Monday, April 25, 2011

Rocks and Goblins

Off again for another adventure and look who's driving?  Jackie got behind the wheel for the first time and did great.  We headed north on highway 6 out of Delta and then 36 miles out into the desert to one of the best rock hounding areas of Utah.

As you can see we found a place with no one around for miles.  What more could you ask for than a super quiet place and a nice firepit and oh yes, lots of rocks.

After loading up over 50 pounds of Joy Agate, Drusie, Chalcedony and Jasper we headed out to Topaz Mountain where we found a few pieces of Topaz.  Most of the people were attacking the mountain with hammers and pry bars but on this day it was not our thing so we sifted through the tailing's.  Topaz comes out of the mountain brown but after being subjected to light it turns clear and that is what we found.

Can you find Jackie digging Topaz in this picture?

This area of the desert and mountains is full of old mines and one day while driving up an old wash we hiked up the side of the hill to check this one out.  It looked to be 60 or 70' deep.  Not sure what they were looking for here but looks like they found it.  Don't slip, it's a long way down and no way out.

Another day another trip and up on the side of this mountain there was an old school bus.  We had no idea how they got it up there or why they did it.  Must have been used as living quarters at one time.

Put on the long lens so we could see the bus a little closer.  Looks like it is about ready to roll over the edge.

After 4 days in this spectacular area we went back into Delta to empty tanks, do laundry and back to Delta Community Church for Easter Sunrise Service and then off we went again to BLM land down the road from Goblin Valley State Park.  This is only a two night stay and then we finish the trip to Arches in the morning.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon and found a place with another great view.  It was a windy so no fire, watched a little TV and early to bed.  Tuesday morning we woke up to sunshine and a cool morning so off we went to the state park.  This is the only place in the world where mother nature left this kind of geology.

The valley was full of these unique eroded structures that you wander around and...

... if so inclined you could climb on them.

Jackie found a way to get to the top of this one.

The valley is surrounded with high hills with very unique features.  Can you find the face in this picture, it's looking to the right.  If you are ready to give up go ahead and scroll to the next picture and then come back to see it's location.

So go back and look above what looks like a cave and there it is.

If you found the face now see if you can see what we saw in this area of the valley?  On the left we see a boy on the left kissing and girl on the right and the big pile of rocks is two kids with there face toward the wall counting for hide and seek.  Use your imagination, well, that's what we saw.

Before leaving Jackson California we had all new tires put on the jeep and while running the washes at Topaz Mountain we got a big slice in the side wall of the left front tire.  We put on the spare and continued on our way.  Today while back in the washes near our camp the warning light came on saying we had a low tire.  Again miles from nowhere we turned around and got back home without any problem.  We will post some of the pictures on this trip at another time so come back soon.

To be continued...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Roads, back roads and another cave...

We have now traveled about 450 miles on route 50 west to east through Nevada and into Utah and saw another vehicle every 10 miles or so; I guess that's why it got it's name "the loneliest road in America".  The name came from a Time / Life article in the 1980's. 

No problem standing in the middle of the road to get this.  A truck went by about 20 minutes after this shot was taken

Not sure how many mountain ranges we went over with elevations up to about 7500 feet.  Cold but no snow.  Part way across one of the desert valleys where the road was built up a few feet above the edge, we saw for several miles where people had stopped and by using stones spelled their names along side the road.  We could have stopped again in the middle of the road to get some pictures but decided to just keep on going. 

On a day trip (still on 50) we ran across this entrance arch to some private property.  Someone took lots of time out in the desert finding deer and elk horns, and the sign on the property said "horns a plenty".

Glad we purchased a 4wd jeep so we could head out directly into the desert just for some fun.  Here we are in the middle of a jeep road having lunch.  We never did see another vehicle for miles.  So quiet except for the birds.  After lunch Dick went hiking in the rocks and Jackie took a nap.

We decided to take a dirt road back home, came over the crest of a hill and this is what 7 miles of bad road looks like.  At the crest of the hill it continued straight another 7 miles until we finally made a gradual turn.  It turned out that we had to travel on this road about 25 miles before hitting a solid highway again.  Glad we had lots of gas because the total trip this day was about 200 miles.

We could not go to Nevada without visiting it's only National Park, so off we went to Great Basin National Park only to find that the main road was still closed because of snow and ice.  But part of the Park is Lehman Caves, and of course we had to do the caves tour.

It was a great tour that lasted about 90 minutes and because of the season we had a small group touring with us.

Quoting from the literature: "Lehman Caves is remarkably well-decorated with cave formations, or as geologists call them, speleothems: Stalactites, Stalagmites, Helicitites, Flowstone, Draperies, the mysterious Shields, and more."

You have to click on these pictures to enlarge them to see some of the details.

A close up of some of the flow-stones.

Some of the areas only had a clearance of 4' but this room must have been 25' tall.

And out we went through a man-made exit from the cave.  We only wish we could have stayed down there a few more hours but the SD card on Dick's camera does have it's limitations and he only took 125 pictures!

So we are off still heading east so check back for more of our travels.  We are posting this while sitting in Delta, Utah.  The problem with that is we again are close to the train tracks and they run all night long and with lots of horns as they go through town.  (Dick wrote this in the middle of the night when he couldn't sleep, thus the comment on the trains.)

For those that don't know our plans, we are heading for Arches National Park, scheduled to arrive April 26 and act as volunteer campground hosts for May and June and then head back to Washington. 
To be continued...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

SOLD Big Sky Montana 5th wheel SOLD



2007 Big Sky Montana by Keystone.

The Big Sky shows "pride of ownership" by us. Maintaining and traveling with this rigs has been a pleasure for both of us, but it's time to change our lifestyle and go a different direction in our travels. That is if things go our way.

Hooked up and ready to go this morning.
Enjoying another day of relaxation with the awning out.

This is a copy of the original brochure (8 Pages) that showS better what the inside of our rig looks like than I could do taking my own pictures. I will be happy to send or post more pictures if needed. You can click on any picture to get it to it's maximum size and see all the details.

The pictures show 2 rocker recliners that came with the rig but we have removed them and added a LazyBoy dual reclining loveseat that is so much easier to move for closing the slides and it's a wall hugger so does not take up as much room. It is also so much more comfortable. The fireplace has an electric heater that you can turn on and off or just view the mock fire.

Note the 4 door refrigerator and the full size microwave/convection oven plus below the 3 burner stove top is a gas oven. And it's great for making cookies. The couch folds into a queen air bed, just push the button and in about 1 minute it's ready to make up.

The fan keeps air moving around for both heat and cooling; we have spent time camping in temperature as low as -10 degree F. without any problem.
The table pulls out and you can seat 4 for dinner or cards.

We have added the W/D with exterior venting and without putting a hole in the side of the rig.

The tires are all new Goodyear rated for 110 psi and installed last summer. They show no wear.

This is how Keystone puts the rigs together. We have been proud to own the Montana and feel they do an excellent job in manufacturing these units.

The last page of the brochure is a complete list of all standard and optional items that Keystone put into our Montana. The Big Sky Premium, Value package and Comfort and Convenience group are all "mandatory" options by Keystone. You can't purchase the rig without these items.

Remember just click on the picture and you should be able to read it.

A partial list of additional improvements made by owner:
1. Installed SplendideW/D,
2. Two awnings over windows,
3. Extra shelves in kitchen pantry,
4. Moved bathroom fan and light switch,
5. Sold heavy recliners & added new love seat,
6. Added wine glass holder that will hold them during travel,
7. Changed bedroom window to slide type for more air flow,
8. Special storage space for printer,
9. Added 4 12 VDC 101 amps each AGM batteries,
10. Added Tri-metric battery monitoring system,
11. Added more storage under bed
12. Added 120 VAC outlet on side of bed,
13. Added 12 VDC outlet in cabinet next to bed,
14. Added hot water tank on/off switch in kitchen,
15. Added storage under refrigerator,
16. Changed location of under bed safe,
17. Added filter water at kitchen sink,
18. Added plant stands on wall in living and bedroom,
19. Added bookshelf under rear window,
20. Added additional shelving in entry closet,
21. Added under counter light in kitchen,
22. Added fan to vent in bedroom with two way switch,
23. Split kitchen and entrance lights to two switches,
24. Inside handle to open and close kitchen vent,
25. Added screws to all day/night shades to keep from coming apart,
26. Installed exterior connections for cable TV,
27. Added PVC tube under rig for storage,
28. Rain gutter over back window,
29. Outside shoe storage next to door,
30. Door and screen door closure
31. 4 new LT235/85R16 Goodyear G614 tires installed July 2009. Note these are G rated tires
with a maximum of 110psi pressure. The best you can get for this weight rig.
There are more but just can’t remember.

This is a copy of the MSRP sheet with the addition of two modifications that I added to the Big Sky.

Send us an email at or

Some exterior views of the Big Sky Montana and the truck. Pulling the rig behind the Dodge diesel is an extreme pleasure. You have to check the mirrors to make sure it's still there. We have pulled it in over 40 MPH winds with no sway or wandering.

Some quick details about the Big Sky are below.

2007 with 4 slides, electric awning, electric front jacks and rear stabilizers, dual pane windows, slide toppers, awnings over front room and dining room windows, 4 12vdc AGM batteries with Try-Metric battery controller, Splendide washer/dryer, 2 televisions, surround sound with AM/FM 4 CD changer, 4 door refrigerator, full size microwave/convection oven, fireplace, queen size bed, queen size air bed in front room, one of a kind pull out printer drawer. The list goes on and on so see the details below. Don't forget the Mor/Ryde pin box.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jackson California and MOC Rally

Our next stop was another Montana 5th wheel owners rally at Jackson California, southeast of Sacramento.  We arrived two days early and were the 3rd RV there.  The rain finally stopped and that big yellow ball of sun came out.  And we must say the weather for the rally was perfect with warm days and lots of sun.

The first morning we headed out for a walk around the park and Dick had to rush back into the rig to get his camera and take some shots of the morning mist in the hills from the ridge that the park sets on.

We started our walk and the the light bulb went on in his head when our noses started working.  That's about the time we came to the conclusion that the morning mist was nothing more than smoke filling the valley.  Don't tell anyone that it's not a misty morning.

An interesting light bulb below--Dick had to photograph it because of it's uniqueness.  It was at the entrance of an antique shop.

Most of our activities were in the evening so during some of the days we got out and about and ran across this beautiful old oak tree and just had to capture it to share.
One of the evenings most of us went out to dinner a few miles from the park, and the meal was just grand.  On the trip home (after dark) we went by two areas that Dick wanted to come back to during the day to see them better.

The first was this unique building that at one time was a Italian restaurant.  The day was very overcast with lots of storm clouds so these are a few of his shots.  The gate was closed near the building so decided not to get any closer in case someone was living inside.

Would have loved to see the inside but maybe another day.

The sun started to come out to give us a few light shadows of the face of the structure.

Down the street we found St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church built in 1894.  It was the first Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church in America.  It was built on the side of a very steep hill and is surrounded by the graveyard.  The black storm clouds seem to add to the earieness of this location.  Most of the oldest stones bear inscriptions using the old Cyrillic alphabet, while newer stones have used the newer Cyrillic alphabet or English.

Must be a tradition to add a cross at the top of the headstone.  Check out the storm clouds that finally brought rain, snow and hail that night.  That is the night after the end of the rally.

There are lots of stories that are told by the inscriptions but the interesting one that Jackie found and what we think are 3 siblings buried in a row, all born in the early 1900's
Left: "John (we will leave off the last names) W.W. II Veteran-Silver Star, Bronze Star,-3 purple hearts, Commissioned on the field of battle, Judge, Senator, U.S. Marshall, and County Supervisor."
Center:  "Lorraine (same last name) American Legion Aux, Veteran's of foreign wars Aux, Former Amador County Supertendant of Schools."
Right: ""Sharkey" Milos (Same last name) Gambler"

Need we say more?

During the rally several people took a day trip to McLaughlin's Daffodil Hill Memoral garden to see some of the 300000 bulbs in bloom.  They said it was well worth the trip to wander around the garden and view the beautiful flowers.

We were busy that day so 10 of us went the day after the end of rally.  Now remember that we said the weather was beautiful for the rally but we got snow the night after the rally ended.  Well, that's the day we went to see the flowers and when we got there the park was closed becayse the owners felt it was not safe with all the snow and ice on the paths so we had to settle with taking a few pictures over the fence.

 This was the security guard that was there to make sure we kept behind the gate.

To be continued...