Moving Montana

We arrived back in Bozeman last Wednesday, and I can almost guarantee that somebody moved Montana about 800 miles westward toward the Pacific while we were gone!

Evidence: It has rained (or snowed) at least some part of every day since we got back. And if you’ll click the weather link at the left of this Blog, you see that we are scheduled for rain all of this week, also.

It true, we are still far enough east of the Pacific, that the grass dries out between showers, and the sun comes out long enough to lure you outdoors so that you can be caught without a coat in the next shower.

On a sunnier note, our grand-daughter, Laura, has made her big transition… graduation from high school. Congrats, Laura! In a few days she and her sister, Sarah, will be heading off to work the Summer at a youth camp in California… and parents begin their second honeymoon.


Computer Crashes and Other Stuff of Life

It has been awhile since I’ve been able to post anything. For a couple days we were in the middle of nowhere … Utah and Wyoming… without internet service. A “Fatal kernel error”

had been pleguing me for several weeks before we left Morro Bay, but restarting the computer would solve the problem… until the next time. The Apple Tech in San Luis Obispo that I explain the problem to, thought that I most likely had a hardware malfunction.
Anyway, probably as a result of too many power failures while I was working on the computer, it finally crashed beyond my understanding.
I limped along with Evelyn’s computer for more than a week, but the info and pictures  that I needed for this Blog was on my desktop that wouldn’t start.

Of course, one of the first stops I made upon arriving in Bozeman, was Stevens’ Computer Repair. I happened to catch Gordon just as he was shouldering his backpack to leave for the day. So, I hastily explained the situation and told him to take his time, and call me with the bad news before making any expensive repairs. He called the next morning and told me it was fixed. The start-up system files were corrupted. He installed the latest version for me and charged $36. I gave him $40… after all, I was expecting to pay several hundred.

So… here’s what you missed along the way.

05-17-2010 Harney Home for the Birds

Last night we took a dirt side road off of Hwy 28 looking for a place to park for the night. On the map it showed a ghost town, South Pass City. A state sign at the two-home site proclaimed this to be the oldest continuously inhabited town in Wyoming, and the site of its oldest gold mining community. The road was in very good condition, two lanes wide and raised several feet above the surrounding land, so there was no place to pull off the road for the night. If it hadn’t been for an intersection, there would have been no place to turn around either, so we opted for taking the loop back toward the Hwy. Less than a mile from the pavement we spotted a large concrete slab that made ample parking for for several RVs. Turning onto it, we set up housekeeping.

We have a beautiful view of the surrounding snow-patched hills.

For the last 2 hours, since shortly after sunrise, there has been a pair of Bluebirds trying to take over our motorhome.

It has been so neat to watch them as they take turns sitting on the wiper blades while await their turn in front of the rear-view mirrors. The female definitely gets more time for her vanity than he does. At time you can almost see the gears of her little brain as talks to him about this new house that has moved into the neighborhood.

“Look, Blue,” she seems to say, “The sign on the front says RENEGADE. That means ‘wild,’ don’t it? This is some wild home! Every time I look out this picture window, I see the neighbor woman looking at me. No matter what I say to her snoopiness, she won’t leave”.

“Lemmee look,” says Blue. “Hey! that ain’t no chick… That’s a guy!”

“Oh, my! What a handsome dude,” she says, as she swoops in for a closer look and chasing him away.

“Honey, get me a Harney Home!”

And so the bickering and chirping has gone most of the morning. At one point they discovered Jolie sunning herself and hopped up to within 3 feet of her nose.

“Oh, look,” says Blue, “The new home comes with some sort of malfunctioning security system.

Jolie just lies there raising first one eyebrow, then the other as she keeps them under scrutiny.

I put out some rolled oats and rice to see if the Bluebirds would eat. They didn’t, but Rufus Crowned Sparrows, Yellow Rump Warblers, and Sage Sparrows have shown up for the feast.

It is more than 3 hours since the Bluebirds took possession of our windshield. They stop their play every few minutes to go peck something off the ground, then come back to play. This is more entertaining than most TV.

The Streets of Topaz

I’ve just returned from walking the streets of Topaz, UT. It is a beautiful cloudless, calm morning. There was frost on the car when I left about 50 minutes ago.

Topaz was once the 5th largest town in Utah and certainly the most unique. It “contained,” literally, a little over 8,000 American citizens of Japanese decent, behind a barbed wire fence inside a one mile square.

All that is left of this town is the gravel streets, a few concrete floors and foundations, and a memorial to sons of these people who served honorably in three wars.

As I wandered the streets among the remains of this ghost town I developed a feeling of foreboding, a restlessness, driven by this vision of the past. It was a time when our country was driven by fear of Japan to build these prison cities in an effort to protect themselves from a perceived enemy that brought on this time of degradation of an innocent people. The same near-hysteria is afoot today. Some fear radial Islam. Some fear radical Christianity. As a result there are places being prepared to deal with either or both.

Back then, the government and the US Army, citing “military necessity”, locked up over 110,000 men, women, and children in 10 remote camps. These Americans were never convicted or even charged with any crime, yet were incarcerated for up to 4 years in prison camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards.

Follow the links below for more on the past, present and future of mass fear and intollerance. Topaz is no ghost town, it is alive and well in the hearts of men who fear their lose of power. Currently there are more than 800 known facilities across our nation ready and waiting for this fear to return with enough vengence to put them into use.

High Basin Travels (troubles)

After leaving Overton, NV, we continued to boogie north toward I-15. We stopped in Mesquite at a Wal-Mart to get a few things. On the way out of the parking lot, I’d guess, we must have run over the curb with the trailer tire… at any rate, about 3 miles away, someone pulled along side of us honking and yelling that we had a flat tire! Pulling over to the shoulder I discovered the curbside front axle had a shredded tire.

Thanks to a well-stocked mobile shop, I was able to get the tire off, return to Wal-Mart where I was able to get a replacement. P.S. Yes. It took a sledgehammer to put the rim back in shape.

We’ve spent the last three nights in two different places near Delta, UT. Did some 4Wheelin’ up in the Cricket Mountains on the first day here, then went into Delta to get a Rockhounding Guide for the area.
Delta is a little laid-back farming community… looks like mostly alfalfa as far as the eye can see!
Down at the southern end of the valley we passed a wind farm with at least a section of land planted with turbines. That should have been our first clue that this may be a windy place! That wind has blown in a storm with a spritz or two of rain yesterday and last night. It’s overcast and cold (40F) this morning, but since it is supposed to be getting warmer, we’ll hang out her for another couple of days.

Since starting this Blog, before breakfast, the wind has died down, only to be replaced with a steading drizzle, reminding us of Southwest Washington.

Just before dark last night we went to Sunstone Knoll to look for, what else? Sunstones. It took us about a half-hour to pick up about  2 TBLS of the little gold-colored, transparent crystals that look somewhat like shards of glass, 1/8″ – 3/8″ in size.

Since it is so cold today, we’ll be hitting the rock shop and museum and heading for Topaz Mt. and Antelope Springs the next day. We are hoping to find Trilobite, Topaz, Garnet, Wonderstone and maybe some rare Red Beryl. The Red Beryl is worth nearly 6 X comparably-sized diamonds…and very rare… so fat chance! And HOPE’N!

On the Road Again

We left late Sunday afternoon and made it as far as the Winco store in Bakersfield, CA,where Evelyn needed to stock up. She finished doing her thing about 11 PM, so we just spent the rest of the night there.

For the next few days we’ll be around the north end of Lake Mead. Overton, NV, then up the Virgin River Valley.

We’d like to get back to Bozeman after the snow has stopped flying. They just had 6” of the stuff last night! For the last few days it has been in the high 80’s with a moderate breeze blowing. Very delightful. We’re getting hooked on desert weather again, and are a little reluctant to leave it.

We met Duane and Sue Schock on Tuesday in Henderson, NV, then drove out to the north end of the lake. He’s a Rockhound, so we had a good time looking for rocks. He had one up on me… he’s got a metal detector, so we also found a few coins, lead sinkers, and lots of beer cans.
For those of you who might know this area, we were camped at the end of Stewart’s Point Rd. At this point one is far enough away from light pollution that the stars are bright and seem close enough to slap you in the face!

The first night there I began to wonder aloud, if Jesus were born in this age, would the Magi have trouble following his star? I mean. with all those satellites and planes running around up there it may be somewhat distracting.

We located an RV Park in Overton for tonight. We were about out of water and the tanks needed to be emptied. It’s very nice, I don’t mind giving them a plug.

 Fun ‘n Sun RV Park.
Overton, NV 89040
TEL (702) 397-8894
Number of Sites: 112

 Full hookups for $22/ night.

Carnage in the Campground

Friday I had made an appointment to have my Inverter/Charger checked, since it seemed to be unable to make AC 120 power from the batteries.
Mike, the repairman, looked at the situation and asked me to turn on the Inverter switch.
“What Inverter switch?” I asked.
“Well unless it’s automatic. there’s a switch somewhere on a control panel,” he pointed out.
Well, I found one on the panel above the door. Turned it on and it worked as it was designed to do. Duh!
When I got back to camp I hooked up the tow-trailer and moved it to the overflow parking where we had it when we first arrived. While I was unhooking, the trash collectors pulled up in front of me. Of course they couldn’t get around me, so I motioned them to wait while I backed into Space 53. I was watching my progress through both mirrors as I backed. The sun was reflecting off my monitor, so I couldn’t see a thing on it.
Suddenly, there was a monumental crunching sound. Panicky, I hit the brakes and slowly pulled forward to a ripping sound. I had impaled myself on the site marker post!
Muttering a few things (that God has since forgiven me of), I pulled around to Site 30 and began setting up camp for the weekend.
When I finished, I set about making repairs. The hardest part was straightening the 2″X2″ angle iron that holds the mudflaps.
I repaired the last two storage doors that had been bent forward, and straightened an aluminum panel. The fiberglass will have to wait until we get to Bozeman.
When I finished late in the day, I went in to take a shower, only to find a tank of cold water! No problem, really, just have to reset the auto-starter unit. After 5 or 6 tries I gave up and took a cold shower. Serves me right, for the things I said about my driving!
Well, there still wasn’t any hot water this morning, so I took the circuit board down to the RV place to have them check it.
It was O.K. He asked me if I maybe had accidentally turned off the switch.
What switch? I’d never seen one that I know of.
Arriving back at camp, I checked the Control Center above the door. Sure enough, there was a switch marked “Heater,” not “Water Heater” though… so how would I know that it wasn’t for turning off the furnace?
Would you believe the water heater jumped to life in less than 10 seconds after flipping the switch to ON!
Color me red, for embarrassed!!!
Color me scarlet for 3 big BADS in 2 days.
Check here for photos of the damage.