Part 1: Our Wild Vehicle Registration Caper

On January 10, we reached our frustration limit and quickly set a plan in motion to resolve what had become a seesaw-effect on paperwork. The seesaw worked like this: Jorgensen Ford sent in the initial paperwork to the Denver DMV. While we were in Denver for four weeks (November 22-December 21), Steve went to our DMV to let them know that paperwork would be coming from Jorgensen. We waited and waited. Steve checked with the DMV to see if the paperwork had arrived. Then, while we were camped in Grand Junction, Colorado, Steve received a call from Jorgensen on December 23 or 24 letting him know that the DMV returned the paperwork. They were requesting additional paperwork. Jorgensen sent paperwork back to the DMV. One of our concerns was that our temporary Utah license plate was due to expire on January 2. We didn’t want to drive with an expired license plate! 

On December 26, we decided to stop at Jorgensen as we were traveling between Grand Junction and Hurricane, Nevada. We expressed our concern about the plate due to expire. Steve asked if Jorgensen could reach out to the Utah DMV to see if the temporary plate could have a time extension. They agreed to look into that possibility.

On January 6, Steve called Jorgensen. They said that a time extension wasn’t possible since the truck was going to be registered in Colorado. Colorado could give us an extension if they had received valid paperwork.

On January 10, Steve received yet another call from Jorgensen that again, the paperwork was returned from the DMV. We had just finished having a “town day” in Parker, Arizona to do laundry, Diane to have a haircut, and to stock up on a week’s worth of groceries. We had just arrived at Buckskin Mountain State Park the night before and wanting to shift gears with a group campfire that night and a group hike on Saturday. Instead, Steve called Jorgensen back to request that someone be available at 8 a.m. on Monday, January 13 for us to personally retrieve the paperwork, and 90 minutes later we were in motion with Plan B. 

To think that we were excited to hit the trails at Buckskin Mountain State Park near Parker, Arizona!

Diane went to the Bucksin Mountain State Park office to cancel the remainder of our 7-night stay. Then she called an RV storage facility in Tucson, who fortunately had a spot for the trailer. She cancelled our Organ Pipe National Monument and Alamo Lake State Park stays, incurring cancellation fees. We cleared our calendar until January 21, when we were due to arrive at Lost Dutchman State Park. We called Stephanie & Shane plus Steve’s Mom Lois to see if we could have overnight stays with them.

That night we checked the weather forecast for the next 10 days in Utah and Colorado. The Arizona forecast was favorable, so we didn’t need to winterize Tranquility the trailer. We nabbed our small suitcases and packed. All of the refrigerator and freezer contents would need to either be thrown out (many of which were just purchased), or we’d need to take them with us. We hitched up the truck to the trailer and prepared as much as we could the evening before in order to get an early start the next morning.

On Saturday, January 11, we were “up and at’em” bright and early packing the last of the toiletries and essentials. Off we went to Tucson, 275 miles. Once at RV storage, we shifted the refrigerator and freezer contents to insulated bags and a cooler. We stopped at Walmart to buy three styrofoam coolers and ice to try to save the food from perishing. Off to a Phoenix hotel we drove, 115 miles. (Oddly, we had just driven I-10 through Phoenix 90 minutes before with the trailer!) 

Tranquility the Trailer was left in storage!
With the trailer is in storage, we are Phoenix bound for the night.

On January 12, we drove from Phoenix to Richfield, Utah, 480 miles. We arrived after dark, filled up the truck with fuel, and hit the sack. Fortunately, we had a big lunch on the late side (Navajo Tacos at Cameron Trading post, Carmeron, AZ – delicious), so fruit and crackers sufficed for dinner.

Navajo Tacos are a must at historic Cameron’s!
A plate sized Navajo Taco!

On January 13, we were at Jorgensen Ford at 7:50 a.m. Despite our best attempts to make sure someone would be there with the paperwork at 8:00 a.m., it didn’t happen. It was not until 8:45 that we were on our way. Our first stop was to get a cup of hot coffee! While we enjoy Starbucks, we also like to support local coffee shops. As luck would have it, there was an independent coffee shop on our way out of town. We handed the barista our cups and she disappeared for quite some time. Hmmm…this sure was taking longer than we expected. When she came back and handed us our to-go cups, she said, “This is from a fresh pot so nice and hot!” As we drove down the main drag towards I-70 and sipped our coffee, guess what? It wasn’t even lukewarm. Did we turn around? Nope! We decided that it was time to leave Richfield, Utah in our rearview mirror with intentions to never return.

A pause at the Sand Beach View Area in Utah as we traveled between Richfield, Utah and Denver, Colorado.

Richfield to the Denver DMV location is 475 miles! This would be a long day. We kept our eyes on the weather radar because there was a winter storm seemingly parked over Vail Pass. At one point via Denver 7 News’s Facebook post, we read that Vail Pass was closed. We verified this through the Colorado Department of Transportation website. Knowing when these storms hit and roads close, motorists need to seek hotel rooms, we were able to nab a room in Glenwood Springs. Though we were stopped short of our goal, it was nice to relax for an afternoon. We enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner at Smoke Modern Barbeque.

A snowy view from our hotel room in Glenwood Springs, Colorado!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Our Wild Vehicle Registration Caper. 

 

 

Gratitude on the Road

On Monday, November 18, 2019, we had a  unique overnight drycamping experience complete with a memorable story!

OUR STAY: Jorgensen Ford’s side lot, Richfield, Utah. No site #, no hookups, but amazing kindness and hospitality! 

Overnight Drycamping in Jorgensen Ford’s lot, Richfield, Utah

WHY JORGENSEN FORD? At 9:30am on November 18th under mostly sunny skies and mild temperatures, we were on I-70 eastbound just a few miles east of its junction with I-15 and beginning an ascent into the Tushar Mountain Range in Utah. Our 2011 Ford F-250 6.7l Turbo-Diesel truck’s engine suddenly put on a very impressive sound show and then majorly failed! Thankfully, Steve was able to pull us to the shoulder with both truck and our 2018 Nash 26N trailer clearly off the road only 120 feet past a guard rail. The engine was DONE. Kaput! 

It was a lonely looking stretch of highway!
The red marker is Beaver, Utah where we began.
The red marker is where we began in Beaver, Utah. The 31 min point is where the truck died.
Last photo as we departed the KOA Journey campground in Beaver, Utah.

From that point onward, we experienced several other amazing “gratitudes” (in bold print below):

1) Strong cellphone service. As soon as Steve had the truck and trailer pulled onto the shoulder, I looked down at my phone. Frequently in more remote areas or when entering a mountainous area, cell service is challenged or non-existent. Here we had one of the strongest signals!

2) Good Sam Roadside Assistance. Thankfully we have roadside assistance insurance through Good Sam Roadside Assistance for RVers. They were amazing for us! Steve called and within no time, was transferred to the right person to get us the assitance we needed. They called back to let us know who was on their way. Then Steve received updates on his phone.

Steve received updates from Good Sam’s Roadside Assistance as to which tow company to anticipate and its progress in traveling to rescue us.

3) Richard of Dearden Motor Company, arrived 45 minutes later. First he retrieved Bessie the Truck by tilting the flatbed of his truck, placing Bessie in neutral, and with chains and a special hoist, rolled her onto the flatbed. He leveled the flatbed. Next he extended a receiving hitch, changed out the existing ball to accommodate Tranquility the Trailer. The hitch was leveled to distribute the trailer’s weight. Then off Richard took us over the pass in the Tushar Mountain Range to Richfield, Utah, 35 miles east on I-70.

 

Loading Bessie
Tranquility is hitched and ready to be towed!
Off to Richfield, thanks to Richard of Dearden Motor Company.

4) Another gratitude was that there was a Ford dealer within 35 miles in Richfield, Utah. It’s not necessarily guaranteed by Good Sam Roadside Assistance as to where a stranded vehicle will be towed. Before Richard arrived, we did a quick Google search to find out where Ford dealers may be located in these more remote parts of Utah (again, thanks to strong cell service). Bingo! We noted one on the other side of the Tushar Range! PLEASE….we prayed, may this be where we’d be towed. When we asked Richard where we were going, he said, “Jorgensen Ford over in Richfield.” What a gratitude that this was exactly where Richard was taking us!

Richard was a Godsend as he safely transported Bessie, Tranquility, and us!!

5) We called ahead to let the service department know that we were being towed to their location. They instructed Richard to drop the trailer in the side lot and then bring the truck to the service area.  Dave & Val of Jorgensen Ford’s service department were able to work Bessie into the service schedule within two hours of our arrival.  We actually anticipated that Bessie wouldn’t be seen until the next day. We went next door for lunch awaiting a report. Over lunch we considered what might be our options, including the very real potential of having to replace Bessie if the damage was too extensive.  Unfortunately, the diagnostic report did conclude that the engine was damaged extensively, a dropped valve likely the culprit resulting in no compression in two of the cylinders. Gulp!

6) We knew that it was time to sit down with Camron (the General Manager) and Chip (Sales Associate) to explore options.

Option 1: Replace the engine for $20,000, which could potentially take several weeks or more. This option also meant that we had a trailer in the back lot with no way of getting anywhere. The KOA Campground in Richfield isn’t open year-round. We could pay to have someone transport the trailer, but to where? We would have to rent a car, possibly stay in a hotel if it would be necessary to store the trailer. We had 10 appointments scheduled for our two-week Denver area visit beginning on November 21, some of these appointments could not be rescheduled until January or beyond.

Option 2: Look for another used Ford F-250 6.7l Powerstroke Turbo-Diesel  truck that could accommodate towing our trailer. As they looked at their used inventory, they noted a red truck, a white truck, and then a shadow-black 2016 Ford F-350 6.7l Powerstroke Turbo-diesel with 33K miles that came in on a trade the day before. Hmmm….recently we had remarked about the amount of mileage added to Bessie just since March 2018. It was highly likely that within 2-3 years we’d need to trade it for our next truck. Of course, the 2016 came with some sticker shock, given that for obvious reasons, it was more than the $20,000 to replace Bessie’s engine.

6) Off we went for a test-drive on the interstate and around Richfield. With just 33K miles, it’s pretty much like new. Dave, the Service Manager, ran a report on the truck. It had a clean title, had been in for regular maintenance since its purchase from them, and actually considered gently used. Another amazing gratitude is that the 2016’s exterior color and truck bed dimensions were exactly those of our 2011. Why is this important? Our custom ordered Snugtop topper on Bessie’s truck bed would match and fit the 2016!

7) From our vantage point in Tranquility the Trailer that evening, one by one, the employees of Joregenson’s went home while we were comfortably situated in their back lot.  We sat over dinner trying to absorb what took place the prior 10 hours, from leavin)g the KOA Campground in Beaver, Utah, to staying in a Ford Dealer’s parking lot without a tow vehicle! We had very grateful hearts that first and foremost, we were safe.

8) The next day by mid-afternoon, with financing approved, topper moved, trailer hitched, off we rolled 30 hours after the sound show in our shadow black 2016 Ford F-350 6.7l Powerstroke Turbo Diesel!  

Indeed, we have hearts filled with immense gratitude and thank our Great Protector for watching over us. If you ever need to have a Ford product serviced while traveling through Utah, please reach out to Dave, Chip, or Camaron at Jorgensen Ford in Richfield. Kudos as well to Good Sam Roadside Assistance for getting us the help we needed and extraordinarily quick. And, Richard of Dearden Motor Company did an fantastic job of getting us safely to Jorgensen Ford! To our fellow RVers, be safe out there!

“Living Life and Seeing America at the Speed of Sanity”

Diane & Steve

The Itch-Inducing Tick Hike

On June 10, 2019 we went for a hike in the Lolo National Forest in Montana. We were interested in putting our feet “in the single-track tread where the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Nez Perce Indians put theirs.”  (USDA Forest Service, Lolo National Historic Trail, retrieved from https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/lolo/learning/history-culture/?cid=fsm9_021409&width=full September 30, 2019.)

The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail and the Nez Perce Nee-Me-Poo National Historic Trail in Lolo National Forest, Montana

We picked a section of the trail near where we were staying, at the Square Dance Center and Campground west of Lolo, Montana. (Fortunately for us, they accept non-dancers at the campground. When Diane and I are ready to learn square dancing, we will definitely head back to the Center.)

We are at the trail head getting ready for our hike on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

The Lewis and Clark expedition traveled this trail in September, 1805. We were walking the trail in June.

Steve leads the way on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

Unbeknownest to us, May and June are tick season months in the forests of Montana and Idaho! We were aware of ticks, and knew to check for them when hiking. However, …

About 30 minutes into the hike Diane noticed a tick on her pants. We stopped to brush it off and then kept walking. At our next pause we noticed a few more on each other.

A tick on Steve’s shirt!

Heedless of the danger we pushed on. Our next stop was at an overlook that we barely noticed for our attention was on the ticks appearing fast and furious. As quickly as we could pick them off our clothes, more would appear. We turned around and hightailed it back to the trail head. During the return we stopped frequently to check for ticks and remove any we found. 

View from Lewis & Clark Trail at turn around point

Do you know how ticks land on you, or any animal that happens to pass by? They “quest.” Which means they crawl up vegetation, usually grass, and wait for a host to pass them. They hold on to the grass with the rear six legs and extend the front two legs waiting, or “questing.” Using a variety of techniques, they react to a potential host and grab on as the host brushes past. Once on the host the tick will start to climb up. All of my research indicates that the ticks do not drop from trees or other higher vegetation, but we were finding ticks on our backpacks, on our hats, everywhere! It was a windy day, so maybe the ticks were blown off their grassy ambush places and finding us. It is a bit creepy to think of all those ticks attaching at calf level and then scampering all the way to your head!

Reaching the trailhead we stopped in the middle of the parking area, which we had completely to ourselves, did one more check to remove our unwelcome hitchhikers. Diane removed her hat, only to find one crawling around the inside!

A tick inside Diane’s hat!

When we arrived back at our trailer we stripped outside except for bare necessities and left most of our clothes in a pile. Then another thorough inspection and into the shower. After our showers, we also filled a plastic tub with water, dumped all of our clothes into the tub, and left it outside our trailer overnight.

Despite the thorough inspections and the care in removing the ticks, at the end of the showers we discovered drowning ticks on the floor of the shower. Also, the next morning, the tub of water with our clothes revealed even more ticks floating on the surface!

The good news is none of the ticks had a chance to sink their teeth into us. (Do ticks have teeth? I read where they use their ‘mouth parts’ to bore a hole and then insert a tube to suck the blood!) Our checking and rechecking paid off. However, our skin still crawls whenever we think of this hike!

What tick story do you have?

-Steve