The Adventures of Me & My Shadow # 87 in ID, WY, NE, SD, IA, MO, IL, IN. KY, WV, VA & MD 6/16/2003

3,100 miles this trip. Odometer now 39,641, miles this year 6,179.

From MD, Hi Everyone!

When I got to Dave & Rita’s place in Maridian, ID my laptop computer started acting up and it was coming apart from the many miles in the motorhome. It was not made for the rough treatment it gets sitting right over the front axle and traveling 10,000 to 30,000 miles every year acting as my navigator. I decided to get a new one, after looking them over and listening to the sales pitches I chose the Hewlett-Packard Model # ze4325us. The screen is a little larger and much brighter than the old one. It is a little lighter and a whole lot faster than the old one. It uses Windows XP, the old one uses Windows 98, and this is my problem. It reminded me that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I was getting by with Windows 98, I can’t get XP to do what I want it to do, it seems to have a mind of it’s own. Dave can make either one of them do stuff I never dreamed of but this new one keeps disobeying me. The old one will generally do what I tell it to do, but now with my memory all gone I can’t remember what to do to make it do what I want it to do.

The weather has warmed up a little and the price of fuel was $1.599 when I first got to Boise, it then went to $1.579, then $1.559 I am now planning to head east tomorrow and it is down to $1.539 most places but it looks like I can fill up at Flying-J for $1.439 and I get a cent off of that if I take more than 20 gallon. I hope I get a good warm west wind all the way to Sioux Falls.

The trip to Sioux Falls turned out real well, almost unbelievable. I had told Gus to take the short way, as the quick way would have been about 400 miles further on Interstates all the way. He had me on US20 & US26 until we went a few miles into NE where he sent me north in to SD and then east on State roads to Sioux Falls.

It started out from Boise with good weather and I topped off my fuel tanks with $1.409 gas (the lowest price in town. The next time I needed gas I found it for $1.479, again the lowest price in town. I had not seen a lower price all the way across ID. The best part came in Wyoming the next time I needed gas, I found it for $1.329. After that my luck slipped a little and as I came east I see clouds gathering up ahead, I caught up with it after dark. There was a whole lot of lightning and I caught up with the rain on a stretch of road being repaired. It was very rough and there was a whole lot of shaking going on, after the rough road I was getting tired, it was still raining and when I came to a rest area I decided to get some rest. I parked next to a flag pole and the flag showed that I had a tail wind, those little voices started arguing, the first one reminded me that I was never to stop to sleep when there was a tail wind. The other one reminded me that if I fall asleep behind the wheel I will become a statistic and I would never need a tail wind again. I took a short nap, when I woke up, the rain had stopped, and so had the tail wind. I was ahead of schedule so I decided to wait for daylight. I woke up at daybreak and I saw by the flag that I had my tailwind back.

It was in ID on US26 where Gus wanted me take a shortcut when US26 loops way down south and comes back north in WY. It would have cut several miles off but I used this shortcut going west several years ago. Jenny was with me; we had been to Yellowstone Park headed to Boise. When we got to Jackson Hole, WY she was looking in the Road Atlas and she pointed out a shortcut. I took it, and soon found that it goes to a very high elevation in a very short distance. I remember being up on the side of a mountain in low gear with the pedal to the metal barely moving, on a narrow road with no guard rails and no place to turn around.

There were snow-capped mountains to the east so I wanted no part of that shortcut. I found that US26 uses the longer distance to take us up to 9,662 feet with 2 to 3 feet of snow on each side of the road, and much road repair where there had been rockslides. I don’t think I would have found the shortcut open and no place to turnaround. I refused another of Gus’s shortcuts on fairly level ground when US26 looped south to Riverton, WY and came back north. It would have cut off a few miles but I was getting low on fuel and at a pit-stop I asked about the price of gas to the east. The price was running from $1.40+ to $1.60, I was informed that if I could make it to Riverton, WY I would find cheaper gas, so the shortcut to avoid Riverton was out. I thought it was some kind of a mistake, when the first station I came to in Riverton had $1.329 posted for unleaded. It must be two years since I have seen it that low, when I got to Sioux Falls its back up to $1.40+ to $1.60, and Gus wanted me to by-pass Riverton.

These Sioux Falls Hospitals are fantastic, at most hospitals it is hard at times to find a place to park a car and to park a motorhome is unheard of. Sioux Valley Hospital where I had my by-pass surgery in 1990, there are places for (I believe it’s six) to park RVs with electric hookups. When I got here to this new South Dakota Heart Hospital a day and 1/2 early for my appointment, I asked about parking the motorhome and was informed there is room for two RVs around back with electric hookups. I understand they just finished wiring it this spring, I guess they knew I would need a place to park. I asked about a public phone and she pointed to a desk with a phone on it, I used the phone with my calling card to check in with the kids and I see an extra phone jack where I could plug in my laptop computer and read my e-mail.

My Doctors appointment went well and I learned some more about the surgeon in AZ who implanted the new defibrillator. Doc. Olson checked the new defib. And was asking questions about the new incision that was made in AZ. Before he told me what was wrong he had another surgeon look at it. The other surgeon looked at it and explained to me that they should have reopened the old vertical incision instead of making a horizontal incision across it. That was why it still is not completely healed.

The trip south did not go well. When I got to northeast NE some of the people I wanted to visit were out of town or had other commitments. I didn’t have time to wait for them so I thought I could come back after the GMC Rally in Bowling Green, KY. After the rally in KY I looked at the distance and figured the cost and decided not to go back to northeast NE. Besides the Power Master Brake booster failed when I got to Gladstone, MO and I drove to MD with no power assist on the brakes. It ain’t nice but I managed to make it without rear-ending anyone. I ordered a rebuilt Power Master Unit from AutoZone in Salisbury, MD and should have it installed by the time I send this Adventure Story.

I witnessed two miracles at the rally in Bowling Green, KY, the first one involved my hearing. It was impossible for me to understand anything that was said. The acoustics in the building were terrible and the sound system made it worse. The second miracle involved a little five year old girl. I could not understand what was said when her grandfather introduced her and lifted her up to the stage and gave her a microphone. She put the microphone up to her lips and started to sing the national anthem. The first word, God, was very loud and her grandfather reached up and moved the microphone a little way as she continued to sing. I could hear and understand every word she sang. Her rendition was perfect. In my 78 years I have never heard it sung better by anyone. I wished I had a video camera to record it. I know I will never hear it sung that well again.

In talking to her grandfather I understand her mother is a singer, I would say she is also a very good teacher.

Till next time, Dallas or Dad if it fits.

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