Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Time to travel - Glacier NP and fall colors!

Now that the truck has a new fuel pump - thanks to Dustin Martell and Jed Shue!! I decided after running errands yesterday to take a drive into Glacier NP and shoot a few pictures...

It was a beautiful day - warm, clear skies and almost not wind...truck ran great and it is itching to travel - more on that later...

First some pics from today! Damn I love Montana!!!!

River Rocks - Lake McDonald (these are underwater - yes it is that clear!

Color through the shadows!

Lake McDonald Panorama - 6 shots - little smoky and hazy today!

The Plan

Tomorrow will be clean the RV and get it ready to travel. Friday I will finish packing the truck up and probably go ahead and hitch up. Plan to leave Kalispell on Saturday and head a few hundred miles down to Dillon, MT to meet my good friend Steve Carter for a few days of trophy trout fishing on the Beaverhead River from the Clark Canyon Ranch! Will more than likely fish for 3 days or so, plan to leave there on Thursday the 8th and drive over to Craters of the Moon National Monument. Spend two nights there and take a few pictures and then on down to Salt Lake City and park in Steve's Driveway - right in front of the NO CAMPING SIGN!

Not sure how long I will stay there, long enough to help Steve with a few chores and see my other Salt Lake friends.

Then heading to Moab and then four corners and Mesa Verde then El Moro and the petrified forest and Painted Desert then on to Twentynine Palms - planning to arrive there around the 10th or so of November. I plan to put some miles on the camera in these wonderful scenic places so stay tuned.

Medical Shit!

I have been feeling pretty darn good now that the morons got my meds squared away - heart is in great shape according to the sonogram and so is the arteries that feed my kidneys so no issues.

Guess I'll live a little while longer!

Stay tuned there will be some great pictures and stories on my way South!

Thanks for following along!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall has arrived and Plans for heading South

Well the leaves are turning and the mornings are getting chilly - bright sunny and warm fall days so won't leave until around the 4th of October - have some more Doctor's appointments - MRI today!

One more major repair project to complete on the truck - fuel pump is dying so need to drop the fuel tank and get that replaced - should be done in the next week or so....

I have spent the last couple days working on a proposed route South - want to check off a few more National Parks and other scenic places for some pictures...

Route - not a very good map picture??


1. My friends house in Kalispell - where I am now!
2. Dillon, Montana for a few days of fishing with my friend Steve Carter!
3. Craters of the Moon National Monument for a couple nights - remote camping!
4. My friend Steve Carters house in Salt Lake for a few nights - not sure yet how long!
5. Scipio - a fuel stop on my way to Moab
6. Moab and a quick visit to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks a couple nights
7. Mesa Verde National Park - a couple nights remote camping
8. Teec Nos Pos - Navajo Indian Reservation and 4 Corners Monument
9. Gallup New Mexico USA RV PARK - 1 night for a little rest and relaxation
10. El Morro National Monument 1 night remote camping
11. and 12. Petrified Forest National Park & Painted Desert - 1 night remote camping.
13. Homolovi State Park & Ruins - 1 or 2 nights remote camping
14. Standin on the Corner in Winslow Arizona - a quick stop!
15. Revisit to a past winter RV Park - Blake Ranch RV Park in Kingman AZ - 1 night
16. Amboy - a fuel stop
17. Twentynine Palms RV Resort and my winter home!

Trip recap - 2037 miles - Tentative 15 day trip - 32 hours of driving time!

I am excited to make this trip and if it goes as planned will arrive in Twentynine Palms around the first week of November. Should probably spend a week or so in Salt Lake and visit some good friends. Now that the camper is better suited to camping without electricity with the new batteries many of my nights will be in campgrounds on Forest Service lands and National Parks without facilities - a few RV Parks sprinkled in for water and recharge or I will run the generator.

I took some fall pictures and plan on many more on my trip South.

My favorite!

My new sign in Daylight!

Always under the watchful eye of Clyde!

Stay tuned more adventures on the way!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Last nite at the Races and a Medical explanation

So - I get 10 thousand emails asking about my recent hospital visit, so I thought I would set the record straight and fill in the details...

I got a FREE mug!

Ok - some history - I have had high blood pressure for well over 10 years and have been on the same medication for most of that time. Last spring I started feeling bad before I headed North to Salt Lake. I was taking my medication and explained my symptoms to my vascular doctor in Salt Lake, who highly recommended that I skip my summer job in Yellowstone and make arrangements to have a complete checkup this summer. Upon arrival in Kalispell I determined that part of my problem seemed to be tied to my medicine and also somehow food related. I stopped taking my medication and the problem went away. I made an appointment with a cardiologist/internist in hopes of finding some answers - went to that appointment on the 27th of August with follow-up appointments through the end of the month and weekly blood pressure check-ups and a sonogram of my heart scheduled.

The new meds did NOT work!

Last Tuesday I had a blood pressure check scheduled followed by my sonogram of my heart (echocardiogram) I did not make it past the blood pressure check - my blood pressure was extremely high - obviously the new medicine was NOT working. I was scheduled to go over to the hospital next door for the echocardiogram and the doctor suggested that it may be easier to be admitted and get my blood pressure stabilized and then do the echocardiogram! So I went over to the hospital and met the hospital cardiologist and we discussed the option of being admitted and it made perfect sense to me - in a supervised environment we could try several medications and run a bunch of tests and hopefully get my problems resolved and an on-going plan for maintaining my blood pressure at a safe level - hopefully with meds that DO NOT make me sick! So that is where we are now - all the tests have been run and I have several follow-ups scheduled. Since leaving the hospital I have felt pretty good and my blood pressure seems to be under control - I have a few minor med symptoms which I can deal with, much better than the previous meds I was on. I am also making some lifestyle changes with a low salt diet etc.

Enough of the health shit - I appreciate everyone's concern but the hospital stay was my choice in order to expedite a solution - from those who PRACTICE their trade rather than solve shit....besides I needed a new mug!

On to more important shit!

For the past five years, everytime I pull into a campground I see my neighbors all have some sort of sign in front of their campsite - something like Bob & Sue Smith from Bumshit Iowa...or similar. I have talked to several wood sign manufacturers - you know the ones at the fairs etc that carve a wooden sign, I explained what I was looking for and none seemed up to the challenge. Then the other day I saw a sign person on Facebook that made custom signs - I sent them a message and told them what I was looking for and he suggested a plexiglass solar lit sign. He was even willing to accept my artwork and design. So I designed a nice sign for in front of my camper, which pretty much explains my situation.

The New sign in front of the camper!

To Explain!

Sara was my high school sweetheart and we were married for about 5 years. Anzie was a live-in for a couple years in Miami - Mimi was a glandular thing and we were married 9 months. Sharon (AKA Godzilla) and I were married about 14 years and after the war of the roses...divorced and I have been very happily single ever since and intend to stay that way...UNLESS? Therefore the question mark!

Last night at the Races!

Last night was the last race for our class at Montana Raceway Park. Those of you who have been following along know that my good friends Jim Flinchbaugh and Dustin Martell moved up from a lower class last year and built a new car in a higher class - they went from Hobby Stock to Super Stock. So this was the first year for a totally new car and there have been some trials and tribulations of getting the new car set up and running in contention. Flinchbaugh is an engine builder by trade and has been involved in a number of cars and has had great success, he and Dustin really excelled in the Hobby Stock class and planned to have the same impact on the Superstock class. The first few races were getting used to the new car and they had a few issues - melted distributor - carburetor issues and a severe miss and never quite running well enough to get the handling issues resolved. Last time out all the running issues seemed to be resolved so the anticipation was high for the remainder of the season, just about that time the assholes at Montana Raceway Park decided to combine two classes - the Superstocks running with the Late Models. Note the late models have way more horsepower and it made it VERY HARD to compete. Hard to run with the big dogs and get a win!

Regardless - Jim and Dustin decided to continue to work the bugs out of the car and see how it went. Since there were only a couple weeks left with the combined classes. Last night was the finish of the season and a long race - 100 laps. The goal was to avoid any wrecks and get some lap time on the car and work on handling issues.

However - even with all the issues of a new car Dustin still finished 2nd in points for the Superstock class - we could have won had we not had several of the running issues - hell of a job for a Brand New Car! Wait until next year! Although if they combine classes again the number 84 car will be running elsewhere - pay attention Montana Raceway Park!

Lord knows where we timed in - but ran a good time for our original class - only one other car in our class timed in faster.

We ran with four cars in the short 6 lap Trophy Dash and finished second!

We ran in the 15 lap Heat race and finished second - starting in 5th place! Good Driving Dustin!

The number 33 car is a Late Model!

Pit Boss - Jim Flinchbaugh!

Another highlight from last nite - an engine Jim Flinchbaugh built last week for a Hobby Stock car - finished first in his class last night.

The Driver - Corey Kruse!

There will be more - I put my GoPro camera in the car last night and will be adding a video to the Martell Racing website in the coming days!

On a personal note - my summer is nearly finished here in Kalispell - I plan to head South in a couple weeks, now that racing is over - Flinchbaugh and I plan on doing some fishing and I will stop and fish the Beaverhead in Dillon with my good friend Steve Carter on my way South towards Salt Lake and ultimately back to Twentynine Palms. for another winter with the "old Folks" - oops I am one now!

Weather here is turning fall like - with predicted nighttime lows in the high 20's and snow down to the 5000 foot level - so time to get a new fuel pump in the truck and get hitched up and go!

Stay Tuned -still more adventures to experience!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Rambling Muse about Tires, Metal, Friends, The Doctor and a sore ass!

It has been a busy week or so since my last post...not many pictures, not many adventurous endeavors, but important just the same.

Just some rambling thoughts and revelations!


One of the nice things about being in Kalispell, Montana is the friends and people here. Several months ago - Dustin Martell (Tire Expert Extraordinaire and Race Car Driver) walked over where my truck was parked and calmly stated, I guess we need to be on the look-out for some tires for your truck. Now I am not one to take tires lightly, with the amount of driving I do - Tires are important! So I questioned, you think I am almost due? Being the Les Schwab expert, Dustin reached in his pocket and extracted a tread gauge....not something most of us walk around with...he dutifully checked each tire and proudly exclaimed that I was down to about 1/3 of my tires left!

Me, being budget minded knew that 18 inch truck tires, Michelin 10 ply tires would NOT be something that I relished having to buy.....a couple days ago - Dustin proudly exclaimed - guess what I took in trade today? Somebody wanted new custom wheels and tires for their 2015 truck...and the truck had 18" Michelin 10 ply tires, just like the ones on your truck, my exact size. They will fit your truck perfectly he said! The next day he proudly exclaimed that he had managed to sell the rims that were traded in for just about the trade in he figured he could get me the tires pretty reasonable...

Friday they were installed on my truck - for a VERY REASONABLE PRICE! The tires list for about $245.00 each and I paid just about the price for two and got 4!! So before my fall departure to parts South I have a new pair of shoes for the truck....big nice damn near new Truck Tires!


Fixing my propane heater in the RV has been a long time goal - it has not worked properly since I got the trailer in 2011. I have been using an electric oil filled radiator heater, fine when I have electric, but a little chilly when I am not plugged in someplace....

Although I can be somewhat handy and enjoy making repairs, sometimes my skills encounter problems and it is nice when a friend who has much more mechanical ability is there to bail me out. Keep in mind the heater had been resting peacefully for the past 20 or so years, until I so rudely awakened it and it was not happy!

As I started to remove the heater I quickly realized that the exhaust pipe and airbox had become frozen in place due to some errant remove the heater I had to get somewhat aggressive and I managed to basically destroy the exterior exhaust fitting and pretty much mangled up the airbox as well.

My good friend Jim Flinchbaugh put the heater on the bench and proudly proclaimed that the reason it was not working properly was due to a fan motor with bad bearings, when running it screamed like a hungry two year old! He removed the motor and I went online to search for a replacement...isn't Amazon wonderful? Motor was ordered but the exterior exhaust fitting was no where to be found, it seems they no longer made that part! SHIT! of course Flinchbaugh said bring me the destroyed I went searching in the high weeds where I had pitched it in a hour in his able hands and it was damn near as good as new, actually even better as he added a bug screen to keep any wandering propane induced wasps from making a nest in my heater...know that wasps are attracted to propane (a little known RV Fact!)

Sometimes it is the little things that add comfort to your life...last night while sleeping I awoke to hear the thermostat kick on the heater, it is such a comfort to know that without any further effort on my part - the heater would kick on and keep me from freezing to death...AHH the modern conveniences of our life and quickly realizing the warmth and security such a little thing adds to your life!

So Friday new tires and Saturday was spent installing my repaired heater....

Here is where it goes....

In the able hands of Flinchbaugh...

The re-manufactured Exhaust Fitting!

Fully installed and operational!

The Doctor!

I went to the Doctor on the 27th of August and my blood pressure was very high (My previous medicine had been making me sick so I stopped taking it)...well I got my ass chewed for that little decision...the doctor prescribed new medicine and informed me that I would be punished by having to come back weekly and have my blood pressure checked, which I have done and I am taking my new meds which seem to NOT make me sick....they also gave me an EKG and listened to all the appropriate places. This Tuesday I have to return for a Echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) and hopefully that will not show any issues....we shall see!

Upon leaving the other day - I decided to take a picture in the flower beds in front of the office! ( I got my ass chewed again by the landscaper for walking in the flower bed! ) It was a "framing" issue - not easily understood by a landscaper!

So, I plod along, thankful for my friends and the comfort of a thermostat, I'll sleep better knowing there is warmth right around the corner...

I am also Thankful for the firefighters throughout the mountain West who have been putting their lives on the line for our comfort and safety...I am also Thankful for the rain we have had these past few days.

Stay Tuned!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!