Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Rally! Rally! Rally!


 
Rallys are fun events!



You have completed all the hard work on your trailer or you paid someone to do it for you.  Maybe, yours is a family project or you purchased one already refurbished.  Everything has been aquired to accessorize your rolling abode.  You may have practiced at a local campground, just to make sure everything is accounted for and packed away for the big event.

You travel.

Towing your precious trailer on the freeway is a sobering experience with death and property damage in the hands of everyone who flies by you, and they do, just to get around even if you are at the speed limit.  You get caught in traffic jams, miscalculate drive times, negotiate a metropolitan rush hour, and dodge eighteen wheelers who can't seem to stay in their lanes only to have one speed by at breakneck pace and you find them turned over on the median opened like a can or pork and beans.

It's a long trip so, you break it up into two days.  With all the delays and mishaps, you stop at a freeway campground after dark and it's not well lit, or level, or new.  You fight with the electrical box.  The lid won't stay up. You break a nail or two on your perfectly manicured hands and stomp into your trailer, collapsing in bed.

Your EARLY morning slumber is interrupted by the park staff mowing at dawn.  You realize you forgot your tow mirrors so, fortunately there is an RV Superstore nearby and you purchase what they had that doesn't work as well as what you forgot to bring.  You install them while everyone watches, fielding questions while inhaling the venting of the large propane tank on the grounds.  It smells like rotting Armadillos...

Climbing into the mountains towing your Pride On Two Wheels you notice no trucks are allowed in the left lane only to find them passing you in that lane that has no tolerance whatsoever.  So, you move over to make room riding on the shoulder and regularly buzzing over the textured warning embossed in the pavement.  For miles and miles and miles.....

You arrive finally, somewhat safe and sound.  There's a few hours before dark and it's time to set up, after driving for several hours.  You've practiced.  You packed well so the unpacking would go well.  Everything is unloaded and spread out.  First the hook ups.  Water, Sewer, Electric.  Next, lower the stabilizers and block the wheels. Level the trailer. Then the rug, tables, and chairs.  The awnings go on the trailer for the windows and then the BIG awning with poles and anchor ropes.  Pounding stakes and tightening leads, you pause to catch your breath because the weather did not hold to the forecast and it's hotter and more humid than it was supposed to be. Rested, you put out the fun stuff, vintage luggage, the Flamingos, tablecloths, party lights, picket fence, wind chimes, and dishes.

Then, you go inside to unpack all the cute stuff you've been trolling yard sales, antique malls, and eBay for. It's now well after dark and you fall into bed, exhausted.

The next day brings a morning swap meet for the attendees and some free time before the Participant Open House.  You're just as excited to see the other people's trailers as they are to see yours.  It's hot.  So, you negotiate the trailers and see them based on which are in the shade.  You can't see them all and you're a little worried about leaving your trailer unattended.

There is an evening event to attend, Game Night and you have the time of your life with so much silly fun your face hurts from smiling!

You fall into bed, exhausted.
























The next day is the Public Open House.  At five dollars a head for adults and children free, the money goes to local charities.  It's too hot and humid for you to wear your period perfect clothing so, you opt for a tank top and shorts.

The excitement builds as the first people come to your trailer..... And then people show up without tickets and you direct them to where they can be purchased.  Another person arrives without a ticket and you point out where to go and the gal says, "But we live in the campground."  You say, "The event raises money for charity and you must have a ticket."  She quickly rebukes, "We already paid for the pancake breakfast."  You reply, losing patience," The trailer tour is a separate event.  If you buy a ticket you will be able to see all the trailers as many times as you like between 11am and 3pm."  Then the staring contest begins.  You win and she says," I don't think we should have to pay for both." while leaving in a huff.

You stand there for hours, occasionally sitting, always answering question after question. You remind everyone over and over to not let keys stick out of their pockets, to keep purses and backpacks in front of themselves.  Keep your elbows in. You somewhat gently remind a largely accessorized woman not to lean on the furniture and keep her hands off the fabric.  You corral small children ahead of their parents trying to bolt unsupervised into your trailer.  You help people in.  You help people out. You pose for pictures.  You take pictures.  You're tired, thirsty, and your feet are beginning to hurt.  You marvel at how some people are so taken with what you've done and how others don't say a word.  Out of 800 plus people, only a few understand what you've done. Duration, four hours.

Then, the stragglers come by while you are putting things away because, again, the weather has changed and is supposed to rain tomorrow and you would be putting all your supplies up wet.  With that in mind, you decide to break down your site this day instead of tomorrow.

You're a bit uncomfortable because your display was perfect and now people are seeing it disheveled and half packed away. 

The stragglers keep coming until you are finished with the outside and shut the door.

There is a catered dinner to attend.  You visit, eat your only meal of the day, wish people well, go back to you trailer and collapse on the bed, passed out.

The next day, it begins to mist as you leave which turns into all day rain.  Your stop over half way home would be in the pouring rain.  You decide to keep driving as the next day the weather is supposed to be worse.  You see several awful accidents, one occurring on the other side of the freeway as you pass witnessing the horror. You call 911 for those unfortunate people and say a prayer. You take alternate routes rather than park on the freeway in dead stopped traffic.  This happens several times.  Someone doesn't know how to merge onto the highway and they run parallel to you on your right until the absolute last possible moment and then floor it to get past you. Semis run up on you and pass so close, you could reach out your driver's window and touch them but you don't because, well, you want to stay alive!

It rains all the way home.  14 hours worth.

You back your tin tenement into the drive and go inside your house, fall into bed, and sleep for 18 hours.  As you drift off, you dread having to unpack everything and put it away........

There you have it, a typical Rally!

This was our story from Little Rock, AR to Maggie Valley, NC for the Southern Vintage Trailer Friends Fall Into Vintage Rally 2018, an annual event.  This group does what no other does.  Every Rally, there is a fundraiser for charity.  These people have fun and enjoy their trailers while inspiring others to do the same all the while paying it forward.








 


It was a bit of a challenge for me to attend as I had a total hip replacement 5 weeks ago.  We also had not been out with our trailer since Spring.  It's always great seeing old friends and making new ones.  But.  Make no mistake.  It is WORK having this kind of fun!  Not just our travel story, everyone has one of those.  One camper couldn't make it because they broke down on the way. Some people have lost their whole trailer on the way to these events.

Horrible.

So, when some Twit shows up wanting to see the trailers for free while copping an attitude, I felt I showed incredible restraint in not unloading on her the whole mean story of the two "professional" shops that wasted our time, money, and materials leaving it to us to finish our incomplete dream with a choice to either give up or buckle down in order to have this lovely trailer finished, towable, campable, and beautiful. Not to mention the harrowing journey , the expense of the whole thing, and the back breaking work we put in.  Pay your Damn 5 Bucks and shut the Hell up!  You get to see what all these incredible people have done for less than 10 cents a trailer?  Girl. Bye.

I had the time of my life during Game Show Night!  Volunteers organized the game show "Let's Make A Deal" and did a splendid job!  I always wanted to be on that show when I was little, it was my favorite.  During the game, I got to play Carol Merrill !!!  The laughter and roars went on all evening as I presented winners with Rice-A-Roni, Frying pans, and S'Mores supplies. They even gave away a new car!  It was a Match Box Car but still, it was new!





Dear Dave went back to his roots and dressed up as "Roller Disco Dave".  His look was so authentic, you could swear he never changed his appearance from 1978!



There was a camper who brought a couple of vintage bicycles.  One Schwinn was my childhood bike.  I stood there, transfixed, as I ran my fingers over it.  A flood of memories came rushing back.  The endless summers of my youth filled with bike rides, jump rope, hop scotch, and flying kites.  Then, I remembered the worst bike wreck I ever had.  Careening over the handle bars after hitting a frozen puddle left me with a split forehead, epic scraping, a huge black eye, and heavily abraded palms.  The next morning, I woke and proceeded to get my feet tangled in the chenille bedspread and face planted blacking the other eye.  I was blind for three days having to pull my lids open to see when walking to the bathroom!  When I finally could go to school, I frightened the other third graders to death!  


















Dave and I took a side trip to tour Biltmore House in Asheville, NC.  We had been once before, many years ago, at Christmas but that was at night and this time we saw everything during the day.  I pulled out something appropriate to the age of the house to wear.....


There were many lovely comments on our trailer but my favorite was, "This looks like The Biltmore on wheels!"

How about that?!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Badlands, Black Hills, and beyond......






Any trip takes planning, unless you're a fly by the seat of your pants type person, which I am not.  Our last big outing of four weeks last Autumn was too long but you don't know until you do.  While running a business, we realized that three weeks would be the max.

This trip will be three but we would try something that we have not done to this point.

Boondocking.

We had everything designed in our trailer to be able to do just that.  Only, we haven't done it yet.  On board water, check.  Battery bank, check.  Holding tank, check.  Propane heater, check.

Doing it....... not checked, yet......

I've found as we have traversed this Great Land, especially starting in the Midwest, there's a great deal of driving just to get somewhere scenic. Don't get me wrong, The Great Plains have their own beauty but we have experienced the PUSH to get to where we are going.  Since then, we have been kinder to ourselves, shortening our driving times from point "A" to point "B"  but this lengthens the days to get there and back.  When you finally arrive, not all the campgrounds are conveniently located, or desirable, or well lit, or clean, or well, you get the picture. I'm picky. We have also driven through weather we should have pulled over and waited for it to pass.

This all ties into the notion of Boondocking.  

Simply pulling off somewhere for the night.  Not camping, just sleeping and moving on.  We had all of this modern technology put into our 1954 Boles Aero so we could do just that.  But now would we have the courage?  ( I do have the feeling that after we do it once, we will be ok with it ) Let's just hope the first time is a good experience or.......

The ubiquitous Walmart parking lot comes to mind but there are a whole host of options some more palatable than others.  Flying J Truck Stop, Love's Truck Stop, Rest Areas, Home Depot, BLM land, and on and on.  Who knows, we might find something else! 

Some might say, "Oh! That's not safe!"  Well, they haven't seen some of the campgrounds we have come across...  Again, I'm thinking of hop, skip, jump as three days will usually get you out of The Great Plains to somewhere a tad bit better.

I always plot a trip on a calendar, with all the dates and confirmations in place.  All estimated drive times highlighted.  This trip, however, has holes in it.  Nights we will squat, or Boondock, are sprinkled through out the journey.  I do have a list of back up campgrounds, just in case.....  I did realize, for us, that one overnight roughly equals the cost of one tank of gas..... 

This could be good.

Prior to our departure, it was time for the first brake service since we renovated the trailer.  10K miles had past and when they were pulled, we found they had an oil leak on one side and the brake shoes were worn down to the nubs.  If any of you remember the big fire at Yellowstone National Park several years ago, it was set unknowingly by a brake fire.  These people traveled a long way unknowingly sprouting grass fires as they went.  Do not tow some vintage trailer that has sat for decades on the bearings that can be fused.  It is very possible to set fire to your new find!  Have it checked out before you tow by someone who knows.

Buddy at Liberty Trailer is my guy that knows and he had us fixed up in a few hours and we were on our way.

Now, for the final repair on the drain pipe that runs under the shower pan.  I did not design, nor was I told, about this until it was a done deal by the first shop we went to.  Stupid.  Stooooooo pid!  Who would ever put a drain in and build over it where it could never be serviced without tearing out essential items? AS IN THE SHOWER PAN! The same people who put in our propane furnace on it's side because and I quote, "Well.... it came out of the box that way."  I am not kidding.

So, the day came for Ron to work on the trailer and finally fix what could not be done by two trailer shops on three separate occasions.  He called me earlier in the week, "Do you really think this is going to work?"   I responded, "It has to, there's no other option!"

We tore into that sucker expecting to find the source of the problem which did not present itself in the usual manner, as in, "Oh!  There's the leak!"  Nope.  That trickle could have come from anywhere but we had corralled it in a very small section.

What to do ?

The solution was to glue all the joints from the inside since it would have been a real problem trying to tear it all out.  After rinsing, and rinsing, and rinsing some more, and using a bowl brush with 91% Isopropyl Alcohol, then drying said pipe's interior.  This is the poop chute to the holding tank and the leak was thankfully somewhere above the tank.

BUT

Pardon me while I have a blood boiling moment.....

It was discovered, as in the drains from the bathroom sink, there was a section of drain pipe with a built in smaller fitting to receive a 1 1/2" drain into the vertical column pipe from the toilet.

Did you follow that?  I barely did.

Suffice to say, there is a curve in this section to assist the flow of water downward through the pipe fitting.  That is, unless you install it upside down.  This creates a little dam that always holds a little water in the pipe. Then if you have a leak, then it's trickle, trickle, trickle and it stops.  Difficult to diagnose and locate.

The joining fitting was upside down, just like it was in the bathroom under the sink in an earlier leak search.  Oh, and you guessed it, done by the same people!

And just like under the sink, I knew the joints had not been glued properly all the way around.

Ponder it, I did, madder than spit.

Ron made a dobber out of a small piece of Romex with paper towels wound and taped around the end so that I could venture into the cave system that was the tunnel to Poop Town armed only with goop on the end of a makeshift stick.

Yep. Dainty me!

Ron did one coat, which had to dry, and then I did the several remaining coats until I ran out of goop.

This just had to work.....

The toilet went back in with a new flange that had a descending neck with a rubber seal.  Oh that should be better.... 

It wasn't!

We got it all hooked up and filled the tank up the poop chute and to the toilet. Water, thankfully only water, came gushing out of the base of the toilet.

Guess the rubber seal didn't work...

The next day the toilet came out and Ron had brought two flanges to play with and the glue in one was chosen. Toilet back in and tested in the same way as before.

IT WORKED!  NO LEAKS AT ALL!

And yes, I did have to cut through the shower pan to access the pipes beneath it and patch it back together with a pvc repair kit.  I Dremmeled myself to a fair thee well as I was crouched on my forearms, posterior elevated, and eyes focused on the task at hand, grinding the excess material flat.  Then, coating it with paint made for plastic, it was finished.

I'm very proud to say that Ron was impressed!

That toilet went in and out a total of seven times since we started work on this trailer.  I told Ron, every time I used this bathroom, I would think of him.  I believe he really appreciated it... :)

Just like with our Shasta, there were a number of outings with problems, but slowly and surely we ran all of them down until there were none.  I think we are really close to doing that with this trailer!

We had worked like indentured servants getting ready to leave and we were taking an ice show wardrobe project with us.  In the back of the truck was a sewing machine, material, flowers, and Austrian Crystals galore!


Departing on a clear blue spring day was delightful and our first stop was in Branson, MO.  We parked at Table Rock Lake State Park.  No power or water so that we could test our systems.  Yes, we could have tested it all in the driveway at home, but we wanted a real life test with changing scenarios just to be sure. The propane furnace worked great, almost too well, having to turn that sucker off when going to bed.  But before that, we went downtown to the old 5 & 10 store, my favorite spot in Branson, MO.



 We had tickets that evening for The Acrobats of China which was a wonderful show!
 


Next stop was Kansas City.  The boondocking stop!  I will share with you, I received a ton of flack about how this WAS NOT boondocking.

True.

But this was the very first time we stopped ANYWHERE without being in a campground.  The die hards will tell you that boondocking is being out in the wilderness off grid and vehemently not paying for it.  Extolling the virtues of starry nights, privacy, and quietness.  Well, we had none of that.





I had charted the Isle of Capri Casino as being right next to the freeway and on our way through the city.  We arrived mid afternoon and sewed a while on our costume project. 



The sun set and we decided to walk to the casino for dinner near 8pm.  The parking lot, which we shared with about two dozen truckers, was covered in goose droppings....

OMEN 

We were happily greeted at the fake riverboat casino and we were cheerily directed to the dining room arriving exactly at 8:02 pm to find this fine establishment had closed at 8pm.  Shocked as we were to see the restaurant closing so early, the head waitress took pity on us and ran to the kitchen and said we could have dinner.  

How to describe the cuisine..... 

Everything on the menu was smoked.  Because, with every bite of coconut shrimp, you ingested just enough smoke from the air to make it taste that way.

Uh huh.  

I'm not accustomed to eating in an ash tray.  Dave had ordered a personal size brick fired pizza and when it arrived was the size of the Rings Of Saturn and looked as though is was made of petroleum products.  Not wanting to offend our waitress, we took it to go and gave it residence in the nearest trash can we could find.  I wasn't about to feed it to the geese.  It would have be re-engineered into something far worse than what we found in the parking lot, that of which I am certain.

We won't be doing this again.  Period.  At least not at a casino.

We slept a fitful night replete with train horns, vibration, idling 18 wheelers, and the pungent smell of goose droppings. We were off in a hurry the next morning. Finding ourselves in need of gas, I pulled up my Gas Buddy App to find the nearest station.  I have learned there is no filter on this APP for the quality of an area for the location of said station.  The neighborhood looked dicey..... we pulled in and just as we were about to go into our routine, which is well choreographed by now, Dave at the pump and me walking Lucy and cleaning the windshield....... a fried out car pulls in with what could be described as two rejects from Miss Astor's Finishing School.....

Convicts.  That's what they looked like, convicts.

And they were giving us the EYE!

I looked at Dave and said, "Nope."

We pulled out and moved on.  Better safe than sorry and I'm too old now to worry about offending people I don't know.

Next stop was Omaha, NE which was supposed to be another Casino parking lot.  Nope to that, too.  I scrambled the Internet and found a city park campground near the Missouri River.  It was a whole lot better than the goose poop concrete jungle!  Some dear friends came to see us and we showed off the trailer, had a good visit, and started out the day through Iowa and up to Sioux Falls, SD



Not the prettiest time of year to be there.  No plowed fields, no corn silk or sunflowers, but in scheduling this sojourn I was keenly aware of the weather.  There had been a blizzard with 19" of wet snow across the entirety of South Dakota the week prior when *I THOUGHT* we should be there until I couldn't find campgrounds open.  Now I know why.  A week later, when we arrived, there was still snow on the ground.

   
The roads were clear and dry so we were not concerned and by the time we arrived at the Black Hills the snow was gone and temps moderated back to Spring.

We took in the roadside kitsch while traversing South Dakota.  Lots of bill boards and tourist traps but it was all part of the fun.  A road side statuary garden and a lovely sculpture of Sacajawea, The Corn Palace, Al's Oasis, and Wall Drug....







This was a peaceful drive on straight smooth freeway.  We spent the night in a small campground somewhere in the middle of South Dakota which, just like the rest of South Dakota, we had seen and would continue to see until we reached The Badlands.  There was only one other camper in the park besides the caretaker's that were there to open the attending motel for the season.  I called ahead and made a reservation but I was told we may not have water because of the cold.  That was no problem.  There was a problem when we arrived, the elderly lady had not written it down and asked me what the rate was she had told me.  I didn't want to traipse back out to the truck and retrieve what I had written down and into the growing WIND of the day as I was tired.  She warbled, "Well, how about twenty five dollars ?"  I said ok. She fingered the keyboard, "Looks like it's twenty eight fifty......WAIT nope, it's thirty two..... is that ok?"  "Yes", I proffered but my internal dialogue ran something like this, "I should sign now before this auction gets out of hand...."  Then the interrogation began, where were we from? where are we going? what are we towing? have you eaten yet? etc etc when all I wanted to do was get out of there.  Turns out they were full timers and their work camp job was to follow the spring north cleaning and opening motels as they went.  I mused, this couple was old, like late 80's early 90's old surprising me they had the energy to drive let alone cleaning and opening lodgings.  They are out there and I may turn into one of them with my oxygen hooked up while driving down the highway of life.  I have seen it!

The next day found us at The Badlands.  Now, I had read a review of this park a while ago that said it was awful, drive by it, don't waste your time.  I don't know who that was but they must have had a burr under their saddle because we found it to be an utterly fascinating landscape.  Everywhere we looked was a scene from Star Wars!
















We left The Badlands and weather was moving toward us from the west.  As the rain passed, the sun dropped below the cloud deck and I knew there would be a spectacular rainbow so, I told Dave to pull over on the shoulder.  I hopped out and was immediately pelted with bumble bee size rain drops but I did not care because I got this picture!

 

We lodged the next two nights at The Hart Ranch near Custer State Park.  The next day the wind HOWLED which exacerbated the cold that blew in with it so, we decided to stay in and sew on my costume since day after was supposed to be glorious..... and it was.

Off to Mt. Rushmore we flew the next morning, it was truly a beautiful day.  We had lunch at a wonderful German Restaurant, tooling around as we were through the mountain tops on The Needles Highway and beyond.  We toured the Crazy Horse Memorial and took in The Jewel Cave.  It was a full day!


















As much as we hated to leave, it was time to depart for Wyoming.  






Eastern Wyoming is prairie, no cell service, no gas, and few towns but we managed.  We very nearly lost our trailer and possibly our lives dealing with some Bozo hauling a portable office with no escort "wide load" crew and almost opened us up like a can of pork and beans while PASSING US.  We were going the speed limit. 

Not kidding.




The next day took us into Colorado.  We had wanted to see The Molly Brown House for years and we hoped to finally see it on this trip.

But.

We were towing a trailer and knew better than attempt downtown Denver with it in behind.  I called several campgrounds on the perimeter of the city.  Some were full, some dicey, and one that was a 20 minute straight line to Miss Unsinkable's digs.  We paid for the night but only dropped our trailer for about 4 hours.  Such are the compromises of the road.  We loved the house, home tours are among my favorite things to do.






It was very difficult to get out of the city once we got in.  The streets are narrow and allow parking on both sides which gives one lane for traffic.  Add a fire engine, sirens blaring, a head on vehicle, and the result was us backing up two city blocks.  After which we turned the wrong way and got stuck in traffic backed up from teachers on foot picketing the state capitol, no doubt protesting arming teachers in the classroom.  We finally turned down an alley and negotiated the crazy one way and stopping streets to find an exit corridor to our freedom!

We hooked up and headed over the Continental Divide.  

This is a test,  A test of the emergency broadcast system.  This is only a test.....

We had not tested this trailer at an extended uphill grade like you see in The Rockies.  Maintaining a 40mph climb was just enough to be able to pass the 18 wheelers going 30 and we did well.  The only problem was the pavement had a seam with a drop off on the white line.  This seam varied it's foot print as we rose and occasionally made the trailer dance the Hula which was somewhat disconcerting.  Arriving late afternoon at The Glenwood Canyon Resort Campground was a welcome respite.  The views driving through the canyon were spectacular, a far cry from towing our Shasta Compact over in an earlier chapter in this blog titled, "Running From The Storm"









The morning saw us on the highway to Moab, UT and it was interesting watching the topography change as we tooled down the highway.  We turned off the regular path to take old highway 6 into Moab, along the Colorado river.  This was awesome!

I had seen a sign for Green River and I thought, "Oh, Lord! Is this where we are ?"  We had taken a cross country trip in our 20's after Dave met the family I had left in Oregon and we had made a memorable stop in Green River.  If memory serves, it was not green, and there was no river.  We had left early that morning and it was cold in the desert.  Our early 80's Thunderbird had many issues, one of which was if the engine got too hot it would shut off because the brain box, which was a computer, was in the engine bay.  Too hot, poof, total shutdown.  They later moved computers inside the climate controlled areas of vehicles but not soon enough for us....  So, we ran it without the air conditioner just to help the engine.  I had fallen asleep in a sweater and by the time I woke, I was doing just that, sweating, profusely!  We stopped in Green River in order to wash the car and I got an idea.  Since it was a back in car wash with walls on three sides, I had Dave open the doors of the car and the trunk to block the view of me stripping naked for a shower.  Seemed like a good idea at the time, just hose me down.  Dave was standing too close and when he let loose with the washing wand, it peppered me with such force that I let out a SHRIEK! and screamed, "NOOOOOOOOOO! STEP BAAAAACK!!!!"  After some heated negotiation it ended up working so, I slicked my hair back and we found a little restaurant with air conditioning.  

True Story.







We parked at The Moab Valley RV Resort ringed in rocky mesas and perfectly positioned for exploring Arches and Canyon Lands National Parks.



















This was one full, busy day and although we were totally enthralled with the views, with the wind, dust, and 14% humidity, we were not! Both of us ended up with itchy skin, weepy eyes, and crusty noses. We were rewarded for our efforts that evening with some of the best Mexican Food we have ever eaten in a little hole in the wall in Moab, UT.



We continued our journey south out of Moab and turning back into southern Colorado heading to Mesa Verde National Park.  It was tempting to go to The Four Corners Area but it would have eaten up another two hours so, we will save that for another trip.


Mesa Verde was beautiful but if you are traveling with and RV, you have to drop it at the entrance.  We were non plussed but continued just the same.  It was worth it.  We figured out in short order why.  The roads are narrow and there are small parking areas.  The Pueblos were in a slot canyon and across from each other.  I turned to Dave and wondered aloud, "I'll bet these people used to holler at each other across the way."  He said, "Maybe."  So, after asking the family next to us from The Netherlands where their wooden shoes were and being told they were in the car, I turned and hollered, "Marco!" to the people looking at the Pueblo under us from across the canyon.  A quick, "Polo!" came in response and we all laughed.  I turned to sweet Dave and said, "I guess so!"



  

 




From Mesa Verde we were off the Durango, CO and found some roadside kitsch along the way....



Durango is a wonderful little town, with a thriving economy, and not a vacant space on it's historic main street.  I had arranged for us to take the steam train trip which leaves from the heart of the town and climbs all the way to Silverton.  We were on the shoulder season so, it only went as far as Cascade Station where the train would turn around.  This gave everyone the opportunity to disembark and look around.  Almost everyone had gone to the front to have their picture taken with the engine, a coal fired, steam powered, clanking, rattling, hissing, beast of a machine!  We had purchased tickets for the Parlor Car which was at the rear of the train so, by the time we got to the front, most everyone had taken their pictures.  I asked one of the crew to take our photo and he graciously obliged. 



This created quite the stir.....

Behind the man who took our picture, were most of the passengers on the train, which included a bus full of high school students.  Our picture taken, we turned to step away and a chorus arose from the crowd, "Oh no, pleeeeeeese stay!"  Dave turned to me amid the flashing cameras and whispered, "They all really want a picture of just you" and stepped aside which brought another flurry of flashes.  I stood and posed as if on a Hollywood Red Carpet until everyone was satisfied.  I love vintage clothes and look for opportunities to wear them but I have never gotten a response like this before!  I guess I can check "walking on a red carpet" off my bucket list!





That evening in the campground, I had cleaned the truck and trailer inside out and just as I was wiping down the last bit of the truck, I heard a rumble of thunder.  Great, just great!  I looked to the west to find a horizon wide roll cloud advancing toward us.  "Better get inside before the rain starts", I thought.  No sooner than I shut the door, lighting struck about 100 yards away,  KA-BOOM!!! and it began sleeting.  Thunder sleet!  By the time it was over about 3 inches was on the ground, truck, and trailer.  Oddly enough, in the morning, the sun came out and by the time we left the highway was dry.  Hooray!




The day's travel took us to Taos, NM which was a beautiful day of driving.



 



Our campground in Taos, NM was beautifully landscaped.  We sewed a bit more on our project and the next morning toured the Taos Pueblo created by the Red Willow Tribe.  It was very interesting and one of Dave's favorite things we did on the trip.  The baked goods out of the earthen ovens were HEAVEN!








 
Nibbling on our cinnamon cookies from the Pueblo, we left for Santa Rosa, NM.  Out of the mountains and down to the plain we descended.  A lovely drive.









Santa Rosa, NM was just an overnight and then on to Palo Duro Canyon just south of Amarillo, TX.  It is some more flat out that way, pancake flat!  The canyon is the second largest in the U.S. only falling behind The Grand Canyon.  It's not as deep but it's big and falls well below the flatness of the prairie.  On the way there, the highway was a wide two lane.  There we were minding our own business, driving the speed limit on the straight as an arrow road and noticed a car coming our way in the other lane.  As it passed, so did another car at breakneck speed from behind us and flew by us on the shoulder kicking up gravel and scaring the absolute crap out of us!  This Jerk had to be headed to the canyon, it was the only road after all.  About 5 minutes later, we pull in behind this Buffoon who had a woman in the passenger seat.  I wondered if she was okay with having her life threatened by this reckless driver.


I Swanee! It took every fiber of my being not to get out and tell this idiot off!


After our blood pressure went down, we found our way into the canyon.  Our campground was at the far end and it was a clear night, perfect for star gazing, which we thoroughly enjoyed.








A funny thing happened the morning of our departure.  Look in the above photo..... see all those people?  There were more, a lot more. That's a tour bus, that stopped in our campground.  The people on the tour spread out and walked right through the campsites on their way to snap pictures of the hillsides.  As is our condition, a wandering pod of Chinese tourists came our way.  Eating our breakfast, we watched with amazement as they came right up to our trailer to read and inspect it, walking all around as if it were part the canyon tour.  I scrambled for my phone to take the photo below out our bedroom window so I could prove the encounter !  They had just turned from looking in the bedroom window!!!  Wonders never, ever, ever, cease.




Our last stop on this trip was The Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma.  I had no idea there were mountains in Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.  Sorry, couldn't resist!  I have a trailer friend from the very first rally we went to in our Shasta Compact who lives in Lawton, OK and extolled the virtues of this area to us and we were headed that way so, we agreed to have a little camp out together.  She even paid for the night, thank you Rose. :)  As is turned out to my amazement, she was inspired by us at that rally four years ago and has since bought and sold somewhere around 21 trailers!  I told you early on....TRAILERITUS!

We had a wonderful visit but not enough hours to explore so, we vowed to return when we had more time.









The next morning we left for home.......

I will say a few things about this trip.  One is, if you can do it, do it! Another is, all that work we did to the drains held and there were no leaks! None, zippo, zilch, nada!  You can't know how happy this made me feel!


And, most important of all, we finished the skating costume for me to portray Ta Fiti from Disney's "Moana" at The Diamond Edge Figure Skating Club's annual spring show!












A few days after we were back at work, something very nice happened.  Our first trailer, Sprocket was featured in Vintage Trailer Magazine.  What a wonderful homecoming present!