Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Plains Traveling and waiting out the Colorado Flood

September 12 - 14, 2013   

We left Story City IA for Lincoln NE at 12 noon!  We were being lazy and because we did a bump and run the last night (one night stay) and we were staying 2 nights at the next place which is just 190 miles.  

Well crap, boy did we screw this up! First, we got into the truck and found that the distance was actually 240 instead of 190 miles or an hour more.  Then, we decided to call ahead to make sure there was room at the campground because I had heard there was a lot of college football parties going on in Nebraska.  I was right; the campground was sold out for Friday night due to football parties.

To make matters worse, as we were traveling through Omaha NE our spare tire came loose and was hanging just a couple of inches below the RV!  We were on I 80 during rush hour and the traffic was moving very fast.  We were in the areas where there were 6 lanes of traffic; we were in the 3rd lane and moving toward the left lane where I 80 exited.  A guy in a car came up next to us on the right and got our attention.  He signaled that we had a tire issue.  Oh no, here we go again! The tire monitor was not alarming, so what could it be?

I now started to slow down and I decided to get into the left shoulder and stop as it was closer and it would be next to impossible to get back on and exit on to I 80 from the right shoulder.  Patty got out first and didn't see anything.  I checked the tires pressures from the monitor, all were good. Then I looked in the mirror and saw Patty pointing under the rear of the RV where the spare was.

I went back to take a look and sure enough the spare was almost on the road.  For those who don't know, the spare on a lot of RVs and including our truck is held up with a wire cable.  The cable is on a spool that can be cranked up or down from the side of the vehicle.  This system makes it very easy to put away the spare and to get access to it when you need it.  However, there is no lock or safety system in case the cable breaks of the spool unwinds for some reason. They would never build a railcar like this!  Anyway, I got out my ratchet and wound the tire back up and we were just going to hope for the best.  I have no idea why this happened, but I am going to fix it!

We arrived at about 5pm with a semi-party atmosphere already.  The campground is already at about 90% full.  This campground is also a high priced place at $45 a night!  So it was no skin off our backs to leave in the morning.  This will make our 2nd bump and run place in a row.  Not good!

Entering Nebraska.

This plant had 20-30 monarch butterflies on it.

Patty editing the last Blog.

Our site at Camp A Way in Lincoln NE.

 We set up quick and then I went into town for Diesel and then for some wood for a fire.  I decided to only connect the sewer hose in the morning to save some time tonight.  We have been dreaming of grilling steaks on wood fire for the past few days so we were not going to pass this up tonight.  Not all campgrounds fire rings have a grate for cooking.  This one did so steaks on a wood fire were just meant to be tonight.

Our dinner on a wood fire.

We were up and ready early on Friday the 13th for a 10am leave time.  We were on time which is a big deal for us as we are usually late to everything, (drives me crazy).  We were on our way to North Platte NE 235 miles west.  Patty was at the wheel again.  We are sort of alternating the driving for now.

There were no issues along the way to North Platte NE.  The weather deteriorated as we got closer.  By the time we arrived it was 62 and lightly raining with a good 15 mph wind. We left Lincoln at 75 degrees at 10 am.  This is the weather front that is flooding Colorado right now.  We are going be keeping a close watch on this weather in Colorado as this is our next site move.

Our lonely site in North Platte NE.  It was cold and damp and sandy.  This is where we waited for the bad weather in Colorado to pass.

Since the weather was cool we made a nice pot of chicken soup, yum, yum!   We finished dinner and took a walk around the park.  It was really too cold to walk but we did it anyway.  
On the walk we noticed a large (learned later it was a 42 foot) toy hauler pulling in.  I made note that the toy hauler had 3 axles like most toy haulers.  When it came around the corner I saw it only had 2 wheels and said to Patty “that is weird, a toy hauler with only 2 axles.”  Then it passed and we were on the other side and it had 3 wheels!  Wow, a toy hauler with 3 wheels on one side and 2 on the other!  

We walked over to the owner and introduced ourselves as she was parked just 2 sites over from us.  Lynn is a solo full timer on her 3rd month on the road.  She is from Tennessee but is now domiciled in South Dakota like us.  She is on her way back to Tennessee after having an accident in the Rocky Mountains 4 days ago.  What a crappy way to start full timing!!

Lynn told me that she was in the left lane traveling in the dark on a road that reduced from a 2 lane down to a single lane road.  A tractor-trailer rig came up alongside her and cut her off pushing her off the road and into a concrete telephone pole.  Her 5th wheel left side hit and rolled up the pole and caught the lead wheel bending the axle by 30 degrees.   Lynn also jackknifed the truck breaking the right rear window on the truck.  She has a long bed truck so she had to really jackknife badly, more than 90 degrees to break the window out.  Wow and Wow!

I just can’t imagine being a solo female hauling a 42 foot toy hauler let alone in the dark.  Then, having an accident like this, alone.  Now she is driving back to Tennessee alone with only 2 wheels on one side.  The other wheel has been removed and only the hub is left hanging in the air suspended from the leaf springs.  We watched her leave on Saturday morning hoping she will be safe!

As for us, Saturday the 14th we had a pretty long agenda for the day.  It turned out that I followed the agenda for the day as Patty wasn't feeling up to par.  She decided she would stay at the RV and get some sleep. I then went out to accomplish some tasks with the first, getting some cash. Then off to the Wal-Mart to get a haircut. While at Wal-Mart I bought a tie down strap to secure the spare tire under the rig. This is how I fixed the lack of a safety device to hold the spare tire if there was a malfunction (see picture below). Then off to fill up the truck with fuel. Then I went to the Golden Spike tower at the Union Pacific Railroad’s Bailey yard.  I just could not be here in North Platte and not see the largest freight rail yard in the world.

The red strap is what I added as a safety to hold the spare tire if the cable fails.

After seeing the rail yard, I was not impressed.  I think that I wasn't impressed because I have been in rail yards for 34 years all over North and South America and Europe.  For a retired railroader like me, it was a “been there done that” sort of thing.  So, if you are not a railroader you will probably like it.  

This is called the Golden Spike.  It sits about middle of Bailey yard on the South side.  Cost $6 to take the elevator up to see the yard.

This the west side of Bailey yard.  The locomotive shop and fuel pad are on the left side of the picture.

This is the east side of Bailey yard.

Next weekend they are having a hand car race!

Practicing for the hand car race.

Now I was finally going to get the truck weighed.  I headed to the CAT scale that is just a half mile from our campsite.  Now I have the weight numbers to see if the RV is overweight or not.  Ok, we are right on the line of the GVWR for the RV which is 15,500 lbs.  The gross weight of the truck is 10,390 lbs. factoring in the loss of the wheels we sold and no driver this time.  The gross combined weight (Truck + RV) was 25,740 lbs.  So the weight of the RV is the difference between the truck GW and the GCW of the rig.  The weight of the RV is then 15,350 lbs.  So, we are good, but we want to reduce and we know we have some extra stuff we are going to get rid of in the next couple of months.  

Back at the RV, Patty was feeling much better after her sleep. We cooked a couple of hamburgers and then watched TV before tuning in for the night.  Man, did it rain during the night.   I thought we would be washed away at one point! The ground here is a sand and dirt mix that seems to absorb water very fast.  I thought I might need the 4 wheel drive to get out in the morning.

Tomorrow we are yet undecided about leaving for Denver CO.  The weather looks bad for Denver tomorrow with lots more rain.  We have no desire to jump into the flood ourselves.  We decided to check the forecast in the morning and decide if we move to Denver or stay another day.

Stay tuned! 

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