This blog page has been a few weeks in the making. On this Blog I will keep people informed on the exploits of Rich and Pam Snell.
We left Phoenix, AZ on the 24th of May and made it to the Camp Verde area to visit with Pam’s Dad and step mom in Lake Montezuma.
We stayed about 5 days and did a few things we had planned. My Aunt Shirley in Prescott Valley, AZ had a stroke just prior to us leaving and was in a coma for about 3 days ’til she regained consciousness for 4 hours. We planned to take her to see Pam’s parents, but this did not happen. She died on May 31, 2010.
We went on to Flagstaff that day and got diesel fuel for our new 2010 Ford 3/4 ton 4 x 4 diesel pickup truck. We then proceeded north on Hwy 89 to a road just south of the east entrance of the Grand Canyon where I found the road I had parked on in 1996 while hunting. I parked our 33 ft travel trailer in a good spot and stayed there 2 nights.
During the 2 days of our stay we went to the Navajo vendors on the reservation alongside the road. I introduced myself and told them I had scrap leather to sell or trade. That’s not all I said if you know me well enough.
I traded for all my leather and 6 of my arrows, a dance stick and drum with Bobcat painting on the front for almost $1000.00 worth of Indian jewelry. Two boxes of stuff gone from our heavy load, the jewelry weigh’s a lot less than the leather.
I talked to a Navajo man and got a pre-war time story from him about the Navajo police coming up the mountain to get him for the draft. They took him from the top of the mountain and then the story unfolded to the way he met an artist who painted horses that he owned. Virgil Bigsong learned from this artist how to draw & paint horses also.
We left the reservation and headed east on I-40 towards Holbrook. I had remembered an invitation from a classmate, Sue, to visit and stay at her house in Concho, AZ. It’s never too late to call at the spur of the moment.
Robert and Sue Cochran opened up their property to us and had a place to hook up with electric for the trailer. We stayed there for 2 days and had a great time. We met Sue’s father John, age 94. We all talked, as they say in the country, till the sun went down and more. OK! I just made that up, but we did.
Pam and I left and proceeded on our way to Albuquerque, NM. Prior to us getting there we stayed in our first (and maybe our last!) truck stop. I parked about 10 pm and had lanes to either side where the Titanic could make it thru. These lanes were filled with truck and trailer rigs by 1 am. In the morning we had headaches from diesel exhaust and noise from engines and refers going all night. We will welcome noisy Wal-marts & Sam’s Clubs parking lots next to highways anytime.
June 6th We entered Colorado and I had a funny feeling something was going bad. About the time I lost that feeling I looked back to see a tire shredding on my trailer. It was a 2 lane road with a passing lane on my side. 97 degrees at noon with me on the side of the road changing a tire with traffic whizzing by. Pam had an orange flag moving people over. A couple stopped and help us and I’m glad they did. With the load still in the trailer, I was having a hard time jacking up the tire until the guy who was helping put his 10 ton jack on the trailer bumper. I finally got the tire off and changed. They were a great help in our time of need. My next post will bring us to Colorado Spring & on up to The wedding in Denver.
We stopped in Raton NM to get diesel fuel and a sandwich. Across the street from the gas station I noticed a flea market. We drove across the road and parked well away from the sellers and scanned the wares they had for sale.
I stopped to talk to one of the sellers and got into a discussion about metal detectors, gold and an old mining town he called a ghost town.
Stanley told us just where to go to find it and said to stop by and talk to his grandson Shane who lived in one of the campers by his property.
He said he owned the ghost town and we could put our trailer there as long as we wanted. He told us he owned over 35 acres and anywhere we wanted to park was alright with him.
I believe Stanley’s stories got more involved and more intricate the longer I stood there and the pictures I took seemed to prompt more stories. Time was getting short so I excused myself after I heard about his letter to the military and congress to award him the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Pam & I the night prior had night pulled into a truck stop to spend the night. I backed into a spot near the end of the lot where no other truck was parked and made sure the truck was locked. I slept well until 3 AM when trucks with air-conditioning and refrigeration units, hot engines, diesel smell and noise made my mind up to use Wal-mart or Sam’s club parking lots on our next overnight stay.
Very early in the morning a bit of driving took us across the border and we went as far as Walsenburg, Colorado where Stanley had said he had his property. Yes we were curious and took the road to the ghost town. Up the hill we went to see what adventure we could get into without too much trouble.
The road was not too bad, I got half way up the hill and told Pam what Stanley had said about his grandson Shane living in a camper. I had this thought of him in a truck camper propped up on railroad ties on the ground among a bunch of old wrecked trucks and trailer parts. I looked at Pam and asked her if she heard the Banjo playing “Deliverance” yet.
We got to the crest of the hill and looked left like Stan told us to and saw the camper propped up on some cinder blocks along with some truck and trailer parts, body parts and what looked like some not so old abandoned trailers. I stopped the truck and looked for about 15 seconds, looked at Pam and shook my head saying, “NO, not a chance.”
I swear I heard the Banjo Playing as I stepped on the gas and took the trailer to a place where I could turn around safely and proceeded down the hill. We looked at the property once again while going by and Pam looked at me with a sigh of relief as we both started to laugh.
The state park campsite will cost us more than the ghost town but thoughts of being lost forever in the ruins without a trace was just a bit too strong on our minds.
Yes we were laughing for a short time while going down the highway until we got into a passing lane going up the hill. We only had a mile to go until we reached the entrance to Lathrop state park when I looked into my mirror on my left to see the rear tire on my trailer being shredded and distributed on the highway. I pulled over and immediately went back to check out the smoke coming from the tire to see if I had any fire danger, it was OK in that respect.
In the past, changing a tire was not a big problem. My body being a bit tore up from years of working without regard to torn tendons, joint damage and just general injuries has taken it toll. It was 97 degrees at 1 PM on a major highway, I gave Pam the orange flag on a short stick and told her to start moving traffic over to the passing lane so I would not have to worry about getting hit; she did her job very nicely. I gathered the tools needed and as I jacked up the trailer wheel. I came to realize that the jack used adequately for the truck was not rated for the double axle 33’ trailer which at that time was fully loaded to the point of being maxed out.
I struggled with the jack and noticed a truck turning to park in back of us to help. The guy, Roy, came to my side while his step-daughter Patty helped Pam with her duty as traffic cop. He told me to wait until he could get his 10 ton jack under the back trailer bumper to lift some weight off the axle. His jack did the trick and I was able to lift the tire off the road, take it off and put on the spare. I thanked Roy & Patti for their help and they went on their way knowing they helped some retired travelers; (old people) get on their way.
We proceeded to Lathrop state park, got a space and stayed to rest for 3 days. We ended up going to Pueblo, Colorado the next day to get a new tire mounted on the rim.
We thought about the past few days and came to a conclusion that this trip is beginning to get costly in respect to repairs, gas & unexpected delays.
Pam had called her son in Colorado Springs and gotten a good deal for us from a relative who worked for a major tire store; just go with the flow here. We tallied the totals from two estimates and decided to get 4 tires and one new rim to put on the trailer. The old tires had only 1000 miles on them but had been sitting in the hot AZ sun for 2 years on hot pavement. We got into Colorado Springs and had all the tires taken care of. We now have 4 new tires on the trailer with two spare tires. I got the credit card bill for the trip so far and OMG! OK My new camera was on it also but this bill shook my insides. I’m going to have to get a job on the road to get by the next few months. I’m surely not going to sell my fishing stuff.
If you were asking yourself why we had our trailer over loaded, I’ll tell you.
Pam had stuff to give to her Kids from their childhood and things that she wanted to give to them when we got to their houses. We also brought canned goods from our pantry at home and maybe just too many other things that we may loose on the way. The pounds we will shed by the time we get to Wisconsin may be around 650 pounds or more. The tires can scream till then.
The trip to Colorado Springs was hot until we entered the area then it started to get very cloudy. I knew as soon as soon as we went to the RV Campground I would be parking and un-hooking the trailer in the rain.
Sometimes I know it’s to my detriment to be so right all the time. Yes I got drenched and hit with hail until all was unhooked and set. I stepped into the trailer dripping wet while the rain and wind had stopped and seemed to stand still as if to say; Fool.
Pam’s first granddaughter was turning 1 yr old on June 12th so this is the reason we had to make the appointed date. A surprise birthday party for a one yr old, what a concept; she was really surprised. Uncle Eric was the clown “Spackles” and his dog “Trowel” made a hit with all the kids. Pam’s son took about 150 pounds of stuff from the trailer and in 4 days we were on our way to Denver for Pam’s daughters wedding on the 19th of June.
I was the good step dad and stayed out of the way until asked to do things.
I knew my part; I had instructions laid out 45 days in advance, pending changes. Yes I’m skipping through the party, wedding stuff to get to the good stuff. Never mind, I was told to give equal time to the party, wedding stuff.
The plans for the wedding were going as planned with Pam doing the finishing touches on Andre’s wedding dress.
Pam also did the hand printing on the cards for the seating at the reception. I was there for mortal support, yes I said it right. Mortal, Immortal, just words to say I was there.
The day of the wedding rehearsal and party was upon us with Pam’s three sons coming together all in one spot to take part in their sister’s wedding in the woods of Evergreen Colorado.
On Friday June 18th at the wedding rehearsal, the party played on into the night with talk of the wedding mixed with childhood events and future family plans being made and toasted with an occasional beer or 5.
Picture’s of the wedding party were taken after rehearsal and prior to planned dinner in the back yard of Andrea and Marks home.
The wedding went as planned and was very beautiful. Just one slight delay on picking up Andrea & Pam at the bottom of the hill. I stopped to take a few pictures of a Red Fox and then brought them both to the top where they were just in time to walk down the isle. All went well with the wedding and all pictures were taken By, Vicki Robison, an excellent job she did.
The dinner was inside as was the party. The DJ was spinning records all night long and people were dancing and hopping around like, wait a minute. I said spinning records, what was this; a computer hooked up to the speakers playing music. The dinner party took place just after the wedding pictures were taken of the whole group. I looked around the room and wondered where I was to fit in with such a young crowd. People in their 20’s and 30 are doing stuff that would break not only my bones but break my bank with all the pain meds I would have to order after the dance. I then realized that I too can do these dances at a slower rate and have just as much fun.
I’d like to jump from there and bring this up to date. I have let this blog empty for too long and need to go from here to now.
We went to Sparta, Wisconsin to visit my last living aunt, Delores. She will be 93 on March 21, 20011 and we will see her again in June 2011.
We spent 8 days parked at her apartment complex with the permission of her landlord Phil. We made an overnight trip to Milwaukee to visit Pam’s son & daughter-in-law, Tony & Brandi and back to Sparta. We then went just east of Conover, WI to stay at a campground owned by Royal, a friend of mine who lives at the mobile home park in Phoenix over the winter where we used to live, we sold our home there 2 times. We stayed at Royal’s campground for 30 days and then went south to go to Green Bay and then Milwaukee before going to Michigan.
On route to Green Bay on Hwy 43 south it started to rain and the wind blew from the west really hard until I was down to 10 mph on the road. Hail started to fall and I looked to my left to see 2 small cars pulling off into the ditch. The voices in my head started screaming at me and I spotted a driveway to my right and took the turn. I headed my truck & trailer into the wind, stopped in the driveway and waited until the storm stopped, which was about 7 minutes.
I was parked in the driveway of a construction company, I then turned around to get back on the hwy. I noticed the driveway was narrow and I wondered how I made the turn coming in without dumping the trailer. I went only 400 yards down the road and had to make a detour to go around trees and power lines downed in the middle of the road. I stopped to ask what happened and two people told me the tornado was over 400 yards wide and this was the center with all the damage. I had missed the tornado by about 150 yards and I didn’t see any flying cows. We continued to travel south and went over hwy 23 going to Green Bay and stopped in a gravel area across from a McDonald’s. Trees in the road to the south and trees snapped all along the road. I talked to the Mgr at McDonald’s and she told me her husband called her and said to get all people in the bathrooms, a tornado just touched down on their property and was headed towards McDonald’s. She looked out the back door and yelled, “Everyone in the bathroom”. I think the cook cleared the grill and took all food with him. As I looked at the damage I noticed a guy on a tower to a radio station was replacing the antenna and the house in front had a large tree resting on the roof. Royal called me up and told me to stop at the casino to spend the night because there had been tornado sightings along my route, I said “really”. I told Royal what happened and went to the casino to spend the night. The next day while going east, Pam was looking at 2 miles of trees snapped or fallen in the path of the tornado. We went to Milwaukee after a few side trips and then the trek thru Chicago on the expressway which took us over 2 hr’s to get passed Chicago. We entered Michigan, spent some time in Spring lake where we spent some time seeing the country and also got hold of Ralph and spent 3 days at his place catching up on stories.
We traveled across to the thumb area of Michigan and spent one month at the Sebewaing RV park in Sebewaing, MI. When we registered I found out that a few Face Book friends had told Matt the owner that we were going to be there and he gave us a spot and said you’ll have boat dock # 4. I told him I didn’t have a boat and he said, “you’ll use mine”. OH YAH! He said it’s not often we get an important person here. Bewildered I thanked him and we became friends during our stay. Somebody had really embellished my exploits and my biography. We did lots of sight-seeing and spent a day at harbor Beach where Pam grew up. We also went to the Lumber yard that her dad Kelly owned while living there. We talked to the owner and his son brought down an old receipt book from the 60’s and gave it to Pam to give to Kelly.
After we got settled in Sebewaing I was asked to go help Band some Duck’s in a wildlife refuge area. I went with them 2 times and took pictures and wrote an article yet to be submitted. The guys I went with were Bob Majdecki, Dave Keehn & DNR wildlife mgr Ron Spring.
I also went with Bob Majdecki, Tom Muller, Brian Haag & Jayson Howard on a Goose hunting trip the day after going with Jeff & Joe Porath in Port Hope on my first Goose hunt. I took pictures & video’s and got baptised in the murky waters of Lake Huron, Camera and all.
During September I went Salmon fishing 2 times with Ralph Christianson and got 8 Salmon. Ralph had never been skunked on the river and he taught me how to fish. Next trip he will show me how to fish for Steelhead and maybe Walleye.
We left MI and went again to Sparta, WI and stayed a few more days with my aunt Delores and started on our way back to Arizona.