Thursday, April 24, 2014

Blog Update - Enjoying Salt Lake and problem solving! April 24, 2014

Since the good news from my Doctor and no additional adverse symptoms since turning the propane off in my trailer, I have been on a mission to solve several issues.

1. Find and solve the propane issue.
2. Find new tires for the trailer
3. Find front spring shackles to lower the front of the truck
4. Plan a fun trip through Utah to head to Bullfrog for the summer

So - First and foremost was to resolve the propane leak? Well I bought a new combination propane/LPG - Carbon Monoxide detector - got that and installed and set about with my trusty spray bottle of soapy water to find the propane no avail. Went to the local propane store and asked their advice - was admonished by the owner who called me stupid and suggested that I had wasted my time on the dual detector since it is mounted at floor level to detect propane and the carbon monoxide side will never go off since it is typically lighter than air and needs to be at head height. So I went and bought another Carbon Monoxide detector and put it up near the bed, turned on the propane lit the pilot light and left the trailer buttoned up and sure enough in about 6 hours - the alarm sounded. The pilot light on the stove generated enough carbon monoxide to set off the alarm. So turned the pilot light off and now no issues - slept in cold weather with the trailer all buttoned up the past two nights and no issues. So the reality is I was being poisoned by Carbon Monoxide and not propane!! I am really relieved to make this discovery!

Shopped trailer tires until I am blue in the face, but have located a great place who can not only supply decent tires at a fair price but can also lower the truck. However - the rear shackles on the front leaf springs are on permanent back-order from Ford - but on a truck forum I found a supplier and ordered them and they will be here by Saturday, so hopefully can get that done early next week. Truck first then trailer tires!

In my spare time I have been working on a route South to Bullfrog which will encompass a few areas of Southern Utah I have been wanting to explore.

Not sure this will be the exact route but it is a plan.

So here is the rundown!

1. My starting point in Salt Lake City
2. Scipio - great fuel stop, I always stop here for a rest and to top off!
3. Cedar City - will probably overnight here!
4. & 5. Cedar breaks National Monument - have not been here in years!
6. Panguich Lake - will over night here after exploring Cedar breaks!
7. Town of Panguich - just explore on my way on the highway towards Bryce Canyon
8. Town of Tropic - may spend the night here!
9. Escalante - on the fabulous Route RT 12 this will be an all day trip with plenty of stops for photos
10. Boulder - on RT 12 more exploring.
11. Torrey - on the route to number 12 which is an RV Park where I will overnight
12. Thousand Lakes V Park - overnight
13. Goblin Valley State Park - will arrive here after exploring Capital Reef NP from Torrey! Will spend at least one night in Goblin Valley
14. Bullfrog - after leaving Goblin may stop along the way to Bullfrog depending on the sites to see! Pretty desolate road!

Need to arrive at Bullfrog around the 10th or 11th of May to start work on the 13th!

Should be a great adventure with a ton of pictures. I drove route 12 once before it is known as Utah's Journey through Time Scenic Byway and is an exhilarating drive through some amazing scenery! I have been wanting to do this trip ever since I got the RV.

Stay Tuned for further details!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday 2014 - 4-20-2014 A Day with Friends!

Finally feeling better and thankfully got an invite from some dear friends in Salt Lake for a wonderful Easter Brunch! So off Steve and I went to enjoy the day with friends.

I arrived in Salt Lake last Friday and was feeling parked in the "NO CAMPING" area of my good friends driveway and settled in. All was well, however on Sunday the weather turned cold and I closed the windows on the trailer and fired up the heat...well back to the propane issue again, seems there is still a leak, took me a couple days and a trip to the Doctor on Tuesday...I was prepared to go to the emergency room had a bag packed and everything, figured I was hours away from another stroke...Doc assured me that was not the issue so went back to Steve's and after some serious thinking decided to rule out the propane and turn the propane tank off and sure enough woke up the next day and felt fine, went for my annual sonogram required by the USCG for my license on Friday and passed with flying colors - so now my project before leaving Salt Lake is to find the leak, get new tires for the trailer and maybe get the front of the truck lowered to match the back.

I am very relieved that I was not experiencing another health issue!!

When I pulled in to Salt Lake and my good friends house the first thing I noticed is a sign firmly planted on his garage door which says NO CAMPING!!! After a short gun fight, I got the trailer parked and unhitched!!

Note the yellow sign affixed to the garage door!

Today we went to my good friends daughters house for a first communion party for their grand daughter and I managed to grab a shot of Mom and her new baby boy!!

Then before loading up the pictures - decided a walk with my macro lens in the back yard was in order!

Spring has SPRUNG!!

No real final plans for my trip South to my new job but working on it and will be in Salt Lake for another week or so to get the tires on the trailer, fix the propane leak and a few other errands and visit a few more friends!

The trip South is planned to be an adventure with stops in Capital Reef NP, Cedar Breaks NP, Goblin Valley and Bryce Canyon NP and points in stay tuned for the adventure!

Thanks everyone for the emails and concerns over my health!!!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blog Update - Traveling 4-8-2014 and 4-9-2014

Well, I finally left 29 Palms RV Resort mid-morning on Tuesday and headed North across the Mojave Desert towards Las Vegas and ultimately one of my favorite places - Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada!

The truck ran fine and pulled the trailer with ease, not quite as easily as I thought it might, but way better than the old truck - mileage was over 9 almost 10 but it was real hilly country and once on the highway I suspect it got quite a bit better, will know more tomorrow as I will be on all interstate highway.

The drive from 29 Palms to Amboy and then on to I-15 is about as boring as can is nothing but desert and nothing, guess that's why they call it the Mojave National Preserve. There is literally about 2 small settlements and no services on rough 2 lane road for several hundred miles.

I did manage a couple shots along the way - in Amboy where I ran on Rt 66 for a few miles!

Valley of Fire was as expected, it is always beautiful and the sky was a perfect blue with some nice clouds to good for picture goal was to get a good shot of the truck and trailer to use on the blog at the bottom with some nice red rocks in the background, of course I shot some other pictures as well.

These were taken in the campground! Wildflowers are starting to bloom in spite of the drought!

A wonderful Beaver Tail Cactus with numerous blossoms!

I went to bed early last night - internet was sporadic and no TV, so decided to get some rest and have a nice breakfast and take a nice walk in the morning with my coffee. Then I broke camp and took a very leisurely drive through the park stopping at numerous places to walk and explore and take some more pictures...

More Wildflowers!

Then a few shots of the truck and trailer in the Red Rock!

Stay tuned I am now in Mesquite Nevada and will work my way towards Salt Lake City tomorrow, understand there is highway construction between here and Utah, so will be a slow go...not sure where I will stop tomorrow, but traveling through some beautiful country so will take some pics and pull over and sleep when I get tired!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Finally - Getting Ready to Travel!!

I have a very busy few days ahead of me...finally got the rear of the truck lowered and did a hitch-up to make sure everything would work alright - hitched just fine and have plenty of clearance on the truck bed...or at least as much as I need for most travel!

So now comes the planning to leave part! I have altered my trip plans to Salt Lake for a number of reasons, one is finances and the other was some suspected health issues, which seem to be gone now. For a few days I was feeling very bad in the mornings, could not figure it out, but got very concerned - was dizzy, confused and had a very hard time concentrating...I had fear I was leading to another stroke...however when I would spend time out away from the trailer in the fresh air or up at the clubhouse withing about 30 minutes I felt great again...couldn't figure it out?? Then while heating some dinner up the other evening I ran out of propane usage had gone up considerably. But used the microwave to heat dinner and went to bed. The next morning when for the past several days I had been feeling very bad, however this morning I felt great again...Googled the symptoms for breathing propane and quickly realized I had a propane leak someplace and the reason I was feeling so bad, I was poisoning myself!!

So went down and filled the propane tank and got a small spray bottle of soapy water and traced the propane lines and found two cracked fittings. The fittings were on a line that I ran to attach my outside BBQ Grill. So I disconnected that line, put a plug in and end of leak. I also discovered that my propane leak detector in the RV was not working, tore that apart and found a broken wire...fixed that and have not had any issues at all the past few days since Monday when I made the repairs.

So here is the truck hitched up to the trailer with the lift removed.

Now to get the trailer ready to travel - this is the longest I have ever remained in one place and the trailer is a mess. When it is not moving, things get taken out to use and not put away properly, so it will take a day or so to get everything stowed away properly for the trip. Plus laundry to do and some other maintenance items - like getting things that were in the old truck put away properly in the new truck. It is amazing how much stuff moves around in the trailer when underway.

So today is a laundry day and a few other projects. Right now my plan is to leave on Monday the 7th and drive from here to Fire Valley State Park in Nevada, I love that place, spend a night there and maybe two. One of the reasons I am not leaving before Monday is that park fills almost every weekend, so will miss the crowds by arriving on Monday. Then drive from there to Zions National Park and spend a night or two there. Then from there head straight up to my good friend Steve's house in Salt Lake City and prepare for my Doctors appointment on the 21st...then get ready to head down to Lake Powell for my summer job. More details on that trip when it happens.

Here is my route starting Monday!

In many ways I am anxious to get on the road again, seems as though it has been too long. However, I have had a fantastic winter with great weather a great location and met some wonderful people. Have been invited back to work again doing the same thing next winter and right now that is the I will be back here in November!

Stay tuned for updates on the road!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!