Saturday, April 26, 2014

Back Twin Falls

We made it back to Twin Falls, Idaho last night around 8pm
We hit the road from Casa Grande Arizona at 5am.
Due to a winter storm warning for central Nevada, and high wind warnings
for most of the route we decided to just hit the road and get north out
of the worst of it before it got bad.

It was a quick 1,700 mile round trip.

We left Twin Falls heading south the morning after a light snowfall.
The fresh powder dusted the mountains and the sagebrush.

It was 840 miles - almost all of it on 2-lane US 93.
Further south in Nevada you can see the road stretches out before you forever.
It is well over 100 miles between towns, and most of the towns are 1 or two blocks long
with just a few buildings...
Very remote and wide-open country for sure.

After hooking up the Monty and getting a nights sleep it was back on the road.
Headed north our forecast was for winds in excess of 40mph.
South of Las Vegas the winds started to pick up in earnest.

At times it was a tailwind which was fine.   
Other times a cross wind and two-handed driving fighting to keep the rig between the lines.

On the way North we battled our way thru dust storms.
I snapped this photo of one off to our left.
At times the visibility dropped significantly as we ran thru the dust..

Further north in central Nevada the clouds lowered and soon were
driving thru solid rain storms - in the desert!

Soon that rain changed to snow...

Keeping an eye on the outside temps allowed us to continue to push on.

Playing a game of Weather Cat and Mouse we wondered
if the temps would hold out long enough for us to get north of the winter storm warning area.

What I did not want to do is get stuck 100 miles between towns in the snow.
We did have plenty of propane and food just in case.

The Sirius Weather Radar in the truck was a great help keeping me appraised of the big picture.
When we got to Jackpot, NV near the Idaho border I knew we were home free
since the terrain ahead would start to descend off of the high plateau and
with lower altitudes would come warmer temperatures

Arriving in Twin Falls I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt getting out of the rig
in 30mph winds and 38 degrees.

Today we just stayed put.
This morning my phone rang and it was our buddy John.
He knew from the blog that we were in Twin Falls and he was passing thru so
we got together for lunch and some sight seeing.

These are the Shoshone Falls, just downstream from the Twin Falls that the town was named after.
They are 14' higher than Niagara Falls.

This is looking down the canyon of the Snake River.

Further down stream US 93 is carried over the Snake on a bridge that is over 300'
above the river.   It is used every weekend by base jumpers but unfortunately the winds
continued to howl today so it was too windy.

That would have made for some cool photos.

Instead I'll leave you with this "cool" photo - taken by John.

Tomorrow we'll move the Monty 6 hrs west to Walla Walla, Washington.
Next day we'll deadhead back here to pick up the doghouse and do the 12hr
round trip in one shot.

Then the Doghouse will almost be home....   for now.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pounding the Pavement

We've been MIA for a bit...
That's because we've been on the run.
I'm throwing this quick post together to bring you up to date.

The map below shows each of our stops the past week.

We accomplished our mission dropping off the wine collection at a
Wine Storage Facility in Denver and returned the trailer.

Then we had to run west like hell to beat a storm system that was moving into
the Salt Lake City area - right in our path.

That storm had forecasted 40 mph winds and 60mph gusts...
Not ideal driving conditions with a high profile vehicle.

So 24 hrs after unloading the wine, we rolled into a KOA in Twin Falls Idaho.  
Less than 1/2 hr later the winds were gusting over 40 but we were snug and warm.

 We spent last night in Twin Falls and then dropped off the Dog House this morning
 for the next phase of this trip...  moving the Montana.

So this morning we deadheaded south on US93 thru Idaho, Nevada,
and into Arizona enroute to Casa Grande to pick up the Monty.

US93 is an extremely remote highway thru some really desolate country.
The road runs arrow straight for miles and miles.
Its all good 70mph 2 lane and with the extremely light traffic you can put on the miles.

So tonight here we are at a hotel in Kingman, Az.
A warm shower, a hot meal and some shuteye.

Tomorrow it's back on the road for 3 1/2 hrs to fetch the Montana.
We'll stay in Casa Grande tomorrow to get Monty set up - then Friday its back on
US 93 - North this time - with the Monty behind us to Twin Falls.

Once in Twin Falls we will hop scotch the Monty and DogHouse west to
Walla Walla Washington.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Alaska Bound

Well sort of...
We have a few detours to make first.

We left home on Thursday the 17th.  Today is the 18th.
We are currently in Marion, Illinois.
Our first destination is Denver, Colorado.

As some of you know - part of my retirement dowry is invested in a collection
of fine French wines.   The thought being that if they appreciate in value and
I can make a nice return selling them then fine.
If not...  well its pretty hard to drink a mutual fund but my wine collection will
keep us smiling for quite some time to come.
I'm almost hoping the French wine market collapses.

Anyway...  since the house is for sale, and since we'd need to move the wine to
a proper storage facility at some point - now was an opportune time.

So - I boxed up 24 cases, rented a UHaul trailer and off we go.

All Catalogued, inventoried, boxed, and loaded....  ready to go.

Our first stop for the night was Asheville, NC about 7 hrs west of the house.

We were in Asheville last fall during our Blue Ridge Parkway Travels with 
Jim & Kristi.   While here we discovered the 12 Bones Smokehouse....
The Vallhalla for lovers of smoked meats.
Well.  Since were were right near by - we couldn't pass up an encore visit

As a lover of all things barbecue, let me tell ya - if you are passing thru Asheville
do yourself a favor.  Look them up.  You won't be disappointed.

Gracie is eyeing up my rack...
"Got some bones for me pa?"

The change of seasons is an interesting time to travel cross country.
Last Fall we ran into and out of fall endless times as we ran down the Blue Ridge
and then to Arizona and back....  Twice.

Now we are seeing the same with spring.
On the coast, spring was in full bloom. 
During the last 2 days as we traveled up and down in elevations we got to see
everything from the last vestiges of winter to full fledged spring flowers.

Here in Illinois we are back in just the starting buds of spring.

For those mechanically inclined...
My Torklift Supertruss in action.

I'm really impressed how it handles the load.
A bumper tow hitch can sometimes be a handful as the trailers like to fishtail.
Loading it proper is critical and I paid great attention to the weight distribution,
but that said - the extension is rock solid.  The trailer follows behind us
arrow straight and I don't even know it's back there.

Well tomorrow we run thru St. Louis, across Missouri, and part of Kansas.

Then Sunday its across Kansas to just east of Denver where on Monday I will
drop the girls (all 290 of them) off at their new home.

After Denver it's off to Twin Falls, Idaho, with a round trip to
Casa Grande, Az  to pick up the Monty thrown in for good measure.
I'm moving the DogHouse and the Monty to the Pacific Northwest for the Summer.
We still have a lot of miles left before I get to sit and relax.
More on that later.