Friday, July 6, 2012

2012 Southwest Vacation Day 21

On our second day heading home we had our one and only camper mishap.  We came back onto the interstate after getting gas with the temperature between 95 and 100.  Our kids had just gotten huge slushy's, and our truck air conditioning was oh so cold.  Suddenly there was a loud bang and our truck jolted around the road.  Liz could see our camper literally bouncing on the road and things flying out the back.

I slowly eased off the road, and sure enough -- we had had a blowout.  Unfortunately, it took part of the bottom of our camper out as well and we lost a bunch of our supplies and cut wiring within the camper.  Fortunately we had a hydraulic jack and a spare, so I set to work.  The next 90 minutes was a huge comedy of errors.  Take notes folks, and learn from my mistakes.  Remember the kids were all sitting in the air conditioned car with huge slushies-- watching the movie we put on for them.

1.  It took a while to get the jack to work.  I finally read the directions and bled off the excess hydraulic fluid.  Jack worked great after that.
2.  I jacked the camper up, and went to loosen the lug nuts.  Loosen before jacking up.
3.  I let the tire down, loosened the lug nuts, jacked the camper back off and pulled off the tire.  I went to put on the spare -- but it wouldn't fit.  I needed to get the camper up higher
4.  I let the camper back down.  Huge mistake because I couldn't get the jack underneath to jack it back up again.
5.  I got the tire jack and slowly started cranking up.  After a while, I realized the camper had it's own leveling jacks and  could use those . I finally got the jack in place and got the jack to it's maximum height -- the tire still wouldn't fit.
6.  A policeman finally pulled up and offered to help.  He was really great, and I was grateful.  I finally used the leveling jacks again to get the camper up higher, and the policeman slid the tire on.  We tightened the lug nuts, and he told us to drive slowly and get more air in the spare.
7.  We drove about 5 miles to the next filling station -- when I went to put air in the tire I couldn't find the valve stem.  It took me about 60 seconds to realize the patrolman hat put the tire on backwards!
8.  :This time it only took about 10 minutes to get the tire off and back on properly.

So we spent the night on the eastern border of Iowa in a motel and got a new tire the next morning.  I drank about 8 sixteen ounce glasses of pop for dinner that night!  I was seriously dehydrated.

We made it home without incident, although the repairs cost a few hundred with most of the costs covered by the warranty we had purchased.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2012 Southwest Vacation Day 19

On July 4th we went over the mountain to Saratoga Wyoming to look at their hot springs.  We got in the river which had some of the hot water mixed in -- very comfortable.

We then went to Laramie's annual Freedom has a Birthday celebration.  There was fair food, bounce houses, lots of businesses and churches with booths, and bands.  This bluegrass band was from Dayton, OH!  Small world.

On the way home we talked about us moving to Centennial -- population of 108!
100 and 8 more
A few shots of the fire during the daytime -- on the other side of the mountain but plenty of smoke.

Tomorrow we head home.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2012 Southwest Vacation Day 18

Today we went fishing at a great spot with my dad.  Got some good pictures of the little ones pulling in fish on my pole.

Small falls -- pool at the bottom is full of fish

Occasionally see trout jumping up the falls

Trinity would squeeze the fish tight

Even Mom got in on the act

Girls lining up and waiting

Charity's turn

Got her fish

Selah is next

Jacob and Elijah fishing the pond

Dad and Bethany fly fishing

Get the fish!

Jacob had better luck at our pool

There is a jumping fish in there somewhere

My family has fished from that rock for generations

Not many fish, but so beautiful

 We stayed at my mom and dad's cabin.  Remember how Liz couldn't imagine living in Wyoming?  She told me she wanted to move there.  I got in trouble for not taking her seriously enough.
Our car at the garage.  Shed in backgroud

Remodeled house

New hottub

Lots of deer

That night we watched a nearby forest fire burn to the top of the mountain.  Very spooky -- we were packed and ready but a backfire stopped the fire's advancement.
From our porch looking over neighbor's at the fire

Telephoto lens.  Probably about 20 miles away

On the right the backfire is heading towards the main fire

Monday, July 2, 2012

2012 Southwest Vacation Day 17

So what happened to days 10-17?  I worked remotely from Wyoming.

So on this Monday we went up to Blair Campground off the Happy Jack road between Laramie and Cheyenne.  My Great-grandfather homesteader on that property and my grandma was born there.  The property was bought by the government before World War I, and turned into a National Picnic Area after the war along with the property of his friends, the Wallaces.  There is a massive rock overhanging the picnic area called Blair Rock (very original), and we climb up to it when we visit.  Unfortunately my blood pressure crashed and I didn't make it up, but my wife got some great pictures.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

2012 Southwest Vacation Day 9

The next day we went to the visitors lodge, saw the reservoir (we'd like to boat on it someday), hiked, and took pictures.  We also did a little swimming in the pool.  All in all it was a fine last day before we headed to Centennial.

Ridges around the canyon

View from up high

Down a side trail -- we got trapped in here by a cattleman dropping off cattle

Looking down from the visitor center -- the water was hundreds of feet deep
Did I mention that Liz hated the drive into Wyoming?  She thought to herself .. why would anyone live here?

Friday, June 22, 2012

2012 Southwest Vacation Day 8

Selah was feeling much better when she woke up the next day.

We had spent the night at the Salt Lake City KOA, which was an odd experience.  It was literally a huge parking lot in the middle of the city with a little grass and lots and lots of people.  Fine for us overnight, but there were obviously some people that stayed there for long periods of time.  To each his own, no doubt.  Of course some of those campers were amazingly luxurious!

We went to see the Great Salt Lake.  On the way there we saw literally tens of thousands of birds doing aerial displays and maneuvers -- it was breath-taking but our pictures didn't come out.  We did see some of the buffalo living on the island and took a picture. We also went to the beach and walked out to the water.  I must say walking was very painful in our bare feet!  I ended up ferrying the younger girls across the worst parts.
Great Salt Lake

We were mortified to see the keep off sign after we took the picture

More Buffalo

Floating in the Great Salt Lake

Jacob with his buddy

Most of the birds were gone when we drove back

That night we headed out for Firehole Canyon and the KOA there.  We got in plenty early enough to take a drive through a canyon teeming with wildlife.  The poor moose we saw thought we were chasing him!  He kept moving along the road, so we would slowly move up and take more pictures.
Quit Chasing Me

I'm not so gruff

Thursday, June 21, 2012

2012 Southwest Vacation Day 7

The day at Bryce didn't start auspiciously, as poor Selah was feeling way under the weather.  We took a break and did laundry, hoping some extra rest would help her feel better.
Bryce is beautiful

We then took the shuttle into Bryce.  Bryce is experienced from the top of the canyon.  We saw one area, and stopped at the lodge for lunch.  Selah then demonstrated she was really sick, and we headed back to our camper and drove to salt lake city as fast as possible.
Well, I may not feel well but game boy helps
I must say, the drive into Salt Lake City was spectacular.  The Joshua Trees along the way were way cool.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

2012 Southwest Vacation Day 6

The next day we put our camper down early but left it and drove to the Grand Canyon.

On the way we admired the forest fire.  Foreshadowing?
Circle of forest life

We looked at the buffalo.
Wild buffalo

Then, the canyon.  I must admit I was curious after seeing the movie entitled Grand Canyon.  Would it be as peaceful as portrayed in the movie?

More Vastness

Cute family shot

It was amazing, but I think I already had a good appreciation for God's creation.

We took the quick drive back to pick up our camper, and headed to Zion!  I think this was our favorite canyon park.  The drive into the canyon through the narrow tunnel, the switchbacks to the canyon floor,  We ate lunch by a stream near the visitors center, then hiked and took a tour bus to several stops.
Zion -- experienced from the canyon floor

This stream always had water for the settlers

Beautiful walls

An arch

The canyon is quite long
From Zion we headed to a campground near Bryce /Canyon where we again met my Dad and sister.  Construction was being done on the road into Bryce, so we were much later than planned (basically vehicles waited a half an hour coming and going as a pilot truck took trips back and forth).  A great family meal and we fell to bed exhausted -- what a day.