Sunday, October 27, 2019

Winter is Coming to South Dakota!

The weather continues to be at the forefront of our minds as we worked on the house this week. Unseasonably cooler weather seems to be the norm pretty much everywhere up north and the extended forecast does not show much promise. With a low of 2°F forecasted for Tuesday we had a decision to make. Even in the garage there is no way we were not going to freeze with temps that low. We have too much going on and too many commitments to abandon our plans and head south so we are going to have to winterize the rig and tough it out.
Once we get through Wednesday it looks good again

With luck it will only be a few days as the temps should rise (relatively speaking) to a more bearable level later in the week. An hours work and 3 gallons of RV antifreeze @ $2.25/gallon will be quite a bit of peace of mind over the next few days.

Friends Dave and Leslie stopped by for 2 nights as they made their 2,000 mile trek from Alberta to Texas. It is just not right when it is warmer in Alberta than it is here in South Dakota!
Burger night at the Pringle bar!
Regardless, we made the most of their time here visiting and going out to see the sights. Since they had never been here before we took them through parts of Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, up Iron Mountain Road, by Mount Rushmore and finally to Crazy Horse.
Crazy Horse

Lakota Lake
This area is beautiful throughout the year but this time of year, with the changing leaves, a smattering of snow and virtually no tourists is really special to us. Iron Mountain Road is 17 miles long with 14 switchbacks and 3 pigtails as it winds up to the 5,445 summit. Each of the 3 tunnels feature a view of Mt. Rushmore through one end.

Mt. Rushmore in the background

Sylvan Lake
We had never really spent any one on one time with them so it was great getting to know them better. The only downside is that it was a little cold and they could only stay the two nights. If everything goes as planned we will meet up again in Arizona in February.

On the home front, with our rough-in electrical inspection behind us we can start insulating! Or I should say Barb can start insulating. It is not going too bad but after getting one wall done she decided to quit until she gets a mask.

 Meanwhile I am outside working on boxing in the soffit ends. Slow and tedious work. I had to get up and down the ladder at least a dozen times while boxing each of the soffit ends.
Our funny story of the week involves our mail. We have been waiting for some important mail regarding Barb's stepmothers estate. When we went to Oregon we had our mail forwarded there. We got some mail but the estate stuff never arrived. When we left Oregon we had our mail forwarded back to South Dakota. Day after day, after day we would check the mail. Not only were we not getting the estate stuff, we were not getting any mail! After 10 days Barb calls the post office to see if maybe they are holding it for some reason. Barb explained what she had done with the forwarding over the past 5 weeks and the post office guy asks "Did you cancel the forwarding to Oregon"? Barb says "No, I just had it forwarded back to South Dakota". One the surface this may make sense but in reality our mail has been in an endless loop. Any mail we get here is forwarded to Oregon. Once it gets to Oregon it gets forwarded back here, once it gets here it gets forwarded to get the picture..... We will probably get a crap load of mail plastered with "Forward" stickers!

Deer hunting continues to be a little slow, lots of deer but no big bucks. I did see one 14 pointer and for those of you who are deer hunters know that 14 points are rare and huge! Well this had to be the smallest 14 point in the world.....
You cannot see all the points but trust me, there are 14!
We have had some interest in our 5th wheel but nothing I would consider serious buyers so I will list the link to the RV Trader listing again here. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

It is Official, Our Rig is for Sale!

Our first full week back in South Dakota and we jumped into the projects with both feet! First up was to frame in the upstairs bathroom as we now have our shower/tub unit in place. Since it is a one piece unit, it would not have fit through the door if I had built the wall first.

Next up was to carry on with the final touches on the electrical. With that upstairs bathroom wall up I could finish the electrical in that bathroom as well. I am happy to report that all the electrical is done upstairs! We hope to get it inspected in the next couple of weeks so I want to get everything buttoned up before we schedule that. Of course I keep changing my mind on how a couple things operate. The latest is installing a switch in the bedroom that will turn on all the outside lights around the house at once. Barb asked if we could put that circuit on a motion sensor but with all the deer around that would not be feasible. Once the electrical is inspected and signed off on we can start insulating! Update....since I wrote the above earlier this week, we had our inspection, passed and are ready to insulate!

Speaking of insulation that was our big purchase for the week. 27 rolls of R19 and  22 rolls of R38 throw in a couple rolls of poly and some air shoots to go between the trusses and we have everything we need to insulate the house for a little over $1,700. This was about 1/2 what I had in the budget!
That is a lot of insulation!
With luck we hope to be here well into December. Weather will be the big factor. Since the rig is inside the garage I think we can handle a little colder weather than we did in years past. Last year low 20’s were no problem but once it hit the teens we started to freeze up. I am hoping that being protected by the wind we will be able to withstand a little colder weather. Then there is the snow. A little snow is no problem but if we are going to get dumped on we need to head south as we would not be able to navigate our ¼ mile long driveway with any kind of accumulation. Being in the garage is not horrible but it is not great either. We are out of the elements but we have no sunlight so it is very dark in the rig all the time requiring us to have lots of lights on.

Last year the  temperatures in November were anywhere from 70 to 21with only 3" of snow. December last year were anywhere from 50 degrees to 3 degrees with only 5 days that did not get above freezing and less than 2" of snow so there is hope. But this year seems cooler and wetter than last year so it is anyone's guess. We are praying for warmer temps and little to no snow for the next 10 weeks. That said, this is what we had Sunday along with 40 mph winds with gusts up to 80 that took down part of a building and the buffalo statues in Custer!
Too soon!
It is like a buffalo graveyard!
 We have a number of projects that we want to get done. The biggest getting the soffit and facia up to get the bugs, birds and snow from passing through the eves. We have hundreds if not thousands of flies in the house on warm days as they seek shelter from the cooler weather. Then the birds who are after the flies sneak through the eves to get them. Wind, snow and equipment issues have prevented me from getting up there and getting this project done so hopefully next week.

Archery season is open and I am itching to get out hunting but so far I don’t have anything on camera that I want to go after. There are a few smaller bucks……
A magpie flew by one of my cameras......
And a deer giving me the eye!

….and a first for our property, our first elk!
And the turkeys come by almost everyday for a visit.
Caught this guy on camera a couple miles from our place!
Look closely on the left side of the video, our first mountain lion!

We also had busy week catching up with several friends. We met Dan and Bonnie for drinks at the Pringle bar, went to dinner with our neighbors Doug and Lisa as well. They are selling their house and property so if you know anyone looking send them on up!

Friday night we met Phil and Rudee at the Custer VFW for steak night. They also had a band so we boogied it up all night long! No really, I think Barb drug me out to the dance floor at least a dozen times. Barb paid for having such a good time later that night and most of the next day......

We also had our first visitors of the fall when friends Jo and Ben stopped by for a one night visit with their dogs Payton and Sammy. They were all on their way up to Rapid to do some exploring and we had not seen them since we crossed paths in Chicken Alaska in 2016. We of course took them to the Pringle Bar for burgers!
The freakiest thing of the week happened yesterday morning. I woke up with this song in my brain that I could not stop playing in my head. A totally random song that just kept bouncing around my head! 30 minutes later Barb is in the living room and starts humming what sounds like the exact same song! I stop what I am doing and almost yell at her "What song are you humming!?!?" "Why?" she responds. "Just tell me!" When she responds "I got a Tiger by the Tail" I almost freak out! That is the exact same song I cannot get out of my head! How does that happen?! Neither one of us have sung, hummed or even heard that song in like...., forever. I seriously think she can get into my head and explains the dirty looks she randomly gives me throughout the day.

The big news for the week is that we have officially decided to sell our 5th wheel and have listed it on several ad sites. With us going to Alaska in the summer of '20 and hopefully traveling through the Maritimes in '21, the 5th wheel would just sit for the next two years. That and the fact that with the house I am sure we will not be traveling for as long periods so the smaller camper will work just fine. It is totally the wrong time of year to try and sell it but we listed it in RV Trader (click link to see ad), IRV2, and several Facebook groups for the next 8 weeks and see what happens.

It has been a great rig for us with no serious issues whatsoever. Someone is going to get a great 5th wheel!

More visitors arriving soon so it looks like it will be another busy week!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Last Week in Oregon

This week marks the start of the 12th straight week we have stayed in our 11 ½ foot Lance camper. 4 weeks in Ontario, a few more back in South Dakota and now here in Oregon. And still we have not felt crowded. Oh, there are differences. Besides the difference in size, we have been without TV for those weeks. We have a TV, in fact the camper has a satellite dish on it, I just not have taken the time to figure it out yet. We suspended our DirecTV account before we went to Ontario and will more than likely keep it suspended until we get back to South Dakota sometime next spring.

The other thing we have noticed is that we don’t spend nearly as much time in our camper as we did in our 5th wheel. We spend a lot more time outside or doing other things.

Dakota has mixed feelings. She likes her little area under the table but recently we have found her up on the bed when we return from somewhere. And just the last few nights she has tried to sneak up on the bed in the middle of the night when we are sleeping. Unfortunately for her, there is just no sneaking or no room in the smaller bed. Oh, she thinks there is plenty of room for her as she wedges herself between Barb and me (usually stepping all over Daisy as she does it) but it is just not to be and she is sent back down. But all in all, the pickup camper is a success.

What does all this mean? Well, we are seriously considering putting our 5th wheel up for sale and just going with the camper. Once the house is finished we will certainly spend more time there and use it as a home base as we continue to travel 4-6 weeks at a time throughout the year. We will more than likely wait until spring to seriously list it but if you know anyone who is looking for a 2014 40’ Cardinal with 900 watts of solar (new batteries and new tires in ’19) send them our way!

During our last week here in Oregon Barb and Somer have been busy working on the house. The previous owners have put beams and flooring across the living room/great room area creating an additional bedroom upstairs and resulting them having an 8 foot ceiling in the living room. Forrest and Somer want to open it back up to its original state to have a 20 foot ceiling in their living room. But before they do that they wanted to paint the walls and ceiling, put up a new ceiling fan and some new lighting as this would be much more difficult with the higher ceiling. So Barb and Somer were busy painting, painting and painting.
Once that was done We hung Forrest's deer and Elk mount as well as a ceiling fan and got busy tearing the floor out. It was tedious work and we only had one mishap when Barb was using a crowbar to pull a nail and it slipped off the nail and split her lip open. After that she was on the sidelines with a towel on her lip! We got all but 4 of the boards out as Forrest still needs to do a little trim work to finish off the edges where the old wall was. Once that is done the last four boards can come out.

What a difference it makes though!
I went to work with Forrest a few days, it was fun hanging with him and seeing what he does with his days.

Last Saturday marked the opening was waterfowl hunting so Forrest, Dakota and I were up at 5:00am, loaded up the decoys and Forrest’s kayak and off we went!

Klamath Lake, also known as Upper Klamath is the largest freshwater lake in Oregon measuring 25 miles long and 8 miles wide. Forrest’s secret hunting spot is about in the middle of the lake and only 10 minutes from his house. We got set up and waited for the birds watching the sun light up the mountains across the lake.
Dakota and I waiting for some birds

Dakota retrieving a duck
The birds did not disappoint us and arrived as they were supposed to. Hunting was good and Dakota did get great! Hunting big water like this is a lot different than North Dakota. Here you have pelicans, seagulls, herons, bitterns, plovers, ibis’ and sandpipers constantly flying around. You have to quickly identify each of these versus actual waterfowl. Not a big problem but when a duck sneaks in on you amongst these other birds it takes you by surprise!

So far the birds have been the same variety we see in North Dakota; mallards, widgeon, scaup and teal but I hear there are some sea ducks that make it onto the lake as well. We got a handful of ducks and treated ourselves to some duck kabobs later in the week. Tasty!

We had a nice surprise when friends Vicki and Harry sent us a message saying that they were stopping for a day on their way from Washington to Reno! Little known fact..... (Even Harry is hearing (reading) this for the first time....) Harry has actually been known to us as "Harry Baby" for the past few years ever since Barb was looking out our window in Quartzsite and she said "Here comes Harry Baby" or at least that is what I heard. I said "Harry Baby? I did not know you had a pet name for Harry". She said "No, I mean here comes Harry, baby" Amazing how the placement of a comma or how you say something can totally change the meaning!

We went to the Klamath Basin Brewery. The good and beer were good and the company was even better!
 Us with Vicki and Harry Baby
Last but not least after over 5 years on the road we got our truck detailed for the first time. Forrest turned us on to Pristine Auto Spa that does a complete detail, inside and out including underneath and the engine for $230. Barb took the truck in to see if they could do a dually. As they looked it over they said yes, they could fit us in first thing Thursday morning but it would be another $50 due to all the dog hair. We still felt like that was a good deal so we dropped it off and the guy said it should be done around 6pm. We called at 5 to ask if it was done and were asked if we could leave it overnight as they were still working on the dog hair. I can believe it! 6 years of Daisy hair and a couple more of Dakota's was ingrained into every fiber of carpet and every nook and cranny. As much as these dogs shed I am surprised they are not bald!
So clean!

No dog hair!
Our time here just flew by, hard to believe it has been a month! As much as we hate to leave, it is time. We are excited to get back to South Dakota to start the next phase of our build. We are already all hooked up and in a hour or so we hit the road and head east!

Remember, next time you see Harry and Vicki whether it be in Reno, Quartzsite or some other random location, say hi to Harry Baby for us!