Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fun with Lights......not!!

Many of you may be aware that we were having some difficulty with our lights on the way home. For some reason we had lost some illumination, but retained other functions.

It was a little bit weird, we had turn signals but no clock light, brake lights but no ashtray light (we keep change there for "drive-thru and toll" ready access) and no glove box light. Most distressingly our taillights were not working and when rolling through the american countryside at 75-80mph before the sun comes up, taillights would be an advantage. We stopped in a couple places to try and remedy the problem, and eventually ended up "Googling" the issue.

It turned out to be a fuse in an unconventional location, which promptly blew again as soon as soon as it was replaced. Further diagnosis was necessary.

The trailer was duly unhitched and I replaced the fuse again. Everything came back on, okay the problem lies with the trailer wiring.

A trip to Walmart yielded a new set of lights. we had been limping along with the original set for the last two years, and had made numerous shrink wrap and baling wire roadside repairs. The kit came with lights with integral side and license plate lights, and all necessary wiring.

Of course things are never as easy as one imagines on setting out. Some persuasion was required to convince the old lights that they needed to give up their place for the new set. A hacksaw comes in handy for this sort of encouragement!!

Old lights removed, new wiring pulled and old wiring discarded it was time to test out the new lights. To my intense satisfaction everything worked....almost.

All lights were working except the left turn indicator. Further diagnosis showed that the problem was at the car, where a module had been wired in when the hitch was installed. The left turn signal works on the car, but the signal is not generated as far as the wiring connector to the trailer. Okay fans....time to get creative!!!

A small piece of wire was formed as a bridge jumper between the left and right turn terminals. This means in effect that all the lights work as intended on the car, and all the lights work on the trailer, but signalling a turn will result in both signals flashing at the back of the trailer.....................look out someone's turning some direction!!!

Hard to believe all this foolishness was caused by the left side trailer light wiring being abraded. This resulted in the dead short, the blown fuse and the fretting travelers racing across the northern US with no tail lights......eeeeek!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Flying Low and Fleeing the Country (Epic Rant with a Geographic Slant)

Having gotten Day 1 out of the way, Day 2 finds us leaving Lamar CO with no idea what our next destination will be. We know that when the eyes grow heavy we shall stop. The sun is just peeking over the horizon as we make our way up 287.

We pass thorough the town of Kit Carson CO. Kit Carson was a mountain man, explorer and guide and from all reports quite the raconteur!

We were determined to avoid the toll road we had used around Denver and save the $9.00. As it was traffic was so hideous, it cost us at least $20.00 in time before we found our way through the mess and exited heading north on 25.

About an hour and change later we entered Wyoming.

The shadows were starting to lengthen and we looked for accommodation for the night. We ended up with a Days Inn in Casper WY, and flaked out for the night.

Up again at 05:15, we had a quick bite and head out. We traveled along to Sheridan where we got gas. The price was a little higher there. This fine fellow was waiting to greet travelers at the gas station.

This is the gas station in question. We filled up and headed on.

After a few more hours of travel we entered Montana. It's true, the sky is big there. After the flat lands of Wyoming it was nice to start seeing mountains again. There were small pockets of snow on the side of the road, but we encountered none falling as we traveled, although it was down around freezing in the mornings.

The trees are really starting to change color and provided some interesting views along the way. We continued to drive, converse, listen to the radio and snack as we rolled along.

The geography continued to change and we saw geologic formations we don't usually see at home in either location.

We stopped in Butte MT. at the Quality Inn and slept, briefly. Up again at 05:15 we were away at 06:00 and drove for about 2 1/2 hours before the sun started to come up. We stopped at a rest stop as the sun was coming up and then carried on.

The sun was just starting to touch the tops of the hills and he ground was a little frosty. We were warm and dry at 75mph in the car, although the scooters looked a little chilly. I had been covering them overnight and the cover was frosty when I stowed it in the mornings.

The color is really starting to come on now, and we are enjoying the view.

Here is Scooterchick, well bundled and sporting her tuque against the cold.

And here is a selfie of your intrepid correspondents as we prepare to roll on.

We made a stop in St. Regis MT. Here's a question, when you live in St. Regis and they take away your driver's licence, what do you do? You use a modified riding mower to get around at slightly better than walking speed of course!

See, here's the Post Office. The Lawnmower Man has now made it over here to check his mail. It is across the street from the store.

The colors continue as we climb up toward Lookout Pass. You may recall that I made mention of Lookout Pass in a previous post. The ski area gets an average of 23 feet of champagne powder annually. The season's pass will be $229.00

Excuse me while I vomit!!!! 

Contrast that with Whistler's pass at $1,899.00 this year.

We crest the pass and head into Idaho. You may think we are making some time! Well, we are. We continue to roll on downhill toward's Coeur D'Alene.

We pass through C D'A and Spokane and head north. This is the town park in Chewelah WA. Our friend's grandparents are buried here. (Not in the park.)

The day is getting late and we stop in Colville WA.

It is a very pretty town and is quite a bit larger than Squamish although the population is about 25% as large. They have 4 or 5 drugstores, several hotels, at least 3 auto parts stores and a Walmart bout 3 times the size of Squamish's.

This is the Stevens County Courthouse.

This is the Colville Post Office.

This is a monument at the end of the Main Street. It is a tribute to the early settlers of the area.

At the base of the monument are a Native man spearfishing, a Farmer and a Logger and a Frontiersman. They are all a little larger than life size.

We headed up to Kettle Falls, about 12 miles north and then took Hwy 20 across the mountains to Republic WA.

Republic is a town of just over 1,000. It is 43 miles from Kettle Falls and another 40 from Tonasket in the American Okanogan.

We stopped to gas up in Tonasket and then stopped in Oroville for dinner.
This is a historic plaza in Oroville.

The day was growing longer and we stopped for a bite to eat before hitting the border. The shadows were lengthening and our energy was waning.

We stopped in a restaurant that was adjacent to the road. It was time for Patsy to change out her American SIM card and reinstall the Telus one.

The walls had decals of major American cities. It didn't take too much imagination to decipher the silhouettes.

The cafe had a rather grandiose name. Well, let's see what they have on offer.

I ordered a cup of Shrimp Chowder and a Cascade Salad. The Chowder was good even if the shrimp were canned, and the Salad was imaginative. It had Romaine Lettuce with  Bacon, Blue Cheese. Cranberries and  Apple served with a Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Scooterchick had a Jamaican Pork Steak with Coconut Prawns, Rice and Grilled Vegetables with Pineapple. Very juicy and tasty.

Our day completed we rolled into Mom's at around 8:30 pm. I took this picture this morning, after having slept very soundly and getting up at the sensible hour of 8 this morning.

We will be here for a couple days in the Okanagan and then head for home.
After 1,945 miles and 4 days it's time to rest up and visit with Mom.
Thanks for riding along with us.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Where Away Travellers?

The time had run out on our stay in Lawton. After a couple hectic days getting the car serviced and tending to last minute errands we got ready to head out.

Our intention was to roll on at 0800 so naturally we ended up leaving around
0930. It was hard to say goodbye, but travel we must, and travel we do.

This picture was taken about 10 miles west of Lawton on Hwy 62. My Scooterchick is smiling and ready to rock. The windshields and mirrors from our scooters have been stored to reduce wind resistance,

Well we're in high cotton now. Not really...due to an ongoing drought the cotton is stunted and production is down, but there's still enough to harvest.

We head west and out of Oklahoma. We are well supplied with drinks and munchies, we only stop to gas up and use the facilities.

Last week we were in Texas and now here we are.....in Texas!

We turn right in Amarillo, and pick up 287 to head north.

We stop in Dumas TX and take a selfie in the hot West Texas wind. It was about 80F. this afternoon.

We continued up 287, (which starts at Port Arthur on the Gulf Coast) and soon we entered Oklahoma then left Oklahoma. This was due to passing through the panhandle a narrow sliver of land 34 miles wide that somehow got left over between Texas and Colorado and was appended to Oklahoma. In and out in about 25 minutes and here we are entering Colorado.

See us? We are ready to stomp on the go pedal and make tracks north.

My attention was starting to wander by the time we reached Lamar Co. and at
75mph one doesn't want one's attention to stray that far. We pulled  into a McD's to use the internet and find a hotel.

Using Trip Advisor we found out that the Days Inn was well rated. According to Trip Advisor I had a choice of companies that would book it at $99.99

I decided to call the hotel instead and asked what they could do on a senior rate. That Senior Status card comes in handy. A King Room including breakfast for $71.99 
I can get behind that rate!!!

The room was comfortable, the shower head at least 6'8" and water very hot. This makes a huge difference at the end of a long day.

We will be chowing down tomorrow morning and hitting the road early. Let's see how far we can make it tomorrow. Check in then?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Time To Fire Up The Smoker

It was a perfect day. The smoker which been lovingly assembled in a previous post was standing ready to serve, and I was ready to load it with charcoal. With temperatures in the low 80's and a light breeze the time had come to smoke some beast.

I put up a small table to hold the necessitos and got out the charcoal and the lighter. After liberally coating all surfaces with Grape Seed Oil (high smoke point) per instructions and making a pile of Charcoal it was ready to light.

Let there be fire. I grew up in the pre Propane and CNG era and have always preferred coals, although I understand the allure of turning a valve and pushing an ignitor. There's just something shall we say prehistoric about heating meat over charcoal. It satisfies the soul as well as the palate.

Let there be meat! Scooterchick had made a rub yesterday and we had applied it to the ribs and let them stew in their own juices overnight. We placed them on the grill, mopped them with a little Apple  Juice and set to smoking!

My beloved takes a picture of the meat. I take a picture of her taking a picture of the meat. Neat?  All reet!

Although the majority of the ribs are for an event we are having tomorrow, we couldn't really resist trying a few on for size tonight. "Here, get that in ya" as the Aussies say. Ribs and Collard Greens were dinner, and what a dinner it was. The ribs had been finished with a made-from-scratch sauce, again courtesy of my darling, and I demolished a few to check the tenderness.

While not fall off the bone tender, they were meaty, well done and lip smackingly good. It took me a couple minutes to wash the juicy goodness out of my beard after dinner so I was well pleased.

I can hardly wait for another opportunity to use the smoker. Now that it's been broken in I'm thinking Buffalo? Armadillo? Raccoon? Who knows....stay tuned for our next installment.......