Thursday, September 29, 2011


After destroying our aluminum wheels by hitting a piece of angle iron, we looked at our sad looking wheels there on the side of interstate 94, and thought, holey schizzle, where will we ever find replacements !

We limped into a nearby station where they put on our spare, sold us a new tire and a used wheel, and we were on our way again, but, without a spare.

The propane line to our refrigerator had been cut, so we turned the refrigerator off and kept the door shut. We drove straight on through to the sugar beet harvest where we had full hookups. Arriving about midnight, we immediately hooked up to electricity so the refrigerator would be working again.

In between working the pre pile, we made repairs in the order of most immediate need. Getting the propane restored was high on that list so that Betty could cook, etc..

Since we were to be here for weeks, the wheel and tires could wait to last. Today I finally located replacement wheels that matched the others and got them ordered.

Locating the wheels wasn’t a easy chore. I searched on line catalogs diligently, without results.

Here is what our size, bolt pattern and design looks like.


Once I started from the other end, the manufacturer’s end, it started going better.

A few calls later I was talking to Scott at Trailer wheels and tires .com, here is a link to their website.

Though the wheel wasn’t on their website, Scott took a look at the photo I sent him and within minutes he had found them in their warehouse !

Wow, talk about service ! I have logged their website into favorites for future reference. Hey, you know how it goes, you just can’t tell when you might come across a piece of angle iron in the highway.

Thanks to Scott, we are nearing the end of our repairs.

We think that we would like to upgrade our tires from eight ply to ten ply. We have found a source for them in a National chain that will fix our flats for free. More on that later.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


When the tires blew, the large heavy steel belted treads separated and hit the under belly skin, tearing it loose. Here it is all hanging down.


The factory had already cut into the skin and stitched it back together. I just duplicated their process to put the belly skin back in place. Here is a look before sealing it up with a caulking gun.


I will wipe the belly skin with alcohol to clean it so that the sealant will adhere well.

Here is a look at the factory’s ty wrap stitching and sealing up job looks like.


As you can see, the process makes a strong, well sealed repair.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


There is a wonderful scenic loop through the Black Hills. It is the red circle in the photo below. Click for a larger view.


Note that there is a shortcut across the circle that will let you cut across the Custer State Park. It is the black line in the middle that is labeled 16a.

A half mile up the road there is a manned check point that requires you to pay $15 for another one of those annual permits, just to travel the ten miles of road one time. We decided to continue on around the loop the longer way.

The longer way gave us a look at lots of wild life and was an enjoyable drive.


Click to make photo larger and you can see that this mother mountain goat has twins.


There were quite a few Buffalo roaming freely .


Signs along the roadside warn motorists that buffalo and bighorn sheep have the right of way.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


They call it an annual permit.


They know and we know, that we will only be here for the day, and need to park one time only. To call it a annual parking permit and charge $11, is thinly disguised fraud for a couple of hours parking. It is sad to think that a government agency is willing to damage public trust so readily.

You would think that a National monument would be a place of honor and trust, that is available for all to view at a reasonable cost and be free from deception that is designed to gather our dollars.

Monday, September 19, 2011


While sightseeing around the area near Mount Rushmore, we had a great campsite at a nearby lake. Here is a look.


Tired from sight seeing we slept soundly beside the lake.


Our length, pulling double, required some thought before pulling in and out.


Sun rise and we are getting ready for another dose of road !

Friday, September 16, 2011


Trouble out on the highway can come in many forms. Our trouble was tires. It happened suddenly.

We were in the left lane running 65, passing a string of vehicles that were coming out onto interstate 90 from a on ramp.

Vehicles in our lane ahead of us didn’t swerve to miss it, so some one may have hit it. Yet after the dust settled, we were the only ones on the side of the highway with trouble.

Though I only got a glimpse of it, it looked like a piece of angle iron in our lane of travel. As it disappeared under our tow vehicle we heard a clang sound , like maybe a tire had clipped it. Then a loud boomBOOM as two trailer tires blew almost at the same time.

As the debris started to fly up in the air, the cars in the right lane fell back, and we went quickly to the shoulder. Total elapsed time from boom to stopped on the shoulder, maybe as much as 35 to 40 seconds.

Here is a look at the end result.




Propane line to the hot water heater.


Belly skin and wires hanging down.


Spare put on, used wheel and new tire put on.


Leak in propane line repaired. A few ty wraps to put the belly skin back in place, then, on to the sugar beet harvest !

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Highway 16a that goes into Keystone SD from the South East is a scenic route and a engineering marvel, that will delight and amaze those traveling it. 16a curves, turns, plunges and loops over and beneath it’s self as it twists it’s way through the most amazing tunnels and bridges.



Our visit to the Black Hills National Monument was a pleasure that we always enjoy, with a couple of exceptions.


We had been to Mt. Rushmore before and were looking forward to our visit.


As we strolled out into the beautiful flag lined walk, we were astonished to see a gaggle of raucous street vendors  hawking their food cart’s wares. It was sadly obscene and totally out of place.

We expect that kind of blatant commercialism in holiday resort settings, read that as “tourist traps”, but not at a National Monument. It makes one wonder where the chase for a dollar will lead to. Will we soon see vendors on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial ?

Hey Memorial managers, this experience is about honoring our Nations founders, not hawking a cheeseburger ! This is such a “sacred ground” kind of a place that I am reminded of the time that Jesus ran the peddlers out of the temple. The managers might refresh their memory on those verses and apply them here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


That’s “On The Road Again”. We gotter’ on our minds. The train is starting to come together. Here is a look.


Mechanical, electrical and safety connections are made and re checked.


Tie downs are in place.


Auxiliary lighting installed and hooked up.


Here is the look from the back end.

Mountain passes, grades and serpentine loops, mean extra cabinet security is in order.


Keeping the books in the bookcase.


Keeping the canned goods in the pantry.

OTRA, yep, it’s gona’ happen ! Were a’ headin’ fer’ the sugar beet harvest !

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Before leaving out to North Dakota and the sugar beet harvest, a check of all fluids, filters, and tire pressures, is in order. Here is what I found.


After removing the air filter to inspect it,


I discovered a few large seeds that had been


Hidden in the air intake where it comes through the truck’s grille. Our Ford dually has mostly sat for the months that we have been in the Rocky Mountains. Luckily the filter had caught the seeds and they were easy to vacuum out of the intake where they would have reduced air flow and increased fuel consumption. At our first fuel stop I will open the housing up and vacuum out any more seeds that work their way up to the filter.


Our small, rechargeable vacuum makes quick work of  this chore.

Yup, we are getting close to OTRA time. ( On The Road Again ).