the river and some of the best fly fishing in the world.


The fields are alive with the sound of pronghorns. This is only a small portion of the herd.


At Norris Junction, we saw this advertisement for a radio station.


DSCN1347 The Meadow Lake Campground is about eight miles north of Ennis. There’s a two mile drive down a washboard county rode and if you meet a cattle hauler coming from the other direction, you back up and pull over on the shoulder as far as you can.


It is well worth the drive. However, it is not big rig friendly. Jim figures 32’ would be the longest that would fit.


Watching the sun go down behind the mountains made for a beautiful contrast between shadow and light.


Lots of mule deer wandering through the campground.


In the morning we were awakened by the sound of shotguns. It’s duck hunting season here in the valley.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Leaving Billings Until Next Year

Livingston, MT  High 74  Low 45

Saturday Billings shattered their previous high record when the temperature reached 92. That’s in October. Also heard that the Phoenix area is having some record hot days also – in the low 100’s. That is not normal for October. Then on Sunday we had WIND and more WIND. They recorded a 70 mph gust at the airport. Sure was glad we were tucked in next to the house which helped block some of the wind.

We visited with Vaughn on Sunday and he was awake and alert, at least for a few minutes. We left him drifting back off to sleep on his cushion of pain killers.

This morning, Monday, we pulled out of Todd’s driveway and headed west to Livingston (a total of 120 miles). Still had some wind to contend with so that was far enough for us. We’re dry camping at the Livingston Fairgrounds for free (electric is $20). Not a bad deal.


Tomorrow is another 88 miles southwest to Ennis. That should be a beautiful drive.

Sunrise in Livingston.