It sure rains alot…

It has rained with thunderstorms almost every day we’ve been here. Flash flood advisories have continued and lightning strikes are frequent. It is a very interesting campus though, sitting right on the lake and stretching for several miles.

20180827_1243398841809778849826581.jpgDown to Lake Monona right at central campus.20180827_1244233585857620823358770.jpg 20180829_0910402144888229886750305.jpgScience Hall 20180829_0911183155692163798421743.jpg

Welcome to Madison

Well, we did not get back on the road by 6PM Wednesday, turned out to be 10AM Thursday. Stuck in Laramie for two days put us way behind schedule. A solid 11 hours driving from Laramie to Des Moines gets us back on track to get in to Madison by 3PM Friday, Robin’s Birthday. img_20180830_184344573157469455674577272.jpg

Celebrate by unloading the trailer, checking into our hotel on the far side of town, then back to unload the truck and have a wonderful Birthday Dinner prepared by Ailea’s new roommate, Alexa!

Weekend spent shopping for whatever Ailea needs to get unpacked and setup before work starts Monday morning. Cats seem to happy already. No more harnesses!

Welcome to Madison, WI

After two days in Laramie, getting my rear end repaired, we finally got back on the road. I was told to fear Sherman Summit just ahead. Seems the GM dealer often gets motorhomes with burnt transmission after trying to go up the 1600 feet from Laramie to the summit while in cruise control. So I kept waiting for this tough grade to show up.

Got me to thinking about the trip through the Rockies on 80. This portion of the Rockies is very tame, a gradual increase in elevation over several hundred miles culminating in 8600 foot Sherman Summit, the highest point along Interstate 80. Much different from the 7000 foo20180827_1859514236661857578035130.jpgt elevation change over less than a hundred miles that is the Sierra.

Getting down to Cheyenne got us on to the plains and an opportunity to make up for lost time. A solid 11 hours driving on Thursday put us back on track for getting into Madison by 3PM on Robin’s Birthday.


Should have started the pool…

20180821_1607491357410347224821057.jpgWhen I was leaving the GMC dealer in Roseville, after the last repair, I asked the crew there if anyone wanted to start a pool on when I’d meet my first mechanic on this trip. After all, the truck has 242,000 miles on it and we’re traveling pretty heavy. The answer, if anyone would have taken it, is Tuesday, August 21, in Laramie, Wyoming. Had some rear end noise start up about an hour out of Rock Springs. Was able to call ahead to Laramie GM about 120 miles in front of us. Got in to be checked out around 1pm. Needing some bearings replaced in the differential and axle. They’re working very hard at it today and hope to be back on the road around 6pm today (Wed, Aug 22).

Really appreciate the willingness of everyone we’ve met to drop whatever they can to help out people on the road and get us back traveling as soon as possible!

Wells to Rock Springs

img_20180820_09571747628448954202529846454..jpgThe 365 miles from Wells, Nevada, through Utah, and in to Rock Springs, Wyoming was without incident, without excitement, without … well, anything noteworthy. Except some beautiful scenery along the salt flats of Bonneville, the Great Salt Lake, up the Wasatch Mountains. I did have a nice chat with a couple from Manitoba on two week holiday on their Harley. Shared a few travel stories there.


The Wasatch climb was a good test for what comes tomorrow … the rest of the Rockies as we take on our toughest day. 380 miles and between 7 and 8 hours on the road as we head into Sidney, Nebraska.

Ailea’s Note: Sean and Nick were (overall) great loose in the car again, though they were definitely more talkative until the last 2 hours or so. Also, Sean tried to pull a fast one and get in the driver’s seat whilst I took a picture of the Utah sign. We’ll see how they handle the longer drive tomorrow…

We’re Drivin’ Now!

All the preparation and anticipation is behind us. And there was a lot! Ten days after the coolant dump I found coolant dripping from under the truck when we were loading in San Jose. With trip deadlines at hand I hooked up the trailer and headed for the dealer in Roseville. That was where the previous repairs had been done and seemed the best option since they knew the truck, knew the planned trip, and were on the way.

I really have to thank the entire crew at Reliable GMC in Roseville, especially Art. They all worked very hard in locating all the parts they needed and turned my water pump problem around in 24 hours. Thanks a lot guys!

20180819_0825221677459612626099459.jpgHeaded out this morning from Truckee at 0830. Now, after a tumultuous 2 weeks with the truck and all of the resultant anxiety, it will take some pretty good miles to restore confidence in the 15 year old vehicle that has been so solid for over 240,000 miles. Especially with a fully loaded trailer. The reasonably easy run from Truckee to Wells, NV is a good first day for reestablishing the confidence needed to relax for what will be a great 5,000 mile trip.

IMG_20180819_091025417I’ve made this Nevada crossing several times and there is not much to remark on. Thunder Mountain Monument, Battle Mountain, and the California Trail Interpretive Center are about all along the Humboldt River for which I’d consider stopping (Ailea’s Note: though not this trip). Fortunately (or not, as your pleasure dictates), we have a full playlist of Dan Hicks and Jimmy Buffet for the cast of singalongs in the truck today. Not to mention Two Cats and a Dog!

Two cats and a dog …

So, this will be interesting, if not fun. Two thousand miles, five nights, a 2003 GMC truck with 241,000 miles, towing a 7×14 cargo trailer, 3 adults, 2 cats and a small dog.

Stranded on 80

Stranded on 80

Lost a heater hose and all coolant while preparing for the trip. Better here than the middle of Nevada desert.