Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Slide Toppers Ain't Pretty

Miles City, MT

We're starting our 3rd week in Miles City and things are a little different here. The terrain is a little flatter and the weather has fluctuated quite a bit during our time here.

For example today the temps are in the mid 50's with a forecasted high of 71. But let me show you the temps that registered on our car last week while we were out in the field working.....

Mind you the indicated temp cooled down to a measly 104 when we got off the 2-track we were driving and got onto the the highway.

A few days ago we drove up on a herd of longhorn cattle. This one in particular reminded me of the poster child for Mad Cow Disease.

A large portion of the BLM land we're routing is used by cattlemen to graze their herds and our routes are crisscrossed with multiple fence lines. It's our responsibility to ensure that when we pass thru gates that we keep them closed or open as they were when we approached. Usually Joan will help me with gates, opening & closing them as needed. As we approached a gate the other morning, there was a large bull standing on the opposite side, with his head hung over the gate obviously wanting to cross into the pasture area we we attempting to exit. "No way am I opening that gate" stated Joan. So it was up to me to convince the bull he needed to leave the area and allow us to pass thru. I assumed my 'alpha' stance and started my best 'Crocodile Dundee' intimidation......and it worked. Off he went, far enough for me to open the gate and allow Joan to drive thru. That's right folks, Don't mess with the Zohan!

While we were in Wyoming I noticed one of the slide topper awnings on the RV was torn and starting to flap in the breeze. Earlier this year while we were in Lake Mead I had already had to take down the door awning and restitch the seams where the thread was deteriorating. Upon closer examination of the slide toppers I noticed several areas where the thread was starting to fall apart as well. So after a little research and internet price shopping I decided to order new awnings for all 4 slides. Instructional videos also prompted me to attempt to replace them myself...all I would need is a little help from a friend.
...at this point Dave was considering jumping
but Max intervened and convinced him to
wait until she could update their insurance!
So I asked our friend and co-worker Dave (of the Wandering Wingers fame) if he would mind helping. He thought it was a great idea because he needed to replace some of the awnings on his RV as well. So we both ordered awnings from Tough Top Awnings. The awnings were shipped (free) and arrived a few days later. We even managed to save 5% on the cost by using a discount code provided by TheRVgeeks. RVgeeks really do rock! Saturday morning we started replacing the awnings on our RV. We were done in a little less than 4 hours replacing all 4...and that included several breaks to re-hydrate and cool down as the temps were climbing into the 90's. Sunday morning the temps were much cooler and we decided to tackle Dave's main awning. Things were a little more complicated as the slide toppers only required 2 seams to be slipped through channels; 1 on the RV and 1 on the awning bracket. While Dave's main awning had 5 seams; 2 on the awning bracket, 1 on the RV and 2 on the protective cover. We recruited a couple more assistants and completed the main awning in about 2 hours. Next weekend we'll finish Dave's RV by installing his 2 slide toppers.

Dave turned his RV so our front doors and awnings face each other.

That creates a small 'patio' area between our RV's which we took advantage of when Maxine hosted a Taco party. We had 14 team members all show up and a great time was had by all.

We even had time for a game of cards before the afternoon was over.

Sometimes when we're working we stumble across things that make us smile. We had occasion to speak to one of the local ranchers the other day in order to obtain permission to cross his private property. During the discussion he mentioned that he wasn't exceptionally happy with some of the government agencies in the area but that it would be OK for us to drive through his ranch. Once past his house we came to the Tongue River and a crossing bridge the rancher had installed at his own cost, even though several of the local government agencies had promised to help fund. Just before we crossed we noticed this sign...Kinda' speaks for itself!

We crossed several other bridges on private property along the Tongue River, some a little more scary than others. This one wasn't one of Joan's favorites....

We expect a couple more weeks here and then we'll be moving along...not sure where.

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


  1. It looks like it was so hot it melted the horns on that Longhorn! It is good to know you have experience with awning toppers, I shall store that in my memory bank.......

  2. Great job on the awnings and for showing that bull who is the boss!

  3. Brave people tackling the awnings on your own. Glad it all worked out. Nice having helpful friends:)

  4. Looks like you are having some fun, and getting your coach projects taken care of. Hope the weather cools down for you. It was 32 degrees this morning!

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