February 27th, 2017

Adventure, Travel

Well, it’s been a busy few days. Let me catch you up…

My last night in a hotel was two nights ago in Hays, KS. I pushed a little farther that day so I could have a short run yesterday and get in Leavenworth at a decent time, which ended up being shortly after noon. This is the first trip I have driven on this highway in five years.

While driving there is always lots of time to think and yesterday was no exception. Eastbound and down on I-70 in Kansas made me think about all the trips I made on this highway over the decades. (cue the dream sequence and music…) Family vacations almost always were to the mountains and they were always great trips. It was classic Americana – blue 1962 Chevy II Nova station wagon, blankets piled high on the folded-down seats in the back and… oh wait…”Seatbelts?”, you ask? What are seatbelts? Hell no, no seatbelts even in the car as I remember. My sister and I kicked back on that cottony cloud and rode in style (except for her looking out my window)! I remember I used to wait for the first rest area to leap out get one of the “FREE! Highway Maps!” that used to be at all the Kansas ret areas. I hop back in the back and get out a crayon or marker and anxiously follow the route on my map, drawing on the map the whole way. For some odd reason, however, it never happened with the other states. Perhaps it was because there was scenery to look at. MANY vacations spent in Colorado and probably planted that love for the mountains that I have. Ironic that I actually ended up living there for 17 years. I remember my Grandparents had a 28′ Yellowstone trailer and pulled it with a Chevy Suburban that got THREE MILES PER GALLON!!! Ha, and it was still affordable to drive!

And the places to stop and the things to see! World’s Largest Prairie Dog and the 6-legged cow AND two-headed rattlesnake? Check! (Bonus if you saw the signs leading up to it!) Rock City? You need to ask again? Eisenhower’s grave? Yep. How about a lookout tower? Saw that many times.

Then came trips after I got older. Leaving immediately after work and driving all night since I was young and bulletproof, having only one AM station on the radio in western KS – man how I LOVED those hog future reports at 5 AM. Sunrise soon! I remember one night I came across a station airing a syndicated radio show called “Hearts of Space”. Very interesting and eclectic selection of music, especially at three or four in the morning, but I enjoyed the difference in what was being played. Hearing “Rocky Mountain High come on the radio and the sunrise hits the mountains just as I pull into the first view of the mountains and understanding what it’s really about. That was an absolutely magical moment for me. More radio stations appeared with rock music (finally!) and FM spread like crazy. Yay! No more cassette tapes! After one trip I took, I drove straight to work from Colorado and worked all day. I was maximizing my vacation time!

I remember one trip with a friend and were driving back all night after a trip saddled with car trouble. Half the week was spent dealing with car issues. Japanese cars needing parts were SOL…not to be found as readily as today. So we are stopped at a rest area and we are sitting outside on a bench near the building catching some fresh air trying to wake up, and we hear this noise. It gets louder and louder and this big charter bus comes screaming into the rest area  just hauling ass. He’s gotta be doing 60. Seriously, 60 MPH through a rest area! We just watched this happen and it was a real WTF moment. It was a church group and they were shaking pretty good when they ran right the hell off that bus. Apparently the brakes went out and they had an expert behind the wheel whole kept his cool. No… don’t say it…

The sights, you may ask? Well, I believe Rock City may have folded (do not remember seeing signs any longer), Ike ain’t moved, the Lookout Tower is closed but they are renovating and hoping to reopen soon, and the animal freakshow – I did not see if it was still around or not. A new sight or two can be added – the Cozy Inn in Salina, KS for those damn tasty little burgers, ANY Taco John’s, and hundreds of wind generators. No matter where you go there are usually things of some interest to see.

I came across an app a couple of years ago for iPhones called “iExit”. It will tell you things along your route after you input a little info on the road you are taking. I have used it a few times and it seems to work very well. I’d recommend giving it a try.

It really worked out pretty well. I was able to start working in the trailer and made a lot of headway in organizing things and trying to get situated fast and early so my entire trip is not spent messing with it. I got people to visit! Today I was able to get pretty much done so I am pleased with the progress made. Just a few little things tomorrow and it’ll be ready. That should give me nearly two full days to hang and help my dad with things he needs help with.

Yesterday, after I got done with the trailer I visited here at the house for a bit then went to see an old friend that I have not seen in nearly 20 years. It was good to catch up. We took quite different paths in life but we were really tight in school. It was really good to see him again.

Chelsea came out today and she took me out for lunch to an Irish Pub in Leavenworth named Marfield’s that served a mighty tasty burger. We got to chat some more and she told me that her baby is going to be a girl and the package will arrive earlier. I was not wanting to find out but she told me! She’s also taking good care of the Explorer!

I hope to get to Rosedale’s for THE best barbecue anywhere and it may be Wednesday with any luck. Tomorrow I’ll be wrapping up the few last little trailer items in about an hour and start looking at the weather and think about the route going home.


February 24, 2017

Adventure, Travel

This morning I left Loran and Meghan’s house and made it quite far into Wyoming. Tomorrow I have to do the daily weather/highway intel briefing and hope to be where I need to be in Kansas in the about two days.

It is a beautiful area that they live in. Very windy but beautiful with that infamous Big Sky they are known for in those parts.

View of Madison River Valley around Meghan's House

Meghan's House

When I left I went up the main highway and then turned east onto a blue highway at Norris, MT. It took me past a natural hot springs and back through a beautiful area along a river for the entire trip to Bozeman to catch I-90 east. Many places around their house that I drove through looked just like south central Washington – beautiful, rolling hills cradling a ribbon of asphalt that had me dreaming of riding a motorcycle down those roads. Then, seeing the snow on the road wakes me from that dream. I bet it is really nice in the summer.

The highways were actually in much better shape than I thought they would be.

Along I-90 in Wyoming

Along I-90 in Wyoming

Along I-90 in Wyoming

I had to slow down in a few spots but most of the way I was able to keep my speed up near the speed limits. That really helped me get to tonight’s hotel but not really quite as far as I wanted to get. I got here safe and that’s what matters. I had to pull over as the sun was setting and due to the road conditions getting worse the farther south I went. I certainly didn’t want to drive in those conditions after dark. It was blue sky and sun for the last part of the trip and it sure was nice to see those two for a change. Not very many trees out but the rolling, sagebrush- and snow-covered landscape was beautifully surreal. I do miss the lush, green Washington forests. One more thing I am really noticing is the dry mountain air that I have not been around in winter in a few years. My skin is really dry.

I have been thinking lately that I wanted to come up with a new title for my blog… something other than just my name… so I have changed it. The new title suddenly came to me today while scooting down the highway and seeing some large fifth-wheel trailers. I have decided to pay homage to the classic Lucille Ball movie “The Long, Long Trailer” with renaming my blog “The Short, Short Trailer” (my Scotty Hilander is a 15′ model). I also tweaked the color scheme of the blog pages to reflect the turquoise color on my Scotty trailer. There will possibly be a few more changes sneaking into the blog in the future. I do still hope to incorporate some video in the near future. I need to get some new pictures uploaded and will get to that soon.

That’s about all I have for today’s entry.

February 23, 2017

Adventure, Music

Today I helped Meghan out with a few things at work and then made a trip to Virginia City. It has been pretty windy and cold here. That makes it a little difficult to get out and enjoy a walk so a road trip was it. Nothing was open in Virginia City so I could not really do much more there than take pictures:

Virginia City, MT

Virginia City, MT

Virginia City, MT

As I drive around I am constantly wondering why people leave so much crap piled around their houses. Old cars, refrigerators, broken farm machinery…the list is endless. There are plenty of people who will haul away scrap metal and some will even give you some cash for old cars and scrap metal. Get rid of that mess and clean up the planet!

Speaking of driving around, my road trip plans are not looking real good as of right now. The weather is doing its best to mess with me real badly so I am going to need to regroup tomorrow morning. There are some very formidable systems moving in across most every route that I need to take. I will probably keep pushing on since I have enough of a buffer in my time to still get the trailer and get back in time for some appointments. I am already ⅓ of the way there and I do not really want to have to turn around now to go home empty.

Right now, I honestly think that I will have to go south to get home with the trailer. This means possibly New Mexico to California. Seriously…I am seeing this as possibly the only alternative I have to get home, and that is even if I can get to the trailer to get it. It’s really not a good situation so I am trying to stay flexible.

This is a short post tonight and I apologize. I slept horribly last night. I am beat and need to go to bed and figure out a plan in the morning. I will catch up with you tomorrow!

February 22, 2017

Adventure, Outdoors, Travel

I left home yesterday afternoon to get a jump on the weather. With a storm moving in from the west and across my path I need to make time while I can. I did get into some foggy weather and near-freezing temperatures so I had to back off the skinny pedal a little. That meant a later arrival than I was hoping for but I made it safe.

I set out hoping to get to Spokane and get a room for the night. I ended up in a Quality Inn in Spokane Valley for the princely sum of $24 and change. Yes, you read that correctly – $24. I started using Expedia for all my travel needs (only for hotels so far) and I am quite happy so far. Their app is very well done and easy to use so I highly recommend it. I had built up enough points the last few months to get the room for that low rate. It ended up being a really nice place.

I left the hotel this morning to continue the trek east with the idea of getting to Loran and Meghan’s house in Montana. Leaving yesterday really helped to cut down on driving today so I made it to their house at a decent time. They have a really nice place with great views. Leaving a day early also gave me plenty of time to stop for breaks and stretching. With the concern for the weather I cannot do as many stops to see some things that I want to see, but some places are not even open anyway.

Driving 8-12 hours a day gives you plenty of time to think. I have been trying to decide on a few changes to the blog – mainly a new domain name, but possibly a new title. Not having too much luck yet but I am working on that along with trying to come up with a new personal email address. My creativity has been lacking lately but I am feeling like it is coming back. I have actually had a few new song ideas so that is definitely a big step in the right direction.

I am also considering putting my website name on my trailer so another reason I am considering the aforementioned changes. When I was driving back home through Montana in October I saw a trailer with a website on it and of course I had to look it up. It was an interesting travel blog and it was fun to look at. Many of the RV videos on YouTube have website info on their rig so why not me? Perhaps there are people who would be interested in looking at my blog so they need to know where to look! I would really like to monetize my blog somehow so I need to figure that out at some point. A few extra dollars never is a bad thing.

Tomorrow I hope to do a road trip to historic Virginia City, MT. and possibly Yellowstone (but not too sure about that with the snow around here. I was through Virginia City years ago on vacation but want to go back. I vaguely remember going there but want to go visit again and get some good pictures. It is a National Historic Landmark District and you hear about in the old Western movies. I will be doing a little sightseeing around the area Loran and Meghan live as well.


Adventure, Travel

I am finally able to go get my trailer!

I am REALLY hoping the weather cooperates and the highways will be clear. It is a long drive going halfway across the country, taking three very long days to get there. And, of course, it’ll be a bit slower on the return since I’ll be pulling the trailer back. I did not want to go this early; it was actually my first thought a few months back but I decided to wait due to the possibility of bad weather. Life being what it is, I don’t have the time other than right now to make the trip before I start back to work due to several last-minute things beyond my control that have come up.

I have actually been quite a bit busier with work stuff this winter than I thought I would be. My off-season has ended up being rather short. It has cut into my traveling and I have not really been able to do as much as I wanted. But, on the other hand, it has definitely saved some money by staying put. With all that happened this past year I missed a lot of work so the money saved is definitely good on the bank account. It is also a transition year for me so I’m okay with that. I’ll have time to travel this summer and in the off-season plus I’ll have a trailer to travel in.

Not too sure of the route other than going southeast. I have to stay flexible in case I need to re-route my travels. And of course that takes more time to go a different route, translating to more money spent on gas. I plan on “dry-camping” at campgrounds on the way back so I can use the electricity to keep warm and use the microwave (maybe some Rosedale ribs!). That will help save money on meals and propane. It’s so much cheaper than a hotel room but some of that is made up for with the additional fuel needed to pull the trailer.

Whichever way I go I am positive it will be an adventure.