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.