Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hello from Colby, KS

Hello from Colby, KS

Sunday evening   September 30, 2012   (First travelogue of this trip).

We are on our last trip of the year in the bus.  We are headed to Branson, MO for the Eagle Bus Rally and then to Iowa to hang out with the relatives.

We really had to scramble to get ready for this trip.  I had quite a few things going on this week, we had a few family things and then Pat went to the Women of Faith event (her birthday gift from the girls).  In addition, Pat had quite a bit of Stampin'Up! things going on.  I had some bus projects that needed to get done.  As a result, we did quite a bit of last minute packing of the bus – something we try to avoid on departure day.  That said, we were able to leave about 11:00 AM and drove a bit over 250 miles.  We needed to get settled in so that we can watch the races tonight.

We are at the Wal Mart in Colby, KS (map).

We are getting pretty good mileage on the bus.  Right now, I show over 10 MPG on this trip.  That is a bit optimistic as I need to put a fuel correction in the computer, but it is well over 9 MPG actual.  We are pulling a much lighter vehicle (PT Cruiser on a tow dolly vs our service truck that weighed over 9K pounds).  The weather on our route was great and we did not need to run the air conditioner and that helps.  Plus, I have slowed down from 68 to 66 MPH.  That does not sound like much, but it can have a significant impact since the wind drag on our big barn door is a square function of the speed.

That is all for now.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hello from Chugwater, WY

Hello from Chugwater, WY

Sunday Evening   September 16, 2012   (Second travelogue of this trip).

We are back in Chugwater, WY (map).  We left Gillette this morning and made the short trip down here today.  It turns out that Chugwater is about half way between Gillette and Evergreen and is a nice stop as we have mentioned in other blogs.  Tonight we made it in time to have Chugwater Chili at the fun little store on main street.  When we came through last Sunday, they closed before we got to the store.

The rally was interesting.  I did not get my inventory until the second day of the rally and then it was not all that extensive.  Indeed, we missed two $1295 sales because we did not have the product.  The rally itself was pretty small. We were told that it was about 360 coaches.  The other problem is that several vendors skipped this rally in favor of a rally in Missouri.  We heard that some attendees left early. 

We were pretty busy in the booth.  Folks like to talk about the product and had good questions.  My seminar went well and Pat's went very well.  She got several great compliments and the ladies seemed to have a very good time.  She got a couple of nice orders and that is always a plus.

This is our booth at Gillette

Gillette is an interesting place.  They have a huge amount natural resources (oil, natural gas, and coal).  We are told that the economy for the area is very good.  Just across from where we parked, there was a great display of mining equipment that included a drag bucket that was as tall as the bus and an ore truck that was much bigger than the bus.  I would have liked to spend more time, but we needed to leave the facilities by noon (we left closer to 1:00, but they did not call the cops {grin}).

It will be interesting to see if SilverLeaf will ask us to do other rallies.  We hope so as it is fun to do a rally where you don't have to worry about paying the bills.

That is all for now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hello from Gillette, WY

Hello from Gillette, WY

Tuesday Evening   September 11, 2012   (First travelogue of this trip).

We are at the Cam-Plex multi-event facility (map) attending an FMCA area rally, representing SilverLeaf electronics (   When we were doing trade shows, we often represented SilverLeaf by purchasing a double booth as shows where they did not attend.   Over the years we got to know the owner of the company very well.  He is a genius at developing electronic equipment for the RV industry and is a wonderful person to work with. 

In the past, we paid the cost of the booth.  After we closed the business, Martin and I talked about our continuing to represent his company.  We reached an agreement where SilverLeaf would pay our costs and offered a commission on sales over an agreed upon amount.  We probably will not get the income, but we have the benefit of attending a trade show where we don't have to worry about how to pay the bills.

We have always enjoyed being vendors at trade shows.  It is fun to interact with the attendees.  You also develop a strong friendship with many of the vendors.  Even though this is a small rally, we have at least one vendor that we are glad to see.

The Cam-Plex is a great facility.  Indeed, the International FMCA rally will be held here next year.  A rally of that size demands top notch facilities.  We did a Fleetwood rally here a couple of years ago and noted then how wonderful the facilities were.

At this rally, I will do a SilverLeaf seminar and Pat will do a rubber stamped greeting card seminar.

The trip here is a bit under 400 miles.  While we could drive that in a day, we try to keep the driving to a more pleasurable number.  As has been the case in the past we stopped in Chugwater, WY.  We have talked about this little town in previous blogs.  Years ago when we belonged to a membership ranch, the ranch outside of Wheatland, WY,  they would pick us up in an Eagle bus (a model perhaps 15 years older than ours) and we would stop in Chugwater to pick up meat for the meals.  There was a great meat market there at the time.  Today Chugwater is a mere shadow of the town we used to know.  It is still fun to park on Main Street and see all the old buildings.  Most are no longer used, but there is something about this little town that makes us feel comfortable. 

That is all for now.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hello from Pueblo, CO

Hello from Pueblo, CO

Monday morning   September 3, 2012   (First travelogue of this trip).

We wrote a blog about being here on June 4, 2012.  As I noted then, I have been a volunteer corner worker at vintage car races sponsored by RMVR (Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing).  Their website: .

We arrived at the track  Friday afternoon and parked in the same location we did in June - close to the dragstrip return road (map).  If you zoom in on the map, you can see the dragstrip and road race course.  They again had a Friday night drag races.  The drag racing event this time seemed to be much smaller and did not have the great cars that were here in June.  Still, I got to do some cruising of the pit on my bicycle.

I was so proud of myself bringing the bicycle on this weekend trip (did not bring a toad).  It allowed me to get a bit exercise and cruise the pits.  The other benefit was a way of getting to my station.  The track is pretty spread out and it is a long way to most of the corners.  Well, I rode the bike to my station in corner 6 thinking I was pretty smart.  However, as soon as I got on the bike to go to lunch, I found that the rear tire was flat.  Pueblo has a terrible problem with what I found to be “goathead thorns” (information here).  As I researched what the thorns were, I ran into several sites that talked about these thorns causing bicycle flats.  Supposedly I have torn proof tubes, but I guess they don't have a chance against these suckers.  To make matters worse, we tracked some into the bus and they really hurt when you step on them!!!  They even draw blood!!!

Saturday and Sunday I worked on corner 6. Compared to where I worked last time (corner 9) it had much less activity.   Like last time, we did have a car drop a bunch of oil on the track starting at our corner and going into corner 7.  The drivers seemed to heed the debris flag this time and did not have a problem.  We put some oil dry down between races and that took care of the problem.

As I said last time, being a corner worker is a mixed bag.  You are right on the track and get to observe some neat racing, but you are on your feet eight hours a day.  I used my scanner, with headphones, to monitor the control frequency, so I was quite informed about the race and the "inside" information.   Both Saturday and Sunday were hot (95 and 91 degrees).  They really treat the volunteer workers very well.  We wear all white and the racers go out of their way to thank us.   We get to go to the head of the line for a free lunch, and the special Saturday night barbeque.  AND they have a great selection of craft type beer!!!!

Pat likes to come down here.  Not so much for the races, but for the ability to “hide out” and get a lot of Stampin work done.  She has several activities over the next few weeks and this gave her the opportunity to put a big dent in the preparation work.

As we did last time, Sunday night we made the short (500 yard) trip out to the security area and spent the night on a nice flat dirt area overlooking Pueblo.  Awfully dry down here, but still pretty in a strange way.

That is all for now.