Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Speaking of Flying Time

Holy Smokes, our last post was way back in early March and we were still hanging just north of Las Vegas. As I mentioned then we were heading north the next day and that is exactly what we did, the first night we stayed in an old favourite spot enjoying the hospitality of the Shoshone Bannock folks near Fort Hall, Idaho. The next day we stopped for groceries in Helena and then headed for the border and stayed at the little campground just on the south side of Milk River, Alberta. The border crossing was uneventful and we just cruised right through it.

The next day we headed for Dogpound North early, so that we arrived home on the frost. That probably helped a little but there was a pile of snow and we had a tough day of it getting our big rig off the road and parked. We were stuck a couple of times and luckily our old dually was behind us so we were able to get ourselves extracted from the snow banks. Lots of snow here this spring.

We had a little snow around these parts

But it does make for pretty pictures

 As I said before the old John Deere was not doing well so I had a neighbour who has a small contracting firm come up and move enough snow around to enable us to get the rig hooked back up and taken in to get some warranty work done on it near the end of March. The snow lasted well into April so we just hunkered down and stayed warm. Well, that and I resumed swimming, a few days a week.

May came and went, Brenda and her girls headed to Vegas on the long weekend for a little girl time and then towards the end of the month we ran up to Alliance to an old friends daughters graduation. It was a great time, although hard to believe that Jessika is all grown up now.

A few of the folks who were there to celebrate Jessika's Grad.
The snow eventually left and summer came.

June came and went in a flash, only one thing of note I guess. Those of you who have seen us over the last year or so know that we were pulling a Road Warrior toyhauler and after we sold our Dogpound South spot it became our winter home. Brenda found it an uncomfortable rig for her and I won't bore you with its shortcomings so we started looking at another camper for this upcoming winter. Late in June we closed a deal on a Grand Design 384GK so we now have a new home to move south when the time comes.

New Rig Grand Design Solitude 384GK

We have had a busy July, beginning with the long weekend when Brenda's Sister/Friend Cheryl and one of her daughters came and camped at Dogpound North for the weekend. That was followed by a visit from some of our Arizona riding friends who had been touring the Rockies, riding and camping. There were four living quarters trailers with 3 mules, 5 horses, a miniature donkey, a mini horse, 7 dogs, 3 cats and 7 folks. We enjoyed visiting with them and took the opportunity to show them a little bit of our part of Alberta, both Peyto Lake and Lake Louise, must sees for first time visitors to Canada and Dogpound North. Then we had the Bryden kids campout, an annual gathering of Becky and Lacey's cousins and a few others. That had, I think 7 campers, with 14 adults and 10 or so kids, so our population here at Dogpound North has consistently been higher than downtown Dogpound itself.

Brenda has been troubled with a spinal issue that flares up her CRPS and her doctor sent her for Cortisone shots hoping to get some relief. Not successful.

We decided we needed to get our new rig out and give it a little shakedown so we headed west to Preachers Point to try it out. It was pretty busy out there, busier than I have ever seen it before, but I guess it is mid-summer and the week before a long weekend to boot so probably no surprise to others.

Just a little down the road from Preachers Point

For August I spent a couple of days helping get our hay put up but that is all the excitement we have had so far.

Time is flying by, here it is mid September and I thought I should get this entry up to date, our new rig is in the shop, getting a few things fixed. That is pretty common with new outfits, whatever the brand, it seems like you need to spend the first year ironing out all the bugs. This time it is getting a few things that were identified on the walk through completed. And one that we found on our shakedown cruise. With about 500 kilometers on it I noticed the braking action was not what it should be. Normally on our truck, trailer brakes run at around 7.0 to 7.5 on the controller, that gives us as much braking effect as we can get without locking up the wheels on the pavement. On our return from Preachers Point I had to crank it up to 10.5 or 11.0 to get any braking at all, and even then it was nowhere near where I like it to be. This is not an uncommon issue on these rigs it appears that the seals occasionally let grease through and it coats the brake drums and shoes. Kind of defeats the purpose of applying the brakes. Grand Design is looking after it for us, but strangely they are sending the shoes and backing plates all the way from Indiana, guess they think that here in Alberta we are a remote and lonely place. I never like having the rig in the shop for extended visits but we aren't using it, nor were we planning to so this is a good time. I am sure they are working on it diligently though, as they know I am not a patient customer.

It has been a pretty smokey summer here at DPN what with most of British Columbia being on fire and us being downwind. It seems like we have not seen much blue sky around these parts although until a week or two ago it was warm enough. We could sure use a little moisture though, our hay is all in but it would sure help next year.

Early on in this many month long journal entry I mentioned that our old John Deere was feeling poorly, well, the diagnosis is she is dead, needs basically a new engine and John Deere tells me they are obsolete. Hard to believe that they don't stock 50-60 year old engines. That led us on a search for a new engine here and we found that down the road in the form of an International 1086. It is a much bigger tractor than the old 4020 much more horsepower although I am not sure we needed anymore. It does have a cab and I am sure Matt will find that and it's accompanying heater a bonus on his road clearing and horse feeding chores this winter. It is a little taller though and doesn't fit in our barn, but so far we have been keeping it in the Quonset Hut and hopefully with a little rearranging we will still be able to fit everything under cover.

Our new Cornbinder