Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hello from Prescott, Iowa

Hello from Prescott, Iowa

Tuesday evening  May 22, 2012   (Second travelogue of this trip).

Thursday morning we left North Platte about 10:00 and got to Corning about 4:30.  That was just in time to temporarily park the bus and join Pat's cousin so that we could go Jeanne's mom's nursing home annual barbeque.  After the barbeque we drove the bus over the Bill and Jeanne's farm where we parked in our “reserved” spot (map) .

I thought I would go back and discuss the wind that we encountered both days of our travel.  We have only been in worse conditions one other time (they closed the highway to high profile vehicles that time).  The wind was so bad that it blew our rather heavy engine door open twice.  That is not a big deal, but it really got our attention.  In addition, one of our clearance light covers blew off while I was fueling (and getting sandblasted!).

Thankfully, the bus handles pretty well in the wind.  It was a south wind and each time we went by a hill, underpass, or trees, I had to quickly adjust the steering wheel of the change in wind velocity.  Passing semis was a bit of a challenge, but I did not feel at risk.

The car and tow dolly seemed to do well.  I am not completely happy with the wheel strap system, so I have ordered a couple of pieces of hardware that should make securing the car quite a bit easier.  The tow dolly has surge disc brakes and that makes quite a difference in the braking.  Of course, we are getting better mileage since we are pulling a light car vs the heavy service truck (9600 pound).  We are fortunate to have a very powerful engine in the bus, so it is hard to tell the difference in performance, but the improvement in mileage is welcome.  I have attached a picture of the bus/car combination.

The weather back here has been great.  Warm in the day and quite cool in the evening.   There has been no recent rain, so the humidity is low.  The lack of rain is not good for the newly planted crops.  Bill finished up the last of the beans on Friday.

Pat and Jeanne have been working on Jeanne's mom's house to get it ready to rent to her nephew and his wife.  Bill and I have been getting some work done on some vehicles.  We installed a new roof air conditioner on Joel and Nikki's motorhome and we have been working on the AC in Bill's semi truck.  That AC is acting very strange according to my gauges and we will have to continue to sort out what is going on.

Sunday we went to the auction at Pat's uncle's facility.  It was not a huge auction, but I did manage to buy a few tools (pretty good bargains).  They have another auction next Sunday that sounds like it will have some pretty neat stuff.  We always enjoy the auctions!!!

That is all for now.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hello from North Platte Nebraska

Hello from North Platte Nebraska

Thursday morning   May 17, 2012   (First travelogue of this trip).

We are at our “normal” stop on our way to visit the relatives in Iowa – the Wal Mart parking lot in North Platte (map).  We left Evergreen a bit after noon yesterday and got here about 7:00 local time.  That probably seems like a slow trip for some of you (about 300 miles).  However, I decided to drive a bit slower (set cruise on 66 MPH) – partly to save fuel and partly because I was not all that confident about the tow dolly tire situation (more on that later).  We also stopped several times to check on the tow dolly.  Lastly we had to slow down quite a bit during some huge dust storms and high winds that we encountered in eastern Colorado.

We need to step back and apologize to our readers for not posting in the past few months.  As we have said many times, our intent for this blog is to document our travels, focusing on our bus travels.  As a side note, these blogs have been a wonderful “diary” that allows us to relive some of our wonderful experiences.

During our absence from posting, we have had a kind of tough few months.  Each of our daughters have had some pretty significant health issues, Judy has documented the fact that the are in foreclosure on their house, and we have closed the RV Safety Systems business.  In addition, Pat had to have cataract surgery last month.  We can only hope that our extended family has better days ahead of us.

Closing the business has been quite traumatic.  As some of you recall, the business was based on a fire detection system that I developed.  That product was well received and has proven very reliable.  We developed a second system for a marketing partner and that product passed every test that the customer devised including some actual vehicle fires.  The second project has languished and will probably not become a reality.  Our original product had reasonable sales, but the profit did not cover the debt incurred for development and marketing costs.

Part of the huge marketing costs involved trade shows.  That said, those shows were a great experience and involved a lot of amazing travels in our bus. 

Now that we are no longer traveling for business, we will be posting less frequently.  We hope that you will check in occasionally, or opt for the email notification of posts.

Now, what about this tow dolly situation?  Tow dollies are  not at the top of my list for bringing our own transportation.  We have always towed “four down” using a tow bar.  We have towed our Commando, Durango and the Service Truck over the years and consider that to be the best option.  My plan was to finish the Durango engine rebuild and bring it on this trip.  I got the engine running and it runs well, but my diagnostic software is showing intermittent sensor problems that keep me from getting my emissions test and license plates.

So, our only alternative was to bring the PT Cruiser.  It can't be towed with all four wheels on the ground because to the automatic transmission.  I would have to install a special pump to circulate the transmission fluid and I really don't like that approach.  So the only alternative is a tow dolly.  I found a great used unit made by the Acme Tow Dolly company.  I will try to post a picture of the bus/car combination next time.

That is all for now.