“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” – Sir Winston Churchill

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The Dog Show

We recently took the RV, three dogs, one cat, and ourselves to a dog show in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. The good news is that Destin won major points on the first two days of the three day show and finished his championship. The bad news is that it was not the easiest dog show we’ve attended.

It all started the day before we were to leave. We’d pulled the trailer to the house and parked it in front while we cleaned and provisioned it. A quick run to Walmart was necessary, and on our way home the truck sort of died with a “Powertrain Fault” warning. “Call your dealership”, it said on the dashboard control panel.

The truck was running, but very rough. And, I had no control over the truck’s speed. All I could do was pull off the road and call the dealership. 

Upon explaining the error on the dashboard display, I learned that the problem could be any one of a myriad of things including some kind of spurious error. I am under the powertrain warranty, so had the option of calling Ford Roadside Assistance for a tow to the dealer. But, they could not look into the problem for several days, and we had all three dogs with us making the logistics challenging. I hoped that some combination of a tow truck, Uber, and the Suburban parked at home would get us all where we needed to be. But, what about the dog show?

After getting off the phone, I turned off the truck. Then restarted it. And, it ran fine. Great. We drove home and convinced ourselves it was one of those spurious error things and we’d be okay to tow the trailer 250 miles to Nebraska (and back).

The next day, we hooked up to the trailer and took off for a garage in Greeley where we can get nitrogen for the trailer tires. Yeah, they have nitrogen instead of regular air in them. That is supposed to give us a smoother, safer ride with less variation in pressure due to temperature and a bunch of other advantages. Anyway, about 3 miles up the road the truck threw another powertrain fault. This time on a narrow road with no shoulder. I turned on the emergency flashers, coasted to a stop, turned the truck off and then restarted it. All was fine again. With very shaky confidence we continued on our trip.

The service tech who added nitrogen to the tires said pretty much the same thing as the dealership. Could be any of a large number of things. Could be a spurious error. Probably not catastrophic since we can recover by restarting the truck. 

What the heck. We drove to Scottsbluff.

The trip was not fun. The wind was really blowing hard. Every time we had a truck pass us in the opposite direction my side-view mirror got pushed back and I’d roll down the window to push it back into position. It was cold. We has some show flurries off and on. But, we made it to the Gearing, NE city RV park (which is actually very, very nice). We dropped the trailer and hooked up utilities then drove to the show site 12 miles away in Mitchell to set up for the dog show.

As we prepared a meal that evening, we discovered that despite parking on a concrete slab that I had assumed was level, the trailer actually tilted to the starboard side very significantly. I almost fell down a couple of times just walking through the trailer. Cooking oil pooled in the back of the pan. Doors would not stay open. But, it was too much trouble to try to hook up and level the RV now, so we lived with it.

It was cold overnight. The heater in the RV just can’t keep up with below freezing temperatures. The RV leaks a lot, it was not built for winter camping, and the heater runs continuously trying to keep up. And, the next morning we went to take showers and water hookups were frozen. No showers. But, we did have some coffee and then took off for the dog show.

Destin won Best of Winners adding 4 points and another major to his wins. 

After we got back to the trailer, I went to Home Depot and got some heat tape and duct tape to wrap around the water faucet. I also got a small electric room heater at Walmart to supplement the RV heater. And, before going to bed I disconnected the water hose and drained it.

We had a nice dinner at a steak house with dog show colleagues, and then went to bed.

Sometime overnight we ran out of propane and heater stopped working. It was chilly the next morning, but we were able to hook up the water and take a shower. (I had the hot water heater working off electricity). The small electric room heater had helped a lot overnight, but gave up and stopped working that morning. We have two propane tanks, so I switched over to a full one.

We went the show, frustrated at all the problems but still somewhat refreshed. Destin won Best of Winners adding 3 points and another major to his wins. Enough to earn him his Championship!

On the way home we returned the electric room heater and got another just like it. 

Dinner was again with our dog show colleagues at a somewhat gourmet restaurant where we drank expensive wine, ate great food, and laughed until it hurt.

Then, it started snowing.

Again, I disconnected the water hose. And with both heaters running overnight we stayed pretty comfortable. 

We were due at the show site early, so we took off after exercising the dogs. Bella just stayed in the trailer since she does not enjoy dog shows. But, we took Natalie all days in order to get her acquainted with the process.

We showed Destin as a new champion in the breed competition, but he was not on his best show behavior (after all, Dad was showing his brother right behind him in line and that was very confusing to him), and he did not do anything.

When we got back to the trailer we had to disconnect and pack up everything as well as scrape snow off the trailer. But, the sun was peaking through the clouds and temperature was slowly climbing. The roads were in good shape and at noon we took off for home. 

The trip back was mostly uneventful. No wind, no rain, no snow. And the mirror only got displaced once. But, as we approached the location where the truck had died with the powertrain fault three days earlier, it happened again! Very weird. Restarting the truck worked and we got home okay.

So, while there were many problems, including dog throw up and diarrhea, I’ve chosen not to go into in detail, we had a productive trip that was worth all the hassle since Destin came away as a Champion.

Tags:  dogstraveldestin
Posted under: Dog StuffTravel • by Rick on 04/04/2018 at 03:36 PM
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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fishing the Beaverkill

Among the top 10 fly fishing sites in the US, a few are in the Northeast and the rest are in Montana. Some will argue there are some in Wyoming (West Yellowstone, for example), but the western sites are all pretty much located "up there". Of those in the Northeast, one of the most famous is the Beaverkill River in the Catskills. And, I've had fishing the Beaverkill on my secondary bucket list.

Rick fishing the Beaverkill

Lynne bought me a wonderful birthday gift this year! She got me a 1/2-day guided wading tour on the Beaverkill. She purchased it through the Beaverkill Angler Catskill Fly Fishing Shop in Roscoe, NY -- the heart of fishing in the Catskills. They put me with a great guide, Oleh Czmola and we spent Saturday late afternoon fishing. I caught a very nice 10" brown trout (returned to the river) and had a few other strikes. Enough to make it a successful trip and make me a happy camper! Thanks to Oleh for his guidance and patience. (I've developed some bad habits with my casting.)

Speaking of a "happy camper", we turned the trip into a wonderful camping weekend by pulling the T@B up on Friday. It was raining a little, but we got a fantastic camping site along Russell Brook and got set up before it rained hard. Saturday and Sunday were beautiful fall days and we enjoyed the weather and the fall colors immensely.

Our camp setup. We parked in one of the tent sites, and it worked fine for our tiny trailer.

We have a new tent that connects to the side of the trailer. We got it up before the rain hit, and so we were able to sit in the tent and watch and listen to the rain while sipping on a glass of wine. The silver storage box on the trailer tongue is also new and provided us some much needed additional storage. Note that we put up a ring of exercise pens for the dogs.

We had campfires on Saturday and Sunday -- even s'mores for dessert!

That is an old water wheel in the background of the above photo. It was used to run a DC generator many, many years ago. 

I'm sure Lynne will post more on her site or on the T@B site.

Tags:  photosnaturetravelactivitiesfishing
Posted under: New JerseyTravel • by Rick on 10/15/2015 at 08:59 AM
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Monday, December 01, 2014

Desert Forest

When visiting Las Cruces, New Mexico recently to celebrate my Dad's 89th birthday, Lynne and I were given a tour of a nearby park which features the natural fauna of the surrounding desert. Las Cruces, is at an altitude of 3900 feet and sits at the base of the Organ Mountains and is considered "high desert" country.

Photo of the park with the Organ Mountains in the background.

Perhaps the most common type of cactus in the area is the Prickly Pear cactus, which comes in many varieties:

One variety is the Mule's Ear cactus:

Here is a dead Cholla cactus:

I think this is a live one:

Of course, there is the Barrel Cactus, also with many varieties:

Plenty of Creosote Bushes and Mesquite, too!

Yucca:

And Century Plant:

The most interesting part of our tour, hosted by a good friend of my parents' -- Delton Estes -- was finding some Chochilla (Cochineal, in English) bugs on some cacti. These bugs live in a cacoon-like web and feed off the moisture and nutrients in the cactus. The Spanish began the practice of farming these bugs and harvesting them for the deep red dye they can produce -- a color that later became popular in the Roman Catholic Church. A Wikipedia reference is found here.

Note the white on the cactus below? Pull it off and squeeze it to get the dye.

Many thanks to Delton for the informative tour!

Tags:  naturetravelphotos
Posted under: Travel • by Rick on 12/01/2014 at 08:59 AM
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cabin Trip 2014—2nd Day On The Road

We are in Grand Island, Nebraska. Our standby motel is the Rodeway Inn (pet friendly!) which has always had excellent, clean rooms. We have a nice view of a small lake behind the motel. 

The truck is gassed up, dogs and cat are fed, dogs are walked and now we are settled down with a cup of wine about to order a pizza. Tonight it will be Domino's Hawaiian Pizza.

We always get here at a good time, around 5:00 local time (we are on Central Time now). This gives us a chance to relax and wind down some. We'll get a good night of sleep, up early tomorrow and then be in Laramie at or before noon. There, we will do 2-3 days of shopping and head on in to the cabin arriving around 3:00 or so. I'm telling you this in advance because we won't bother to try to get the Internet working (which is always a multi-hour phone call) because a new system is (supposed) to be installed on Tuesday. 

Tags:  cabintravel
Posted under: Cabin NewsTravel • by Rick on 09/14/2014 at 04:37 PM
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cabin Trip 2014 - First Day on the Road

We got away in good time this morning -- 6:30 a.m.

The drive went well, although we had rain through most of Pennsylvania. We are now in Mishawaka, Indiana at a Red Roof Inn (pet friendly!). We have fed and walked the dogs (who are very needy) and we just ordered a pizza to be delivered (Vesuvio's Pizza: sausage, green pepper, black olives and mushrooms as well as a garden salad). It will be late before we eat, probably 8:30, so bed not long after that.

I forgot my hardback book at home. I'd just started Michael McGarrity's Back Lands -- the second in a series. His books are all New Mexico based with lots of history and stories of the area where I grew up and went to school. Most of his books have been murder mysteries, but the first in this series starts the back story of his protagonist character. It is a big dense book with great story telling. We tried to find a copy in a couple of book stores along the way to the cabin with no luck. So, after struggling to get this Internet connection, I downloaded it to my iPad.

I hope our food comes soon!

Tags:  cabintravelbooks
Posted under: Cabin NewsTravelBooks I've Enjoyed • by Rick on 09/13/2014 at 05:40 PM
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