Summer 2018, Day 12: Palo Duro Canyon

Pre-dawn in Canyon, Texas:

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The homemade cowling on my WiFi antenna has encountered one too many low-hanging branches, so I went into Walmart to buy a replacement:

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We also tore the roof membrane on our RV when upgrading our tires yesterday:

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All fixed:

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We visited Palo Duro Canyon State Park outside of Canyon, Texas:

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View from the rim:

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We checked out the visitor center:

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We drove the truck down into the canyon.  At 10am, it was already over 100 degrees:

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We continued west into New Mexico:

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We checked out the abandoned border town of Glenrio:

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Old Route 66:

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Continuing west in 100+ degree temperatures, we blew a tire:

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The blow-out tore the Coroplast bottom of the RV.  I stitched up the bottom of the RV with nylon cable ties:

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We continued west to our overnight location, Paramotor City outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  See the alternating yellow line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2018, Day 9: Ozark NSR, Wilson’s Creek NB, Pea Ridge NMP, Walmart Museum

We started our day by visiting Ozark National Scenic Riverways:

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We drove down to visit Big Spring:

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Big Spring releases over 3,400 gallons per second.  The flow dissolves 175 tons of limestone per day, which colors the water blue-green:

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Back at the RV, I discovered a bubble in one of the RV tires:

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I swapped in the spare:

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We continued west to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield:

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The site preserves the failed attempt of the Confederacy to secure Missouri for the South:

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After the failure at Wilson’s Creek, Southern forces retreated to Arkansas, where they were finally defeated at our next stop, Pea Ridge National Military Park:

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The battlefield:

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Decades before the Civil War battle here, Native Americans were forced from the Southeast to Oklahoma along what became known as the Trail of Tears:

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We continued to Bentonville, Arkansas:

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It was here that Sam Walton opened his first variety store.  The store is now the Walmart Museum:

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We think of Walmart as a free campground that happens to sell stuff.  Turns out housing RVers is not Walmart’s primary mission:

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The museum was really interesting:

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We continued west to overnight at Appalachia Bay Recreation Area, home of Motorcycle Island. Fun is scheduled for tomorrow!

See the alternating yellow line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017 trip prep

Getting ready to leave for our summer trip involves plenty of work.  I tested the telescope with the solar filter and camera mount to make sure everything would work well when viewing the eclipse.  Note the sunspot:

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I filled the fresh water tank and turned on the pump which supplies pressure to all the fixtures in the RV.  I heard a spraying noise, and ran into the master bathroom to find the toilet leaking fresh water.  I winterized the RV after our 2016 Assateague Island Sukkos trip, which involves opening low-point drains and then opening all water fixtures to allow the water to drain out of the fixtures and out the low-point drains.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think of the toilets as water fixtures, so I didn’t do this.  The toilet’s supply valve must have been filled with water and cracked over the winter when it froze.  Getting the supply valve disconnected from the toilet was easy:

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I ordered two new valves, since the kids’ toilet broke in the same way.  The new valves won’t arrive before we leave, so I had them shipped to my brother’s house where they should be waiting for us when we arrive on Sunday.  In the mean time, I capped the water supply line so we can use the water in the rest of the RV:

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For now we’ll have to flush by filing a container with water and manually pouring it into the toilet.  So much for our glamorous RV lifestyle.

The New (for us) Truck Camper

There may be some trips for which a massive 5th wheel like our 2014 Avalanche 360RB is too large.  I found a truck camper on Craigslist and bought it for $500.  It’s a 1990 Sunline C951.  The floorplan can be found on page 11 of the manual:

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The truck camper needs a good bit of work, hopefully I can get everything working.

In order to bring the truck camper home, the truck needed tie-downs to attach the truck camper to the truck.  I could have purchased a set for $450, but it rankled to pay almost as much for the tie-downs as the truck camper, so I decided to build tie-downs instead.  I welded up a pair of rear tie-downs using a bar attached to the tow receiver:

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For the front tie-downs, I based my design on commercially available tie-downs:

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During construction, I installed the tie-downs to make sure the fit was correct.  To tie-down the truck camper, extension bars are installed to bring a mount point out beyond the undercarriage of the truck:

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Stay tuned for the rebuild of the truck camper!

Assateague Sukkos Day 6: Flying and Beach Fun

The first two days of Sukkos (Monday and Tuesday) with congregation Ahavat Shalom in Ocean City, Maryland were great.  It was the first time we’ve spent a holiday with a Sefardi congregation.  Since everyone there except us were Israeli expats, the Rabbi delivered his sermon in Hebrew.  On the second day I walked down to the beach and walked the boardwalk for a bit. 

RV breakfasts are always fantastic:

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The passenger side of the RV seemed to be sagging, and a peek underneath revealed that the rear passenger leaf spring had broken.  This is the same spring position that broke and had to be replaced on Day 366.  Back when that spring broke, I replaced the springs on both sides so the axle would be square to the trailer and therefore the tires would not wear poorly.  As I result, I had with us the unbroken leaf spring pulled off the driver’s side of the rear axle those few years ago.  I crawled under the RV and got to work:

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Installing the new leaf spring:

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While I was working, this Wheel bug wandered by:

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The broken leaf spring:

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The congregation used to be headed up by a Chabad rabbi, which explains why the synagogue was built to resemble 770:

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After Shacharis and fixing the leaf spring, we relocated back to Assateague Island.  We had camping reservations at Assateague Island National Seashore, but we would have had to change sites in the middle of our stay, so we decided to try for the first time camping at Assateague State Park, which was much less crowded.  For a couple more dollars, we have use of bathhouses with toilets and nice showers, as opposed to just pit toilets in the NPS campground.

We set up our sukkah again:

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We managed to squeeze everything onto our site:

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Next we hit the beach:

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We collected some shells:

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Dead Horseshoe crabs:

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I received permission from the state park to launch my PPG from the beach:

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Launch of flight #112.  I’m doing a reverse launch due to strong wind:

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Nice views upstairs:

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Coming down to land:

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This video contains my four flights on this trip:

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I kited the wing to make sure it was clean before putting it away:

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After dinner in the sukkah we had a campfire.  It’s warm here with 100% humidity, so the wood is damp and doesn’t burn very well:

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