Posted by: harleyhawk43 | June 15, 2015

The Long Journey


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(For those of you who want to order our new book, “Hawk and Red Fox-Modern Day Gypsies”, go to the link above or below and choose either the full color version or the B&W. Here you will see the details of their first year as full time RVers in 2010/2011, as they traveled through 28 states and one Canadian province)-

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Special offer during the month of June! All book prices have been slashed by 27% (full color with close to 100 photos) to 40% (black and white versions). My books are also now available in e-book form on Kindle for only $6.49!

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Well, when we last posted it was from the Santa Monica area of Southern California in May. We had to cancel our Alaska trip due to a family emergency and head to southern California. Subsequent to that a decision was made for me to take the Wolfpack back to our home base in Marshfield Ma. while Red Fox stayed behind to deal with the emergency. Thus began a 9 day trek from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, hauling all of our belongings, including our two Harleys, two kayaks and two bicycles. The total laden weight in the trailer would top out around five tons even with all the waste and water tanks empty.

Just prior to departing, I had been camped at Castaic Lake in the San Gabriel Mountains, about 40 miles from Santa Monica. This was the only reasonably priced campground in the area that wasn’t already booked. Here are a few shots from that campground.

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There was hardly anyone else at the campground for the three days I was there. Anyway, on Thursday. June 5 I pulled out for the 3,000 mile trip back to Marshfield MA, which is our home base every summer. I knew it would be a tough trip, but had no idea how tough.My plan was to try and cover 350 miles per day, following Interstate 40 most of the way until I got to the Tennessee area. Then I would get on 81 north, 84 east and finally 90 east. Each night the lodging would be at Motel Walmart (leave the parking lot lights on for us!).

A typical Walmart Parking Lot is shown below. We always try to pick one at the end of the 350 mile range, close to the interstate and in a rural or suburban town (never in an urban area!). We always park with the door facing away from the store and on the furthest area from the store. There are usually other RVs there and so you have a mini campground each night. Each day, as you travel 350 miles at 10 mpg, you are spending over $100 on diesel fuel, so saving money on lodging is a welcome option, especially since you just need a quiet place to sleep and not “hookup” camping.

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Heading for Kingman Arizona that first day, I stopped in Needles CA to fuel up. While I was inside paying the nice attendant who had been fueling me up came to the door and said he had bad news and good news (don’t you hate it when that happens!). He gave me the bad news first. One of the leaf springs on the trailer had broken in half and the weight of the trailer was beginning to bear down on the tires. The good news was that they had everything there that was needed to repair it. So began what would prove to be a very costly repair but a very fortunate observation by this attendant. The entire process took about 2.5 hours and allowed me to get to my destination before dark. They also had to replace all 4 tires since several of them were developing troubling wear signs. Below are some shots of the new, heavy-duty suspension.

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Feeling much better, except for the big hole in my wallet, I continued on. Little did I know I would face another big challenge in another few days. Here is the list of stops and mileages for the time between this repair and the next one-

Day 2-Kingman AZ to Gallup N.M. 330 miles

Day 3-Gallup to Amarillo TX. 430 miles

Day 4-Amarillo to Henrietta OK. 348 miles

Day 5-Henrietta to Forrest City Arkansas 340 miles

Disaster strikes again! 

On Day 5, once again when fueling up, I noticed one of the Equalizer Bars on the trailer hitch mechanism was missing. Now this had happened several times before during previous trips, but only on very sharp turns in gas stations and the bar would always be right in the vicinity on the ground. Not this time though. The bar was nowhere in sight! There happened to be a repair garage nearby and I drove over to see if they could help. They found an RV repair shop 30 miles away that had equalizer bars and so off I went, with only one bar, driving at 40 mph to try and get there without further mishap. As luck would not have it, they did not have the bar I needed and even if they did I could not have used it. This was because the bar had worn right through the notch it seats in and that was why it fell off. I attributed this to the fishtailing the trailer had been doing in the high cross winds encountered in AZ, N.M. and TX.

What I had to do was purchase and have installed an entire new heavy-duty hitch mechanism. This took about an hour and put another big dent in the wallet. Again though, good fortune was with me, because in both cases there could have been catastrophic results if the issue hadn’t been noticed quickly.

Day 6-Forrest City to Rockwood TN. 393 miles

Day 7-Rockwood to Staunton VA.  379 miles

Day 8-Staunton to Metamoras PA. 380 miles

Day 9-Metamoras to Brant Rock MA! 270 miles

Below are a couple of pics from our home base. Many of you have seen Blackman’s before, but for our new readers/followers, Blackman’s Campground is right on the Atlantic Ocean in the Brant Rock section of Marshfield MA. It is one of the oldest campgrounds in the U.S. and situated on land granted to the ancestors of the current owners by King George of England.

P1200054IMG_20150612_165538_224

IMG_20140624_073140_918 (Pictured here is the campground back when everyone camped in tents.)

So, here we are, 5 years of full time RVing now under our belts. Decisions will have to be made this summer about future travels. “Wolfie” is now showing her age and if we intend to tour the western half of the U.S. anymore we are going to have to consider a newer RV, perhaps stationed out west, while Wolfie stays put here in Brant Rock.

Posted by: harleyhawk43 | May 29, 2015

Santa Monica Sojourn


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(For those of you who want to order our new book, “Hawk and Red Fox-Modern Day Gypsies”, go to the link above or below and choose either the full color version or the B&W. Here you will see the details of their first year as full time RVers in 2010/2011, as they traveled through 28 states and one Canadian province)-

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Special offer during the month of May! All book prices have been slashed by 27% (full color with close to 100 photos) to 40% (black and white versions). My books are also now available in e-book form on Kindle for only $6.49!

************************************************************************************************************************************************************

IMG_20150529_082420_345

Here you see the famous Santa Monica Pier, originally constructed in the early 1900s. It comes complete with a historical merry-go-round, amusement park, restaurants and gift shops. In it’s past history it also was the site of a famous ballroom dance emporium. I took a walk down there today and snapped the following scenes.

IMG_20150529_074324_687 IMG_20150529_074349_331 IMG_20150529_074418_437 IMG_20150529_074531_067 IMG_20150529_075540_873 IMG_20150529_080421_066 IMG_20150529_080729_700 IMG_20150529_080938_636

Not many people are aware, but the official end of the famous route 66 is at the Santa Monica Pier. The beginning is in Chicago.

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An additional little known fact is that the cartoon character Popeye was created using an actual fishing boat captain headquartered at S.M.P..Olaf Olsen was his name and he is pictured on the right in the photo below.

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Aragon Ballroom
Ocean Park, Santa Monica, California
The Aragon Ballroom on Lick Pier in the Ocean Park district of Santa Monica, California, was a social-dance venue opened under the Aragon name in March 1942 by Swing Shift dance promoter Harry Schooler.Here are some photographs of the pier and ballroom from the past.

LA_monica_Balroom LaMonica_Ballroom Lawrence Welk II Lawrence Welk Pleasure_Pier_Santa_Monica_1922 Santa_Monica_Pier_1923 SM_Municpal_Pier 19241927 Aragon Ballroom Ballroom fire

Posted by: harleyhawk43 | May 27, 2015

Packing up and heading to Ventura/Santa Monica


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(For those of you who want to order our new book, “Hawk and Red Fox-Modern Day Gypsies”, go to the link above or below and choose either the full color version or the B&W. Here you will see the details of their first year as full time RVers in 2010/2011, as they traveled through 28 states and one Canadian province)-

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Special offer during the month of May! All book prices have been slashed by 27% (full color with close to 100 photos) to 40% (black and white versions). My books are also now available in e-book form on Kindle for only $6.49!

************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Well, I had to pack up and leave Yakima WA and head to Southern CA on Friday, May 15, for personal reasons. I would join Red Fox there on May 19. The drive was 1200 miles and took 3 days with lots of steep upgrades and downgrades. I have finally mastered taking the truck out of Tow Haul mode and manually shifting down to use the engines compression on the downhills. This way you don’t have your RPMs going up too high and you only use your brakes sparingly. The goal is to keep your downhill speed between 40 and 50 and your RPMs under 3000, tapping your brakes only if you start to exceed 50.

Unfortunately we have had to cancel our Alaska adventure. Attached are some of the highlights of the solo flight last week. We will be in the southern California area for a few weeks and then hopefully head home to Massachusetts. Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day Weekend and looking forward to a great summer!

The drive along the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side, westbound on 84.

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The drive down route 5 through Oregon and into northern California, with Mount Shasta the main highlight.

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Posted by: harleyhawk43 | May 21, 2015

Riding to Mount Rainier


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(For those of you who want to order our new book, “Hawk and Red Fox-Modern Day Gypsies”, go to the link above or below and choose either the full color version or the B&W. Here you will see the details of their first year as full time RVers in 2010/2011, as they traveled through 28 states and one Canadian province)-

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Special offer during the month of May! All book prices have been slashed by 27% (full color with close to 100 photos) to 40% (black and white versions). My books are also now available in e-book form on Kindle!

************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Tuesday I took a solo motorcycle ride from our campground in Yakima Washington to the Mount Rainier area. It was about 150 miles round trip and the scenery was fantastic. When I got to Chinook Pass, there was still a goodly amount of snow on the ground, off the highway. The trees were beautiful and were “Old Growth” Ponderosa Pines and Douglas Firs. They were almost as impressive as the Redwoods we saw in 2011 in Northern CA. I was not able to see Mt. Rainier because it was socked in with clouds. It is the highest peak in WA (I believe around 11,000 feet). Below are some photos and a couple of the best video clips.

(Our Alaska trip has been postponed indefinitely due to a family emergency.)

Mount Rainier photos

IMG_20150519_140429_748 IMG_20150519_140453_180 IMG_20150519_140553_894 IMG_20150519_140946_745

Yakima Canyon-Big Pines Campground photos

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Mt. Rainier Video Clips

Posted by: harleyhawk43 | May 11, 2015

Hang Gliding and Motorcycle Riding


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(For those of you who want to order our new book, “Hawk and Red Fox-Modern Day Gypsies”, go to the link above or below and choose either the full color version or the B&W. Here you will see the details of their first year as full time RVers in 2010/2011, as they traveled through 28 states and one Canadian province)-

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Special offer during the month of May! All book prices have been slashed by 27% (full color with close to 100 photos) to 40% (black and white versions).

Here are a few Video clips of some Hang Gliding near our campground in Washoe State Park in Nevada and some motorcycle riding from here to Lake Tahoe and Placerville CA. Route 50 west from Tahoe to Placerville was magnificent.

Hang Gliding

Cruising

Only The Shadow Knows (Follow the Shadow)

Posted by: harleyhawk43 | May 6, 2015

Return to Lake Tahoe


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(For those of you who want to order our new book, “Hawk and Red Fox-Modern Day Gypsies”, go to the link above or below and choose either the full color version or the B&W. Here you will see the details of their first year as full time RVers in 2010/2011, as they traveled through 28 states and one Canadian province)-

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Special offer during the month of May! All book prices have been slashed by 27% (full color with close to 100 photos) to 40% (black and white versions).

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A few of the best video clips from our Lake Tahoe ride yesterday. We were there in 2012 and it was great being able to go again.

The long uphill from Carson City to Tahoe

One of the many views as we drive around the lake

Posted by: harleyhawk43 | May 1, 2015

South Fork Reservoir Campground-Elko Nevada


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(For those of you who want to order our new book, “Hawk and Red Fox-Modern Day Gypsies”, go to the link above or below and choose either the full color version or the B&W. Here you will see the details of their first year as full time RVers in 2010/2011, as they traveled through 28 states and one Canadian province)-

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Special offer during the month of May! All book prices have been slashed by 27% (full color with close to 100 photos) to 40% (black and white versions).

************************************************************************

Well, here we are in the Elko Nevada area at a Nevada State Park called South Fork. It sits right on the South Fork Reservoir and is well stocked with trout and bass. We arrived here Monday and will leave this Monday, as we continue moving North towards British Columbia for the beginning of our Alaska adventure. Below are some pictures of the campground and the lake.

SAM_2634 SAM_2635 SAM_2636 SAM_2640 SAM_2643 SAM_2644 SAM_2658 SAM_2663 SAM_2664 SAM_2665 SAM_2666 SAM_2667 SAM_2668 SAM_2669 SAM_2680

Posted by: harleyhawk43 | April 25, 2015

Antelope Island-Syracuse Utah


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(For those of you who want to order our new book, “Hawk and Red Fox-Modern Day Gypsies”, go to the link above or below and choose either the full color version or the B&W. Here you will see the details of their first year as full time RVers in 2010/2011, as they traveled through 28 states and one Canadian province)-

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Special offer during the month of April! You will be sent a 1/2 hour DVD of our famous ride through Bear Tooth Highway in Montana/Wyoming at 11,000 feet and 30 foot snowbanks on our Harleys for every book ordered through the link above.

BookCoverImage 3

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Today, after about a week in recovery mode (see Capital Reef post), we drove out to Antelope Island which is located in The Great Salt Lake, north of Salt Lake City Utah. This island is 15 miles long and 4.5 miles wide at it’s widest point. It is a Utah State Park and has herds of antelope and American Bison (buffalo). We can actually see it from our campsite in Tooele, but had to drive 60 miles to get to it. It is connected to the mainland at a town called Syracuse. We took the truck because heavy showers were predicted. We saw no antelope, but plentY of bison and one giant jack rabbit with huge ears. The island is absolutely beautiful and has primitive campsites for $15/night. We highly recommend it for anyone in this area.

For those of you not familiar with The Great Salt Lake, it is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi. It is currently 75 miles long by 28 miles wide but formerly was much larger, when it was known as Lake Bonneville. Four rivers flow into the lake, but since it has no drainages, water onlY leaves through evaporation. Thus many minerals are left behind, making it inhabitable for most fish. Brine Shrimp, brine flies and algae thrive in it and this in turn supports many migratory birds. It is one of the most important migratory bird sites in North America.

Below are some shots we were able to get today on my Smart Phone (forgot my camera!).

IMG_20150425_115633_088 IMG_20150425_115638_439 IMG_20150425_121111_849 IMG_20150425_121122_104 IMG_20150425_121918_723 IMG_20150425_122710_282IMG_20150425_122722_889 IMG_20150425_123002_994 IMG_20150425_123023_703 IMG_20150425_123029_617 IMG_20150425_132503_740 IMG_20150425_132516_334IMG_20150425_133127_784 IMG_20150425_133137_241 IMG_20150425_133144_992 IMG_20150425_133226_198 IMG_20150425_133232_233 IMG_20150425_133236_866 IMG_20150425_133345_242 IMG_20150425_133404_893

Posted by: harleyhawk43 | April 21, 2015

Near Disaster in Capital Reef Area


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(For those of you who want to order our new book, “Hawk and Red Fox-Modern Day Gypsies”, go to the link above or below and choose either the full color version or the B&W. Here you will see the details of their first year as full time RVers in 2010/2011, as they traveled through 28 states and one Canadian province)-

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Special offer during the month of April! You will be sent a 1/2 hour DVD of our famous ride through Bear Tooth Highway in Montana/Wyoming at 11,000 feet and 30 foot snowbanks on our Harleys for every book ordered through the link above.

BookCoverImage 3

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Greetings once more! When last we posted, we were getting ready to depart the Moab/Arches/Canyon Land area after a great 10 day stay there at a B.L.M. camping area on the Colorado. The day before leaving we spent preparing to move (loading motorcycles, generators, kayaks, bicycles etc.) and checking all systems (tire pressures, oil, coolant etc.). This usually takes about 4 to 5 hours and then we like to relax and leave early the following day. Everything was going according to schedule with the usual verbal skirmishes and we finished up the preparations around 1 p.m.. We had heard a high wind warning, but hadn’t paid a lot of attention to it.I had just taken a shower and was relaxing in the sun still wrapped in a bath towel when a gust of about 50 m.p.h. drove a huge cloud of red sandstone dust all over the campground and into our trailer which still had the back ramp open after loading the Hogs. When Red Fox got done laughing at me covered with red dust, she realized the entire inside of the trailer was filled with dust and hastened to close the ramp and windows.

Things went downhill from there! After cleaning up the mess, we lit the campfire, but couldn’t really enjoy sitting out because of the continuing high winds. (Later we would find out that our Kennybunk friends, John and Mary, had been driven out of their Lake Powell camp, along with the camp host. Strong winds were prevalent throughout the entire area). The next morning we left, as planned, and headed to our next National Park, Capital Reef. Because we had such poor internet in Moab, we had not really absorbed the weather for that day and the next day nor, foolishly, had we checked what the altitude was at C.R..

Anyway, about an hour into the trip, as we began to descend and ascend some steep grades, the dreaded wrench light came on. Now you need to understand that the wrench light is different than the check engine light. While the check engine problem can usually diagnosed readily by the Ford service people, the wrench light is a different animal. One never knows what’s wrong until you hook up the computer and run a diagnostic. We immediately lost power and having great difficulty climbing the steep grades (20 mph instead of the usual 40 mph). We limped along for at least 50 or 60 miles in the middle of nowhere before coming to a town called Hanksville. Here we fueled up and got ready to try and reach the nearest Ford dealer (about 100 miles away). Lo and behold, hallelujah, when we started the truck the wrench light did not come on and the truck ran normally or close to it. We were immensely relieved as we had had the usual visions of engines blowing up, huge repair bill and so on.

The remainder of the trip was fairly pleasant, although we could tell the temperature was dropping and dark clouds were hanging over the mountain tops. Finally we arrived at C.R., but there were no campsites available. We were prepared for this eventuality and went to Plan B. Plan B is always to look for a private campground that isn’t too pricey. We soon found one in Torrey UT and hooked up for the night. It had been spitting snow but we were so tired we didn’t pay much attention. It was nice to have full hookups and we soon settled in for the night with electricity, water and sewer. Life was good or so we thought. During the night I got up to use the bathroom and found no water running when I flushed. This was not good and back came all the stress of the day in full force. There was nothing we could do, except keep the heat on and wait. for the morning.

SAM_2599 SAM_2600 SAM_2601SAM_2602SAM_2603SAM_2606

In the morning we awoke to heavy, wet, constant snow with about 2 inches on the grassy areas and learned that the temperature had bottomed out around 18 F. We had the electric and propane heat on all night with the cabinet doors open under the sinks but were still very nervous about water freeze-ups. Master Plumber/Mechanic Hawk went out into the Arctic conditions after breakfast, armed with a hair dryer and set about trying to thaw out the water hose connected to the trailer and the campground water supply. After about an hour of working on it I was able to disconnect both ends and then melt the ice inside the hose. There was some ice in the trailer connection where the water enters the trailer lines, but I didn’t pay too much attention to it. I was more concerned about the 10 gallons of water we had carried in our fresh water tank and worried that might have frozen in it’s tank under the trailer.

After thawing out the water hose, I tried reconnecting, but no water was able to flow into the trailer. I then concluded that some ice may have entered the trailer lines and might be blocking them. So, I took the hair dryer inside and blasted hot air under both cabinets to no avail. Reconciling ourselves to the fact we would have no water until we arrived in warmer climes, we entertained ourselves for the rest of the day with constant heavy snow and temperatures only reaching 29 F. I continued to worry about possible serious damage to the water lines. Luckily we had plenty of heat, a laundry room and a shower room. Waking up the next day to continuing snow and miserable weather, we decided to forget about C.R. and head towards Salt Lake City. Fox checked the weather and S.L.C. promised much better conditions. After cleaning about 4 inches of snow off the truck and warming it up, we pulled out with continuing serious concerns.

IMG_20150417_111007_564 IMG_20150417_111019_567IMG_20150417_111027_476

Now we faced snowy roads and a steep descent from C.R. down into S.L.C. It continued to snow and we were forced to keep our speed down to 20 mph on the steep grades. Meanwhile The Fox scouted out campgrounds near S.L.C. and we scored one in Tooele (two-Ella), about 1.2 hour west of S.L.C.. It was basically a dirt parking lot with RV connections behind a motel and next to a huge Flying J truck stop. We still, however, had no water. So we called our trusty RV service guy in Rhode Island, Rocking Rick (he has his own rock band). He immediately analysed the problem as being a cracked plastic insert in the water fitting where the water enters the trailer and told us we could fix it easily. We went and got the fitting, Master Plumber Hawk replaced it and we were back in business. Additionally, we tested the fresh water tank and pump and it too was fine. We were ecstatic. Two near disasters and both turned out fine. One $18 part and my expertise and we were up and running.

That was last Friday. It is now Tuesday, April 21 and we are finally stress free and enjoying life again. Hard lessons learned and filed away. Some pictures (and maybe videos) attached.

Our current digs in Tooele. We will stay here at least a week before heading to Elko in northern Nevada.

SAM_2607 SAM_2608 SAM_2609 SAM_2610

Posted by: harleyhawk43 | April 16, 2015

Zion Revisited


Before we leave Zion totally behind, here are a couple of more video clips from when we were in Zion. One is another Angel’s Landing Hike clip and the other is another motorcycling clip from the fabulous ride into Zion from the north. Enjoy!

But first a word from our sponsor-

http://www.nstarsolutions.com/store/home.php?provider=harleyhawk

(For those of you who want to order our new book, “Hawk and Red Fox-Modern Day Gypsies”, go to the link above or below and choose either the full color version or the B&W. Here you will see the details of their first year as full time RVers in 2010/2011, as they traveled through 28 states and one Canadian province)-

http://www.nstarsolutions.com/store/home.php?provider=harleyhawk

Special offer during the month of April! You will be sent a 1/2 hour DVD of our famous ride through Bear Tooth Highway in Montana/Wyoming at 11,000 feet and 30 foot snowbanks on our Harleys for every book ordered through the link above.

BookCoverImage 3

************************************************************************

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