Monday, July 28, 2014

Report From Sunday

Susan and I met up with Kirk and Pam Wood down in Shepps Canyon Recreation Area Angostura Recreation area. Wonderful couple and holder of lots of good information and stories to tell. When you learn of forum members in the area, we recommend that you stop and spend time with them. You will be made to feel welcome by the friendliness of them.

I like Kirk and Pam’s motto, never go back to the same place twice to volunteer. Why? Because each time you return and see the same people and same places, you will not be as excited as the first time and if you continue to go back, then it becomes a job and not a fun time. This is what I see here in Custer State Pk. It is the same folks coming back time and time again. It has become a job to them and the joy and excitement has worn off. If the excitement has worn off, then how can you be excited to meet new friends. In my opinion because of this, there is no team work, it is all about belonging to the “Click”.

Which is a shame because that really presents a no team work attitude among the older people. Especially among the seasonal “Paid” folks. Now the college seasonal – well that is different story. They love to get together and share stories, pizza and fire rings. Their exuberance for learning experience is still there along with the excitement for life.

Ok, what’s the special for today –

Check it out, as it seems we are now in the Buffalo rutting season. On our way south, we spied a herd of them off of CSP 5, ZOOMMMM off we went. This is what we spied.

Safe Travels and Joourneys from
Dale, Susan, "Della & Tilly"

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Day to Catch Up


Weather today seems to be a mix from Sat.  mid 70's

Today we headed down to Sheps Canyon Recreation Area. Which is inside the Angostura Recreation Area. Angostura is another SD state park, but located south of us.

Sheps Canyon Coordinate Location 
43.3266802, -103.4449415 

"Coming from Blue Bell CG, come into Hot Springs on US385 from Wind Cave NP, follow the main street downtown to the highway (US)18 bypass at Indianapolis Ave. where you turn right. There is a Shell station on the corner where you turn. Follow 18 truck to the outskirts of town and then turn left on to SD7. There is a big motel at the corner where you turn called "Stay USA" which has a fake waterfall & 3 tepees. After you make the left on SD71 you will pass the hospital to the left (there is an addition under construction) and stay on 71 for abut 7 miles to Angostura Rd. There is a brown sign pointing to saying "Shep's Canyon Recreation Area" where you turn left and come 6 miles on a good gravel road.

As you near the park the main road makes a right turn between a mobile home park and an RV park but you should continue straight ahead and into our park. As you enter you will see the boat ramp & it's parking directly in front of you. If you turn right at the campground, we are the first site on the left, with the shop across the street."

Kirk is a fellow blogger and forum helper.  Link to there Blog Press Here
I found their blog thru this Forum Website

We had a Pizza party last nite, invited 8 and 4 showed up. Actually it was the best of 4 as Jim and Betty are Alfa owners. Lizzie and Megan who re seasonal workers in Custer St Pk. 

Pizza came from Papa Murphy’s (Link Press Here) in Rapid, Susan cooked them up in the convection/microwave oven. I do say, the crust came out with a lite crisp bite – just------------right.
Along with Betty’s salad, we had enough food and a really good time.

What-what’s that beeping, oh it’s the TPM alarm, seems it is 48 degrees outside, which is setting it off. Tire temperature has dropped the 5 degrees to set it off. Well it will warm up.

Otherwise Sat. was spent with Susan & Tilly in Rapid, and Della and me at the site cleaning up and getting ready to leave on Aug 12th. Which is a  long story itself. At the end of the season, I'll give a complete report.

We spent Friday changing out the slide rollers. After the floor mod, we noticed 1 roller not moving and the outer ends dragging. Well it turned out we had 3 bad rollers.  The flanges had bent down, thereby putting pressure on the rollers and preventing them from turning causing the slide dragging. Thanks to Jerry for his advance drawing.

Completion of Flooring
Slide rollers have been installed. Rollers were change to the nylon in 2007 at Charlies NAPA (Sunset, UT). All rollers required shimming. Wish to thank Jerry Barker for his drawing of a roller and his shims. I used this info to start making my shims.


End of Slide dragging on the bottom rail. 

Jerry, I still like the idea of a long shim (which we discussed last year). Your dimension of 15' x 2' would have worked, except I did not have the tools to cut a straight line. So my shims were 2"x4"x1/8". Concerning the shim underneath the slide rollers on the ends (Forward & Rear). Your idea of placing the shim further under the Side wall was an excellent idea. That meant offsetting the holes in the shim. Speaking of the shims, I drilled the 3 holes larger by 3 drill sizes for the thru holes. So, I placed 2 shims on the forward and rear rollers, the remaining 3 rollers got 1 shim.

Showing Flanges which are Bent 
Incorrect size holding screw being used

Upon examination of the old rollers, the outside of the flange on 3 rollers was bent down. This meant that there was a lot of upward pressure on the rollers which eventually caused the flange to bend allowing the roller to come into contact of the wood.

My thoughts of this is caused by:
Using a #8 screw used to mount the rollers instead of the required 1/4" screw. The weight on the forward and read walls.
Not enough support where the rear and forward rollers are placed.

Another excellent idea from Jerry, was to use a Hex head screw. So I used a 1/4"x 1" Hex sheet metal screw. On the rollers with 2 shims no washers were needed. On the rollers with 1 shim, I place 2 washers between the head and the flange. As the point(screw) would have tried to penetrate the sheet metal.

I now have visible proof that the slide will not scrape the floor and the speed at which it comes in is faster/easier.

Another bit of information: Once a month or every other month, bring your slide in about a foot, go outside and clean the roller troff. It is amazing how much dirt is there which can be tracked in.

One last bit of information, yes companies could have replaced our rollers, but we would still have ended up with problems later on.

2"x15" or 2"x4" shims based on your cutting tools.
1/4"x1" Hex Sheet Metal screws.
1/4"  flat washers - only needed if using 1 shim.
5 new rollers ($215 included shipping).

Tools-many small hand tools. Glad I have alot of different ones.

Note: in raising the slide, be careful as you can only raise it about 2.5".
I have other notes for when working on the ends Vs. the 3 middle rollers.

Difficulty:  Scale 1 to 10: 7 due to sitting, making shims, re-cutting due to error, re-drilling bigger holes (shims). The usual Man-Stuff.

Now, the most important thing/item I did not mention.


Another work day as we had 9 cabins to clean got em done and ready by  12ish, we seem to have no big issues, but the other team, seems like they always have a big (to them) mess to clean up. Alene is pretty nice and outspoken, Bill well , better leave things alone.

We went to the Grand Magic show in Custer, now this was a fun family event. Link to WebSite Press Here. If you are in Custer and want family entertainment then please go see the show. While we were there a big hail storm hit. Susan had to call the insurance company, as we now have hail damage. Chances are we are not going to do anything about it as we plan on keeping the Jeep for a long time. On the way home into the State Park, we spotted a couple walking on the side of the road. It's dark, wet and this just didn't seem normal so we pulled over and asked if they were in trouble or lost. Seems they had gone out for a walk from Stockade N CG to Stockade lake thru the CG. Well they ended up on 87 and turned the wrong way. They would have ended up a lot further in the wrong direction if we had not stopped and picked them up. Anyway another rescue for us.

2 Weeks before:

Susan and I have been installing a new floor into DaGirls Rv. We purchased the product from Home Depot. Product was shipped to us with free shipping. Link Below to what we purchase.

Susan stated, that the only way she would allow replacement of our cork (2007) floor, was if the TILE WAS REMOVED. Well guess what, we did the tile removal within 6 hours, AND kept the mess down, and kept the bedroom free of dust. Remember we are full-timers and volunteering in Custer State Park. I found a special diamond wheel ($50.00) which was awesome in doing the cleanup of the grout and left over tile. It did an excellent job of cleaning the plywood without damaging it.

Monday, received the flooring and started installing it. We have only really worked on it a total of about 20 Hrs (installation). We have the following items left to do, Big Slide, toilet, and my side of the bed.

Excellent job if I do say so myself. Flooring is laid under the bedroom compartment, under the right, left and front console area. Placed tight around the brake and accelerator petal. Entry step is a perfect match and a good fit around the captain chairs mount. 

By the way it is all about the small things you do that makes it look goooooood.

So if you are going to do it yourself, take the time to trim, paint metal, check the fit. If you are hiring someone or company, ask questions before you start the project.
Susan and I are very pleased, with our job. I dare say it looks like a $2000 install.  Cost of material less than $1000.00

Don't worry we always have a supervisor on hand to verify our work
And of Course my fav -
Earth Quake - Tree Shaking  

Safe Travels and Journeys from
Dale & Susan, "Della & Tilly"

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mod_Leveling Blocks and Wheel Ramps

I started with 12 x 12 x 3/4 inch plywood.

Since I was limited on material, which means I did not have material to cut 12 pieces of 12 x 12 x 3/4.
So I did this next best thing. See the photo below. Qty. 2) 12 x 12 x 3/4 which makes a top and bottom. Then I added 2 pieces in the center. This now gives me a height of 4.5 inches high. This is my starter block for my levelers. I always put these down before I lower my levelers to the ground. This provides a stable base on dirt, sand, soil and rock. I even used them on hard concrete, if we are staying in one place for an extended amount of time.

In case I need extra height, I use Qty. 2) 2x4 with a notch cut in the center.

I place the 2 x 4 as you see, and then I place another 12 x 12 x 3/4 plywood on top.

This now gives me an extra 6 inches of height for my leveling jacks. By doing this, it is easy to carry, light and strong. 

Finally we purchased 3, boxes of these 2 years ago. Each box had 8 inside. 

So what does this mean. We can level front to rear or side to side even if we need to raise the rv 4 inches.
As I stated we started with total of 24 pieces. This allowed us to drive our wheels up to 4 inches higher. While we were in Longmont, CO. We stopped by a CW and they had a box of 10, for a special price. So now we have 3 boxes of 8 and 1 box of 10. This now gives me the flexibility to level in even the most extreme cases while boon-docking. 

Then by using the wooden blocks I made and placing them under the leveling jacks I do not extend my leveling jacks to there full length, which I don't like to do.

So, lets say, I place yellow blocks under my front tires. Since each block is 1 inch and I make a stair of 3, this gives me a 3 inch higher in the front than the rear. Next I place my blocks using the 2x4 cross cut. Now I extend my levelers, and they may extend only 4 to 6 inches. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Rain Again

Woke up at 4:30 with thunder and Lightning. Which then set off Della shaking and wanting to be close. You realize Della weights in around 68lbs, and when she wants to get close, she get close and stays close.

Oh well, anyway I decide to get up and do my Email chores and see how long the rain would last. During the time it also hailed, not too bad will have to check for damage today. Our roadrunner officers came up with a Spotlight for our Newsletters, So got that done last night and now onto the President's corner. The corner is a little paragraph just about anything I want, I usually try and make it about our travels, Mods or people of interest. Soooooo.

Another tid bit Susan & I celebrated last night in Custer with dinner because we completed the make over on the floor in our RV. A great job even if I do say so myself.

We probably could have done it in a week, but we really took our time. We missed ordering a transition piece. Needed some black paint as we painted the captain chairs mounting plates. Among some other small items. As my dad taught me, it is all in the small things.
And since we aren't leaving yet, what better way then to do the job the way we wanted.

I do have to thank PJ for some insight, Ernie Ekberg's Website as he responds to questions as to how he does RV floors. Also the many Alfa owners who allow us to view there rigs and see the mods.

And yes we had our supervisor approval on the job overseeing the big slide installation.

Safe Travels and Journeys
From DaGirls Rv

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

To my Daughters

I bet no one knew that I have 2, not 1 but 2 daughters (extended family). They came about by Susan and I getting married (Dana) and when Eric married Amy (who later divorced).

I could tell you the many stories from past to present about both of them. But the story would always end up about what a wonderful blessing they are to me and Susan.

I wonder if there is an Extended-Daughter and Step-Daughter Holiday? If there isn't, there should be, as they always remember birthdays, grandpa, father and other special days, but more importantly they are always there. 

Dana married her sweetheart from high school days, Mike MacDonald. They have been married for 10 years with a son, Gavin. Mike is, well he is like alot of our Alfa Owners. Does not know a lot about the RV, but willing to jump in with both feet to try to learn something new. Which with the right person (me) has picked up a lot of knowledge on remodeling, among other things.

Now Amy, after the divorce, found this red headed guy Chad Highland, never been married, but who leapt feet first (actually whole body)  into marrying her along with my 2 grand-children who live with her. Remember you just can't marry the lady without marrying into the whole family. That's the only way it works.

Oops, I bet, you thought, I had forgotten, I really have 3 daughters, and you thought I had a brain fart (LOL).  That’s only because I save the best cook for last, Diane, which just so happened to have married Eric (Susan’s son) at least 12 years ago, (I think). (Edit from Susan - 17 years this Oct) Not only is she is a wonderful person, besides being an excellent cook, she allowed Susan and me to live in their basement for over 2 mths., while DaGirls  RV was getting skinned and painted. Now that takes courage, perseverance and I don’t know what else to say or how to put it into words, but think about it, putting up with me in the basement, for over 2 months. I think many of her friends thought she may have needed to see her mental health expert for even thinking of or allowing us into her basement.

So here’s to you, Amy, Diane and Dana for being such a wonderful blessing to us as Susan, Della, Tilly and I travel this wonderful country.

Safe Travels and Journeys

from DaGirls Rv and Dale

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Update time

A lot has been going on here at DaGirls Rv.

For starters we have removed all of the tile inside the rig – 6 hours of removal time. 

AND 4 hours of cleanup time. It was starting time.

We have installed the Allure Trafficmaster Vinyl Plank Flooring. We have completed the living, kitchen bathroom, hallway, 1 side of the bedroom. Maybe I should have said, what we have left to do is the Big Slide, toilet room and my side of the bed.

In doing this it is all about the small things, corners, trim and trimming. We have done a very good job in keeping the trim down. Luckily we found this Yahoo Group (Link), of course you have to JOIN his group to see all of his photos. But I will say, he is booked out to next year. The photos gave us some insight along with calling PJ, as he provided a few excellent thoughts.

Today we will be starting the big slide. As some of you know, the Alfa has a steel plate running from front to rear on the big slide. The plate is mounted inside the slide and rides over the main floor as it comes in. The plate provides support and also covers the trough where the rollers sit. When we did our Cork floor in 2007, we removed the plate. So now I am going to install an aluminum plate with a slight mod to the installation, which I will explain later.

Anyway, back to updating everyone, Sunday we took a trip down to the Wild Horse Sanctuary Link,


Imagine a place where as far as the eye can see, miles and miles to the horizon, you can view America as it was 300 years ago. Imagine a place, long revered by the American Indians, where the Cheyenne River flows in all four directions and eagles' shadows sweep rocky canyon walls, a place where wild horses run free across endless prairies, hooves striking thunder, manes and tails flying in the wind. Imagine a crowded, bone-bare feed lot packed with captured mustangs, some too weak to stand. Listless, dejected, some have lost the will to live. Spirits broken, unwanted, either too old, too ugly, or too independent to qualify for the adoption program.

Now Imagine an Oregon rancher, naturalist, and the author, with the heart, the will and the sense of duty, the desire to save these animals, and you have Dayton O. Hyde. In 1988, Dayton Hyde raised, by the skin of his teeth, enough money for a down payment on a sanctuary near Hot Springs, South Dakota, and convinced the Bureau of Land Management to send him its unadoptable wild horses.

Today, that dream is a reality. Come to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, experience the dream, visit their grassland home of rocky canyons, wind swept prairies, and dark pine forests, a home they share with coyotes, cougar, white-tail and mule deer, elk wild turkeys, eagles and falcons. A home where hundreds of wild horses not only live but flourish, nurtured by the dream of a man of vision, and the freedom he gave them. You too can be a part of that dream. Your participation in the planned giving program can keep these wild horses running free. The Sanctuary has given the wild horses that make their home there over 10,000 years of horse freedom. Thank you!

Perhaps you are one of those who have already helped with your donations. Donations are accepted anytime of the year. Won't you please help? Come and take pride in what you have become a part of. Enjoy the herds of sleek, healthy mustangs running where wild flowers bloom in profusion, and the sky goes on forever.
IMAGINE. - Dayton O. Hyde

On the way back we stopped in Pringle
to have a world famous burger, but instead we had the famous special of the day. Wed is burgers and open mike for $5, so our plan is to go back on Wed. While we were there we met a very interesting couple, who invited us to join them at their table - only because they had chosen the best seats in the house. Howard and Debbie have some really neat stories to tell, but the big one is where they bought a 2010 Honda Goldwing (1800), had it triked out with all the comforts, moved from CA to OK and a small place in TX. And now travel around.

Safe Travels and Journeys
From DaGirls Della and Tilly

Friday, July 4, 2014

Another Beautiful Day

Another beautiful day here in Custer St Pk. We met Dean and Nica up at Sylvan Lake where we floated on the water in our kayaks. Not very big lake but a wonderful place to enjoy company of Alfa owners.
We had many things to discuss and enjoyed each other’s company. After the lake we had lunch up at the Lodge, where each couple split a salad and burger. We enjoyed the food and company.

 Dean always finds a way to relax:
And while Dean was relaxing, Susan and Nica were enjoying each other's company.

Afterwards Susan and I enjoyed another road trip, down and around Wind Cave NP, where we spied our favorite subject:
However, on Friday, we were back to work. A very rough day, we had 3 cabins to clean. After the cabins we went into Rapid to collect the final stuff for our flooring project. Photos to come later.
It also seems we missed out on the special events at Mt. Rushmore on the 3rd. Swearing in of new citizens along with presidential enactors and special tributes to our military personnel. A day late and dollar short. 

Otherwise I will leave you with a video of our favorite subject: 
 Safe Travels and Journeys
From DaGirls, Susan, Della, Tilly and me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Keeping up with the Blog

Been falling behind a little so decided to catch up.

Traveled up to Keystone the other day. Population of 387 people. Course this is in Winter and not Summer where it swells ups.

Keystone had its origins in 1883 as a mining town, and has since transformed itself into a resort town, serving the needs of the millions of visitors to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, which is located just beyond city limits.


Among its tourist attractions is the Black Hills Central Railroad, built in 1900 for Black Hills gold. It now operates passenger trains pulled by preserved steam locomotives.

Carrie Ingalls (sister of Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder) spent a significant part of her adult life there, living with her husband David N. Swanzey and his children. Her sister Mary Ingalls lived with them for a while and died here in 1928.

This town was one of the filming locations for the Columbia Pictures 1994 comedy film North.
Along with that we took the 1880 Train out of Hill City at $0.0 cost thanks to our VIP pass as volunteers. For that price the ride was worth it. The tour guide was very interesting, but for a train ride – not very exciting. 

The train runs next to lots of private property, so animal life was very low. Except for the 2 legged kind on  motorcycles. 
Seem's one of their friends was riding and they followed the train to Keystone.

Early this morning I went outside for a few minutes and caught these 3 close by:

Today, we took a drive down to Wind Cave National Park. We located NPS 5 dirt road, which led us around and back into Custer State Park. Little did we realize we would get our buffalo fix for the night.

Of course what would our blog be without a Buffalo Herd 

Safe Travels and Journeys 
Susan, Della, Tilly and me.