Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hello from Saguache, CO

Hello from Saguache, CO

Sunday evening October 19, 2008 (fourth travelogue of this trip)

Just a quick note since we posted this morning. We are staying the night next to a high school football field in Saguache, CO (here). Here is a bit of history from their website:

“Saguache is the northern gateway to the San Luis Valley in South Central Colorado. It sits at an elevation of 7800 feet, surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo mountain range on the east and the San Juan range on the west. Many of the peaks are 14000 feet.”

“Saguache is a Ute Indian name pronounced Sa-watch. It means “Water at the Blue Earth.” It was settled in 1867 by Otto Mears who started his fortune with the first toll road above Poncha Pass. Otto invested in railroads, mining, the Mack Truck Co. and is credited with the famous "Million Dollar Highway”. “

I had forgotten to update Pat's foot situation. She has been able to walk reasonable distances by putting on her tennis shoe and lacing it pretty tight. That seems to support the foot. She was able to be in the booth the whole time. We made sure she sat as often as possible.

The drive here was very pretty. The fall colors were not optimum, but colorful never-the-less. It looks like the weather will hold for us tomorrow

That is all for this trip. Our next planned trip is in January when we head to California and Arizona for a trade show (Indio, CA) and an Eagle bus rally (Quartzsite, AZ) plus a lot of goofing off (we hope).

Hello from Farmington, NM

Hello from Farmington, NM

Sunday morning October 19, 2008 (third travelogue of this trip)

After leaving McLean, TX we drove a bit less than 400 miles to our favorite little casino (Holywood Casino). This casino is located about 20 miles north of Albuquerque. This is a little hole-in-the-wall casino, but they only charge $10 per night for camping and Pat has a good time. We left McLean early and with the time change, we got to the casino around 2:00 PM. While Pat contributed to the economy, I reinstalled my the fire suppression system in the Eagle. I have had to rob parts from it several times and I kind of felt like the shoe makers kid who has no shoes. Only took a couple of hours and I did some other maintenance work.

Our drive from Springfield, MO to Albuquerque followed the route of the historic Route 66. We were able to see some of the old bridges, abandoned filling stations and old pavement including the concrete “curbs” (wow, those roads were narrow!). There are lots of websites detailing the history of “The Mother Road” Perhaps the best is: I forgot to mention in our first post of this travelogue that we took some time in Elk City, TX to tour what was billed as the “official” Route 66 museum. I would suspect there are many Route 66 museums, but this one was a lot of fun and has some great historic displays including a very good farm implement museum.

Tuesday (10/14) we drove to Farmington (a bit less than 200 miles) and got settled in in the vendors parking area. We really lucked out and got a nice site with power and water right on the San Juan River (here).

Wednesday we set up the booth and the rally was Thursday through Saturday. Given the terrible economic situation right now, we really expected very low attendance and terrible sales. It turns out that our sales probably set a record for us (haven't had time to look at the sales book). We also had some very strong leads for future sales. And this is a very small FMCA rally (about 500 motorhomes). There is no way to predict what our sales will do. I have included a photo of the booth. For the small shows, were we represent SilverLeaf, we have a double booth. That sure makes it nice.

Pat did not do a seminar (they were booked up), but I did two seminars (our fire suppression system/tire pressure monitors and SilverLeaf electronics). We now represent SilverLeaf at the smaller shows. Both seminars were well attended and I had great audience participation.

Tomorrow we start home. We will travel up to Durango (about 40 miles) and then along US 160 to US 285. Our plan is to take two days (mapping program says we are about 360 miles from the house). If the weather holds, it should be a pretty trip.

Thats all for now.

Our double booth in Farmingtion, NM

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hello from McLean, TX

Hello from McLean, TX

Sunday evening October 12, 2008 (Second travelogue of this trip)

Normally, we would be in a Wal Mart parking lot as we cross the country. Only problem is, there is not a store within 50 miles and I was too tired to drive any further. So, tonight we are in a restaurant parking lot is this very small town (here). The restaurant is closed tonight, so we hope there will not be an issue with parking here (nobody around to ask).

I need to catch up on the happenings of the past several days. On our last blog, we were in Branson, MO for an Eagle bus rally. The rally went from Monday 9/29 to Thursday 10/2. Things were pretty hectic for us. I ended up selling some product and doing some service (unfortunately gratis). I still got to spend some time with all of our friends and met a few new members. On Tuesday we all went to the Duttons afternoon show. They put on a great show and the family members have a lot of talent.

There were about 27 Eagle buses at the rally. In the photo below, you can't see all of the buses, but they are spread over 4 rows. Our bus is in the front center of the photo (right behind the air conditioned outhouse {grin}).

The weather was very good. Kind of chilly in the evening, and nice and warm in the daytime.

We had one catered meal, one potluck, and one dinner at a local fish house.

Most everyone left on Thursday, but a couple of buses stayed for another day or two. We stayed an extra week. One night we went to the Mel Tillis Family show (including Pam Tillis). They put on a GREAT show. Another night we went to “Country Tonite”. We had gone to that show before, but we were a bit disappointed with this show. The audience was very small (perhaps 100 people).

In general, all Branson tourist statistics are off by almost 10% and it sure showed in audience attendance and considerably less traffic. One wonders with the terrible economic situation, whether Branson will have a good Christmas season (November and December). That is usually a very strong period with all the name entertainers performing.

We left Branson on Thursday 10/9 and headed to Carthage, MO for another bus rally. We made a stop in Marshfield, MO to pick up a transmission that I had purchased several months ago. I bought the transmission system for the computers (two) that are the same as mine. I had them ship the “replacement” parts (which I carry in the bus) and figured I would pick up the transmission while I was in the area. The folks who had the transmission were not there, but left a fork lift for me to use to load the parts. The transmission weighs at least 800 pounds and is huge. It took me about 2 hours to load the transmission and associated parts.

We got to Carthage in the late afternoon. We knew the rally would be very small, but we knew most of the folks going, so it turned out to be a lot of fun. On Friday we headed out to Mount Vernon, MO for the “Apple Butter Festival”. Unfortunately, as we walked towards main street, Pat stepped on a rock and took a pretty hard tumble. I took her back to the truck and went to the festival to get something to eat. By the time I got back, we pretty much figured out that Pat had hurt her foot (along with lots of other scrapes and deep bruises). We went back to the bus, but made the quick decision to visit the emergency room. I turns out she broke a bone in her right foot. They did not put it in a cast. We hope that is the correct decision, as it is very painful for her to even walk short distances.

Friday and Saturday nights we had great barbecue prepared by the folks who organized the rally. The attendees brought side dishes or dessert. Saturday the group went to a flea market and had a Chinese lunch. I took the opportunity to organize the truck a bit and do a bit of detailing on the bus.

Today we started our 1000 mile journey to Farmington, NM. We need to be there mid-day Tuesday. Today we drove a bit over 400 miles, so we should be able to make our schedule.

I guess that is all for now.

The Eagle Bus Rally in Branson, MO
Our bus is the front center (behind the air conditioned outhouse!)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hello from Branson, MO

Hello from Branson, MO

Sunday evening October 5, 2008 (First travelogue of this trip)

We have not posted since we returned from our trip to Europe. We arrived home from Europe on 9/8 and left on this trip on 9/21. During that time I thrashed on our new-to-us service truck. It is a 2002 Dodge ¾ ton tuck with a service bed. I then built a large topper for our product and show inventories. I have posted a picture of the truck. It was supposed to have the whole body “wrapped” with our logo and more flames. Unfortunately I did not get the body done in time to get the full job done. At least it shows our product. They will finish the wrap when we get home.

We had planned to leave several days before our actual departure date, but I simply could not get everything done.

Our trip Sunday was a bit short. We left in the early afternoon and made it as far as Pueblo (Wal Mart). We stopped there so we could get the antenna up and watch the races. The next day we stayed in a Wal Mart in Elk City, TX. That was almost 500 miles and I had a problem with my wiring that prevented the Jakes and cruise control from working. That made the day extra long. I got the problem resolved the next day and we made it to the Cherokee Casino in Roland OK. We have stopped there before and it is an OK (no pun intended) casino. The next day we arrived at North Little Rock where we would be vendors at a regional FMCA rally. We arrived on Wednesday, instead of Monday as we had planned and paid for. However, we got a great location (much better than those who arrived on Monday). We had the end position about 2 blocks from the show (much closer than most folks). The truck was in a good position to be observed by traffic.

The show was a mixed bag. They had planned on 500 motorhomes, but 1000 showed up. They really had to scramble for places to put folks. We heard that several people got upset and left. Others who stayed were not pleased as there were lots of problems where they parked people. We had a double booth that displayed our products and a new product line that we are dealers for ( This is a very popular product line that displays a very large amount of data that is derived from the engine computer. It can literally be the dashboard of a motorhome. We will represent this company at the smaller shows. The only problem was that we spent most of our time on their product and did not get to focus on our products. We will be doing another show on this trip and we have some ideas on how to divert the customers to look at our products. Or sales were only so-so.

While we were too tired to go to any of the entertainment (didn't sound all that good anyway), we were able to do a bit of sightseeing. Our last evening, we took a modern version of an old electric trolley across the Arkansas River from North Little Rock to Little Rock. We went to a fun restaurant called the Flying Fish. It was Sunday night and we took the last trolley. We were about a mile from the bus, so we walked home. Part of the trip was walking across an old drawbridge that has been converted to a walking path (drawbridge in the raised position). We strolled along the river a bit and then walked back to the bus. We also attended the “Taste Of Arkansas” event that had about 30 restaurants represented. Each restaurant had samples of their best dishes. Lots of fun and food!

We were the only people on the trolley and the driver talked to us quite a bit. It turns out he worked for the NFO in Corning, IA (Pat's home town) several years ago. He gave us his name, but we no longer have that information. Sure is a small world.

We left North Little rock on Monday 9/29 and arrived at the Branson Lakeside RV Park that afternoon for an Eagle Bus Rally. We are located here.

In the next day or so I will detail the rally.

Our new service vehicle we tow behind the bus