Monday, May 22, 2017

More in Boise

Sunday we drove in to look at the capitol.  We figured (correctly) that there would be less traffic on a Sunday morning than during the week.  Here is the dome and the columns out front.

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The top of the dome from inside.

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On the basement floor there are many informative things to read about the history of the state.  We found this to be amusing.  One wonders how they determined which Indians were to be disenfranchised, and were there that many Mongolians that they needed to be kept out of the voting pool.  In 1890 the LDS gave up plural marriage, and Idaho gave them the vote in 1895.

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Isn’t that a beautiful thing?  I love old stuff that still works.

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Boise has commisioned public art on their utility boxes.  The painting does add a touch of cheer to the sidewalks.

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After the capitol we walked down to the Basque Block.  The Basques are an interesting people.  Their language is completely distinct from all other languages.  Many of them migrated to this part of the country and worked herding sheep and cattle.  Boarding houses were built for the men to live in during the winter.  This is one of the two surviving buildings.  The block “preserves the Basque heritage” with a number of restaurants and a museum.  You can read more here.

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This was a surprising marquee.

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We drove out the other side of Boise in search of dry sections of the greenway.  There is a really cool stretch of amazing homes in south east Boise.

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This one is for sale.

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Still wet!  There is a work around to this section of water, other than riding through it.  This is pretty far from the RV park, so it’s doubtful we would drive out this far to get on the other side of the water.

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Today we rode up to the Eagle Bike Park.  As is so often the case, our conception of what constitutes a green trail is different from the person’s who colored the maps.  Trails are very hard packed dirt, with some sand.  There are ruts from water run off.  In most places the single track is wide enough.  There was one hillside traverse I declined because it was too narrow and too side hill.  The trails are steep.  There was a fair amount of hike a bike.  The initial pitch up was about 18%.  We decided to look at this less as peaceful riding through scenic vistas and more like weight lifting.

The first time we came down the hillside, Jim decided to ride a “green” downhill course.  Hah!  Double HAH HAH HAH!  He had to dismount three times because it was so steep.  At one point he could feel his back wheel coming up, so stepping off seemed prudent.  He also flushed some sort of large bird from the bushes.  I went down the 18% section (with jumpy things) and that was sufficiently thrilling.

See the jump mid photo?  We ended up approaching that from the bottom on a different trail and riding down under the jump.  It’s the Stormin' Mormon trail.  The bottom half is fun, it’s bermed, and the jumps are not extreme.

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Looking up from the parking lot – key word is up.  Given the topography of the land, and where the open space is, it’s all going to be up.

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The new Dish receiver was supposed to be here Friday, today at the latest.  I called last Tuesday to verify it was in transit and was told that it was.  So I called today to inquire since it did not arrive.  IT NEVER SHIPPED.  The technical support person just did not order it.  The person who verified it was on the way Tuesday flat out lied to me. When talking to them today, a little bit of anger leaked out of my voice, maybe just a touch.  We don’t have that many more days here, and the people who do installs are really busy. We may end up having to take it with us to Oregon and getting it installed there.  We have an over complicated system that has a/b boxes and wires going everywhere and I do not want to touch anything in the cabinet.

My ear is better.  When I push up from the underside, I don’t hear fluid moving around.  The pops and crackles have stopped, as have the momentary periods of being deaf.  So, perhaps there is progress.  I am back to showering with the ear plug AND the plastic cup over my ear, trying to keep it dry.

So, that’s it from Boise.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

In Boise

The drive from Brigham City to Boise is pretty in places.  It’s all freeway.  It’s a long drive, but there’s no drama.

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There’s one little climb, which got us high enough to see snow and fog.

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Eventually, you come back down into mass agriculture.

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It’s good that we came to Boise.  It’s a larger city with better medical people.  The two treatments of Gentian Violet did exactly nothing for the fungus. I was able to see a physician’s assistant in an ENT office who spent time suctioning out my ear and then dusting it with steroid/anti-fungal/drying agent powder.  That was yesterday.  It’s better today, but it’s still wet in there.  I’m supposed to go back again next Friday, but I may go sooner.  This really needs to be resolved before it makes its way into the middle ear.

One of the reasons we came to Boise was to ride the Boise Greenway.  It’s under water!  There is so much run off from the mountains that they’re having to release a lot of water.  This is a low point in the trail.

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The river is running really fast. 

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This is the entry to an RV park along side the river.  The park is dry, but there’s a lot of standing water.

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We are liking Boise so far – but it’s early days.  Today we rode on the road, it’s hilly here!  I think we did more climbing today than we did all winter in Tucson.  There are bike lanes on many roads.  Although Jim was almost taken out by a teen-aged driver on the way back.  Monday we are going to check out a mountain bike park just up the road from here.  There are a lot of trails that are signed as green (easy) so maybe we can ride there.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Golden Spike RV Park

While in Brigham City, we stayed at the Golden Spike RV Park.  I took zero pictures of it, too cold!

It's an ok park.  Sites are narrow and very close to each other.  Some are concrete, most are gravel, with grass strips between sites.  Utilities are in the middle of the site.  We had to level some.  Power was good, water pressure was adequate.  I have no data on restrooms, showers or laundry.  There were four bars of Verizon 4G, but it was frequently slow.  The gravel sites really need more gravel, when it rains there is mud.

From our site we could see the railroad tracks and the freeway.  There was a moderate level of noise from each.  We'd go back there if we return to Brigham City, but we would not want to stay long.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Brigham City on Day 118

We left Jensen a day early because there were things in Brigham City we wanted to see.  This is what we saw.  It snowed last night!  Snow!  I haven’t seen snow falling since the late 1980s.

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It has snowed off and on all day. It’s also cold, and windy.

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We drove into the historic downtown area to try to walk around a little, but it was really cold.  As the storms rolled through, the temperature dropped into the low 30’s.  That is so far outside of my comfort zone.  Look at the mountains and how obscured they are.

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So, we did not get to the Bird Refuge.

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Nor did we walk around the Mormon Tabernacle,

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or the Mormon Temple.  The Mormon buildings are always so impressive in their scale.

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We’re really hoping this weather pattern does persist.

After a week which saw Trump providing Russia top secret information, today was an active day for the administration.  Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein appointed former FBI Chief Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to investigate Russia’s role in the 2016 elections and Trump and associates’ involvement.  The Washington Post also reported that in 2016, the House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, opined that Putin was paying money to Trump.  Apparently there was a recording of the conversation, which was obtained by WAPO.  In other news, Trump is considering rolling back normalization of relations with Cuba.  Russia and China are taking advantage of this and moving in on the small island nation, 90 miles off our shores.  Last, but not least, Trump’s golf courses and resorts have really crappy internet security which would allow even a mediocre hacker to penetrate their defenses.

The sun is now out, against a really dark sky.  Wonder what’s next, locusts perhaps.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Jensen to Brigham City, UT

Today we drove from Jensen to Brigham City.  It’s a pretty drive.  There’s a surprising amount of water out there.  The reservoirs are full. This is one of them, I’m not sure which one it is.

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Aren’t the mountains pretty?  Utah is such a lovely state.

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There is a climb starting around Independence that goes up and over Daniel’s Summit, which is about 8,000 feet.  Going north, the climb is gradual.  Once you start down, it’s steeper but not bad, unless you are behind a double tanker truck who is controlling his speed.  Jim had to work at it not to overtake the trucks.

North of Heber there is a six mile climb with 6%, 4% and 5% sections.  Again the double tanker trucks were a pain in the rear.  They try to pass each other on the grade, and they can’t.   Once you reach the top, the descent is one mile at 5%.  There are other  grades that aren’t severe. 

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The GPS wanted us to take 80W over to I15, and then drive through Salt Lake City. Do not do this!  It’s the same distance to take 80E to 84W and then on to I15 right around Ogden. When we drove through Salt Lake in June 2015, there was massive construction that looked like it would take years.  The stretch on 80E and 84W is just lovely.  Very bucolic.  You see a lot of this.  It was so much better than driving I15 through Salt Lake.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

The Last of Jensen

Another hike we did while in Jensen was Moonshine Arch.  It’s just north of Steinaker State Park.  Getting there involves a gravel road, and then a dirt road that has the sand that’s like talcum powder.  I will once again be vacuuming out the bed of the truck.  It’s a nice hike, there is some slogging through the talcum powder sand so don’t wear a nice pair of socks.  Mine are now pink.

It’s a pretty arch.  There is a cavern underneath it.

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The scenery on the way back is just lovely.  Look at the colors.

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Today we drove to Grand Junction, via the highway of death, CO139.  It’s actually a really pretty drive.  The road surface was not bad until we were about 38 miles north of I70.

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There are cows on the road.  Notice that she is on our side of the jersey barrier.

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As you approach Douglass Pass the road gets really steep.

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The south side of the pass has significant switch backs.  They are signed 15 mph and they mean it. 
Here is more live stock we saw.  It was a critter rich day.  We had cows and deer.  Going into Loma, prairie dogs were running across the road in both directions.  None were harmed by us.  There were also sheep on the highway.  Someone had put up home made signs warning of sheep on the road for several miles.

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A large part of the road maintenance appears to be scraping mud off the road.  See the scrape marks in the dirt?

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The Deere 333G was pushing dirt over the edge of the road.  The power tool behind the Deere was pulling up bushes and throwing them over the side, as well.  There was a lot of evidence of mud removal along the way.


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This is the top of Douglass Pass.  The road was rough in places, but it wasn’t crumbling.  There are roads in the Tucson city limits that are worse. Large falling rocks have taken their toll on the pavement.  In a car or a truck, it’s not a bad drive.  We would NEVER EVER EVER take the RV in either direction on that road.  There are some really steep bits that are long enough to allow the weight of the bus to put serious strain on the engine brake.

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It’s a pretty drive.

Oh yes, the ear.  Fungus is still in residence.  This time the ENT squirted the gentian violet into the ear instead of painting with a q-tip.  His thinking was that more would be more effective.  Thought I was going to pass out/vomit from the pain.  Eight hours later it still hurts, along with referred pain into the jaw.  So, I have an appointment with an office in Boise on the last day that we are there to see what’s happening on the ear drum.  Hopefully today will have exterminated the life forms in my ear.

Take care of your ears.  When they turn on you, life is bad.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Revenge of the Electronics

Not everything is happiness and joy in dino-ville.  The electronics are massing for attack.  Beginning feints at warfare have begun.

Aladdin is an electronic data reporting system in the RV.  It shows engine data like temperatures and fluid pressures as well as status of the coach electrical systems.  When we drove to Jensen from Moab, Jim saw the Aladdin system reporting oil pressure of 15 psi at idle.  This is a bad number.  It should be in the 30s.  We went to the Caterpillar dealer in Vernal, who plugged their laptop into the Engine Control  Module.  The ECM says that at no time was the oil pressure that low.  In fact, if the pressure went below 18, the engine would shut itself down.  What it did show was that the engine was over-sped coming down the grade on Indian Canyon.  In retrospect, we should not have towed the pick up truck down that hill.  Note to self!

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We went back a couple of days later so that they could check the sensors.  Of course the bedroom closet had to be emptied.

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The tower of stuff.

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The Cat dealer did not find anything wrong with the sensors.  Their theory is there is some fault in the Aladdin system.  Hopefully it’s a faulty plug or wire that can be located and fixed.  However, it’s going to have to wait until the end of June when we are in Harrisburg, which is the epicenter of RV knowledge.

Recently, the DVR has been freezing when playing back recorded television.  After being frozen for awhile, it then reboots all by itself.  No hands!  So I called Dish.  It took 45 minutes on the phone to convince “tech support” that it really was freezing.  Each attempted playback required the time for reboot and re-acquiring the signal.  Eventually tech support agreed that since multiple programs were freezing, that yes there was a problem and they would send me a new receiver.  Then I had to provide the address.  Apparently tech support is not familiar with the concept of “in care of” or “RV Park.”  It was painful.  Now all we have to do is find someone in Boise to install it for us. 

While sitting on the phone, I was looking at Jim’s laptop, noticing that hitting the enter key was producing exactly zero response.  So I did a restart, and got this.  The dreaded blue screen of death. 

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Then a miracle occured.  It’s an HP laptop, and it has a really robust set of recovery tools.  The HP Support Center box just popped up and gave us a menu of things we could do, one of which was file back up using a command prompt.  I used to be a PC programmer, in 1985.  It’s good to know DOS.  Jim could remember which files he had updated, but not backed up, and I was able to copy them to a thumb drive.  It was good.

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We asked the HP software to do a system restore and it did.  I am really impressed with this package.  Windows just went toes up and said it couldn’t restore anything, but the HP software brought it back from the dead.  Currently the lap top is installing one of the 167 updates that were required to return to current s/w levels on top of the restore point.

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The clock gadget is gone, and the free Excel and Word is gone, but at least he’s still on Windows 7 and not that heinous Windows 10.

Here is a lovely flower picture for your enjoyment.

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Tomorrow we are up and out really early for the drive to Grand Junction to see the ear guy.  Hopefully my ear will be cleared up and I can quit thinking about it. 

Dinosaur Tracks and Flat Rock Trails

We drove out to Redfleet State Park to look for the hike to the dinosaur tracks.  We ended up at the boat ramp which is not where we wanted to be.  But it was ok, we could see the battleships (on the left) and the area where the tracks are (on the bottom right next to the water).  So we left and drove north to Donkey Flat road which takes you to the trail head.  Just before the trail head the Vernal Simplot phosphate mine is on the other side of the road.

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This sign alerts you to the fact that you could be in mortal danger.  I do wonder how one is supposed to be aware of potential blasting activities.

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These are the battleships, aka the Redfleet.

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It’s really pretty out there.

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After about a mile and a half, we reached the site of the tracks. I think this is a footprint, but I would not swear to it.

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Another view of the reservoir.  We were talking to a French guy at the boat ramp and he said that part of the water is really nice for kayaking.

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On the way back from the tracks we took the turn–off for the Flat Rock loop.  It’s marked with red dinosaur feet painted on the rocks.  There are also mountain bike trails in the area, which are marked with red tags in the trees.  Sometimes the loop is marked with red tags, when there are no rocks to spray paint.  There were a couple of instances of not being sure if we were going the right way.

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Who knows what the story is here?  This is a big rock formation.  It’s been painted to look like the rock, but there is a hole in it.

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Cinder blocks and rebar were installed.

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There is an arch, and brickwork in the back.  What?  What is this?

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More scenic beauty.

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This is from Google Earth.  It’s the phospate mine.

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I’m glad we did the hike, but I would not rate it as one of our favorites.  My feet are tender from surgeries, and they hated much of the trail.  You spend a fair amount of time of rock that’s not flat, but that is ridged.  But the time we got back, my feet were yelping.  I like the flatrock much better.