Fire and Water

You know when you smell something stinky, but you can’t figure out where it is coming from??  Yeah, so do we.  There has been a growing sour smell in the RV for a while.  Yes, we have two dogs, but they both said they “didn’t do it”.  We thought it was the heat because it is in the 90s here in Nevada and our rig is sitting in the sun.  We thought that it was heating up the pipes and holding tanks and causing the sour smell and we noticed it most when running water… Hmmm, our first clue.  We bought new chemicals for the tanks, emptied them,  added chemicals, filled with water, and thought the smell had dissipated.  It did not.  We thought it was food particles stuck in the drains, or food particles coating the grey water tank and fermenting in the heat.  We dumped and refilled the tanks multiple times.  The smell continued; it got worse.  It was like sour milk and old feet – absolutely awful.  Sean is amazing about doing research and looking up solutions for the problems we encounter (if you have kept up with our blog, you know that we have encountered several issues – like clogged loos and slide out issues).  He saw an article about how hot weather can cause the water in holding tanks and hot water heater tanks to sour and start to smell.  This made sense to us because the worst times of the smell were when we did dishes in the kitchen sink with hot water and when we took showers.  We also realized that we had used our hot water very infrequently over the last month as the tap water on cold was fairly warm, and we even used it that way in the shower.  The smell was not coming UP from drains, but OUT through the taps.  It was the water itself that was stinky.  Even though we drained the water, the tank and lines still had bacteria in them and the smell was coating the water as it passed through and also as it sat in the hot water tank and our fresh water tank.  The solution was to turn off the water heater, drain all tanks, and put a mix of fresh water and bleach into the fresh water holding tank.  After adding the fresh water and bleach, we were to turn on the pumps and run hot water (with the heater turned OFF) through the lines until the water coming out of the faucet started smelling bleachy (bleachy is a highly technical term).  We did all those things and had bleach water coming through the lines.  We probably used more bleach than necessary because the bleach smell was overwhelming, but we felt that at least it was sanitizing the lines.  We left the faucets on one by one to allow for a lot of bleach water to pass through the lines, especially the hot water lines.  Let sit for 24 hours then completely flush the system with fresh water.  We did this process two days ago, and for now the sour smell is completely gone.  The bleach sanitizing method seems like it has worked!  The joys of owning a home on wheels.  Lol.  OH, as a side note, we had ready mixed sanitizer coming out of the faucet to clean floors, counters, etc.

Now, about the FIRE….

No, we didn’t have a fire in the RV.  We visited the Nevada State Park, Valley of Firelow res-2896It was wonderful!  We wrote earlier about Zion and how beautiful it was, but how packed it was with tourists and how hard it was to get in.  We’ve realized we much prefer the parks and areas that are less popular.  Valley of Fire was pleasantly unoccupied.  There were tourists, but very few on the trails, and we had ample parking opportunities at each hiking location.  Interestingly, the Valley of Fire is apparently a popular location for many movie sets.  Sean was especially excited to see that Capt. James T. Kirk of the Star Trek Enterprise had his death scene somewhere in the park.  (Side note: Sean is a geek.)  He may have also mentioned 1 or a thousand times how the landscape looked so ‘alien’.  low res-2909

We really did love this park.  It had canyons, red rock, variations in rock colors, animals, and great trails.  The park was still primitive which is something we really enjoy.  The trails weren’t paved and we could choose from several paths on each hike.  Don’t get us wrong, we enjoy when trails are paved because we love that all people can have access to nature and beauty that way, but we personally enjoy unpaved, primitive hiking trails with more options to explore.  The Valley of Fire state park was that kind of park.

We hiked through canyons with ancient petroglyphs and sandstones of many colors.

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Take plenty of water – don’t let the heat get to you!

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Some sort of desert sheep…

It was a wonderful (but HOT) day in the desert.  We would recommend getting there in the morning if the forecast calls for a hot day.  There isn’t much shade, and it can get sweltering quickly in the red sand.  We drank two bottles of water each, one bottle of Gatorade each, and Sean had a can of soda.  We were only there for about 4 hours.  Moral of the story:  take lots and lots of fluids!  We still felt dehydrated for the rest of the day.  The dry air and sand sucked out any moisture.  The park has two visitor centers, one at each entrance.  They have small gift shops with some food and drinks, and they have displays that explain how the valley was created and creatures in glass tanks to look at before you go out into the park itself.  We didn’t see any scaled, slimy, or slitering critters, but we did see a horned sheep while driving through the main road.  We were able to stop and snap a quick pic.  The park brochure did not list the sheep on the park animal list, so we’re not sure what they really are or how they came to be in the park.

Red sand from our hikes.  Sean had a bunch in both shoes.

Red sand from our hikes. Sean had a bunch in both shoes.

All in all, it was a lovely park and we were glad were heard of it!  If you’re in Vegas for any reason, take a trip less than an hour east and visit the park – it is well worth it!

If you would like to see MANY more pics, visit the gallery of photos on our website:

Valley of Fire Photo Gallery

Zion – Part Duex

We began our planning for a return trip to Zion on our drive back from the first trip (for reference, see a couple of posts back where we went and it was so packed we couldn’t get a parking space). So, the night before our return trip we had packed backpacks, chilled plenty of water and Gatorade and packed several Cliff Bars.  By the way, the Pumpkin Spice Cliff bars are out and quite yummy!  The day of our return to Zion we got up early, walked the pups, ate a good breakfast, and were out the door in the hope of a good parking space.

The drive to Zion wasn’t too long, but we did lose an hour crossing a time zone.  Sherry was frustrated because she has a watch that has decided it won’t always let her set the time when she tries.  It likes to choose whether or not it is going to work.  It did not work this time, so she was stuck looking at a watch that was an hour behind the actual time in Zion.  Annoying, but what can you do with a finicky watch?  When we got to the entrance, we were stuck in a long line of cars waiting to pass through the gates.  No worries, we had planned for this.  If we couldn’t park at the visitor’s center, we would head back a few miles to town and catch the excellent shuttle bus into the park.  The shuttle service at Zion is really very good and consists of two loops.  One circles into the nearby town of Springdale and the many areas for public parking.  The other loops from the visitor’s center along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.  That road is essentially closed to all traffic but shuttle buses.  Fortunately, we got one of the last spots at the visitor’s center and were able to catch the Canyon Loop Shuttle to our first destination: the Temple of Sinawava which is where the trailhead for the Riverside Walk and The Narrows begin.  The ride is about 40 minutes long with stops along the way at various trailheads and scenic views.low res-2380

One of our ‘must do’ hikes on this trip was an area called The Narrows.  We had heard from several fellow RV’rs about how unique this hike was and we were looking forward to it.  The ride on the shuttle was enjoyable. The park service has a good audio presentation that hits some of the highlights along the route.  Our driver was also kind enough to point out several deer as we drove past.

The hike to the narrows begins on the Riverside trail.  This is a paved and moderate trail with one early side excursion off to see the river.

See mom, the flood warning was “not expected” that day. 🙂

Before the trailhead there is a warning sign regarding the dangers of flash flooding.  Tragically, just a day before we arrived in the area in September several hikers were killed in the narrows when they were caught in a flash flood.

It had rained the two days prior to our hike, but we checked the forecast that day and double checked the warning signs at the park and were good to go.  The Riverside section of the trail is lovely. It is easy to forget one is going through a desert.  There is even a small swamp along the trail!

The cliff face overhung the trail in several areas.

The cliff face overhung the trail in several areas.

In several areas ground water is forced through permeable layers of the cliff sides creating ‘weeping’ walls and hanging gardens.

Heading into the narrows.

Heading into the narrows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Riverside Trail abruptly ends where the Virgin River cuts through the Narrows.  The Narrows is a steep sided gorge cut by the river; cliffs rise hundreds of feet on both sides.  The day we arrived was warm, but with the sun blocked by the cliffs and the cold river water running through the gorge, there was a definite chill to the air.

Sherry hiking through the Narrows.

Sherry hiking through the Narrows.

It only got colder when we stepped into the river to begin hiking up the narrows.  BRRRR.  We knew this was coming and had planned on how best to approach our shoe situation.  Many people along the trail had rented water shoes, some went barefoot, others in sandals….  We decided to stick to our Keen hiking shoes.  They had great traction, even in wet conditions and were waterproof (although with water getting knee deep in some areas that didn’t matter).  Sherry also brought along a pair of hiking sandles for after and several pairs of socks (Sean would later borrow a pair of dry socks).  The water was frigid, and we couldn’t imagine how some people had open shoes or no shoes at all!  Too cold!

In the Narrows.

In the Narrows.

The hike was beautiful and surreal.  We were amazed to see so many other hikers with us on the ‘trail’.  Stopping every so often, we would gaze up at the sky overhead, framed by the rock walls.  Small falls occurred in several areas along the trail and always, the constant sound of water over rocks.

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The photos cannot capture the scale of this place.

We were glad to be able to add this very different hike to one of our adventures.  If you visit the park, this hike is a must see.  The total hike is 10 miles round trip and is estimated to take 8 hours.  We only hiked into the first mile of the watery trail, but Sherry keeps saying that we should go back and do the whole thing just to say that we did it.  Who knows, we might write another blog in the next week sharing that we traversed the whole thing.  We wouldn’t bring the good camera this time, and we might rent some water boots and poles this time.  We were not aware ahead of time how deep the water actually got in some spots.  This may have been because of the rain two days earlier though.  In any case, we are still thinking we have several days in the area.  We wouldn’t want to “shoulda, coulda, woulda” the opportunity.  There’s also a hike called Angel’s Landing that is supposed to be spectacular.  It was closed for repair while we were there, but it is supposed to reopen this week.  We may have some items to put back on our list.  Lol.

Zion is a wonderful national park with many sites to see.  We have several other places in this area that we want to see before we move on, so stay tuned for more adventure!

If you would like to see a full gallery of the photos from Zion, click the link below:

Zion National Park Photo Gallery.

Three Months on the Road

Since starting our journey, we have done a monthly update on the things we have learned about living in an RV.  We are a little late on our third month installment, but better late than never, right?

Our summer workamping kept us jacks down for two months, but we did a lot of planning and preparation before leaving and then a few things since hitting the road again.  Here are a few of those things:

  1. Hitch Height.IMG_23582 Ideally, you want your rig to have an even ride.  That is, it should be level when hitched up to your tow vehicle.  Sean had noticed that our RV had a decidedly nose down appearance when hitched up.  There are two ways to adjust how the 5th wheel will ride when hitched.  On our rig, we can take out four bolts on the kingpin and raise or lower it OR take out four bolts on the hitch to raise or lower that setting.  Sean removed the bolts from the hitch and raised it one setting (about an inch or so).  That gave us a level look and ride (we checked with our levels).  Since the adjustment we have gone about 600 miles and all seems great.  Sean thinks it tows easier but….
  2. Cleaning the RV:  7992AF34-9025-4709-9F52-F11A82DD76C1We have gotten in the habit of doing a weekly deep clean inside the RV.  We do daily maintenance but once a week we scrub down the inside.  This probably isn’t ‘big news’ to anyone but it is an important point.  We both hate clutter and in a large house it is easy for even a small amount of clutter to spread out and not be noticeable.  In an RV, even a small amount is quickly noticeable.   The only issue with the weekly cleans is Sherry has to work to keep Sean from shoving everything into the ‘shit’ drawer or cabinet.  You know, the place where all the little odds and ends go that don’t have a permanent home.  Sean swears the cabinet makes a perfect ‘new’ home. 🙂  We also took the opportunity to scrub down the outside of the RV and apply wax to the front.  We had collected a bug lovers dream on the front of the Big Horn and had to spend a few days scrubbing and applying bug and tar remover.  Sean felt a layer of wax would at least help after our next encounter with the bugs.  We will let you know.
  3. Staying fit and healthy:  Despite all the hiking, we quickly realized that we were using some muscles and not others.  At home we stuck to a fairly regular routine of running, yoga and some weight training.  We didn’t want to bring weights with us in the RV so we got a set of weight bands instead.  This last month we have been especially conscious of doing some cardio work as well as stretching and Yoga.  We have a set of workout DVD’s we like to use for workouts -P90X.  Good stuff, especially the 30 minute workouts.  Sticking to a routine has been the toughest, but we have balanced ‘cardio’ hike days with yoga days.  Sherry has also done more healthy cooking.  The first two months of our trip we fell off the vegan and healthy food wagon (many times).   Since getting back into a healthier routine, we have both noticed a difference in how we feel.  OH, but there is always room for Huckleberry Pie!  (If you’re interested in any recipes, let us know and Sherry will give you details!)
  4. General RV maintenance:  We are very conscious of little things around the RV that could go wrong.  Sean will periodically walk the RV inside and out to check for loose fittings or other potential problems.  It is amazing the number of bolts and screws that loosen up after a day or two on the road.  Before leaving Montana, Sherry went through and checked caulk around seams, it had been months since we had the seams caulked and some areas were showing minor splits.
  5. IMG_23592Heating the RV and Propane use:  Amazing how fast we have gone from summer weather to mid fall… Well, we are also usually in areas 5,000 feet or higher now too.  Anyway, we thought about ways to conserve our propane long before we started traveling.  Both of us enjoy sleeping in a cool to cold room but it isn’t fun typing while trying to wear gloves.  To warm the inside we brought along a radiator we have had for several years.  It is a Honeywell electric/oil radiator.  Relatively economical to run and what we used at home to keep our bedroom at a comfortable temperature.  We have used it several times when the temps have dropped into the low 40’s and upper 30’s and have found it does a nice job maintaining a comfortable temp in both rooms of the RV.  We did fill our propane tanks up once, about a month ago, but that is the first time we have done that since October of last year.  Admittedly, we only had the RV out a few times before starting our adventure.  For the last two months we have used our shower (hot water) and have done a lot of cooking and some baking.  That said, it does seem like we have done well in propane use.  Any comments from fellow RV’rs?  What is normal propane use?
  6. Driving in windy conditions: A few months ago we did drive through some crazy storms in Western Missouri and again in South Dakota.  Maybe we didn’t notice the wind as much because of the rain and other issues.  We did notice it a lot when we hit Idaho and were driving down HWY 15.  Steady winds at 20 MPH and gusting over 30 MPH.  Question for everyone: When do you decide the winds are too high and call it a day?  In these conditions, we noticed very minor trailer sway.  Sean could see (in the rear view mirror) the bubble on the trailer level move from side to side.  We just kept our speed down and drove through.  Sean did say it was a bit unnerving from time to time. 🙂

IMG_2357In a previous post we had mentioned our slideout ‘preventative’ repair work.  So far all has been great.  We completed adding the fiberglass panels to the slides and after multiple uses everything is looking good.  Since that post, we have met one couple working through similar issues with their RV slideouts.  They stopped by our site a few weeks ago to compare notes and look at what we had done.  Their RV slideouts use small sleds and they were noticing wear on the wood the sleds slid on.  Their plan for a fix was to place a thin sheet of metal on the area the sled would use to help distribute the weight.  Since then, we have heard from several others with similar problems.  Which brings us to the next topic, the RV community.

Over the summer we met many full-time RV couples or those who were on the verge of going full time. In our last week at Timber Wolf, we also met several full-time RV families.  We have truly enjoyed sharing experiences with the people we have met.  One family (three children) shared several RV groups with us and were the encouragement we need to jump onto Instagram with our blog and photos.  Our screen name is Sean_and_Sherry

Final thought – Have fun:  Not a lesson we needed to learn but one to share.  We continue to love our time together as a family and the opportunity to explore together.  Now that we are back on the road, we are re-energized, if that is even possible, and excited to see the next stop. 🙂

In our next post – Yellowstone!!

Workamping and Moving On

What’s Workamping, you say? We didn’t know what it was either until we started this whole adventure.  Workamping is really popular for full time travelers to be able to offset some of the costs of traveling.  We first talked to some people about this when we were in Florida.  We met two very nice couples who were working at the state park.  They told us about their experience, basically a few hours a day greeting people, spreading bug killer (for fire ants) and cleaning the restrooms.  For a few hours a day 5 days a week and in return they had a full hook up site.  Many campgrounds offer workamping jobs to long-term travelers.  The campers agree to work a certain amount of hours for the compensation of a free stay at the campground (they usually offer a FHU site and some have restrictions on what type of rig you can bring to their property).  They want to be sure if something is parked long term that it doesn’t look bad.  Some places even offer hourly wages as well as FHU sites.  You must be willing to stay somewhere for a lengthy amount of time because the minimum for most jobs is two months.  We found the site http://workampingjobs.com/ really helpful to look for campgrounds who were hiring.  After our trip back from Florida we decided to put in our resumes on the site and see what happened.  We had an option of targeting specific regions of the country.  So, we talked about areas of the country we would like to spend a few months exploring and came up with four regions.  If we had a request from one of those regions, we would jump at the opportunity.

Shortly after putting in our information, we received an e-mail from an RV site in Montana near Glacier NTL Park.  This was Sherry’s top region to visit!!

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Our ‘work’ vehicle. The campground is large, so we were grateful to have this baby to get us around!

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Sherry putting out the ‘closed’ sign – even though most people just ignored it and walked on in!

Timber Wolf Resort (http://www.timberwolfresort.com) is a really nice campground with RV sites, tent camping, and cabins.  FTer exchanging e-mails with the owners and a few phone calls we decided this was too perfect an opportunity for us to pass up.  Our ‘duties’ as workampers were to clean and restock bathrooms, housekeeping cabins, and watering flowers.  It was not difficult work, and we enjoyed getting out and having a job to do each day.  The days where the campground was busy and there were a lot of beds to make were not the most fun days, but like we said, the work was never hard or strenuous. IMG_2340 We also had some interesting ‘finds’ in some of the cabins…  Gave us pause to think why people would leave certain things…  We were occasionally thankful for rubber gloves.

The work gave us a chance to be out and about meeting people in the campground and getting a little exercise while we were at it.  But don’t get us wrong, we weren’t hauling stuff around on our backs.  The owners had some sweet toys that allowed us to maneuver around the campground easily.

OH, we also met a bear while on our duties.  At the end of August we saw a black bear moving through the woods near some of the campsites.  We CAREFULLY watched the bear from the doorway of the camp comfort station.  LOL  Wouldn’t you know, we didn’t have our cameras!!

The best part really is having the opportunity to explore an area and to take our time.  Most days, after we finished working, we would run out and hit one of the near trails (we were only 9 miles from West Glacier).  If we didn’t hike, we went in and looked at the sights in Whitefish, Columbia Falls or Kalispell.  It didn’t take us long to fall in love with this area.  We met some wonderful people and enjoyed the genuine friendliness of most of the locals.  If you are in the area, don’t forget to visit the Huckleberry Patch for some pie or other yummy treats.

After being at the campground for 2 1/2 months, it was hard to think about leaving.  It was long enough to feel like we were getting settled into a new home.  Christine and Phil, the owners of Timber Wolf, are really wonderful and treated us very well while we worked for them.  For our first experience in Workamping, we feel that we got really lucky to be able to work for them.  We would highly recommend Timber Wolf to anyone visiting the area.  The RV sites are shaded, and the park itself is very picturesque.

Now it is onward to the next adventure!  See you soon!

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The worst part of the job was putting the linen on the top bunk! Sherry always ended up with bruised knuckles and head!

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Watering the flowers! It was SO dry this season.

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Cleaning up a cabin…you never know what might be lurking under the covers! Beware of the left-behind undies!

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Sherry stripping a bed.

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Breaks are always good!

 

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These pretty babies are also on the property. NO, we did NOT have to clean up after them!

 

Stairway to Heaven????

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Heavens Peak. This was an amazing site with sun glinting off the icy snowfields.

Low Res-0948Our time near Glacier Park is drawing to a close, and we have had to put off a handful of our planned hikes due to the fires on the East side.  Still on our list to do was the Highline Trail and either start from Logan Pass or the Loop.  After looking at maps and listening to a few people, we decided to start from the Loop and walk up to Granite Chalet.  From there, we hoped to climb to the Grinnell Glacier overlook.

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Sherry feeling victorious making it to the Chalet. You can make reservations months in advance to eat here too. We once had to move off the trail on our way up because the pack horses were coming down from dropping off supplies.

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We wanted to do the Highline trail for weeks now.  We have a guide map that has the trails rated, and the highline trail is rated #1.  The guide said that starting at the Loop entrance to the Highline Trail is the steepest, but levels off if you want to get the incline out of the way first.  We thought that was a great idea!  Boy, were we in for a surprise!  Paying more attention to the map and the continuous yellow to red highlights might have made us change our mind.  LOL  The trail from The Loop entrance to the Granite Park Chalet is only 4.2 miles.  We thought it was the best way to get up there.  The Highline Trailhead begins at Logan Pass and goes 7.4 miles to the Chalet.

It was smarter to take the shorter distance, right?  We realized when we arrived at the Chalet and saw masses of people walking from the direction of Logan Pass that most people choose to start there.  We understand why.  The incline from the Loop to the Chalet is 2,353 feet in the 4.2 miles with at least four sections considered class 3 steep trail.  The elevation from Logan Pass to the Chalet is relatively nonexistent.  The elevation at Logan Pass is 6,646 and the Chalet is at 6,650 (The Loop trailhead starts at 4,297ft.  We kept wondering why we were essentially alone on the hike up from The Loop!  Most sane people start at Logan Pass and go the 11 mile loop to pick up a bus back to their car.  Flat and longer miles or straight up and shorter miles?  Shoulda, coulda, woulda.  We ended up with about 11 miles total anyway.

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Up, up, and up some more!

From the Chalet you can go another 1.4 miles and see the Grinnell Glacier overlook.

We were told this was worth it, and we were very interested to see it.  However, there’s another 900 or so feet to climb to get to the overlook.  We don’t consider ourselves out of shape, but we were running low on knee and leg strength.  We decided to go for it anyway!  We started our way up to the overlook on the STEEP incline.  It was scary at some points.  There’s really only enough space for one person to walk, but what happens when someone is coming the opposite way?  You climb yourself onto the ledge and let them pass, rocks crumbly beneath your feet and all.  All we kept thinking was about the trip DOWN.

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See the slight -U- shape on the right of the picture? That is the overlook and our destination.

Up was beginning to take a toll on both our joints.  Sean has knee trouble from years of soccer and a few accidents, and Sherry has hip and knee troubles.  We had to stop often and rest our weary legs, and at one point Sherry said she just couldn’t do any more.  Her hip was shooting pain down her leg, and she didn’t think it was a good idea to push it.  We were probably 1/4 mile or less to the summit, but still had a hill to climb to get there.  It wasn’t worth being injured when we knew we still had another 5 miles down to get back to the truck.  We bailed out and started heading back down.  We’re not sure which was worse, up or down.  Both are taxing for different reasons: up is hard on your heart and lungs, but down kills the knees and toes.

We did survive the journey and feel that it was well worth the effort to get up there.  The views are some we haven’t seen while here at the park.

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Heaven’s Peak

We understand why the trail is rated #1.  We are considering doing it again and starting at Logan Pass this time.  We think that if we didn’t abuse our joints going up that we might have more energy to get to the overlook.  There’s another trail called Swiftcurrent that starts in Many Glacier that overlooks Grinnell Glacier as well.  We may try that one instead; however, there’s another 1,700ft. elevation change on that 5 mile one-way hike.  Maybe we are stronger after this one and can manage it better.  Check the blog later to know if we tried it!  Lol.

We still have things we want to do here, but we are ready to move on.  We talked yesterday while driving through the park that with the drought people are not seeing the same park we saw almost two months ago.  Some of the rivers are almost nonexistent and the waterfalls are no longer flowing.  We talk about coming back in early June or late May to see the snow melt and more of the water flowing.

We took MANY amazing photos while we hiked this trail.  Go to our gallery of photos to view the rest:  http://www.loveyphotography.com/Traveling-Photography/The-Loop-TrailGranite-Park-Cha/

Moose, Massage and Fire

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The Spa – Whitefish, MT

We don’t want to turn our posts into advertisements, but we will pass on the names and locations of businesses we find on our travels that we enjoyed.  Basically, we wont say anything bad, but we do want to comment on the good. 🙂  As educators, we so often heard negative comments and cherished the positives when they would come along.  Sean often had parents tell him at the end of the year ceremony, ‘Mrs. ____ is such a wonderful teacher.  We should have said something to her sooner…”  Anyway, we believe in passing on good whenever we can.

We decided to treat ourselves today to a massage.  This is actually our second since arriving in the Glacier area nearly two months ago.  All the hiking, walking and carrying backpacks does take a toll, so it is nice to pamper ourselves every so often.  The place we found is called The Spa at Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish.  It was well worth it and our tired, sore bodies appreciated the hour long session.  Many of you probably heard the long deep sighs around noon.  🙂

Since arriving in Montana, we have found so many great people and businesses.  It has been a real pleasure sitting and talking to people or standing in a line at a store and having a local just strike up a conversation.  This area has quickly moved up our list of places to live… If they only had a beach and good places to dive… that weren’t near freezing.

Since hitting this part of the country, Sherry has wanted to get a wood carved animal and sign for our RV site.  We have passed dozens of places and gone into dozens of places to check on work and prices.  So far, we haven’t found a place that didn’t have incredible pieces of functional art.  We love the carved wood furniture from beds to benches, each unique and beautiful.  Sean has even commented about getting a coffee table for the RV…  Nope, not yet.  On one of our explorations a few weeks ago, we stopped in a place called Log Furniture Chainsaw Carving ‘Anything else is just firewood’.  OK, we love the slogan!  We also enjoyed talking to the owner/artist and ordered a Moose with a sign for our RV lot.  We haven’t stopped with ‘Moose and Squirrel’ comments since ordering Bullwinkle.  If you don’t get the references you are probably too young or have lacked a well balanced education. 🙂

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Moose

Fire:  Another fire broke in the park, but this time it was south of the Two Medicine area on the east side of the park.  Driving back to our RV park we could see huge clouds of smoke pouring up over the mountains.  It is fascinating to see.  The fire caused a huge ‘thunderhead’ type cloud to form, white and towering, over the dirty brown smoke.

View from our truck.

View from our truck.

Sherry took a photo using her iPhone from the truck.  The shot from the truck and again from the RV park don’t do it justice.  Hopefully, this 1900 acre fire is contained soon.

From the entrance to our RV park.

From the entrance to our RV park.

We talked about how appreciative we are of the men and women who fight fires.  It is hard to imagine  being one of those brave people facing this massive act of nature.  Keep them in your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slides and Slidouts

We haven’t been doing too much adventuring the past couple of weeks.  The fire on the east side of Glacier Park closed the main road and caused a lot of smoke cover (the Going-to-the-Sun road is currently open and people are allowed to travel sparingly through the east side of the park).  We avoided the area the last several weeks due to the congestion of tourists and low visibility.  Even though we haven’t ventured into the park, other than to jog the bike trail at Apgar a few times, we still have projects around the R.V. to keep us busy.

-Side note – Before we left on this adventure we had some work done on the R.V. to get it in tip-top shape.  One upgrade was our roof, and the other was the bedroom slideout.  We won’t get into the whole problem we’ve had with the dealership where we bought the R.V. and the “repairs” they said they made before we drove it off the lot.  There is still a bitter taste from that whole experience, so we won’t discuss what was SUPPOSED to be done and what were items we “didn’t need to worry about” when we got the R.V.

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Sean hanging out under the living room slide.

We periodically check the outside of the R.V. for any signs of wear and tear or damage, and we noticed recently that underneath the kitchen slide the material was wearing off where the rollers touched the surface.  This is the same problem we had on the bedroom slide we had repaired before we left.  The outer slide floor is particle board with a thin coating.  We’ve noticed many of the newer RV’s have a sheet of fiberglass over this to protect it from any moisture.  If we left it the way it is, the roller would eventually chew up the particle board under the slide and give us even more trouble.  The bedroom slide was fixed by applying a layer of fiberglass sheeting and reinforcing the edges with corner pieces.  Sean did some research and we decided we could take the project on as a DIY.  After all, he brought along most of his tools, they have to get some use.  We found sheets of fiberglass at Home Depot and Sean made a list of all the materials we would need.  http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-4-ft-x-8-ft-White-090-FRP-Wall-Board-MFTF12IXA480009600/100389836

We decided to do both the kitchen slide and the living room slide.  After we got all the material, we had to trim the pieces to fit (Sherry’s job).  We wanted the fiberglass to fit under the rubber weather striping, but not too close to where the floor lifted to slide.  That slide lifts up on a long plastic or pvc material.  The wood floor literally slides along the material until it is full in.  So, we wanted to make sure that the mechanism wouldn’t be obstructed when it started its sliding and checked several times to see where the lift actually occurred.  Sean wasn’t too worried as the fiberglass board is very thin and shouldn’t cause an obstruction.  The piece fit perfectly and all we had to do was screw it into the bottom of the slide.  THAT was a lot of work.  The sheet is 8 ft. long, so it wanted to bend and fold.  Sherry did her best using both arms and her head to keep it from dipping and holding it in place, while Sean held the other end with his head and put in screws with a drill attachment.  It was a sight to see!  Nevertheless, we got it all secured!  We were very careful to make sure the piece was even and secured along the edges with self tapping wood screws.  We had to use two pieces of fiberglass to fit the width of the entire slide.  The second piece was cut to 4 ft. and was much easier to hold in place.  We still have to caulk and add trim, but the slide moves beautifully in and out over the rollers.  In fact, it seems to slide easier, with much less friction than before.

Speaking of slides…

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Alpine Slide Whitefish, MT

We also had some fun the last week.  Sherry’s friend from high school came to Glacier to hike with her girlfriend, and we were all able to get together.  We have been wanting to go to Whitefish, MT to the ski resort and do the Alpine Slide they have there.  It is like a giant water slide with sleds and no water.  We had a fun time riding the sleds down the hill and then riding the ski lifts up the hill!

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Wheeee!!!

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Here we go!

We also took them to Glacier Distilling Company to have some refreshments.  IMG_2308

IMG_2305We are in love with some of the whiskeys at this particular distillery.  They are not big enough to ship or market nationwide, but when they do, the products will no doubt be popular!  We were incredibly disappointed that our favorite bourbon, Cabin Fever, was completely sold out.  It will be another year or TWO before they have another batch ready to bottle.  We had made up our minds to get several bottles for Christmas presents this year!  Needless to say, we were bummed and some people on our list are not getting presents.  Lol.  (Luckily for us, we have a little left of our own personal bottle that we will cherish.)

We are looking forward to our final weeks here in the Glacier area.  We have several more hikes planned now that the park has reopened the main road.  Our most exciting hike is going to be the Highline trail near Logan Pass.  It is highly rated, so we are excited to try it out.  We have our next several stops after here planned and are looking forward to moving on to what else this country has to offer.  To adventure!

P.S.  We realized that our post about togetherness and tattoos was missing a shout out to the tattoo artist and owner of Dancing Bones Ink in Columbia Falls, MT.  She was so wonderful to us and made us feel so comfortable.  We meant to give a shout out and realized after re-reading the post that we didn’t mention WHO did the tattoos!  So, Barb, thank you so much for your wonderful spirit and artistry!       http://www.dancingbonesinkinc.com/Home.html