Thursday, September 11, 2014

End of an Adventure - Well not quite

What was going to be the end of our adventure, with Wayne, Kathy and Tungor leaving today has been put on hold. You may be wondering what terrible thing happen, was it an accident, trouble with the rig? What?

Well it was nothing major,  just a slight dusting of some white stuff in the area as Eric would call it. But I didn't see him on the roof cleaning it off 7" of snow.


However, on Wed we took a trip around Custer seeking the wild herds of buffaloes. 
Look at what we found:

Safe Travels and Journeys
DaGirls Rv

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - End of an Adventure

Susan has written up a little of our adventure:
What an adventure, we went approx.. 1878 miles in RVs over 24 days.  We stayed at Elks and Moose lodges, fairgrounds, 2 state parks (SD and WY) and private parks. Let's not forget the one night that Dale and I spent in a Point of Interest overlook in the Bighorn Mtns while Wayne and Kathy pushed on to Buffalo, WY to wait for us to get off the Mtn.

We experienced 2 mechanical failures (one in each of our rigs), one hospitalization and saw incredible scenery everywhere we went.  We met several other Alfa owners along the way.  My favorite part? Traveling with friends who made it all very easy and fun.  Thanks, Kathy & Wayne for sharing our adventure.

The main reason Wayne ended up in the hospital was - they couldn't tune in to NCIS.

To get him out of the funk - we called upon his faithful companion Tungor- Tungor to the rescue. Don't worry Tungor was in disguise to secretly sneak into the hospital as Wayne's Service Dog. Kalispell Hospital is rated at a 10 by K & W and that's comparing on a scale with Mayo as a baseline.

Some of the many photos taken and enjoyed with friends:
The many photos of all of us 

Fun time on the kayaking by all including the photographer: 

Buffalo Bill St Pk Relaxing as we overlooked the reservoir

and Relaxing by our campfire

This the view that K&W saw while we were  leaving Buffalo Bill St Pk in Cody, WY, and heading to Buffalo, WY.

Arrival back into the Rapid City Area: Rushmore Shadows

This is a vacation/resort - where they try to sell you a time-share, except with this one you get a Coast 2 Coast RV membership. No pressure to buy, just spent 4 days/3 nights + free dinner show for listening to 90 minute presentation. 

The downside is the RV pads where we stayed - they are like the wrong side of the tracks. Only big enough for the rig, not much outside space and close together. But hey - 3 nights for only $42. 
While there the girls spotted this small swing, which they headed right over to for a bit of swinging.

Now to Kathy - her belief was that when they would leave the rig, Tungor would go to bedroom and lay there until they returned. Well it is with a laughing heart, that we let know that you have it all wrong. Look closely at the photo below.  See those ears peering at us from your sofa....
Kathy, Tungor has your number, you've been Tungored. The girl is lounging on your sofa, ha, ha.

Upon arrival back into Rapid city, we spent the morning at Bear Country U.S.A., Link - Press Here .  We arrived around 8:30 am which was just the right time to go.

Lots of the animals moving about:

To end this adventure, we each headed out in different directions.  K,W&T are safety in their site in the town of Custer.   Wayne was feeling so good, he has raised his US flag.
Not bad for $20 a night.

I asked Kathy, Wayne & Tongur to include some thoughts on our adventure:

On Aug 9th, we met up with Susan, Dale, Della and Tilly at their work campsite at Custer State Park.  When they got their 3 week break starting Aug 12th, off we headed to follow them any place.. Susan (the planner) and Dale who follows Susans instructions, most of the time, had a great plan for the next 3 weeks...23 nights of camping, almost 1900 miles of challenging roads and some of the most beautiful scenery in the USA.  Custer, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore at night were just a few of our highlights. 

Our old Alfa made it over the pass (9660 ft), where we left Susan and Dale with Alfa mechanical problems (The Dreaded Fan Belt Shredding)... That was the hardest part of the trip for us, but without cell phones or Internet we had to go on to help them get help. We ended up with full hookup campground and they spent the night on on the mountain.  It was only one night and they were back next door the next day.  Yahoo..

Animals (or as Susan refers to it, WILDLIFE) included, bison, donkeys, deer, elk, bears including the cutest cubs, mountain goats, mountain lions, badgers, foxes, raindeer,  antelope and more.  Weather cooperated and never stopped the plans.

Susan and Dale are much more adventurous and have more experience with dry camping unlike us who need 50 amp power and prefer full hookups.  We learned so much from this experience with our Alfa as well as what to look for along the way.

The most amazing part for us was how wonderful we all got along and seems to like so many of same things.  None of us are picky eaters so we just threw something different together each night.  Everyone gave a little sometimes but not much..this is the first time we have traveled with anyone but can't wait to do again.

Even with 2 mechanical breakdowns, one for each of us and few days in Kalispell Hospital for Wayne, what a wonderful 3 weeks.

Wayne, Kathy and Tungor Taubman.

Back to me:
Susan and I arrived in volunteer village inside of Custer St Pk for our last month of volunteer work. We are at the intersection of 39 & 16 off of the Wildlife Loop.

Coordinates 43.756808, -103.372029 

We got everything setup, talked with many of the people we know. Ron was the first to welcome us back.  And Lance stopped by later.

We are thankful for having had this opportunity to travel and to do so with good friends.  Hope you have enjoyed our travel notes.

Safe Travels and Journeys
DaGirls Rv.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Part 2 - The Dreaded Shredded Fan Belt

When I last posted, I was relaxing on a mountain side awaiting the return of Susan from Worland, WY. The photos which were taken, showing you the wonderful scenery with a river running thru the canyon. Susan returned around 7 pm, from Worland with news - some good, some not so good.

Upon arriving in Worland, she went directly to the NAPA store to check on belts. Only to hear the following:
Yes we can get you a belt; it will be here on Thursday (this being Friday). She remarked that will not do. What about Buffalo, WY. Response:  We can’t see what is on the other side of the mountain. How about a phone number for Buffalo, yes I can get that for you, Oh by the way, would you like me to call Car Quest (across the street). Yes that would be nice. No luck, they don't have.  Do have a smaller belt ending in 700, not 702.  Susan didn't want to guess on whether or not that would work so declined.  

Hello this is NAPA (Buffalo, WY): Do you have belt P/N XXXX, Oh, another lady just called asking the same thing: (Kathy). No, I do not have it in stock., however I can get it for you by tomorrow at 7AM (Sat). That would be wonderful; my husband will be here at 7 am to pick it. Ok, at this point Susan is thinking Buffalo YES, Worland NO for the part. What's wrong with that picture?  

So, after some popcorn for dinner, a cookie, talking about the area and watching TV (did I mention we had good satellite reception) we went to bed. Bed is slightly tipped to the right and our feet slightly higher than our heads, but it has been a long day and we think we will be able to sleep.  Around 4 am, I got up and left at 4:30 heading to Buffalo.

Going over the 9660 Ft pass at 5am in the morning

I arrived at the Taubman’s rig at 6 am. Called Wayne, only to get his voice mail. Thinking he was still asleep, I dropped off the kayaks, and took off again in search of coffee. Found coffee, called the Freightliner Hotline, got the FL p/n, locations of 2 FL dealers. The one in Billing’s was open till 5 on Sat & Sun (parts). Back up plan was the FL in Rapid City, SD. 

By this time it was 6:40, back to Wayne’s digs. Found out he was up but did not hear the phone. Kathy stated, look Dale's been here and gone as they noticed the kayaks outside. Nope, arrived at 6, I said and then asked for more coffee, we discussed what had happened, what was happening and going to happen. In the meantime, I called FL in Billings, only to hear that they did not have the belt in stock, but NAPA should have it. Checked local Napa store and one belt had arrived. Wayne and I left to pick up, paid for belts and gallon of anti-freeze in case I needed it.

Welcome committee at NAPA
Off we went back up the mountain around 7:30 am.

Hour later we arrived and woke up Susan. We got right to work looking and installing the belt.

10 minutes later done. Now, at this time my mind was telling me, clean the idle and tensioner pulleys real good. Do you see where this is going? Ok, we were ready, started rig and began rolling up the hill, only the same thing to happened AGAIN. Checked yup you guess it belt broke.

Now, this is where all we want to do is to get DaGirls rig off the mountain. So off to Buffalo we all head, Susan, Wayne, Della and Tilly. Heading back to Wayne’s rig. Once there, we all got on the phones trying to locate another belt, calling Good Sam etc.

Ok, located a belt, it is in Sheridan, WY (30 miles North). GS, will send a repair truck out from Sheridan. Ok, you might say Dale why didn't you just do it yourself? We are not going there at this time.

Ok, truck picks up belt (charges us $39 higher than what we were quoted from Car Quest and Kathy found IT). The 2 mobile mechanics and I take off.  No room for Wayne to join us, dam. Oh by the way, I also bought a can of Brake Cleaner (thinking the pulleys were the problem).

We arrived, they got to work, I said, after you slip the belt around the damper, you have to slip the belt around the alternator and then the other pulley. Then you can release the tensioner. Ok, 20 minutes pass by with them still fighting the belt. Having starting to remove the alternator bolts. I spoke up a little louder, and repeated what I earlier had said. Guess what? They listened and bingo the belt was on and done. Oh by the way, they used MY brake cleaner to clean the pulleys. ( I also bought the other belt which was smaller by a few centimeters just in case.)

Started the engine, 1 and half hours later I arrived back at the RV Park where they were holding a spot for us. This after coming down the 7% grade into town, which is only 5 miles long. By the way, came down in 2nd gear pumping the brakes along the way. This was after climbing and  crossing the 9660 ft pass. DaGirls rig ran great, never hitting above 200 degrees and going all the way into 5th gear traveling up and down the mountain.

Ok moral of this story, spend the $80 for the 2 belts, and change every 2 years. Also, carry a spare and save the $672.34 repair bill.  While I was waiting for Susan on Friday, another gent had stopped by saying he works on motor-homes and he would have gladly installed the belt, if I had it.

But most importantly, we could not have picked anyone better than Kathy, Wayne or Tungor Taubman to be traveling with. They were right their with us, providing support, calling 911, allowing the use of their showers, phones, internet, calling for parts with us, help in driving and many other things which I have forgotten. Even Tungor jumped right in allowing Della and Tilly the use of her water bowl, couch and bed to lay on.

Ok, I know I wasn't taking my smart pill again, as my father would tell me. This will never happen again.
Changing the belts, on a scale of 1 to 10 is a 4 for difficulty, but a 7 for laying on the engine and getting to the tensioner. However all in all it is easy to change out or at a minimum to have on hand to make it possible for a mechanic to change out. 

The company GS sent out charged us the following:
Mileage back down the mountain: $186.00
3 Hrs labor: $360.00
Belt: $88.00
Taxes:  Balance

Now that things have calmed down and we have further reviewed this billing, Susan is going to be talking to GS and the company for some further explanation of the charges.

Safe Travels and Journeys

Da Girls RV