Friday, October 29, 2010

The slide arm saga, Oct 27, 2010

After the change in slide repair strategy on Friday, we keep checking in each day to find out what part is needed and can they obtain that part in a timely manner.  Well, finally after Monday and Tuesday pass with still no definitive answer, on Wednesday morning, we find out that they have identified the slide arm from Lippert, but…they are three weeks out on the manufacture and shipping a new slide arm.  Also Monaco could be a source of the arm, but they also do not have it in stock.  So…we decide not to wait the 3-4 weeks and to just do the reinforcing of the bottom on the slide and Bretz can do that in the afternoon.  

After Bretz reinforced the slide bottom, the service tech drove the coach to the parking overnight line with the slide out.  Glad it was them and not us having to back it into the parking spot.



They have to do some silicone sealing in the morning, then we will be on our way south.

The weather has turned cold, as you can see some snow has fallen on the mountains.  Yesterday, we even saw a few flurries in the air.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Change of slide repair strategy, Oct 22, 2010

This morning, Bob was up and I was dozing when our cell phone rang at 8 am.  It was the Service Writer asking about how to get into our coach, as the door appeared to be locked.  Well, Bob laughed and said it was just our door, you have to push it in first, then open it.  He also said the Service Foreman wanted to talk to us before starting work on the slide.  So, after a rushed getting up and getting dressed, we arrived at Bretz to meet with James, the Service Foreman. 

James was not working the day we arrived when the slide fix was first discussed.  He had a different thought as to what was going on with the slide and did not agree with a partial rebuild.  So, we let him further diagnose the problem and said we would check back around 1 pm.  Turns out he feels the slide arm (driver’s side slide back arm) needs replaced and the edges of the slide bottom need reinforced and not the entire bottom replaced.  This is good and bad news.  The good news is that perhaps this will now be covered by our Extended Warranty as parts are required.  The bad news is that we will probably be here at least another week.

So on Monday our Service Writer will be back from a week’s vacation and he has more work to do, call our Extended Warranty company and present them our newest needs.  The parts department on Friday was already checking into the parts needed for the repair.

Below Bob and James are checking out the slide issues.



So we are now back in the coach parked at Bretz’s waiting out the weekend until we perhaps will know more on Monday.

New steps and windshield, Oct 21, 2010

By 8 am we were ready to leave our coach,  bags packed for a couple of nights in a nearby motel.  See it huffing and puffing heading towards the service bay.


Later in the day we checked in on the progress, new steps and a new windshield.









At this point they have not started any slide work, but they have Friday and Saturday to do that work.

Here is Bob relaxing at our motel room.


We even took our pillows with us, most motel rooms have way to thick pillows.  See our pillowcases, they are pictures of three of our grandchildren.  Our daughter, Jenny, gave us these pillowcases for a Christmas gift – we love them!


And see our food corner stash.


We enjoyed a relaxing evening at the motel.  I even had a nice bathtub soak!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Still at Bretz RV Service, Missoula, MT Oct 20, 2010

Just found out today that at 8 am tomorrow (Thursday) our coach will be taken into a service bay here at Bretz’s for the works – steps, windshield and slide redo. We have reservations at a nearby motel for Thursday and Friday night. The service writer indicated we would have the coach back on Sat. Since Bretz have an open policy in the service area, we will be able to check-in on our “home” and see the progress.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Our week parked at Bretz RV & Marine, Oct 11-16, 2010

We have been here one week so far and I from what I know now, we will have another to go. Monday (11th) morning was early to rise for us, or should I say me, as we wanted to be at Bretz RV & Marine Service at 8 am. Knowing what we know now, we could have pulled into Bretz the night before and spent the night here on their overnight line with 50 amp and water, as they call it.

1. Bretz’s have ordered us new steps, they will be covered by our Extended Warranty Plan.

2. Also our new windshield is on order, that will be covered by our insurance and because we have had no claims for 3 years the diminishing deductible is down to $250 for us to pay.

IMG_49373. Now, our slide issue. Bretz’s service tech adjusted the slide the best he could, but… and there is a big but!! Where one of the two supporting arms attach to the coach’s sub floor is the problem. This flooring area was damaged by a couple of ice maker water line leaks. The flooring is spongy, so the bolts will not hold securely, thus causing the sag. Also the bottom of the slide exterior needs replaced as well as it is separating and becoming soggy. Bob feels the two issues are related. So to fix, they need to remove the slide, pull back the carpet and reframe an area of the spongy floor that is being replaced. Also a special material called Filon needs to be trucked in to repair the slide bottom.

So timing for repairs, No’s 1 and 2 should be done early this next week, do believe the steps came in on Friday, not sure about the windshield.

No 3, is scheduled for Thurs, Friday and Sat. Probably will be close to 16 hours of labor plus materials. We will need to stay in a motel when they are working on the slide. Now if the weather will hold until all repairs are done, as we are in Montana and they are turning the water off the the overnight line where we are parked on Monday.

On Friday we visited Travelers’ Rest State Park. The Corps of Discovery camped here in 1805 and again in 1806 on their epic journey. Here I am trying to see what they saw when they were here.


This is the only archeologically verified Lewis and Clark campsite along the 8,000 miles of their journey. Their campfire pit areas have been excavated with evidence of a solid puddle (abt 1” x 2-1/2”) of lead, their diaries indicate they repaired their guns and replenished their ammo here. (Sept 9-11, 1805) The wooden posts mark two of the three campfires.


The lead found in the fire pit area.

IMG_4884 (2)

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Now, more evidence of the Corps being there was found in the latrine. Evidence of mercury. It seems two men were very sick when they were here so Lewis prescribed Dr. Benjamin Rush’s Bilious Pills – powerful purgatives that contained mercury. This event occurred on their return trip June 30 to July 3, 1806, check out Lewis’ diary for 7/2/1806. Bob is checking out the latrine area.



Working for the Lord doesn’t pay much…But the retirement plan is out of this world!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

In Missoula, MT, Oct 9, 2010


Our drive from Great Falls to Missoula (175 miles) went well. The drive was not on the Interstate, but on a good red road, Rte 200.


Nice scenery along the way with mountains in the distance. We are staying at Jim and Mary’s RV Park for at least two nights. Perhaps longer pending our coach repair appointment on Monday.


This afternoon Bob did some cleaning of one of the bays. He cleaned up some of the dust that crept inside while traveling to and from Alaska. Here he is coiling up our extra 50 amp cord we had used while still in Alberta. At Writing on Stone campground, the electric receptacle was up near the front door, exactly opposite of where it should be. So if we were to have electric, we had to dig out our stored cord. It has only been used perhaps five times in five years, but when it is needed, we are very glad we have it.

Bob made a delicious dinner tonight, herbed chicken, broiled pesto tomatoes and oven roasted veggies.


Friday, October 8, 2010

C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, MT, Oct 8, 2010

This afternoon we headed to the C.M. Russell Museum.  Charles Russell created over 2,000 paintings, in addition he also produced bronze sculptures.   Our first stop was his Studio with his original furnishings.



Then to the gallery, five rooms of his art work.


These two  creatures called Happy Man and Sad Man were the guards on the gate at his Lake McDonald cabin.  It was located in what we now know as Glacier NP. 

This one titled “Breaking Camp” painted in 1897.


The Range Riders, done in 1907.


The Jerk Line, done in 1912.


One room was very interesting, it included his personal letters, framed and displayed as art. Seems he could not send a letter without an illustration.


See his description of the cheese emitting a  smell, smell odor, also his reference to Rembrandt.



His trademark signature for this works.




IMG_4804There were also other items of art on display.  The entire yoke of this shirt is artfully beaded.










This entire child’s vest was beaded.








This feather headdress was amazing with all the detail beading and stitchery work.

IMG_4806 This wall was covered with models all types of wagons, including stage coaches, lumber wagons, chuck wagons, etc.


This chuck wagon’s detail was amazing.


Tomorrow we are heading to Missoula as our service appointment is on Monday.

Great Falls, MT, 10-6 & 10-7, 2010

We arrived at Dick’s RV Park in Great Falls from Fort Benton safely after a nice short drive.

In 1993 we were in this area on vacation and had visited the buffalo jump. This area is now a state park, they have also built a visitor center. The center was suppose to be open, but the doors were locked. Come to find out the park staff were on a walk of the park. They saw us as they approached the visitor center and invited us in, but by then we were leaving. On our way there we found a prairie dog town and some pronghorns. IMG_2708

The cliffs before you are part of the long rock face used as the buffalo jump.


I am now standing on top of the cliffs. Didn’t realize I was nearly standing over air! Over time, our original memory of this place has faded. We could not find the ledge we stood under out of the rain 17 years ago. This is also the place where the road in was very muddy, almost got stuck in 4” of muck, but our new Explorer (our same one) pulled us through the mud in 4 wheel drive. Now the roads were paved. Time marches on.


Our next stop was the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. We really enjoyed their interpretive talks, heard three of them and they were wonderful! Their displays led you through the time line of their journey. The Corps of Discovery spent 30 days portaging around the five falls in the area, over 18 miles. What an enormous job!


This is the first time I have ever seen a “Heartskin Bucket”.



Then off the see the Giant Springs and the world’s shortest river, The Roe, all 201’ of it. Between 156 to 190 millions gallons per day flow into this pool, then into the Roe River, then into the Missouri River.



IMG_4750Since Great Falls has a Sam’s Club, we had to pay a visit. Our treat today was this huge chunk of Stilton cheese with cranberries. Yummy!

Just want to add that George of The Adventures of Tioga and George could use some prayers, he is going through an incredible tough time with the loss of a son.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A partly rainy day in Fort Benton, MT, Oct 5, 2010

We woke up this morning to rain and wind. The wind had blown over the Directv tripod, so Bob was out early repositioning it.

IMG_4670 After lunch we did make it to the Upper Missouri River Breaks Interpretive Center. No one was at the front desk, so we walked into the one room with displays and turned on the lights so we could see what they had.

IMG_2549 Both of these items have a history…

This is the “Surrender Rifle” from Chief Joseph. He presented this rife at his surrender to Generals Howard and Miles.

The beaded Nez Perce Blanket was traded, after the Bear’s Paw Battle, by a starving Nez Perce Indian for food before they were sent by steamboat to Oklahoma for imprisonment.

IMG_2552 Doesn’t this bobcat look alive, it was at one time. They even suggested you could touch gently. I want one!


This is an Ammonite which was found about ten miles north of Fort Benton.

Later in the afternoon, the rain stopped and eventually the blue sky peeked through. A walk though the town was nice.


Loved the fence, flowers, and fall leaves.

IMG_4703 IMG_2661

I have to confess, I did not purchase these two tomatoes. Right along the sidewalk in town was this partly frozen tomato plant, so I picked two tomatoes to keep them from a life of decay. I will lovingly watch them and keep them warm until they are ripe, then eat them!! Yum, a fresh home grown tomato!!

Tomorrow we are heading a short distance to Great Falls.

Our grandson, Zach, is recovering from strep throat, so I do hope you sleep better tonight! Love you Zach!

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