Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Home, Sweet Home

Usually, I’m fighting for full sun. With hookups and seasonally high temperatures, that quest has reversed.

The day went like clockwork despite uncomfortably high temperatures and humidity. After an hour of unbridled joy at the dentist’s office, I got to see my son and his bride as well as a grandson and new-to-me granddaughter who smiles incessantly, at least until it’s naptime. Absconding with way too much mail and packages of stuff I’ve ordered for repair and replacement, I took off to load up on groceries and pick up an inline water filter.

Then it was off to Lehman’s Lakeside RV Resort in greater metropolitan Marengo. Since the Fourth of July weekend is coming up, finding a spot to stay for a month straight was Read more…

Classic Motoring

Now in my “staging area” for a swift strike at my dentist’s office an hour away tomorrow morning, today’s drive would have been four hours, but wound up being closer to five due to my inability to find diesel fuel in eastern Iowa that isn’t biodiesel. Not that I’m against biodiesel on principle or anything. It’s just that the Mighty Furd can’t abide by anything over 5% biodiesel, or the excess will accelerate how quickly the DPF clogs. That’s a quirk of the 2008-2010 series. I used to accept biodiesel as an unavoidable random chance event, but I’m making more of an effort now to avoid it. On the western half of this trip, the Furdster was going into regen mode several times a tankful, which is unusual. But I had done a lot of idling down trails and such. Today was the first day of a clear run, and mileage also happened to pop up from a very good 15.5 to a superb 16.5 MPG. I’d like to attribute it to some very pricey Amsoil additive I just started using, one which claims to improve combustion enough to reduce the number of regens, which in turn would prolong the life of the expensive DPF. But two days of use and one day of improvement do not a trend make. (As of 2011, true Ford diesels were made able to accept up to 20% biodiesel, as I’m sure all other brands were.)

About that Classic Motoring title – remember the old days, when you’d open the car’s windows on a hot day, and maybe pop the floor vents open, the ones near the Read more…

A Stitch Not in Time

Just a travel update. During today’s run, the Mighty Furd feigned normality very well. Odds are that the cooling fan clutch has gone bye-bye, since the fan itself remains surprisingly lazy and hasn’t made its usual obnoxious roar on cue since in New Mexico last year, on the way to Yuma. At least I think so. It’s harder to recall a customary event by its absence. It seems that the Furd’s cooling system, rather generously-sized to accommodate the extra heat occasionally put out during regeneration mode to clear the diesel particulate filter, simply doesn’t need a radiator fan unless it’s towing big, and/or heading up a long, steep grade. But I’m not of a mind to put off repairing it for long, since I’m also not of a mind to encounter a repeat performance on the extra-long trip back toward Yuma. I opened the hood to look for any disconnected connectors, but that was a wasted effort, what with all the tightly-packed clutter. Unbelievable. What an unholy mess!

My error today was in not double-checking the distances involved in the travel itinerary. The “commute” section of the trip back to Illinois was a copy-&-paste from an earlier tour. Unfortunately, that schedule had a hole in it, an accidental Read more…

I’m Giving Her All She’s Got, Captain!

Adventure comes wherever it will. Sometimes whether you want it or not. East of Dillon on I-70 is a climb that bests all others. I mean, it goes up for what must be at least a dozen miles, and it’s relentless. I have apparently never been on this stretch of I-70, because it’s new to me.

After a pleasant and tasty breakfast at Mountain Lyon Cafe, it was a short jaunt to the Interstate and points east. With a few miles under my belt, the climb started out innocently enough. Then you eventually notice that you’ve been passing 35 MPH semis and RVs of various types for an unusually long time. Set on cruise at a mere 65, the Intrepid hurls past with throttle to spare. The turbo boost gauge is about as high as I’ve ever seen it on cruise control, and is holding steady. With the coolant and transmission gauges per usual, I concentrate on lane usage ahead of me. Wow, this thing is really long! So glad I have a Read more…

Le Koroc Houseboat

I came across the above platform and wanted to document it before the temporary churn of travel chaos makes me unable to locate it again. I had once looked into building a pontoon-based houseboat as an alternative to a travel trailer, which tends to result in a very nice hovel on water, and a fairly impractical one on land. My own stumbling blocks with the concept itself (besides being unaffordable and unworkable for construction time) were how to easily add a third pontoon to help with the prodigious weight that must be dealt with, how to minimize overall weight on top of the platform, and how to obtain said pontoons compartmentalized for safety. Aluminum pontoons can and do fail, albeit rarely, immediately capsizing and inverting the craft in the water. This can trap the occupant(s) underwater. Almost-firsthand knowledge. I had to abandon this alternative quickly, but I do like the idea.

So here’s one Frenchy-speak Quebec guy who builds complete rigs (for uber-dinero, no doubt) that should get you dreaming. He does so though his company, Diagno. Apparently, cedar is the wood to go with due to its comparatively light weight. This particular sample has a 26′ length, 13′ of which is cabin, and it’s meant for fishing, not living in. At 5,600 pounds, it’s workable for transport. Add more cabin, and the weight goes up. Check out the 6-1/2 minute video below!

Jefferson, Colorado

Jefferson, a likable little town.

At the Junction of US Highway 285 and County 77 or Tarryall Road lies Jefferson. In spite of its ultra-Spartan nature with just a few businesses and a church, it’s affable. One shop I stopped in was a catch-all similar to what gas stations now sell, with the addition of some dinette tables and chairs to make a cafe of sorts – and there were quite a few people seated. The cheif cook and bottle washer had to handle all the cafe and the front counter as well, but seemed relaxed about it. Everyone seemed to know everyone.  Next door was a sort of Read more…

The Reluctant Prepper

I took this with a telephoto backed off all the way in order to show what this view looks like to me instead of a camera lens that pushes it far away.

“Prepper” as in getting ready to leave Pike National Forest. I haven’t been able to get out much due to weird sinus issues, so it feels kinda early to do errands back in Frisco and Dillon tomorrow. Then I’ll overnight in Dillon again, hopefully where I did before. Friday morning, I head for North Platte, Nebraska to begin “the commute”. That normally involves driving 3-4 hours each day, starting late and ending mid-afternoon, where I can do as I like wherever I’m parked. This trip, it will be with a twist. If the mid-nineties forecasts hold true, those afternoons will Read more…

A Change of Heart

This is a long post, but it’s an account of the exploits of one 24-hour period.

All it took was one full day of 98-degree temperatures at Valley of the Gods, followed by a 10 PM reading of 93 to convince me that this tourist business ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. By 5 AM, it was 69 degrees. The rest of the week was forecast to imitate that. That’s the time when you do a little soul-searching. About 30 seconds’ worth is plenty, I’d say. Oh, I was careful to get a quasi-group thing going. After all, it wasn’t just for my comfort – such heat makes bread get moldy quickly, and badly shortens the overall service life of batteries like mine. And the fridge was not holding temps very well.

A planned overnight north of Moab followed by a half-week a Grand Junction, Colorado was to be the last of the sightseeing. After that was to begin the eastward “commute” to Illinois. Unfortunately, those two stops would be no cooler at all. A solution was needed, and fast. A look at the next stop after Grand Junction, an overnight in Evergreen CO, involved driving through Dillon, a high elevation area I’d had to resort to on my way out west last year, due to a prolonged heat wave then. I’d be trading away heat for Read more…

Valley of the Gods

Due to a misunderstanding with my GPS, I entered the west end and saw this. Okay, but not that exciting.

[This post contains 22 small photos. The larger versions are available when you choose to click on them.}

My plan had been to enter the east end of Valley of the Gods, Utah, a gravel road that spans two highways. This was because there were cautions online about having to charge through sand in order to begin the trek at the east end, and I wanted to see just how intimidating it was, given my sporadic difficulties with thick dust at Monument Valley. It was supposed to give the willies to larger and heavier towed rig owners. Instead, my GPS, set for the “fastest route” to get to the east entrance, felt that beginning at the west end would be the quickest way to get there, and I, not realizing the subterfuge, blindly obeyed. The west end is a short jaunt from Goosenecks State Park, so I feel that my GPS was either deluded about the nature of that roadway versus the highway, or perhaps didn’t even care. We’re working through this issue together now. Its conversational ability is somewhat limited, but then, I”m not in a position to point fingers.

But eventually, you see things like this.

I can’t claim that the west half is no great shakes, mainly because of aggressive washboard. Too many vehicles going too fast. Five miles in to what is purported to be Read more…

Into the Abyss

A word on the near future: The cell signal strength at Goosenecks frequently cuts out to zero, and next up is Valley of the Gods, which is reputed to have a weak or zero signal as well. So blog updates on this journey may be delayed for awhile. One thing’s for sure. Pretty much the rest of the trip is forecast to hit daily highs in the mid-90s due to the lower elevations involved (about 4,000′), so it’s going to be one sweaty and lethargic tour from here on out, most likely! Only the fridge and the new battery pack will be more challenged than me. I’ll post when I can…!

Post Navigation