Journal of a Gypsy Cowboy

formerly Curt's Fulltime RV Journal

July 2007

Hell on Wheels Journal

August 2007

July 31, 2007


We started calling the RV parks in the vicinity that claimed to be big rig friendly. Ami's RV Park in Glenwood Springs is full till Labor Day.

Elk Creek Campground in New Castle didn't answer their phone.

Glenwood Canyon Resort said they had some of their new, unfinished sites with no landscaping or sewer hookups, discounted to $39/night.

We went looking. We found Heron's Nest along the way, unlisted anywhere. It should remain unlisted. Made Canyon Lake look like Voyager RV in Tucson.

Then we went to Elk Creek--long, twisty road north from the freeway. When we reached the entrance it was a narrow, steep downhill road The Redhead wouldn't go down it in the ML.

We found a car wash in New Castle. The automatic one was closed, so I had to wash the mudball, er ML with one of those wand thingies. $15 later it looked like a Mercedes again. But when we got to speed it vibrated badly. Tires were out of balance. I presumed I'd gotten mud off part of the wheel and not the rest. Found another wand wash and tried to get the wheels clean inside. Didn't help. Found a tire shop in Glenwood Springs and got the wheels balanced--and cleaned. $38.95, too cheap to justify my pulling 4 wheels and cleaning them. Smooth as a Mercedes then.

Found the Glenwood Canyon Resort, at No Name Exit. The "Big Rig" sites were back in, on tight, hilly roads with sheer drops on one side. The 65 ft. rig, if I could back it in, would stick out pretty far. I noted the sites were not level. Coaches there had their front legs all the way out and the back legs almost retracted.

Paid for a week at Canyon Lake (9 days total).

Glenwood Springs looks interesting. Great scenery all around.

Bought Margarita mixings at a liquor store and $200 in foodstuffs at Wal-Mart in Rifle. Saw a pocket watch on the clearance shelf. $5, and I can read the numbers. This is one I won't worry about losing or breaking. it says "Dad" on the face, but that's okay.

Fixed the broken roller blind over the door with screws from Lowe's.

July 30, 2007


Left Strasburg KOA. Drove to DeBeque, CO. The goal was to get close to Rifle. Billy Dixon invited us. The plan is to practice at the Rifle Sportsmans Club and sightsee a pretty part of Colorado for several days.

Stopping for fuel at the Denver Flying J took about twice as long as it should. Then stopping at the Denver Camping World took about twice as long as it should. Note for future: Denver Camping World is the worst I've encountered. On a scale of 1 to 10 it's a 3. They didn't have most of the things we wanted and were poorly arranged. The parking lot was small. Maneuvering Camp Baylor in and out was a lot of fun.

We arrived at the Canyon Lake RV Park after 6. There is no office, just a kiosk with envelopes to drop in a slot to pay for the spot of choice. One of the turns was rather tight, and I got to the point of having to backup when the owner and wife (or owner and husband as both claimed to be the owner) showed up. They helped us back up and get into a pull through 30 amp space. No 50 amp pull throughs exist. The place looks like an RV junkyard and has no sewer hookups. They charge $20 to empty tanks on Wednesday.

We looked for other RV parks in the area. Tomorrow we'll check them out.

July 25. 2007


Moving to Rocky Mountain Regional Raid SASS High Plains Territorial Blackpowder Shootout (winner of "longest match name" award in SASS for 2007)

The road to the Colorado Rifle Club is unpaved for several miles, one lane in places, with tractors and bulldozers operating on it for an additional challenge. The last section of road is the worst. But we got in. We registered too late to get a space with electrics. The good news is the non-electric camping area is much closer to the shooting area.

July 24, 2007


Went to Strasburg, Co. KOA, the closest to Byers. Will move to the Colorado Rifle Club tomorrow morning for Rocky Mountain Regional Raid Black Powder match. At least this KOA had a space long enough for us, unlike Douglas. Had quite an audience of rude Yankees watching me back the bus up to the trailer using The Redhead's hand signals. Got it the first time.

Tried filling the fresh water tank until water came out the overflow. As 2.5 hours it still hadn't. We probably need a new filter--and a spare. Apparently they go pretty quickly.

July 23, 2007


Drove to the Douglas, WY KOA. Despite our emphasis on the fact tha we have a 40' coach with a 25' trailer, they didn't save us a 65' space. The person left in charge while the lady who knew what she was doing ran an errand tried to put us into a small space. To make a long, dull story short, the trailer had to be disconnected. Just after we did that the lady who knows what she's doing came back, bemoaning the fact she'd left. Using her solution, a big u-turn in a field, would have put us in the spot without disconnecting. Too late. No problems getting the dishes to work, though. No problems making Margaritas, either.

July 22, 2007


Get Ready to Move Day

Spent most of the day fighting with the MotoSat Internet dish. Worked around the fact that I couldn't keep it working. It kept stowing itself. The Redhead went to Albertsons and did laundry. Attempts to get her to go out and do something touristy were unsuccessful. Put ML in trailer and got things as ready as possible for leaving tomorrow. Hated to spend a day at Cody not doing anything touristy, but stuff has to be done no matter where we are.

July 21, 2007


View from the Cody Dam

Dam it!

View from the visitors center at the Cody Dam

Spent much of the morning working on the refrigerator. It wasn't cooling well, and we determined it was on propane even though we were plugged in to shore power. Attempts to switch it to AC got a "NO AC" message. Called Jesse at Ron Hoover RV in Houston. He talked me through taking the cover off the board to check the fuse in there. The fuse wasn't in there. Never found it. Getting that cover off is harder than understanding women. It wasn't designed to be worked on. It was designed to go into a small area and never touch it again. Three things plug in THROUGH the cover and have to be unplugged to get it out. Even with shore power disconnected I got a shock from one of them. Don't do thiw with shore power on. Two 1/4" socket head fine thread screws hold the cover on. It should be 3, but a batch of wires was where the third should be, and somewhere along the line that screw was omitted. The lower left screw is covered by a bunch of wires with no slack for moving them out of the way. A relay also has to be removed, and the screws holding it are hard to reach. Once I finally got the cover off, there was only one 5 amp fuse in it, and it was good. Another 5 amp fuse in the bathroom protected the panel in the fridge. Reluctantly I reassembled the whole mess, figuring we'd be on propane until we got to a dealer, and everything worked fine and still does. I presume when the panel was removed and reinstalled in Cheyenne they left a connection to one of those connections through the cover loose.

Additionally the shower is draining slowly. Removing the drain requires a special tool. It is screwed in and then caulked. A conversation on the Newmar Diesel Pushers Forum had come up with no solution. Apparently none of them knew about the special tool. We'll live with it until September, using a coathanger to do the best we can at cleaning out the clog.

Then we went to the Cody Dam.

West view from Cody Dam

West view from Cody Dam

After lunch at a sandwich place called The Breadboard (okay), we went to Old West Miniatures, thousands of miniatures covering every aspect of old west history, with a decent collection of artifacts, including some early 1900s hats. Good. Get the paper explaining the dioramas that's on the left as you come in.

After that we took the advice of the Trolley Tour lady and took the Southfork Road, a 40 mile road dead ending into a state park. Good drive. Saw this:

furry cow

I never saw a curly cow

I never thought I'd see one...

Anyone knowing what breed this is. please let me know. It looks like a long-haired longhorn, something we never see in Texas

Wanted Mexican food for dinner. The Redhead got online and got positive reviews for Zapata's downtown, with negative reviews for the place across the street I wanted to go to. They said the service was slow, and the food arrived cold.

Zapata's started off well, with a Robert E. Lee painting on one wall and a wall devoted to Custer and the Little Big Horn. But water arrived in shot glasses. They had run out of glasses, the waitress explained. Fine, except the chef was displaying his machismo (or lack thereof) by making the picante sauce extra hot and full of onions. Getting a waitress to refill the water glasses was difficult, and we finished our Margaritas before the food finally came. But clean glasses had arrived, so we got real water glasses. That was necessary as the enchilada I got was unedible due to the chef's machismo. Did I mention it was more than half an hour between ordering and receiving?

We ordered sopapillas to put out the fire. They were good once they arrived. Apparently napkins are rationed, too.

The Redhead didn't want to talk about her choice. I'm under the opinion that hackers switched reviews, but we won't know this trip.

Tomorrow we'll get ready for an early start Monday. Having a lot of trouble with the internet dish. Don't know when I'll get this posted.

July 20, 2007


Buffalo Hunting:

Posing Buffalo

The Undisputed King of the Road

Why did the Buffalo Cross The Road?

you talkin' to me?

you talkin' to me?

Are you talkin' to me?

You want a piece of me?

You think that little piece o' tin will stop me?

Ranger bumping buffalo off road

Damn, that Ranger keeps pushing me in the ass. Someday...

buffalo and calf

Awww, isn't he cute?

Yes, I know they're bison. (Bison bison). I only took 66 pictures of bison. I love digital. 87 photos and all it cost me was a little disk space. If you're fulltiming without a digital camera, get one, preferably one that says NIKON or maybe CANON on it and has multiple lenses available. The lenses with this one date from the 80s and still work, 20 mm to 300 mm.

Another day at Yellowstone. Better than the last one. In the park just after 0800. Out by 1700. Brought lunch and drinks. Bought candy. They try so hard at the "General" Stores to get you to eat healthy I try hard to find something with chocolate and without carrots. One gets tired of being preached at by minimum wage post-teen victims of the public school system. Rebellion follows. The ultimate form of rebellion is to put the plastic water bottles in the container marked "Aluminum."

It started when we were attacked by a post-teen alleged off duty ranger with delusions of adequacy. I believe I dated her mother once in college, but probably not, as I find it difficult to believe she could find a man so desperate as to mate with her after listening to her for more than five minutes. I was pretty desperate at the time but ran like a rabbit. We had been forced to stop by traffic blocking the road because bison bison were on the edge of the road. We were putting the truck in gear to leave when the obnoxious child drove up in something Japanese and suitable for putting in the cargo hold of the ML, motioned for me to roll down my window, and launched an attack when the Redhead convinced me to do so. She started by making the outrageous complaint that she was an off duty ranger, then attacking our parentage for stopping. I suppose we should have run over the car that had stopped in the middle of the road instead of pulling off and waiting. Apparently manners are not taught to budding potential park rangers.

I suggest they start serving decaf in the ranger training barracks.

Aside from constantly encountering people that wanted to try for fastest time of the day on scenic loops with 15 mph posted speeds, we had a great day. Every aspect of Yellowstone is different and absolutely beautiful.

Anyway, the cute blonde at the entrance knew where Yogi Bear was.

By the time we got to Ballard Rifle Co., they had closed. I only drive by them when they're closed. We're staying until M Monday because we really like Cody, but we still won't have done everything we want to. With luck we'll be here for Cody's Wild West Shootout, the Wyoming State Championship next year. The lady at the RV park suggested making early reservations.

July 19, 2007


Went to the museum. Saw Steve Greaves (Hangfire in SASS) and asked if they needed an SKS that I captured in Cambodia. He got Dave Kennedy, the firearms curator. He said yes. We went back later with the SKS and donated it to the museum. I'd been looking for a museum for it for a couple of years.

Dave Kennedy receives war trophy from CRR

Dave Kennedy receives the SKS for the museum. The SKS was in an arms cache in Cambodia and shows a little storage wear but otherwise like new.

Spent most of the day at the museum. Then took the Trolley Tour. If you take the Trolley Tour at 6:30 you wind up being beside the Irma at 6 pm when they have the gunfight. Tour was pretty good. I noticed that about every third business is a gun shop. I like this town.

July, 2007


Drove to Yellowstone via the northeast entrance. Didn't get the senior discount. Too young, and the lady ranger checked my driver's license. She thinks September is the 10th month. She also didn't know where Yogi Bear is.

George S. Patton, Jr. and The Redhead enjoying Yellowstone

George S. Patton, Jr. and The Redhead enjoying the drive to Yellowstone

Nice, but marred by the kamikaze minivans. I learned that in Wyoming and Montana, if you drive crazy, they take away your Lexus or BMW and assign you a piece of crap minivan until you straighten out. Apparently a lot of them think that either no one is watching or they'll never get their Bimmer back, so they're going to drive like they stole it. Not great on mountain roads with sheer drops on the side and no guard rail.

We also discovered that the Yellowstone Tailgating Society was having its annual convention there.

Memo: Get to the gate by 08000, not a minute later. PACK A LUNCH! PACK A COOLER! We got lunch at the Roosevelt Lodge. Waited half an hour for a box lunch. Bad sandwich, cardboard potato chips--Lays without trans fat. Lays used to be edible, but no more. Apple, cookies, apple-cranberry juice. Did a lot of searching further down the route looking for Diet Coke. Finally found a machine in a rest room building. I had $160 in bills, 4 bills. Walked back to where The Redhead had told me to park, about 200 yards, uphill, 100° weather, 300 yards back, also uphill with the glovebox's roll of quarters. Used it up.

As we approached Old Faithful stated meeting a mass exodus of bumper-to-bumper vehicles going north. Deducted 10-15 minutes and figured that's when Old Faithful erupted. Parked really close, about one national park away. Found a shady place to wait for it. Every 3 minutes some idiot yelled, "Thar she blows!"

When it started erupting, idiot said nothing. Took 33 photos of it. Went looking for men's room. Every other man was, too. Approached a building with a sign pointing both directions. Everyone went to front of the building but me and one other iconoclast. Separate men's room with no business. This put me back on the road to the ice cream sign. Beat most of the line. Ice cream parlor upstairs. Got a cup for each of us and put a large Diet Coke in my pocket. Had to go down the stairs where the line was. One guy asked what I'd take for the 2 cups, $50 for the chocolate, $100 for the Vanilla. Excuse me, the chocolate was Buffalo Chips.

Old Faithful

Old Whatsisname

Got back 12 hours after we left. Even George was exhausted.


Getting out of the RV Park in Greybull was a task. The end of the slab, slightly wider than the coach's footprint, butted onto the street at a 30° angle. Fine so far. But they had a fence all the way to the edge of the concrete. A previous guest had caught it on his Motorhome and ripped out a good section. The idiots in charge put a new fencepost up EVEN CLOSER to the concrete. We have a 65 ft. rig. It took 2 ground guides, one being a retired KOA park owner, and damned nearly an hour to get it out unscathed. Add that to the trees blocking the internet and DirecTV, the odds of us ever parking there again are right up with Elvis coming out of a flying saucer on the Fourth of July on the Washington mall. Nice place if you have a small rig and need a place for the night.

Moved to the Ponderosa Campground in Cody. MUCH better. One row is all big rigs. Biggest is a 45' Newell with a 30' trailer. Lots of money on that row. We kind of stick out at both ends with the ML parked sideways in front, but they don't care. Very busy place. Talked too long with next door neighbor, who had a SASS decal on the inside of the side door of his trailer. He's no longer active, though. The trailer held 2 Harleys and he and his friend were going to ride Yellowstone then go to Sturgis. Doing the traveling in a big motorhome then riding in Yellowstone sounds like the way to do it.

Then we went to Wal-Mart to get a prescription filled. The new insurance card worked. Very nice people at the pharmacy. They speak English. We're not in Houston anymore, Toto. Customers were polite, too.Got groceries while we were there.

Looked for a carwash for half an hour. Couldn't see out of the ML glass. Finally found one. The guy in charge was very negative. "You've got excess insects. We're not going to get them all off." "Well, let's see how many we can." I thought, "It's got to be better than it is. What color was it?" He sprayed down the wheelwells, grille, etc., then a touchless machine did the rest. I sprang for the $10 works. Very entertaining, and the car was spotless when he finished.

Dinner at Maxwell's, a steakhouse. Better than the Rib and Chop House. Very good. Regular sized Margaritas, though. Had 2.


July 16, 2007


Went to Billings, Montana for some tax-free shopping and to see Rand Hats. At Rand Luke was very helpful, using one of the sizing machines to get my head shape. He put it into some of the display hats. I got to see how some of the styles look on my head, thus eliminating several from contention and adding one or two. I asked if he could do that to the hat I was wearing, a Stetson SASS 20X Gus. He did, and it fits better, but he also resteamed the brim, curling the edges up a lot more than I like. I didn't have the heart to stop him. Now I've got to find another hat store to straighten it out. Really nice hats, though. They might be too nice for SASS if you're trying to look authentic. Properly distressed and dented hats seldom show up at SASS matches. Distressing a $400 hat is beyond most people. Knudsen Hat's lower priced hats can be had with serious distressing, denting, turned up brims, more like the original photos, for a lot less money. Rand Hats should be your party or daily wear hats. I have a Rand Boss of the Plains:

Original Boss of the Plains at museum

Original Boss of the Plains at museum

Rand Boss of the Plains

Rand Boss of the Plains

Capt. Baylor as Johen King Fisher

wearing the BOP while dressed as John King Fisher at the 2005 SASS Convention. John King Fisher was an outlaw leader in the Nueces Strip in 1875 when Texas Ranger Captain Leander McNelly tried to clean the place up. He was described as wearing a bright silk shirt, bright wild rag, fancy silk vest, brown beaver hat "suitable for a cattle king or bandit king" hand tooled leather, "silver" plated revolvers with pearl handles, and tiger skin chaps. Either he or his friend Ben Thompson (depending on who was telling the story)robbed a traveling circus and wanted the skin. The owner wouldn't sell the tiger, so Thompson shot the tiger and said, "How much is it now?" Chaps were made of the skin. In this case Jack Houston--Lone Rider Leather--made them from tiger striped cowhide. It won Best Dressed Classic Cowboy at the 2005 SASS Convention.

July 15, 2007


We did the Big Horn Basin Loop, a 200+ mile drive. Not recommended.

I'm looking for a place to practice between the Colorado BP match and the Regional at Founders Ranch. Since Raton is between them, I thought of the NRA Whittington Center. I looked at their website:

"The Whittington Center hosts a variety of shooting ranges, including ranges for smallbore rifle, high power rifle, black powder, trap, skeet, sporting clays, hunter sight-in, PPC, smallbore rifle silhouette, highpower rifle silhouette, long range pistol silhouette, hunter pistol silhouette, benchrest, and practical pistol."

No CAS. Might wind up at Rifle, CO. Billy Dixon says I can shoot during the week there at the Rifle Shooting Sports Center.

Too bad about Whittington. They have RV parking, and it's on the way to Founders Ranch.

July 14, 2007


The headline on the local paper was about a shooting at the Wal-Mart parking lot. I guess all Wal-Marts are alike.

Also, in Cheyenne, a woman singer was shot and killed while performing at a bar. The shooter was at long range. Her husband is a trained National Guard sniper. I wonder if there's a connection.

Went to Old Trail Town. Photos tell most of it:

Redhead gets horny

The Redhead gets horny

A gun cart to copy

There you go, Copy that in about 1/4 scale, and you have your next guncart.

Where are the Margaritas?

Two Margaritas, please.

Sign on bar.  Butch and Sundance drank here.

Another prototype for a guncart

Another prototype for a guncart.

Trail Town

After that we went back to the Cody Museum complex and went through the art museum. Lots of good stuff. I'd like to see my favorite Remingtons and Russells there, but they have a lot of other good stuff. We went back to the firearms museum, too, finding things we'd missed.

Loading Machine

The Redhead promised me I can have one of these loading machines.

July 13, 2007


Now for something completely different:

Drove the Big Horn Mountain Loop. It's the only scenic loop that goes through Greybull. Neat scenery starting with the twisty parts of Route 14 that we came in on to mountains to flats. The twisty parts had great scenery we hadn't seen coming in, such as Shell Falls, a 120 ft. 3500 gallons a second waterfall.


Shell Falls

Elephant Head Rock

Elephant Head Rock

We climbed to 7,000 ft+ and found patches of snow. Down on the flats it was over 90°.

Back at the RV Park a neighbor knocked on the door. A couple with newly purchased 38 ft. Motor Home was at a 30 amp site with no 50 to 30 converter. He was looking for a loaner. I loaned ours. The husband had been planning to go searching for one. Since Wal-Mart doesn't stock them, I figured the nearest one would be in Billings, Montana, 122 miles away.

July 12, 2007


Honda RV

One of our neighbors at the RV Park. I know of several RVers who tow motorcycles with their RVs. Here's someone who tows his RV with his motorcycle.

Another morning working on paperwork. Didn't get on the road until after 11. Stopped at Wal-Mart and bought a HP printer/Scanner/Copier/Fax that's much smaller than the old one that won't work with our computers. Ate at the museum cafeteria. Good chef's salad. Spent a while in the Buffalo Bill portion of the complex. Lots of 19th century stuff from clothing to wagons to posters. Then had a Coke and met Hangfire again. He suggested some things about the firearms museum, such as looking at the 18th century air gun sniper's rifles. Kept finding more and more displays. Didn't see them all but went downstairs. We'll be back.

At Hangfire's suggestion we ate at the Rib and Chop House. Good steaks, huge baked potatoes, and a Margarita that was in a big enough glass--for a table for four. Fortunately The Redhead was driving us home. Normally big Margaritas are pretty weak. This one was stronger than Arnold at his peak. After that things are more blurred than normal.

July 11, 2007


Spent the morning frantically catching up on paperwork, SS, Cowboy Chronicle, VA, USAA. I didn't work this hard when working. It was afternoon before we got off to Cody. Walked through what the late Arizona Chris Masden used to call "The rubber tomahawk circuit," meaning the downtown tourist traps within a few blocks of the Irma Hotel, Buffalo Bill's hotel. Several cowboy stores a real cowboy wouldn't be caught dead in. Cheap hats priced expensively, and spurs so expensive they were in locked cases. overpriced chaps, the usual. Lots of faux western furniture. Found a sandwich/salad place for lunch. Found 2 dead ATMs before finding one that worked. Then went to the Cody Museum complex.

We went in and saw it's $15/day/person. That meant 2 days would be $60, and we were going to be here all week for a couple of hours a day. Even I can't look at guns for 7-8 hours a day. They offered memberships for $35/one or $60 for the whole family. So we went upstairs to the membership department, and the lady started describing the different forms of memberships. I remembered one offered to SASS members at the convention, so I mentioned it. That brought Hangfire, SASS 24379 out of his office. He's Vice President/Deputy Director for Development. We talked SASS for a while. The family membership for "Congress of Rough Riders" was $80, and we got 2 copies of Cody's diamond studded horseshoe watch fob, numbered (170, 171). Since they only added $20 to the standard membership I assume the diamonds are low quality. But they look good. I'll put one on my watch chain. Spent a couple of hours in the firearms museum upstairs and an hour in the Native American Museum. Very impressive.

Stopped at an Albertson's in Cody and restocked. Ate at the bus.

July 10, 2007


Drove from Douglas to Greybull, WY. This meant taking the 40,000+ lb. rig over a mountain road that looked like spilled spaghetti that went up and down at steep angles. This exhausted The Redhead as driving such a rig over such a road is exhausting if you're doing it from the right seat.

Parked at the Greybull KOA, the closest thing we could get to Cody (53 miles). Nice place with a lot of trees. Yep, that meant the satellite internet and satellite TV dishes don't work. They have WiFi and cable TV, but I can't send emails and had to start a Hotmail account to get my column off for The Cowboy Chronicle. It also means we can't TiVo programs, and we've missed several and have to watch commercials!

July 9, 2007


Backing up:

Friday night the refrigerator failed with $169 of Wal-Mart supplies just purchased in Colorado Springs. Saturday called Cheyenne RV Center. They gave me the name of Albany Mobile RV Repairs. He came out Saturday afternoon and said it needed a new board, and he didn't have one. The RV dealer didn't have one. That'll be $100.

Monday we were at the door of Cheyenne RV Repair as soon as possible. They fixed it in 10 minutes, no charge. We put the ML in the trailer and started to head to Douglas when I realized we hadn't gotten the mail. I drove the bus to the nearest Flying J and unloaded the ML. The Redhead took the ML to downtown Cheyenne to the main downtown post office, stood in line, and learned the main downtown post office wasn't the main post office, so she went to another post office and got our mail.

We headed to Douglas, Wyoming, which has a couple of old forts close by, but by then we were not inclined to unload the ML again.


July 8, 2007


After the HOW awards we went to dinner with an old friend who moved to Cheyenne from New Orleans some years back for "quality of life" issues. He was a reserve police officer, and he got into a gun battle in which every participant was a cop. The bad cops, you know, the ones who made such a mess of Katrina, were trying to do in the good cops. He's lawyer who can telecommute most of the time, so Cheyenne won. Sure a better place to raise a family than New Orleans BEFORE Katrina.

Hell on Wheels Journal


July 4, 2007


Dry camping. We're in a serious water conservation mode. I used GoJo to clean hands during day, no water. To shower I took wash cloth. Draw enough warm water in sink to cover it in order to get it wet. Get it soapy. Soap down. Turn shower water on for a few seconds to rinse off. Put wash cloth in sink to rinse. Hair and beard can wait.

We're using the generator only as needed to keep the batteries charged and for high-drain appliances. Batteries don't last long when I'm working in shop, and Redhead is in the coach. It's cool, so we aren't using the AC.

July 3, 2007


Thanks to the visitors guide in the train yesterday I discovered 2 more trains we haven't done:

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. This one is new, having opened in 2004 in Alamosa. The pictures show a diesel engine pulling modern cars.

Cripple Creek & Victor RR--a 45 minute , 4 mile ride. This has a steam burning engine pulling what appear to be antique cars.

Drove to Cheyenne, WY, for Hell On Wheels, the High Plains Regional SASS match. We're here early. We can register tomorrow and shoot side matches and/or a still not described charity match on Thursday. Main match is Friday and Saturday, 12 stages. 6 stages a day really makes it an endurance match. shows 86 on Friday with 30% chance of scattered thunderstorms, 90 on Saturday and sunny. It will be, as they say, a "dry heat." I'm ready for some "dry cool." It's windy, which I like since I shoot BP.

It took over an hour to level the bus. Space 45 is not level. The first time we tried to level it the "excessive slope" light came on after the right side jacks went down. So we raised the jacks and added 10 x 2" blocks under the right side and tried again. Same results. We added 2 more blocks. Same result. Each time takes a while dropping the jacks and retracting them. With 4" of spacers there the jacks didn't have to go far to hit them. So that wasn't the problem. I retracted the jacks again and backed the bus up, then drove the right wheels on the 2" blocks and tried again. It leveled. Then we could put out the slideouts. The trailer is NOT level. It wasn't at EOT, and it was a pain in the neck. It also messes with the reloading machines. I have one bottle jack. Sounds like I need another jack of some sort to level it, not to mention a couple of wall-mounted spirit levels, Camping World stuff.

We're set for dry camping with Hefty paper china. The Redhead says she can clean the silverware without using water. The fridge has several extra water bottles.

We'll see if we can last until Monday morning.

July 2, 2007


RV Arthur occupies my seat to prevent me from writing on the log

RV Arthur took my seat to prevent me from working on the log. Cats don't write blogs, so they don't want anyone else to.

At 0900 I was just about to say, "let's start out, drop by an auto parts store, then head to Cañon for the train," when The Redhead told me she had lost a pill. Tears told me something was wrong. "I think George got it."

So I got online and pulled up a list of local vets. The first one wasted fifteen minutes of my time before telling me they didn't have the time to help. I then found one in the same zip code as the park, and they told me to induce vomiting and watch him. I asked if they would do that. They agreed, and we went over. It took FOREVER to get him checked in. When the vet finally showed up, George bit him for chastisement. I was surprised, but The Redhead told me he had bitten three other vets. He gave me a look : "One more and I'm an ace." By the time we got out of there, it was 10:30. The train was 65 miles away and left at 12:30.

Royal Gorge Railroad wasn't in the database of the ML. We had left without instructions or the confirmation or the phone number.

The computer showed 11:51 for arrival at the Royal Gorge Bridge. I remembered that at one of the trains we'd done, if you weren't checked in an hour before, they gave away your seat. Now in writing Drive to Survive, I convinced myself scientifically that driving wildly does not save time. On the other hand, no one on the 2 lane sections of road was going the speed limit for some reason. The result was Mr. Toad's wild ride, and arrival at 11:35. The Redhead went in for tickets, and I went looking for a parking place. The 2 nearby parking lots were full, of course, with the cars of the people on the 9:30 train and those waiting for the next one. People were circling in vain. I noted a sentient lot across the tracks and parked there.

The Royal Gorge Train

The Royal Gorge Train photographed from one of the dome cars. The glass caused some reflections, making it hard to take pictures

We had Dome Car seats, and they had our name on a nice booth facing forward for the first half of the trip. This was a bar car. I ordered a Margarita, and The Redhead ordered wine. What came to me was red and frozen. I don't remember saying "strawberry," or "Frozen," but it was pretty good. So were the Philly Cheese Steaks. They have a gourmet lunch car, but these sounded better than Cornish Game Hen.

Royal Gorge Bridge

The Royal Gorge Bridge

It was a good ride, good views. Reserved seats get you on the left side where the river is and thus the best views. We could have moved to the open car to photograph the bridge above, but we were in air conditioned seats and hadn't finished our drinks.

UN troops invade Colorado

We noted that U N Troops (note the blue helmets) were invading lower Colorado. We talked to someone who had talked to them. They asked him where the guns were. He told them "down the river."

We picked George up from the vet when we got back. The bill was $109 for treatment and $5000 for the emergency room treatment of the vet.

Then we went to Wal-Mart. We didn't need anything. We just wanted to be jostled by fat, rude people and listen to babies screaming. One baby was screaming a blood-curdling scream. He stopped. I noted his mother pinched him, and he screamed again. When he stopped she did it again.

A chubby 280 lb. teenager was riding a bicycle taken from the bike shop. Another chubby 280 lb. teenager was walking with him. Together they blocked the heck out of that lane.

In the automotive division there was a big screen TV over it. A woman with a really annoying voice was talking about something that included the word "votive." I can assure you no one in automotive (a) knew what the hell a votive is or (b) cared.

An attractive woman other than The Redhead was seen in the food department, obviously in the wrong store. Another looked attractive from a distance, until you could see the tattoos and the Harley chain belt.

The average weight of Wal-Mart patrons in Colorado Springs is probably over 250 lb. The men weigh more.

From End of Trail

2 photos surfaced:

The big buses at EOT

Several of the big motor homes ganged up in the RV park. Ours, the brown one on the right partly obscured by a pickup truck, was the only one in this group being full timed in as far as I know. Dr. George only spends 26 weeks a year in his big one.

The RV Park at EOT

Another view of the EOT RV Park. That's another Dutch Star on the left. I never got to talk to the owners to see who owned it. Newmar was well represented with 2 Dutch Stars and a Mountain Aire.

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous:

"Average" RV at the park we stayed at in Colorado Springs

An "average" RV in the park we stayed in Colorado Springs

Moare "average" RVs

More "average" rvs at that park. Oh, well, it's convenient and quiet.


July 1, 2007


Drove to Colorado Springs. Raton Pass was easy, which took a load off our minds. I've come to 2 conclusions about this fulltiming in a big rig.

1. It's advisable to make reservations as far in advance as possible. 2/3 of RV parks can't handle the length of the coach and trailer together, and the other 1/3 are busy, especially 4th of July week (and all summer in Cody.) We managed to get reservations through 8 days after Hell on Wheels, seven of those being within 53 miles of Cody. Expensive, though. Might limit our stay in the area. We'll see.

2. There are darn few places to park these, and truck stops are few and far between. We thought we saw a Love's, but it was under construction. The first Rest Area was poorly marked and required an acute turn off the freeway, so we bypassed it. The second one had a small truck/RV parking area, and it was stacked full. We made two laps around it. A 5th wheel pulled out, but before we could get back, it was taken. So we went on. The third rest area worked.

We're in Wrangler RV Ranch. They had an available long space. In fact; we have the ML, The Bus, and The Trailer all in a row with room left over. The only problem was that we had to park carefully to be 20 ft. from the sewer connection to our black/grey water outlet. The park in Albuquerque had 3 different sewer connecting points to accommodate various rigs.

Otherwise the Wrangler RV Ranch looks seedy and has few big class As. It's next to an RV wrecking yard. Wouldn't be our first choice.

Tomorrow we're doing the Royal Gorge Railway. I believe we've been on all of the other tourist trains in Colorado.