The Adventures of Me & My Shadow #20 in NE, SD, WY & MT 8/13/98
From Great Falls, MT, Hi Everyone! After the last letter was sent I met with my old friends in Coleridge and added some more E-mail addresses and met a new friend, a very interesting Englishman from Whales. He tried to pass himself off as an American, when I noticed his accent I asked where he was from, he named off a lot of places in the U.S. where he had worked. He finally admitted that he had served in the RAF in his younger days and had retired from a career spent in the USA. David Brooks met and married Janice Anderson (a Coleridge girl) in Phoenix, AZ. They are now retired and living in Coleridge. Also met some new friends from Maine that camped next to me in the park the day before I left, Louie is retired Army and they have been full timing in a 5th wheel trailer for three years, he has a hotmail e-mail address so we can keep in touch and see if our paths cross again.
Had my defibrillator checked in Sioux Falls, every thing was OK, Will have it checked in Salisbury, MD next time. My computer has been sick since I came up from Texas, I checked and found the vent fan for the power supply was not running. I went to a computer junk yard in Sioux Falls and found a fan for $7 that will work till I can find a more powerful one. Came home and installed it and got the computer doing what it is supposed to do. Next day I went out to the shop were I used to work and changed the oil and greased my Shado, I got a starter solenoid & fuel filter when on the way to Sioux Falls and planed to put them on but decided to wait till after I talk it over with the experts at the next Motorhome convention.
Started this trip with a short leg to my cousin Elno & Barb Kinkaid's place (Elno is brother to the Texas Comish. and the Space Shuttle toilet engineer). Before I got there the motorhome got very sick and complained loudly. It acted and sounded like the transmission was slipping the loud noise was caused when the left muffler came off the header. It didn't want to run fast or clime hills so I knew it was sick. Got to Elno's OK and he took me into Wausa, NE and I talked to a shop about removing the tranny and sending it to a tranny shop in Norfolk for rebuilding, said it could cost me $1,000 to $2,000. I talked to the shop in Norfolk about driving it there, If I had to, I figured I could drive it in second gear. They advised towing it or have a local shop remove the tranny and deliver it to them. No one could work on it right away so it looked like my trip to Edmonton, AB Canada was off. I spent the night at Elno's and they taught me a new card game called "Sequence", even let me win a couple times.
Next day I carefully drove my Shado into Wausa where Don & Elaine Wakeley live and told them they were going to have to put up with me for a week or more. I spent a week with them a year ago last February, Don was my driver when I had my defibrillator implanted and we came home in a blizzard, got to his place and had to wait for the roads to be opened before going further. Next day I drove the left wheels of my Shado up on the curb, got down in the gutter and installed a new muffler that I had with me, also installed the new fuel filter. Road tested it and now that it was quiet I was able to concentrate and was watching the tachometer and was very happy to see that the transmission was not slipping but the new fuel filter didn't do a thing for the ailment effecting my Shadow, she was still sick and would not run fast or pull hard. I found the problem when I opened the distributor and found the mechanical advance was stuck. I had used WD40 to free it and lubricate it not too long ago at Jeff & Alexis' place so I guess WD 40 is not a good lube for the distributor. I worked some GP oil into it and freed it, road tested it and now she again likes to run fast and pull hard. When I get back to MD next month I'll take the distributor apart and lubricate it with some high temp. grease that I use. The trip to Edmonton was back on, I e-mailed Hank & Remmy And he advised me that they were having a family reunion and would be available to visit after the 18th so that is where I plan to be. Will have time for a short visit before checking into the motorhome convention at Hope, BC Canada on the 24rd.
Told Gus to plan the trip to Ellsworth AFB near Rapid City, SD, the fast way took me 40 miles out of the way so I asked for the shortest way. These short ways can be quite an adventure and that is what this one was, one short stretch of local road in NE would be a disaster if it rained. Got on a local road in SD and I was about to cuss Gus when I started to notice the birds. The road was terrible, had to go slow and this turned out to be an enjoyable trip. This local road was in range country and I saw birds that I thought were extinct since chemicals were introduced in the farming country were I lived. I saw Hawks and Falcons and Meadowlarks by the hundreds. If I had been driving fast I would have killed some of them as they flew up right in front of my Shado. There was no other traffic, for 30 miles I was all alone. This would be a bird watchers paradise. Thanks Gus for this adventure. Just think, all of you people out there who don't use GPS navigation, you never get to see these roads, they are not on your maps.
Got to Ellsworth AFB and checked into a very nice RV Park. On the way up here I thought about the Air Born Museum in Texas when I saw signs telling me to see the South Dakota Air & Space Museum they didn't say just what kind of air was on display and who wants to set and stare at space. Well the museum was on the left just before I come through the AFB gate. Saw lots of aircraft & rockets so will have to take it in, looks like the air & space is all occupied. Met a lot of interesting people in the RV park, I would just ask a couple questions, then set back and listen to the stories. I joined the USAF Frequent Camper Club and now have a book that lists all Military Posts that have RV Parks. I can spend two days for the low price of one day.
Got up early 8/12/98 and headed to Helena, MT to see if I could locate an old Navy friend from 1943/44, I had last visited him several years ago. On the way I picked up two different interesting hitch hikers. The first one was out in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming, he was about my age, from somewhere in Europe, I never could make out the name of the country he was from. He gave up trying to get me to understand his name, he finally said "complicated" so that is what I called him. He was seeing the USA for the first time and asked me lots of questions about what he was seeing. I found out he had been in the Merchant Marine in his younger days and was retired from the construction trade, had two children, one was in the USA the other was in Europe. He was with me for about a 150 miles and then said "I take break now, here". We were again in the middle of nowhere, but I let him out and went on. I guess he couldn't take it all in through the windshield. The other hitchhiker was at an entrance ramp on I 90 in Montana, said he had been there for three days, wanted to go to Sioux Falls but wanted me to take him west to a truck stop to try his luck there. Russ had lots of stories to tell, had been an alcoholic but hadn't had a drink in ten years, had also been homeless for ten years. Said he told a cop yesterday that he wished he could lay down right there an die. Maybe I'll have room in another letter to tell you the sad stories he told about living without a home. I gave him a few bucks when I let him out and wished him well.
Couldn't find my buddy in Helena so headed on up to Malmstrom Air Force Base RV Park checked in for two days for $8. Looked in the phone book for Don & Elaine's daughter here in Great Falls, MT but didn't find it, should had gotten her phone no. from them. I'll get on the net here at the library and contact them to get it and send this letter then head for Canada.
Till next time, Dallas or Dad if it fits. 8/13/98

Back to Directory