Home again

We got home about 3pm local time and found that the grass was high and nothing was awry with the house which was a great relief. We started mowing right off and got a lot of the front yard mowed. I decided to unroll the awning on the RV to let it dry out and see how bad it needed cleaning-we hadn’t used it since we got the RV. It was wet so I decided, seeing as the sky was clear and the stars were coming out, to leave it deployed for the night.

We didn’t want to eat in so we went to the local Chinese Buffet for dinner. When we got home it was still clear and calm and I didn’t feel that it was necessary to roll up the awning so I took a shower and went to bed. Later that night I was awakened by rain on the roof of the RV so I thought I better slant the awing down so the rain would run off the awning and not make a bag of water that would stretch the material. I went back to bed and to sleep. Later I was awakened with the crash and boom of lightening and thunder and the awning was flapping and shaking the RV. I went out to roll it up the awning, but the roller and the arms were stuck in the extended position and the awning wouldn’t roll back up. The wind picked up and the became quite fierce Samantha tried to help me but there was little we could do other than to hold the awning down and not let it bend the arms. We held on to add our weight to the arms to keep it from ripping its self apart the wind and rain pounded us and just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse we got hit with hail the size of dimes and we both were soaked through shivering and hanging on not daring to let the awning arms go and tear the RV apart. The lightening was fierce and close, the lights went out and we were wondering if we were going to get blown away with the damn awning. Several times we thought we were at the last of the storm, but we got blasted with more rain and wind accented with lightening. It seemed like an hour our more passed until the storm quieted down enough for us to get some tools and get the damn awning rolled up. One strut didn’t get folded up right but the thing us back against the RV and we called it quits.

When we got inside we both were tired, wet, cold and shivering; we were outside in out pajamas through all this and we were close to having a case of hypothermia. We got out of our wet clothes and dried off as quickly as possible and had some hot tea to drink. Then climbed into bed and tried to warm up. I didn’t warm up right away even though I was using a sleeping bag and had a sweat shirt on.

In the morning we took measure of the awning and the RV. The awning was torn and needs to be replaced one arm that extends has a device to hold it at a particular height needs to be repaired or replace. The good news is that there was no damage to the RV and no leaks.

I think that if we hadn’t held on to the awning we would have lost the frame and the frame would have torn off the RV causing damage to the siding and maybe the awing being ripped off causing the roof to be torn and serious damage to the RV costing a lot of money to repair.

All this could have been avoided by not leaving the awning deployed in the first place….my error that could have caused a lot of grief, but luckily we escaped without injury.

I am now of the opinion that awnings are a pain in the Pah-toot and not worth the money and expense.

So after 2000 miles on this trip our biggest adventure was in our own front yard…. go figure!


East on I-40 through Texas to OK.

We headed east on I-40 from Tucomcari, after we got into OK we started seeing signs for a Route 66 museum so when we got to the exit we decided to visit the museum. It had a small Route 66 section and it was done well; however the museum was actually about the local area history and all the rest of the buildings were about local folks who were well known or had settled the area. So the National Route 66 Museum isn’t so much RT 66 as local history.

We left there and proceeded to find the Starlight Casino that took some doing as it is not on or near I-40 but in a small community several miles away. This casino was nice as we got free hookups and we got a $10 voucher for joining the players club and we had a good meal in the dinning room. It helped that I won tickets to a concert and Samantha won some money at the slot machines.

That night we had a storm come in and it rocked the old RV back and forth a few times making the big dog nervous and waking us up to the wind and rain. The following morning was clear and we headed to Dallas and home via I-35. Driving through Dallas as always is a nerve wracking event, but we made it home without further incident.

Tucumcari NM

We departed Dodge city and headed southeast and into New Mexico’s northeast corner. To tell the truth it isn’t that much different than Kansas or the Oklahoma pan handle; flat with some rolling hills very small towns even more spread out than KS and OK. Very boring drive we came to a spot called wagon mound supposedly the folks using the Santa Fe trail came to this rock and made a decision to take the mountain route or the a cut off route. My question is where the heck were they going? Did they know what laid ahead in Arizona and California desserts?

So now we are in Tucumcari NM; this place celebrates the Route 66 theme which was “the” highway of fame forty or fifty years ago before the interstate system built I-40 which bypassed all the businesses on Rt 66. Many of the businesses closed up a few remain open hanging on to past glory and hoping enough tourists stop by and spend a little money.

Dodge City KS

We did the Dodge City Kansas thing this morning and took the tour of the museum and Boot Hill and saw lots of old artifacts from the hay day of Dodge City. Doing the tour was interesting most of the displays were done well except for the section on women’s clothing which was not well lit. There were photos of actors and other folks associated with TV and films about Dodge City and seeing these photos stirred memories of the enjoyable times watching them. Almost all of these character actors are dead and gone and only a few photos and movies remain of their work. The actors in the series of Gunsmoke James Arness still living his brother actor Peter Graves just died, Dennis Weaver died at 81, Amanda Blake at 60, Milburn Stone died at 75 others are still alive.
The photos from that era(1860’s) were quite interesting and showed how those folks looked, at least for having their photo taken which I am sure was a big occasion. I wanted to have my photo taken in period costume but the photo studio wasn’t open.
We had lunch at a local restaurant and enjoyed it very much afterwards we drove over to the local Walmart for some shopping the RV needed a few things. Now we are located for the night at Hugoton KS at an RV park. Not a notable place it does have water, electricity and sewer hook ups and the site is level for only $15.00.

Ford lake outside of Dodge City KS

We left Flagler lake and thought we could use the wifi at a local diner only to find out that it was closed because they need a cook! We went into the town of Flagler and didn’t find anything so we turned around and on the way out spotted a restaurant next to a motel. We had a nice breakfast and saved our meat for the puppies 🙂

After breakfast we headed east on I-70 and when we crossed the state line with Kansas we stopped by the visitor’s center and got some information about places to visit in Kansas. This is were we decided to visit Dodge City KS. We drove and drove and all there was to see were fields of cropland hardly any buildings. We passed through a few small towns and they sure looked quiet.

We had a hard time finding Ford lake (free campsite) because there was no sign saying that, this lake (?) was Ford lake. It did have a sign saying it there was a Boy Scout Training Center there and that threw me off. With help of a local we got to the camp at Ford lake. Turns out that it is a popular place for locals to visit as well. Just after we parked a large group of folks moved in next to us with go carts, kids and cars a plenty. They also had a very large Doberman Pincher tied to a tree that was not pleased about the situation. We kept our pets inside as to not start a dog battle. About sunset this group of folks started packing up and moved out just as the sun was going down. The dogs got a short walk that night. The night there was quiet and in the morning the dogs had a nice walk and we headed into Dodge City.

Just on the City line there is a Flying J truck plaza we stopped there for coffee and information. The locals working the desk only knew of one RV park and didn’t know if it was open. The local tourist office was closed Saturday and Sunday so no help there. We decided to drive through Dodge and get the lay of the land. We continued through after finding the tourist office and found another RV park not listed in any of our books as they don’t give discounts, but they have all services and large pull through lots, their name is Gunsmoke RV Park. We got busy and got our showers, and laundry done; we also got a project done which was to replace the lower screen on the screen door and install protective grill on the same door so the dogs won’t damage the screen again. The project came out looking good.

On to Flagler CO

We finally broke camp at Colorado springs and headed east to Flagler Colorado. A rather easy drive for the day, we found Flagler but the road to the State Wild life Area eluded us until we turned around and saw the sign for the SWLA Flagler Lake.

The black top road that leads to the lake turns into hard packed dirt. We found the lake with its five camp sites. The camp sites are not labeled and do not have facilities except for a picnic table. Trash has to be packed out. We found a lakeside camp site and leveled the rig the best we could; I need more blocks to cover more uneven campsites. We had no neighbors only the sky and wind. We had a nice dinner in the rig and turned in early after walking the dogs enough to make them tired.

What the??? Was that noise???

PIA Cat was not amused

Where we went to get the RV repaired

This is where the trouble was

The old RV with its nose stuck in a service bay

Another view of the engine 454 Chevy

As we left the RV park this morning and began to climb up a hill I heard the RV make a noise like or shudder just like it was having problems shifting or misfiring a cylinder. THEN on the next hill it backfired !!! “YIKES this isn’t good” I said to Samantha “we better find a mechanic soon”.
We drove to Camper’s World just off the I 25 and got a recommendation for a repair facility and drove over there/here to find out what was the problem. This place is crowded with RVs trucks and cars being repaired it took them a few hours to get to our rig and figure out what the problem was.
Seems the dear old RV has never, ever had a tune up at 41 thousand miles it still had the original plugs and wires the rotor cap was corroded inside and the rotor was burnt. The plug wires were in terrible shape coming apart so we had all this replaced along with an injector cleaning and a few other minor things. This all costs $$$ and dear readers you know how I hate to spend the green stuff so I was distracted and tense all day.
We are camped in the Repair facility’s yard with an extension cord into the shop for power. Tonight’s dinner was in house; we had pasta shells with a delightful spicy red sauce and a choice of cookies or ice cream for dessert. Considering the lack of ambiance it was a nice dinner. We should be good to roll on tomorrow after a few other things are taken care of, SIGH 😦