October 3-7—JOSHUA TREE, CALIFORNIA: Annual show; Sportsmans Club of Joshua Tree
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 Post subject: What a trip, made it to Dallas
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:14 pm 
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Location: Wylie Texas but in Alaska for a while
What a trip
Made it to Dallas
- We bought a trailer for the trip. The seller said that he had overloaded it, but he had replaced one axle and had the other one fixed. At the Canadian Border we found out that the "repaired" axle was bent, and was not going to make it.

We checked at the American border and found out that some of the carved walrus ivory and a walrus tooth could be confiscated if we tried to get them through Canada. We could mail them from Alaska to Dallas, but we could not take then through the border.

So we back tracked 80 miles to the nearest town and built a wooden box to mail the stuff back.....
First attempt the box was too heavy.
So we unpacked some stuff, and they reweighted it..... All was fine..... Until they took it to the other scale.... to heavy again.

I then opened up the box and took out some braces, now it was 3 pounds under the max.

When I was working on the wooden boxes, I noticed that the "repaired" axle was bent, and was not going to make it.

Bought a second trailer from a man who ran a mechanics shop at the border. He offered to buy the original trailer (a 20 foot aluminum one) for $1000. We decided to keep it and loaded it onto the other trailer. It took them two days to get it ready to go. The fenders had to be welded back on, he did put on 2 new electric brakes and 4 new tire and 2 new spares, as well as the original tires (just in case) I rewired the lights myself to save time.

We let the air out of the first trailer tires and let the axles sit on blocks and chained it down.

As we were getting ready to get on the road I tested the new brakes...... they were not working. So I ran new wires to both brakes, and we were finally ready to get on the road.


Back to the Canadian border.... they did not ask us anything about Ivory or anything.

We came across two herds of Bison. I have a few pictures that we took from the RV.

The second day into Canada and I noticed that the electric brakes were not working..... Again. After 4 hours of requiring with no luck, I pulled the tires and saw the problem...... the spring had broken on one of the axles and cut the wires.

A very nice man at the RV Park took my daughter to town and bought 4 new springs for the trailer.

The bolts were rusted and I had to use my long breaker bar to undo all of the nuts, a quarter turn at a time. So it took all day. The next day I picked up a longer 1/2 inch ratchet. I would have saved myself at least 4 hours if I had it the day before. I also picked up a ratcheting chain tensioner.


The next day we were a few hours down the road and someone pulled in front of us with the hazard lights on and broken rather quickly. As I quickly stopped to stop from hitting him, I saw a tire roll past me.

I had not tightened up all of the lug nuts, and I had sheared all of the bolts on one axle off. It also chewed up and spat out one of the new tire rims.

The new ratcheting chain tensioner came in handy. I used it to pull the now tireless axle up so it cleared the road, and limped 50 miles back to the town and stopped by the parts store where we bought the springs. He let me use a large hammer and his work bench and I replaced the studs in the axle.

I had decided that I wanted 2 axle trailers for the trip, and this was the second time that that decision had saved me.

I also stopped by a tire shop and they mounted the tire onto one of the old rims.

I had put a Tire Pressure Monitor system on the RV and had sensors for the trailer as well...... Money well spent.

I had a total of 4 flats. The final one an hour from home. For some reason the second tire on the passenger side loved to pick up bolts and nails. Maybe the first tire kicked up the nail and the second one caught it. 3 of the 4 flats were in that tire.


We headed toward Gem Mountain. About 2 hours out I noticed that batteries were not charging. We limped to the mine running
On the battery alone. During the day I put the Battery on charge and enjoyed the day. We were there for the last day that Gem Mountain was open. We originally bought 6 buckets and had found over a hundred carrots of of gems. Maybe 20 were worth faceting. My daughter then bought 2 seeded buckets (a mega bucket and a boot). I was obviously getting tired and one of the workers sieved the remaining material for us. WE got several hundred more carrots including a
3.5 carrot piece of rough.

I decided not to have any heat treated, and am looking into upgrading my furnace with new elements to try and heat treat them myself. I will test it out on a number of the flawed pieces and see how it goes..... But that is another post.

We headed to the next town with a parts store and I pulled the alternator. The brushes were bouncing around inside the alternator. The first store did not have any in stock, but we called a second store and they had one in stock. I started the generator and we limped over to the second parts store. I also decided to try and get the AC charged. I could not get the compressor to kick in. Two hours later and I wired up a manual switch to kick in the AC. I was glad I had taken the time, as we headed past Denver it was getting in the 90s during the day.

One day it was so hot that I ended up running the generator as I drove to run the roof top unit.

In Canada Gas was a little more expensive than I originally estimated. With a 75 gallon tank, it was over $315 Canadian at one spot. The manager said that it was his largest sale of the season. He did throw in a free night at his RV Park.

As we left Canada, the US custom people never asked any questions. So we did not really need to stop by and mail the packages. But I am glad we did, since the axle would have failed in the middle of nowhere Canada.

We had one clogged toilet during the trip. Hint: DO NOT try and plunge a RV toilet UNLESS you are connected to the RV dump….. . You pressurize the holding tank and it all flows back up at you…..  But do keep a spare piece of broom handle, to help clear it out. I eventually ended up connecting to a RV Dump and opening the drain then I worked the plunger and cleared the clog.

It was nice having the RV. Most of the time we stayed at road side picnic tables in Canada. In the US we did stay at a Walmart once, and ended up paying for RV parks a when it was so hot that we wanted to run the AC. The last RV Park was 3 hours outside Dallas and was the most expensive at $50 for a pull through slot.


We also stopped by Spencer Idaho for Opal. Instead of the mine, we stopped by a place down the road that advertised "direct from the miner" He had a claim next to the other one and had a table you could pick through. There was a lot of material that had flashes of color in a line embedded in the white opal material. From what I had read, you did not find too much color in the other place. We ended up paying $60 for the material which is less than we would have been charged at the other place.

I am going to have to get to the local rock club and start cabbing some of the material and see what we have. More pictures over the next year or so.

An hour from home and an 18 wheeler in front of me blew a tire and I ran over a large section, and ended up ripping out the gray water drain from under the RV. At least it was not the black tank that would have been a real mess.

20 minutes later and I had another flat. By the time I was able to pull over the tire was showing cord.

So
- A custom box for a walrus head that was not needed
- mailing costs of $125 that was not needed
- A bent axle
- A broken spring
- A blown alternator
- A clogged toilet
- 4 flat tires
- A busted grew water line
and 4250 mile (with detours) and I made it from Alaska to Dallas

I will try to post some pictures later.


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 Post subject: Re: What a trip, made it to Dallas
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 9:42 pm
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Glad you had fun at Gem Mountain. Sounds like your luck is about the same as mine there - which is pretty good!
also I wish you had at least stopped by the cafe in Spencer and seen the store. If you were lucky, you might have been able to go to the mine. But not that likely, really, but the store is a lot of fun.


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 Post subject: Re: What a trip, made it to Dallas
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:21 am 
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Wilson, what a horror trip, I'm so glad you made it home safely.

I hope your heat treating goes spectacularly well, you deserve something to go your way after all you went through.

I'm looking forward to seeing pics of the treatment.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: What a trip, made it to Dallas
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:26 am 
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Good to hear you made it home safely, even better to hear the tale of your get up and go spirit! I look forward to seeing the photos of the heat treated gems.


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 Post subject: Re: What a trip, made it to Dallas
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:43 pm 
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Has Spielberg contacted you yet about the movie rights to this story?


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 Post subject: Re: What a trip, made it to Dallas
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:37 am 
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That or National Lampoon.

Glad you at least got some nice rocks! I hope you will post some pictures when you have caught your breath from all of that.


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 Post subject: Re: What a trip, made it to Dallas
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:39 pm 
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I'm glad you made it back safe and mostly sound. Driving an rv can be interesting and a little nerve racking at times. I wanted to thank you for the video's of the Northern Lights. Because of those I convinced my wife to go to Alaska in September. The first 3 nights the Northern Lights were not memorable, the 4th night I opened the rv door at 3:30 and screamed at my wife - get up! They were unbelievable!

Dan


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 Post subject: Re: What a trip, made it to Dallas
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:02 pm 
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Location: Wylie Texas but in Alaska for a while
BandMan wrote:
I'm glad you made it back safe and mostly sound. Driving an rv can be interesting and a little nerve racking at times. I wanted to thank you for the video's of the Northern Lights. Because of those I convinced my wife to go to Alaska in September. The first 3 nights the Northern Lights were not memorable, the 4th night I opened the rv door at 3:30 and screamed at my wife - get up! They were unbelievable!

Dan



I am glad to hear that you saw the lights.

We heard half of the say down that the lights were out strong.


I wish we had put off the drip a few weeks.


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 Post subject: Re: What a trip, made it to Dallas
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:07 am 
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Location: Wylie Texas but in Alaska for a while
Some of the pictures we tool

Here are some of the pictures I took on my trip from Anchorage to Dallas. We saw a nice heard of Bison in Canada. I was surprised that they were that far north.

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Some nice scenery along the drive

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And some last pictures of the snow

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 Post subject: Re: What a trip, made it to Dallas
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:56 am 
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Nice photo's!


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