Sunday, September 10, 2017

Geneva Concours and Then Two Weeks in Denver

Thursday  8/17

Busy day, after our morning walk we drove into Aurora to the Sherwin-Williams Automotive Paint store to take another shot at matching the paint for the trailer. Stopped at Egg Harbor in Geneva for lunch and then Dr. Kerpe’s office for our annual physicals, last of the medical appointment gauntlet for the month. Then stops at Meir’s and Trader Joes and Nancy dropped me off at the Geneva library while she went to Tranquility Spa.

In the evening we hit South Moon Bar-B-Que in Hinckley for a slab of ribs.

Friday 8/18

Laundry and a few chores, otherwise a quiet day after a nice long morning walk.

Saturday 8/19

Out early this morning and headed into Oak Park for haircuts at Kathy Reller’s salon, then straight South to Tinley Park and a stop at Joan’s, then back home in the late afternoon. A lot of driving today!

Sunday 8/20

We went into St Charles early this morning after a short walk. Nancy is helping Patt Barrett with Concours paperwork and I was helping John mark car locations on the streets in Geneva. Write the location on duct tape, rip it off, bend over and stick it on the curb and street - a bit achy this evening!

Back home mid-afternoon and relaxed.

Monday 8/21

Eclipse was pretty much a bust here as it was quite cloudy at mid-day. I was in Marengo getting the oil changed on the truck and Nancy was in St Charles helping Patt with Concours prep. They did get to see a bit of the eclipse as the sun popped in and out of the clouds.

First thing in the morning I went into Geneva and helped John finish up the street marking and then up to Marengo for an oil change and lube on the truck. After the oil change I went on into Elgin and had a windshield stone chip repaired at SafeLite.

Nancy drove into St Charles a little bit later and spent most of the day preparing concours materials.

Both back home late in the afternoon and had burgers on the grille.

Tuesday 8/22

Nice walk on a cool morning, then after breakfast I installed the four shocks on the trailer that MorRyde had sent to me. Easy job, took less than an hour and they had given me a $200 discount for having to install them myself. Not a bad labor rate! The job was made considerably easier by our BigFoot leveling system as it is capable of lifting the entire trailer (used it in the past for tire replacement). I only had to lift a couple of inches to get the clearance to install the shocks.

John B called and said the sheets for the concourse story boards (pictures and descriptions of the cars to be placed in front of each car) were in so we drove into Geneva and spent the afternoon helping paste the printed sheets onto the story boards. Stopped at Culver’s on the way home for dinner.

Wednesday 8/23

After our regular walk and breakfast we ran back into Geneva to help John finish the story boards. Finished up a little after noon and had lunch with John at Deane’s Market and Deli. Then we relaxed at the Geneva Library for a few hours since there was a concours volunteer meeting schedule for later in the evening. Not worth driving to Sycamore and back.

Had a nice pizza at Gia Mia on 3rd St. and then the volunteer meeting at Living Well Cancer Center - they are the charity that the concours helps support.

Thursday 8/24

Morning walk and then spent the day at home, grocery shopping, laundry, etc.

Friday 8/25

Into St Charles early in the morning as I had to meet John at the truck rental place at 7 AM! Dropped Nancy off at Patt and John’s house to help with prep material there, then went and picked up the rental trucks. I drove one truck and Ed Midgley drove the other. Went to Ball Seed in West Chicago to pick up the planters that they had filled for us over the summer. Good crew for loading and distributing the planters along third street, but we are all getting old! It’s a lot harder than it was ten years ago! We need some younger guys.

Saturday 8/26

After our morning walk we got a few things down around the trailer and relaxed. Early afternoon we went into St Charles and settled into a motel. Concours dinner at the Geneva Golf Club this evening and then we have to be on Third St in Geneva at 5:30 AM  tomorrow morning!

Really nice dinner and a chance to chat with old friends at the dinner.

Sunday 8/27

Made it to Third St at 5:35 AM! Met with our block captain and helped with setting up the plastic chains and stanchions to rope the cars off. Helped getting the cars parked on our block and then took over manning of the trophy tent for the rest of the afternoon.

As I’ve noted before the weather has been almost perfect all month, but we had severe thunderstorms earlier in the week and the weather kind of hung around. Had a light drizzle off and on all morning, but it did not really interfere with the concours. Only a couple of no-shoes and a fair crowd of spectators durning the morning. The weather cleared off at mid-day and the crowds thickened. A beautiful afternoon for the trophy parade and presentations, which we assisted with.

I carried my hiking GPS today and I walked six miles in the four or five block area! After the Concours John and Carol Holmes had six of us over to their house for dinner. Of course we were all dog tired!

Monday 8/28

Recovery day! Short morning walk and pretty much took it easy. Joan drove all the way up to Sycamore to visit before we headed back west. Watched the F1 race that we had recorded on Sunday.

We were growing concerned about the cost of diesel due to the Texas flooding so I went up to Marengo and filled the tanks at the Pilot. Now we have 300 gallons, enough to easily get us back home.

Tuesday 8/29

After our walk we went into Geneva and helped John put away Concours material in his shop; washing coolers; stacking awnings, etc. Once that job was finished we started in washing and storing the 500 plus stanchions! Carry them outside, spray with soap and water, carry back inside, dry, and hoist up into the upper level storage! Got about halfway through.

Wednesday 8/30

Morning walk and back to John’s shop to finish the stanchion cleaning. Finished up just after lunch, about 2 and a half hours. Then we went over to Pat and John’s house to shower and relax. Part had a thank you dinner for a group of 18 volunteers at Livia on Third St. this evening.

Thursday 8/31

Getting ready to head out of town. Nancy did laundry, I loaded the car onto the truck. In the process I managed to fall out of the truck! Fell about three feet onto my back, nice bruise on my butt and a pretty good hole in my elbow from a small stone I fell on. Fortunately no one saw me so no damage to my pride.

Friday 9/1

Delayed our departure little bit so the DVR could finish recording F1 practice. Hit the road at 10 AM, uneventful trip, nice weather and - for a change! - a nice tail wind which really helped the gas milage! Lunch at the Cracker Barrel in Davenport, IA and spent the night at Timberland Campground in Waukee, IA.

Saturday 9/2

Back on the road a little after 9 and another good day on the road. A bit of traffic, but nothing of any consequence. Lunch at the Cracker Barrel in Council Bluffs and stopped at our regular place, Sunny Meadows, in Elm Creek, NE.

We have been tossing ideas around about what to do after we leave Denver. We have two weeks at Cherry Creek and then we have to leave (only 14 days out of 45 allowed in the state parks). My cousin’s grandson, Selden is getting married in Albuquerque on 10/13. We had planned on noodling around in Southern Colorado and Utah for a couple of weeks and getting home around the first of October. When we looked at hotels in Albuquerque we found it was during ballon fest and hotels were ridiculously expensive! I contacted Enchanted Trails RV Park where we have stayed before and they we able to juggle the schedule and squeeze us into the last available spot for 10/11-12-13!

So, not much point in going back to Tucson only to turn around and go back up to Albuquerque! So we decided to spent the extra time in Utah. The before we left Illinois, Patt and John asked if we could join them in Lake Geneva for the Geneva Lakes Antique and Classic Boat Show weekend. They always have a group of mutual friends at their vacation home there for the weekend. So, revising our schedule again, we have decided to go back to Wisconsin when we leave Denver! Then back again to Albuquerque for the wedding! Crazy huh?

Sunday 9/3 - Saturday 9/9

Another easy day into Denver and Cherry Creek State Park on Sunday. Always tough to find a place for lunch along this route, but we stumbled onto a good place this time. Lucy’s Place is a small diner right off I-76 in Sedgwick, Co. Exit 165. Great service and good food. Crowded with locals, so there might be a wait at times.    

We have traveled over 4,000 miles since we left Tucson and we have only hit a few light showers while on the road.  Good thing we made reservations six months ago as the park in Cherry Creek is full. We are a week into our stay as I write this and the “Campground Full- Reservations Only” sign has been out at the entrance to the park almost every day since we arrived,

Nice week visiting with family. Went to soccer practice with Hillary and Oliver (almost four-years-old) on Thursday. This morning we went to watch six-year-old Miles’ soccer game. That was pretty interesting.

Will be here in Denver for another week before heading back East.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

WOW! I'm way behind on publishing an update! Guess time just got away from me. I have been keeping notes though, so here we go:

Saturday 7/15

Turned out to be an interesting day. Took our time in the AM, watched F1 qualifying and got ready to leave around 10 AM. A check showed a broken spring hanger bolt again! Probably from the rough roads yesterday. This is why we are on our way to Mor-Ryde to have a new independent suspension installed in the trailer. Expensive, but we love this trailer, it is in good shape and very comfortable for us, but the suspension issue has become a chronic problem.

After some inspection and discussion we decided to make our way to Elkhart slowly. Took state highways so we never went over 55 and avoided the high speed whoop-de-dos that have become so common on interstate bridges.

Made it Elkhart around 5 PM in spite of a detour around a closed road that took us 30 miles out of our way! Nice spot with electricity and WiFi in the lot at Mor-Ryde. 

Sunday 7/16

Watched the F1 race in the morning, then took the truck and drove to Joan’s house. Nancy has jury duty in Chicago on Wednesday and the crew at Mor-Ryde wants to pull the trailer in at 6 AM Monday morning. Plus we are running on our fresh water tank, so it will be better if only one of us is here.

Traffic was nasty going into Chicago, a lot of construction on I-94. Took a little over two hours. I-94 eastbound was a parking lot west of I-65 and the toll road, plus I-80 East was stopped just east of Harlem so I tried US 30. That was a big mistake, a lot of traffic as well and really slow. Took three and half hours to get back to Elkhart!

 Monday & Tuesday 7/17 & 18

Up at five AM since the shop here starts at six! Getting ready one of the rear jacks would not retract! The guys from MorRyde tried to repair it, but could not get it to retract. they finally removed the jack so we could get the trailer into the shop!

Then things went even more downhill. When they pulled the wheels and brake drums they realized that the old brake drums would not fit on the new axles! Several hours were spent in a fruitless search for new brake drums. In the end the drums were located, but not all of the needed brake parts. This search consumed the rest of Monday and most of Tuesday! In the meantime they put new, hopefully stronger, bolts in the spring brackets so I could travel.

Spent Monday and Tuesday night in the trailer INSIDE the MorRyde shop. Kind of a strange experience, but it did cut down on the noise from the nearby trains. There was some noise in the shop as they work three shifts, but most of the activity was in other areas of the facility.

Speaking of facility, this is a really nice place, very comfortable lounge for a waiting area, free lunch from Jimmie Johns, beautiful landscaping around the multiple buildings.

While the parts search was going on Monday afternoon I went down to Newmar in Nappanee to pick up a new roof vent cover for the refrigerator. We discovered the plastic cover was shattered when we were loading back in Tucson. I did a quick and dirty repair with racers tape, which held up OK during the cross country trip.

Wednesday 7/19

Spent another night in MorRyde’s service facility, up early and out at 5:45 AM so I did not interfere with the work today. Drove up to Quadra Manufacturing in White Pigeon, MI. Only about a half hour away. They reinstalled the rear jack and found a defective limit switch that had been preventing operation. They also rewelded the pump box support which had broken.

Headed back toward Illinois by mid-morning. Traffic was not bad. Went a bit west of my destination to Rochelle and had the truck and trailer washed at Blue Beacon Truck wash. They were both really grungy from the trip.

Arrived at Sycamore RV Resort late in the afternoon and got settled. Nancy still at Joan’s house. She has to go into Chicago on Thursday for Jury duty. Got here just in time for an evening of severe thunderstorms!

Thursday 7/20

Spent the day relaxing and doing some housecleaning. Not much happening other than a trip to the grocery store. Contacted a mobile RV repair guy to come on Friday and install the new refrigerator vent on the roof. I do not go up on the roof anymore!

Friday 7/21

Joan brought Nancy up to Sycamore this morning. How would we ever get along without her? Nice to have Nancy back after almost a week. Roman from RM RV Service came on time and replaced the vent cover. I asked him to inspect the roof and he recommended resealing, which has not been done in quite some time. Too hot to do it today (sealer will not set properly) so he will come back in the next couple of weeks to do the resealing.

Robb from MorRyde called, does not have all parts in hand yet so we will put off the trip back there that was tentatively scheduled for next Monday and Tuesday.

RV park here is nice with a couple of lakes. Sites seem a bit tight, but they are actually quite spacious side to side. Good location, just outside of downtown Sycamore, actually walking distance into town, and there are a lot of new big box stores around here since the last time I was here years ago. A bit farther from Geneva and Joan’s than Big Rock was. However, our hope to be hosts at Big Rock fell through as they had a second couple for the entire season. This park is better since we can stay here for six weeks with having to move every 14 days and we have a sewer hook-up.

Discovered that there is a Bar-B-Que restaurant / butcher shop (Country Store & Catering) right at the end of the access road to the park! Had really good baby back ribs for dinner! Not an eat-in place, but easy to bring dinner back to the trailer.

Saturday 7/22

Getting settled in, more heavy thunderstorms last night. Took a nice walk around the lake this morning and then went out for some shopping. Lunch at Culver’s and also stopped at the Country Store & Catering for brats for dinner tonight.

Sunday 7/23

Walked into town early in the morning just to take a look around. Several interesting looking restaurants. Quiet, relaxing day.

Monday 7/24

Heard from MorRyde, parts are all in. We rescheduled suspension installation for August 10th and 11th. Will be a PIA to fight the traffic back around the south side of Chicago, but what can you do.

Did a bit of shopping and some small repairs on the RV. It suffered a bit from sitting in the heat in Tucson during June. Needed to glue a few trim items.

Pretty convenient shopping here, Blain’s Farm & Fleet, Menards, big Walmart, nice Jewel and a nice big HyVee grocery.

Had a nice dinner at Nat’s On Maple, nice atmosphere, good food and large portions.

Tuesday 7/25

Moved sites here in the park as we expected. We made our reservations late after the host position at Big Rock Campground fell through, so we told the host here we did not mind changing sites if necessary. Still a nice view of the lake from our site. We have been walking around the lake every morning, pretty location.

Wednesday 7/26

Into St Charles for the first of a string of doctors appointments and medical tests over the next three weeks. Lunch at Nosh in Geneva. We thought they had moved to new location, but not there yet. Only five days left at old one.

Stopped at Trader Joe’s and then went to the Sherwin Williams Automotive Paint store in North Aurora. Looking for some touch-up paint for the trailer, a small section of paint on the bottom of one slide peeled in the Blue Beacon wash. Nice young man helped us out, mixed up a small batch of paint for us and gave us instructions how to do it.

Stopped at Harbor Freight in Aurora and picked up an inexpensive spray gun for the repair. Thought maybe I could do it here with the air from the truck, but air pressure is too high and I don’t have a regulator. Will wait until we get home and use my small compressor.

Thursday & Friday 7/27 & 28

Quiet days, beautiful mornings for our walk. We’ve been walking into town and around the neighborhoods. A bit of shopping, lunch at Culver’s on Friday, and a few minor repairs on the trailer. Otherwise uneventful.

Saturday 7/29

Headed into Geneva late in the morning to work at the mill for the first time since last summer. Stopped at American Science and Surplus to pick up some latex gloves, a bit more expensive than they have been in the past.

Stopped at Joseph’s Meats for Italian sausage for lunch. Then spent the afternoon at the mill. Not enough wind to turn, but spent nice time with old friends.

Late in the afternoon we stopped at Meir’s to stock up on a few things, then went to Mark & Renee’s house for an excellent dinner, Bar-B-Que ribs and home brewed beer!

Got back to Sycamore about dusk, in time to take a stroll through the cruise night in downtown. Much bigger turnout than they get for the cruise nights in Geneva.

Sunday 7/30

Morning walk into town to check out prep for car show today. Turned out most of the cars were already in place! Spent more than an hour walking around. Huge turnout with some pretty spectacular cars. 90% hot rods and street rods. Found out later they had more than 1,250 cars there!

Back home we watched the F1 race and Sunday AM shows on the DVR and pretty much relaxed.

Monday 7/31

Into St Charles for doctors appointments and grocery shopping today. The location is not as bad as we thought it would be, only a half hour into St Charles or Geneva. About the same as it was last year from Big Rock. In fact, Big Rock would be a longer this year because the road that is the shortest route is currently closed!

Nice weather the last few days, did not run the AC all weekend and the night car cool, low 60’s high 50’s.

Tuesday 8/1

More medical appointments today, we are cramming all of our routine medical exams and such into a short time frame while we are here.

Picked up some Italian sausage for dinner at Joseph’s Meats, then back to the trailer for a quiet afternoon and evening. 

Confirmed a reservation at Timberline Campground in Waukee, IA  for 9/1. We stopped here for a couple of days on the way west last year. Realized that we will be on the road for Labor Day weekend again as our reservation at Cherry Creek in Denver started that Sunday night, so we needed a reservation. We will hit Sunny Meadows in Elm Creek, NE on Saturday. This is simply a big gravel parking lot with hook-ups and we have never seen it even half full, even on a holiday weekend, so there should be no issue there. 

Wednesday 8/2

After our morning walk we visited the Sycamore History Museum. Pretty thin on displays, especially considering the $5 admission fee. We did pick up a booklet on historic homes in Sycamore (another five bucks!). Will make our morning walks around town more interesting.

Then we drove down to Hinkley and had lunch at South Moon Bar-B-Que. The ribs were just as good as we remembered them.

Thursday 8/3

A run back into St Charles for some appointments, then back home in the afternoon. The drive into town from here turns out to be not much worse than from Big Rock last year. 

Friday 8/4

Last of my medical tests mid-day today, then lunch at Pot Belly’s and back to Sycamore. A light rain today, but cleared off in the afternoon. I washed the car after we returned.

Saturday 8/5

We’ve been taking morning walks around town every day, a lot of pretty houses in town. Once or twice we have stopped in the bakery downtown for a doughnut, but we try to avoid making a habit of that! Nancy picked up some really good cinnamon bread this morning

Went to the mill in the afternoon, a really nice day with enough of a breeze to get the mill running off and on. More visits with old friends.

Sunday 8/6 

Quiet day at Sycamore RV Resort. Nancy did some laundry. Otherwise uneventful.

Monday 8/7 and Tuesday 8/8

A couple of medical appointments took us back into the Tri-cities both days. That and some shopping pretty much filled up the days.

Wednesday 8/9

Hooked up the trailer and headed back to MorRyde in Elkhart to take another stab at getting the new suspension installed. Dropped Nancy off at Joan’s on the way. Took about four hours to get to Elkhart from Sycamore, traffic was not to bad. Backed the trailer into the service bay on arrival, another night indoors.

Thursday and Friday 8/10 and 8/11

Spent both days hanging around MorRyde, reading and chatting with other customers. Installation of new suspension finished about 2 PM Eastern as scheduled. Looks pretty good! Turned out the shocks they had on hand were wrong for the 10k axles, so they will ship them to me and I will put them on myself. Turned out to be considerably pricier than we originally planned due to the need for new brake drums and brake assemblies.

This is one of the old 9k axles after it came out. Gotta says those springs looked a lot bigger when I was lying underneath trying to replace hanger bolts!

And this is one of the new 10k independent assemblies upside down on the bench:

and installed on the trailer:

And here's a diagram of the assembly:

Trip back to Sycamore was brutal, lots of stop and go traffic, took five hours. Really pleased with the result though, checking the interior of the trailer on arrival it was obvious that it is riding considerably smoother. Several times along the way where the truck rocked side to side I could see that the trailer was not doing the same, riding much smoother.

So now we have a couple thousand pounds more carrying capacity (from 9k axles to 10k), a much smoother ride that will not beat up the trailer as bad, and, best of all, no worries about braking spring hanger bolts anymore!

Saturday 8/12

Just hung around Sycamore RV Resort most of the day, the trip back yesterday was really tiring. 

Sunday 8/13

I headed down to Tinley Park to celebrate Joan’s birthday and pick Nancy up. Had a nice lunch and back in Sycamore let afternoon.

Monday 8/14

Grocery shopping and laundry, otherwise a quiet day.

Tuesday 8/15

Early morning walk and later in the afternoon we walked back into town to the little farmers market they have. A little warmer this afternoon. We have had beautiful weather the last couple of weeks, pleasant days and nice cool nights. Today was the first time we had the AC on in several days.  

Friday, July 14, 2017

Back On The Road Again

Getting out of HOT, HOT Arizona!

Sunday 7/9/17

Back on the road today. We’re well settled in the new house, finally got our landscaping done - 35 tons of decorative stone and another 5 tons of “rip-rap” (fist size rocks). Looks pretty good, we will wait until fall to start planting our cacti.

We spent the month of June in Europe with Nancy’s sister Joan. Another Prairie Home Companion cruise out of Rotterdam on the MS Rotterdam. Two weeks with two stops in Scotland and four in Norway. Had a fun time, good entertainment and fairly good weather. Overnight in Oslo on June 21 & 22. Longest night of the summer and the Norwegians celebrate all night! Sunset around 11 PM and sunrise at 3 AM!

Got back to Tucson on June 30th. Seriously hot! Over 105 every day for the week we were there!

Due to work on the truck that lasted until Friday we were not able to start loading the trailer until Saturday AM. Brutally hot so the loading went slow. We had to quit in the afternoon and then finished up after sunset.

Got ourselves organized this morning and hit the road around 9 AM. We’ve been getting up at 5 AM to walk before sunrise all week, so getting up early this morning was no challenge.

We are headed to Elkhart to have suspension work done on the trailer and then back to Northern Illinois for six weeks. We laid out a trip with fairly short days this time, plan on getting to MorRyde in Elkhart on Saturday. Today we went as far as the Escapees park in Deming, NM. Uneventful trip.

Monday 7/10

Easy day from Deming to Roswell, NM., although we hit a bit of rain. Lunch at Margo’s Mexican in Alamogordo, then stayed at Trailer Village where we used to stop regularly when we first were going to Tucson, almost 8 years ago! We stopped coming this way after Emily and her family moved to Denver and we started stoping there. The young couple who ran the RV park now have a granddaughter!

Tuesday 7/11

On to Alanreed, TX, East of Amarillo. Easy day in spite a slight detour when I missed a turn in Clovis. Took a little tour of NM and Texas secondary highways to get back on track!

Stopped at Allanreed Travel Center, a tiny RV park right off I-40 in Alanreed, TX. Just a half dozen hook-ups in grass field behind a gas station, but more than adequate for what we need.

Wednesday 7/12

On to Chandler, OK and Oak Glen RV Park where we have stayed a number of times before before. Uneventful day and easy drive.

Thursday 7/13

Lunch at Cracker Barrel and a stop at Flying J in Tulsa, cheapest fuel along the route. Stopped at the tiny RV park behind Motel Six in St. Robert, MO. Thunderstorms and fairly heavy rain during evening.

Friday 7/14

Doubled back a couple of miles for breakfast at Cracker Barrel and a stop at Walmart. Still got on the road at 9 AM!

Two long, slow traffic jams for construction in Illinois to today. Stopped at Cracker Barrel in Effingham. That put us just 10 miles from where we had planned to stop, so we went on to Cloverdale RV Park in Cloverdale, IN. Nice quiet park with large sites and lots of shade. In spite of the shade the sat dish could still get the channels for F1 qualifying the morning. 335 miles, but puts us only 200 miles from Elkhart.