Sunday, April 10, 2016

Debbie! What Did You Say?

Boulder City, NV (again?, still?)

Capital Reef NP, Utah
Joan and I wrapped up our volunteer jobs at Lake Mead the 1st week in March, just as our friends Jim & Deb arrived from Florida. Jim & Deb have been our best friends for many years. We've taken many motorcycle vacations together; several of them with our RV. They've followed our blog since we began full-timing in 2012 and we've stayed with them during our holiday trips back to Florida every year. All that changed last year when they sold their house and moved into their 2007 Country Coach to prepare to begin their full-timing life style. They both retired in January of this year and hit the road headed west in March.

Jim & Deb
Kolob Reservoir Road & their Jeep's 1st taste of snow
While they had hoped to join us this summer mapping BLM roads, that plan hadn't come to fruition, So they accepted a position working at Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota which they start in early May. Since our BLM job wasn't to start until late April, we decided to show them around Utah for a few weeks; helping them get acclimated to the lifestyle and gaining some off-road experience in their jeep.

Over the next 3 weeks we visited:

4 national parks

Tower Arch, Arches NP
Onion Creek, Capital Reef NP

Pleasant Creek, Capital Reef NP

Our 1st Rescue

While we were driving Kolob Reservoir Rd just east of Zion, we climbed in elevation into some winter snow that hadn't yet thawed. We drove a short distance further up the mountain until we reached a point where someone was working with a small front end loader attempting to clear the roadway. We decided to turn around and head back when a tourist came walking up the road asking if he could drive further up. We recommended he turn back as the snow was too deep for his small car. He returned to his car and during his attempt to turn around, he managed to get stuck. We tried to push him out a couple of times to no avail. So Jim pulled out a chain; I hooked to his undercarriage and proceeded to pull him to pavement.

Onion Creek, Capital Reef NP
Climbing the switchbacks into Canyonlands NP

4 national monuments -  Hovenweep, Escalante-Grand Staircase, Cedar Breaks, Canyon of the Ancients
Puebloan  Buildings (circa 1200AD)
Hovenweep NM

1 national recreation areas -  Lake Mead

2 national forests -  Dixie, Manti La-Sal

Dixie NF

3 state parks -  Valley of Fire,  Dead Horse Point, Sand Hollow,

Valley of Fire

and places such as Monument Valley and Moab.

It took a little while for Jim to get the idea that
keeping all 4 wheels on the ground was
a 'good' thing!

Deb has had a challenging time getting used to driving off-road. She's not fond of heights with sharp drop offs. And there are lots of those out west. She's doing great (even though we've had to edit some of her language from our videos!)
It's not often you drive under rather than over the rocks

Joan's slightly edited pic of Monument Valley
(from the spot where Forest Gump stopped running)

According to the National Park website, there are 410 'units' in the national system; only 58 are National Parks. Others are considered National Monuments, National Recreation Areas, National Lakeshores, National Memorials, etc. So many things to do and such a short amount of time. Guess that means we'll just have to keep on trying to visit them all.

Over the last few weeks Jim & I have tinkered with his RV. The trip west was their 1st road trip and a couple of small issues made themselves noticeable. We have temporarily repaired their living room slide. All 4 mounting bolts broke out of the slide motor housing, tearing the electrical connections loose and preventing the slide from operating correctly. We used some 1/4" stranded cable wire and a hose clamp to secure the motor to its mounting bracket. That should allow them to operate their slide until they're set up in South Dakota and can get some warranty work done. We also finished replacing their slide toppers ( a job we started in Florida last November, but had to stop as one awning cover had a bolt we were unable to remove). This time we resolved that by using a sawz-all to cut the bolt and remove the cover. We secured a door awning that began extending itself while they were driving with Gorilla Tape (more warranty work). And a few other odds and ends....just normal full time stuff!

But, all good things must come to an end. Wednesday Jim & Deb headed north towards South Dakota with stops planned at Mesa Verde NP, Denver, Rocky Mountain NP and other places along their route.

Joan & I? Well we headed back towards Vegas. It seems a couple of doctor's appointments await us there before we can begin our summer job. We'll be here at Lake Mead for most of April. Not all bad though.......called a couple of my softball buddies and it seems as though there are a couple of opportunities to play some more softball, including the LVSSA-SSUSA Southwest Championship Tournaments here in Vegas in 2 weeks! Wahoo!

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