Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Insurance Approved and Parts are on the way! Local Entertainment

August 30 – September 3, 2013

For the past few days we haven’t done too much that's exciting.  Friday the 29th we walked into town and had a Fish Fry at Alice’s Restaurant.  We went to the Chamber of Commerce which is in the RV Park and asked about where the best Fish Fry is.  Way too many answers, so we chose the one we could walk to, Alice’s.

Alice’s was great; they were having a special Fish Fry with Walleye!  They must have known we were coming because we love a Walleye Fish Fry.  While there and waiting for our fish, we finally put together what their accent is.  The accent here is just like Sara Palin.  Now, when anybody here talks, we just look at each other and smile.  Of course, from here you can’t see Russia, but maybe you can see Canada.
One of the many ATVs here riding the long trails.

On our walk back from the Fish Fry I saw this.  Yooper Lakes Realty.  Yooper is what people call themselves in the U.P.
Saturday the 30th we walked to the Iron County Museum in the town of Caspian.  We wanted to make sure we could either walk or ride our bikes here tomorrow for the free Miner’s Day Picnic.  The walk is just 2 miles one way but we still get a 4 mile walk out of it. 

We ended the day with stuffed cabbage for dinner.  Not sure we would make the cabbage again.  It was a lot of work to make with a lot of dirty dishes.   It was tasty though and we had we have enough left over for another day.

Stuffed Cabbage.

Sunday September 1st we decided to bike the 2 miles to the Miner’s Day Picnic at the Iron County Museum.  This area in its heyday had something like 10 iron and copper mines active.  The last iron ore was shipped out by train in 1978. The area now is mostly a tourist destination for hunting, fishing, ATV trails, and snowmobiling.  

We learned that this area was largely settled by a Finnish population who did most of the homesteading here.  It continues to amaze me at the stamina the people had who settled this country.  There was a story about an unemployed Finnish man who, in his early 20s, drifted to Gothenburg Sweden from Finland and boarded a ship to New York for a better life.  In New York the guy was listed as unemployed. He managed to do odd jobs and got himself to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and homesteaded 40 acres of land. Later he added 40 more acres to that.  

Around the turn of the century he was determined to find iron ore on the land. So the guy drilled various shafts until he eventually found iron ore and that was the beginning of a large commercial mining company.  His son ran the mine until he died in the 1950s.   A lot of the equipment and buildings at the museum were donated by this guy’s family.

At 1:30 they had a wreath laying ceremony honoring all of the miners who died working the mines.  They had Miss Michigan here as well.  Inside there was a band playing acoustic Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead songs, very different!  There were many senior citizens lining the back wall who were tapping their toes to these songs.  I have finally reached the age where the music I listened to as a kid is the music of old people.  Wait, Oh, maybe I am getting old too!

Iron Ore Mine Shaft used to take miners into the the mine.

Interesting steam engine on rubber tires.

Original jail for Iron River.  It's just a cage.  Low cost, should use that today!

Old gas pumps.  Too old for me to remember these.

A device used to ride a bike on the rails!

This was long before automated switches.  

Old thrashing machine.  They were having a hard time keeping the single cylinder engine running.
Band playing Grateful Dead and Stones songs.  Miss Michigan is in the foreground.

Patty got her face painted.

Labor Day we didn't do much.  I spent most of the day working on a new route to the Albuquerque NM Balloon Festival.  The Balloon Festival is the first weekend of October.  We got a reserved and paid for RV space there back last year in November.  We still are not sure when we will be able to leave Iron River but we picked the date of September 11th.  Even if we leave sooner we are going to follow the same basic path.  We can add days to our stay if we want if we leave sooner.  

We have abandoned the original plan to visit the Badlands in SD and Yellowstone in WY.  Just not enough time this year. We will do that trip another time with maybe Washington state in the plan too.

We will now be traveling pretty much straight to the canyon area of Utah and Arizona then over to the balloon festival. This route will take us through the US plains states.  We will go southwest to Minneapolis MN, then south to Des Moines IA, and then basically west through Omaha NE, then to Denver CO. From Denver, we cross the Rocky Mountains on I 70 into Utah and then head a little further south to Bryce Canyon.  

After that we will travel to the Grand Canyon a little farther south in Arizona.  From there we will be 400 miles from the balloon festival in New Mexico.  We plan to spend one night at a FHU (Full Hookup)  site in Albuquerque to make sure we have a full fresh water tank before entering the Balloon festival site.  The Balloon Festival site is dry (no hookup site) so we need our own water.  After the Balloon Festival we have lots of time.  We plan to bum around Texas until we fly back north for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Then we will winter in south Texas this year.

We ended Labor Day with a campfire and a BBQ.  The temperature tonight is expected to drop to the upper 30s so a fire sounded good.  We bought the wood from the camp host for $5 a wagon load which is very good price.  The wood was nicely cut and dry making for a quick and hot fire.  We stayed around the fire for dinner of grilled hot Italian sausage with sweet potato fries.  When it started to get dark we called it a night and went inside for some TV.

Tuesday the 3rd I got a text from the mobile RV tech that our parts will leave today from Indiana.  Great news! We are not sure when the parts will get here but it would be nice if they arrived Thursday so we could have the RV finished on Friday.  We could leave at the end of our second week here on Saturday.  However, we are not going to hold our breath on that.  We are still planning on next Wednesday.

I decided to put on the new tires myself instead of having the RV tech do it.  He was only going to charge $75 but it’s a job I can do if I have enough time.  I like doing things like that but only if I am not rushed to do it.  I decided to do one wheel a day.  The first one took me an hour to do.  It would be a little quicker if the hydraulic levelers were working and I could just raise up one side of the RV and change out the tires that way.  Since they are not working due to the leak caused by the tire blowout I am using the bottle jack from the truck.   I am just raising one end of the axle which I guess is no more than 2 tons.  The jack is rated at 4 tones so it should be safe enough.  The first wheel replacement went great with no issues.

Proud of our new tires and wheels!  First one installed.

 While I was doing the wheel replacement, Patty defrosted the freezer.  These RV freezers require that we do this every so often.  This is the 3rd time we have defrosted ours in 13 months.  We could probably only do it every 6 months but it is fairly easy to do and gives us more room.  The next time we will defrost will be when we shut down the rig for a month when we fly back for the holidays at the end of November.

After the wheel replacement and the freezer defrost, we took a walk on a new trail.  This time we took the Snowmobile/ATV trail.  This trail goes in a 25 mile loop through Crystal Falls MI.  Then it runs around 100 miles North West to MN.  We were only going to walk to the next town on the trail, Stambaugh. We walked a loop of just over 4 miles coming back through the town of Stambaugh.   It was a nice walk.  We stopped and browsed a couple of shops and just took in the town views.

This is the cross roads where the 25 mile loop joins the 100 mile trail to MN.  The signs are for directions and for local restaurants and bars along the trail. 

The snowmobile/ATV trail we walked to Stambough.

The bearded Apple in Stanbrough is a non-profit selling coffee and tea.  They help other small businesses start.

I had to look this up.  This is the water tower in Stanbough with a 3 legged lion.  It is called a Wycon which is the mascot for the high school here. 

We ended the day with spaghetti and meatballs.  Still can’t make an amount just for 2.  We have another meal frozen for another day.

Tomorrow it is going to be cold again with temps at just low 60’s in the daytime and going down to 40 at night.  So I see another camp fire for us.  Also will do another tire.

Stay tuned!

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