Saturday, May 23, 2015

Here We Are Working Our First Week In Our New Location of Dubois Idaho and......What?....Wait....We're Moving Where?....When?

Arco, Idaho

Care to guess what this is a picture of?
Tell you later...

Thompson RV Park, Thornton, ID 5/7

Dubois, ID 5/17
Looks Like the Circus is in Town
Mountain View CG, Arco, ID 5/22

We worked in Thornton for 2 weeks. We arrived in Dubois last Sunday and started working the new area Monday. And we finished on Thursday. Boy are we good or what! So Friday we packed up and moved to Arco. A little larger area here so we may be here for a few weeks. Great campground, small town of about 900. Home of Number Hill and the First City powered by Atomic Energy!

On the Road to Arco

Our job is quite interesting. Sometimes we do things a little different by walking our handheld when we are unable to drive the jeep where we need to go...or we might walk with the unit when it's quicker than driving. Here's an example of some of our time saving methodology....

We always try to select a picturesque location for lunch while we're out in the field. A lot of those lunch spots can be seen on Facebook if you're so inclined. And Joan always takes time to smell the flowers...or take pictures of them!

We see the most interesting things as we're driving throughout the countryside.....

We never expected to see a moose crossing the road from a large agricultural field, trotting between a couple of buildings before heading towards a small pond....

....nor a crop duster that 'buzzed' us while we were out and about....

We even got in a little bowling with Dave & Maxine on one of our days off...

Now for the answer to the question at the top of the blog....that pic is a small 'snippet' from a Google Earth view of an area we stumbled across in Idaho. The circles are actually crop circles....circles made by large irrigation systems that circle a pivot point creating the circular huh!

Well, that's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come

Saturday, May 16, 2015

What Do You Do When It Rains On Moving Day? Bloody Mary's Sound Good!

Thornton, ID

We relocated north to Idaho a week ago and have been working in a different type of area for the last few days. We don't have the elevation changes, mountains and trees that we encountered in Utah; rather we've been driving large slightly undulating sage covered cattle ranges. We've seen lots of grazing cattle, mating bulls, a few elk and even a few sage grouse.

Parting shots from Utah

I know it doesn't look deep, but
the differentials are dragging
On our last work day in Utah we had a little adventure added to our normal routine. It had rained the night before and even the regularly maintained dirt roads were filling the tire treads with mud, causing the jeep to slip & slide in certain areas. We got off the maintained roads into the trails when it started raining again. As we began a slow descent down a slight grade the jeep slid sideways into a washed out rut about a foot deep. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but with the tire treads full of mud we couldn't get enough traction to climb out of the rut. Even with the tires turned hard left we just continued to follow the rut in the trail. Ahead we could see the rut deepen to two feet and turn off the trail into the bush. No way I was going to be able to continue forward down the hill. And after several failed attempts at backing up and climbing out of the ruts it was time to try something else. So out came the shovel and I proceeded to dig a trench at a 45 degree angle across the road; piling the dirt and rock into the rut so that the tires would hit the wall of my trench and be forced into turning the jeep away from the ruts. It worked. As soon as we were rolling again we decided to leave the area and pick up some trails a few miles away where things were flat and less muddy.

We had a chance last weekend to visit Yellowstone NP which is about 90 miles northeast of where we're staying just north of Idaho Falls. We spent one night at Old Faithfull Inn and another a little further north near Mammoth Hot Springs. It snowed both days we were there, not enough to stick around very long, but enough to dust everything and add a little ambiance. Enjoy the pics....

Mud Pots

Old Faithful Inn
Old Faithful

Joan, Dave & Maxine

In Mammoth Hot Springs we caught up with friends Herb & Christine who are working there this summer. 

And Joan almost got into a little trouble with one of the locals...

Yesterday we had a couple of situations that required some work on the jeep. At one point the brakes starting squealing. An inspection under the jeep revealed a piece of wood wedged against the brake caliper causing the noise. A few minutes of pushing and pulling freed up the wood and all was fine....for a few miles when we started to hear another weird rubbing noise. A walk around the jeep revealed a 10' piece of wire wrapped around the drive shaft. This took a little more time & effort, but we cleared it and kept the wire for future use. 

We've been working at our first location for a week and were planning on moving about 35 miles north this weekend to another campsite where we would be parking on natural grass. But it's raining and the weather has the ground soggy, so rather than risk tearing up the landscaping or getting stuck we're staying put in this location for a few more days. How to make the most of a rainy day? We're off to our boss's for Bloody Mary's. Yahoo!

Well, that's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come

Monday, May 4, 2015

Wild Horses Couldn't Keep Us Away!

Tooele, Utah

Today Joan and I started our 4th week inventorying BLM roads in Utah. And it looks as though this may be our last as well. No, it's not what you think. Rather our 'team' has done so well that we will be moving on to our next location before the end of the week. And that location is in Idaho! Yahoo!

L-R Chuck, Claudia, Joan, Steve, Sawyer,
Jim, Barb, Max & Dave
Here's a pic of our original team in Tooele. Chuck & Claudia were our trainers and supervisors when we started. Alas, they left last week headed for their new location and a new crop of trainees. They took Sawyer with them. Jim and Barb are history. They are just finishing their 1st year of full-timing and as interesting as this job sounds, it is work. And work is what they did before they retired and went full-time. Their whole reason for full-timing was to travel and enjoy their time away from work for several years. Joan & I will miss them. We really enjoy their company and were looking forward to spending lots of time with them this summer. We do plan on catching up with them this fall. Dave & Maxine are racking up miles as they burn up the BLM roads and trails in this area. And we've already enjoyed several game nights with them playing Fruit Salad, Golf & Dominoes.

That's probably how the entire summer will go; working an area for 2-4 weeks, then moving on to the next location. The 1st 2 weeks were really stressful; learning how to use the equipment; understanding the items that we needed to identify while in the field; and ensuring we were 'logging' and photographing everything properly.......while driving/riding in a 4-wheel drive vehicle across and through pretty rugged countryside...on roads and trails very much different from the ones we're used to being from Florida.

That being said, by the 3rd week we were really starting to enjoy ourselves as we got more and more comfortable with the processes and procedures. And we've been really pleasantly surprised by the ability of the jeep to handle some of the more challenging terrain we've encountered.

State Capital Building

We've taken some day trips into Salt Lake City for shopping and sight seeing.

Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum

Maxine & Dave joined us for a tour of the DUP Museum.

Some of that shopping was to get parts for a couple of RV maintenance issues that I've worked on over the last couple of weekends, including removal of the power 'take up' reel and rewiring of the 50 amp power cable from the reel to the power transfer switch. One of the days it was snowing and we were unable to work, we started to notice that we were losing power to our appliances. As the morning wore on we lost the heat pumps in the roof AC units, microwave,.  satellite & TV. It appeared we had a broken inverter. But after talking to the manufacturer's tech support and performing several troubleshooting tests, we were able to determine that we were not getting shore power to the inverter. Further testing isolated the problem to the 'take up' reel. The repair itself only took about 30 minutes. It was the 4+ hours of calling dealers who couldn't schedule us an appointment for at least 2 weeks; contacting mobile techs that either didn't work in our area or couldn't work on inverters; and waiting on hold to speak with manufacturer's tech support; then 2 hours outside the RV testing this and that....all while it snowed that wore me out. Once the 'take up' reel was removed everything went back to work just like new. I also repaired some loose weather stripping on one of the slides; installed a new handle on the screen door; and removed and replaced a broken foot rest on my recliner.

Sometimes it might seem that our RV lifestyle and maybe even our jobs can be challenging, but it's days like last week when we drove up on a group of wild horses blocking the road that make it all worth while.

I think we'll keep doing this for a while longer.

Well, that's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come