June 17th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

Westward ho!

As I am starting this post I have just stopped for gas and am letting the fridge run for a bit on propane to cool off some.

I left late this morning after coffee with Chelsea so I could start to make my way back toward Montana via Colorado. I’m ready to get my Rocky Mountain High on and find some cooler weather. Hell, pretty much any weather would be cooler. It’s like I’m driving on the surface of the sun.

Wasn’t gonna happen without a fight apparently. I-70 across Kansas and eastern Colorado is always notorious for its winds and boring scenery. This stop for gas finds it 101 goddamn degrees. Add to that a horrendous crosswind of about 40 mph. There is absolutely no need for this uninhabitable nonsense and I hate this shit. On top of it this hot weather expanded and loosened that damned weatherstripping again, but this time on the entire top on one side of the trailer. The winds are whipping it around too.

I had to stop to fix it and get gas (currently getting 6 mpg). I could not climb on top but did the next best thing – pulled into the trucker fuel lane and stood on the concrete barrier protecting the pumps. Problem solved. May have to pack a ladder though.

This weatherstripping has been a pain before (when I was moving to Washington in 2012) but there is no fix as far as I know – it expands and contracts with the weather. This piece is now cracked so it looks like I’ll be replacing it when I get back. The other side I replaced around 2014.

I had to pull over in the shade at a rest area near past Hays to fire up the fridge again. I think I’m gonna sit here a bit and let it run longer so I don’t have to stop so frequently. My frozen stuff is thawing out. I might think about a late lunch to take advantage of the time. Last stop had no sshade so I’m taking advantage of this stop.

I have driven this road many many many times and I have never seen it this windy except for once in the early 80s when a really severe thunderstorm was blowing through. I was in my old CJ-5 and had to stop under a bridge for an hour or two late at night (2:00 A.M.) until it blew over. The temperature now says 103 on my truck sitting in the shade. I don’t really remember ever having weather this hot either.

I decided to go ahead and push on. I was just east of the KOA at Wakeeny but it was still fairly early in the day – around 3:45. I still had plenty of daylight to go plus I’m going to gain an hour at Brewster, Kansas. I want to get as far as I can so I can get into the mountains tomorrow at a decent time. It’s getting close to the weekend and I need to get someplace.

I made it to the KOA in Goodland, just shy of the Colorado border. The next one is in Limon and I would have went in if this one in Goodland was full.

I got everything hooked up and did some reorganization in the truck to take stuff from the trailer and put into the truck. I converted the front dinette into my bed and put the rear dinette back into its seating configuration. It is so much more roomy to sit comfortably and feels less cluttered inside. This also means I need to get rid of some things out of the trailer when I get back. Since I am currently traveling solo I don’t need a big bed (and no, I don’t mean the dog).

I cooked some Chinese food for dinner and a shower is the other reward of the day. The winds are still howling but with the other RVs around and some trees and a few buildings it breaks it up a little. It still shakes the trailer though!

Tomorrow the winds should die out and it will be cooler in the morning. I know the afternoon will b e cooler since I plan on getting in the mountains by then!

Time for a few thoughts…

Like I said earlier I have been down this interstate too many times to count. I remember coming out to Colorado as a small kid on family vacations, and many times over the years as an adult. Some years I was driving out this highway three or four times a year. Needless to say the place is in my blood. And my heart.

As a youngster we would pack up the old 1962 Chevy II station wagon with a pallet to stretch out on between the camping gear. Seat belts? Didn’t have them. I was always really excited to go and we would stop at one of the first rest areas and I would pick up a free map that they used to have in a dispenser on a post.

I would get out my trusty magic marker and anxiously follow our route the entire time, using my black highlighter to keep track of our progress.

I remember seeing many of the tourist sight signs even into my adult years. Some of the attractions we stopped to see, such as the World Famous Rock City (now re-opened it looks like), the Walther P. Chrysler boyhood home, The Eisenhower Museum and even the now long gone Indian Burial Pit that, if I remember right, was around Salina.

We saw the signs for hundreds of miles but we never did stop at the worlds largest prairie dog. I did stop there as an adult. It’s a giant concrete statue of a prairie dog located amongst an animal freakshow that was a poster child for animal abuse. It is shutdown as well but you can still sneak a peek at the statue through the deterioration of the plywood barrier.

The thing is, I see these things advertised and wonder how long they will remain relevant – or even open for business. Classic restaurants will always be there, like The Cozy Inn in Salina, but how many people these days visit these attractions? Younger generations did not grow up with this stuff so do they or WILL they care? Seems rather sad in a way, but it is just the way it is.

I may have written about this stuff before, but I didn’t go back to check. I thought about it a few days ago as I showed my granddaughter Emery what I did when I was younger and showed her my trip in 2012 to move to Washington that I had highlighted as well. I gave her her very own atlas and highlighter so she could do the same with her trips.

Only this was a yellow one.

March 3rd, 2017

Adventure, Travel

Back to the PNW!

I left Leavenworth, KS this morning to start my journey homeward. One more road trip across I-70, and this trip made me do some more thinking…

I got to Rosedale’s for a ham and beef combo and fries with my dad. The best Q as always. The place with the 6-legged cow near Oakley, KS appears to be shut down finally – no doubt due to the conditions the animals were kept in. Absolutely horrible the one and only time I visited the place and I am damn glad it’s gone. The porn store near Abilene with the Jesus billboard in the parking lot is still there. And then, I saw people in a car wearing surgical masks pass me. And THEN… I saw one of the funniest signs I have ever seen, and it was a sign for the local 24-7 Truck Stop franchise someplace in KS. A picture is worth a million words, but I didn’t get a picture. Fret not… it said this, in emojis – smiling poop, gas pump, thumb up. Cracked me up. Gotta figure out how to show that…

One thing I really remember about traveling this highway when I was a youngster was nearly every exit had a Stuckey’s. Pecan log rolls and boiled peanuts in a can to go along with your new rubber tomahawk and Auto Bingo! A few of the exits had a Nickerson Farms, which was a bit more upscale and had a Bavarian look to them. There were also the Howard Johnson’s at the Lawrence and Topeka “Service Centers”. The skeletons of these are all along I-70 as well as many other highways and brands.

But best of all, the Cozy Inn is still putting out those juicy little burgers and they are still delicious! Granted, the smell of onions is still in my clothes but it was worth it. I just had to ride with the windows down for a few hours!

My Rig and the Cozy

The Short, Short Trailer and my Truck in Front of the Cozy Inn!

 

The guy that owns the place told me that they average about 1300 burgers a day. He also told me how many pounds of onions but I cannot remember how many – each onion is hand-diced. A must-do if you are in Salina, KS!

The wind was horrendous across the entire state. I ended up getting just over 7 mpg. Yes, you heard me… seven. That was quite different from nearly 18 on the way down. Yeah, it’s not a Prius. But also YEAH! It’s NOT a Prius!

So now I sit here typing this in an RV campground in Colorado. This is a different thing for me but something I need to get used to. I have always been a tent camper and enjoyed dispersed camping in the forest. This is definitely not that. It is something new for me and it will come with time and the more I do this. Plus, I will not be doing this all the time – only on occasion when I need utilities or a pool.

Just after I landed for the evening I got myself a Twitter account started up. Not sure what it’ll accomplish quite yet but I linked my blog to it. I can be found on there as ShortShortTrailer or @ShortShortTrlr. Gotta get up to speed on the Twitter thing so bear with me.