Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Reading the Newspaper

As we continue to drift south toward Texas, we have the choice of staying in familiar areas or finding new places. Coming from the Provo area, we decided to bypass Moab and continue on to the (much) lesser known town of Monticello, Utah. At an elevation of 7000 feet it is 3000 feet higher than Moab and about 12 degrees cooler, which was welcome in August.

We stayed at a small RV park, and when I mentioned to the owner that we'd be headed to Canyonlands National Park in the morning he asked if we knew about the "back way". We didn't, and he described a route that passes through some beautiful country and avoids construction on the main highway.
The back way took us up to 8500 feet, and gave us wonderful views of the valley below. We were the only people on this road, so had plenty of time to stop for birds and animals.

This coyote was curious enough to stop for a picture.

We saw several hawks along the way, including this Cooper's Hawk.

As we started to descend, we got better looks at the amazing terrain of the Canyonlands. Eventually we dropped down onto the plains, and towards our first scheduled stop, Newspaper Rock.

This State Archaeological Site is located in the base of a small canyon that has been used for centuries by area travelers. According to the interpretive panel it is not known if the figures on the rock represent storytelling, doodling, magic, ancient graffiti, or something else, but it was certainly interesting to see the variety of figures.

The main area was about 12' high and 40' long, but we did see figures either carved or drawn onto other areas of the rock as well.

Here are some of the figures. Can you decipher them??

Next: Slickrock Foot Trail


Monday, August 28, 2017

Oh Hell No!

After Twin Falls, Idaho, we headed to Provo, Utah. 
We’re only spending a couple of nights here but wanted to get out and see the area.

We took a trip to Bridal Veil Falls.  The falls are 607 feet up and very pretty.  Even this late in the season there was a lot of water flowing.
There is a fish pond at the trailhead where you can buy fish food from a quarter machine.  Mark threw in some fish food but didn’t get any hits.  We didn’t see any fish in the pond. 
There used to be a tram located near the trailhead that took people up to a restaurant located on the cliffs above the falls. An avalanche destroyed the tram in 1996 and a fire burned down most of the restaurant in 2008. 

Did you recognize the title of the blog?  If you didn't, you are not a Sharknado fan! 

There is a trail going up the side of the waterfall.
No way was I going up that trail!


Friday, August 25, 2017

Oregon to Idaho

After leaving Ladd Marsh, Oregon, we headed to Twin Falls, Idaho.  We only planned on staying 2 nights here so we didn’t have a lot of time for sightseeing.

After a wonderful lunch with friends Serene and Randy, we stopped at the Devil’s Washbowl in the Malad Gorge.
That small dark dot in the upper right is a person!  250 feet above the water.

Malad Gorge is part of the Thousand Springs area of the Snake River.  The entire gorge is approximately 2 1/2 miles long.  Devil’s Washbowl is 250 feet deep and 140 feet wide with a 60 foot waterfall.

New fish passage under construction.

Pictures can’t really capture the sight of this gorge.  It is amazing!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

That's a Wrap!!

We enjoyed our (almost) two months at Ladd Marsh State Wildlife Area in La Grande, Oregon. Our main task was to whip the volunteer site back into shape after 5 years of non-use.

When we arrived the site was overgrown with tall grass, brush, and various other plants. There was also plenty of junk and trash on the site, along with three buildings that needed fixing up.

We covered our work on the outside of the red building in a previous blog, but never mentioned the inside. 
The inside had been partially finished, and the manager wanted it completed. So we had to pull out the work bench and some wall in order to get it finished. 

We pulled out an old washer/dryer connection and sealed up one wall. 

Once we got the second wall finished we replaced the workbench. 

We were also asked to clean up the wiring that was cut off and exposed, and lighting which was on extension cords. Once we opened the wiring up we found wires twisted together with some electrical tape here and there. It was amazing that the building hadn't burned down!

We trimmed up trees, trapped more pack rats, fixed up a well house and another old garage, and generally got the place ready for the next volunteers. 

Our final task was to take pictures of the site for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Departments Volunteer Booklet. The picture that is in there now is terrible!

With forecasts of fuel shortages, gridlocked traffic, and general chaos with the coming total eclipse, we decided to head out a little early and avoid the rush.

We enjoyed our time at Ladd Marsh and would be happy to return someday.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

How It's Made - Artic Fox

Teri and I had never been to a factory where RV's are made, but we discovered that Nash and Artic Fox RV's are made right in La Grande, Oregon. Since we were volunteering in La Grande, we thought it was the perfect opportunity for a factory tour. As luck would have it, we were the only two on this particular tour, so we got "VIP" treatment!!

The parent company is Northwood, and one of their claims to fame is that they make their own trailer chassis (frame). Most companies buy their chassis from a third party, but Northwood feels that starting from scratch allows them to control quality.

Our guide noted that they weld the steps and leveling jacks onto the frame, rather than bolting them on like most other companies. I didn't care for this particular "improvement" as I've had to replace both stairs and jacks in the past because of collision damage, and was glad to be able to simply unbolt them. Having to take them off with a cutting torch would have been really inconvenient!

One of the few assemblies that Northwood gets from outside is the wiring harness. Rather than having their own employees pulling hundreds of feet of wire from dozens of spools, they get the complete package delivered, which speeds up production and cuts down on errors. This bundle weighed at least 40 pounds!

They run three assembly lines. One is for truck campers, a second is for the smaller, wood-framed Nash line of travel trailers, and the largest is for the Artic Fox and Silver Fox trailers and fifth wheels. There are several large buildings on a site that covers about 25 acres.

Have you ever wondered what the holding tanks on a trailer look like? They are long and wide, but not very tall. The black tanks are for gray water and black water. The white tank to the left is the fresh water tank. Eventually these will all be covered by the floor.

With the tanks, wiring harness, heater vents, etc. in place, the plywood floor is installed. This is a travel trailer so doesn't have the stepped up section that a fifth wheel does. 

The cabinet shop was a big operation, making all of their cabinetry in-house. Computer controlled saws precut hundreds of pieces of wood daily, and dozens of workers assemble them into cabinets.

Northwood employs about 300 folks. We saw a sign in the waiting room stating that applications are kept on file for 90 days, so please don't re-submit any more often than that. It sounds like a lot of people may want a job here!

The most fascinating thing was the fact that the entire interior of the RV is built before the walls go on! On this fifth wheel you can see cabinets, the shower surround, and carpet are all in place.

Kitchen appliances, counter tops, carpeted stairs are all in place, but still no walls!

Here you can see one of the things that makes repairing an RV challenging. This wiring will be "sealed in" once the wall is on. The cabinet must be broken in order to access the wire.

The trailer side walls are laminated together in a different section of the plant. Here is a stack of walls, ready to be lifted in to place. Northwood runs individual trailer models in batches of 8 to 40 (depending on demand), because they order appliances, windows, etc. in multiples of eight.

And, we have a wall!! Note the cutouts for storage area doors, the slide-out, and windows.

Next the roof is pre-assembled in a jig, with all of the A/C ducting, insulation, etc. It is then lifted onto the walls and secured.

Finally, important items like slide-out rooms (shown here) are lifted in to place and installed.

Doors, windows, awnings, and outside lights were the final pieces of the RV puzzle.

Finally, a lot full of finished trailers, waiting for transport to RV dealers and buyers.

Fun tour!


Monday, August 21, 2017

Did You See It?

2017 Eclipse:

With predictions of 50-100,000 people coming into the area, we were happy to get out of Oregon and get a little farther from the path of totality.  

Unfortunately, during the move, I inadvertently threw away our free solar glasses!  We had to look at the eclipse the old fashion way - pinhole.

Even with 92 percent coverage, we couldn't tell any difference in the light of day.  The animals didn't start acting weird.  

We survived Eclipse 2017.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Cozy Rooms

Not all of Pendleton's questionable businesses were underground. At one point there were 18 brothels, which were typically located on the second floor of the downtown buildings. Potential customers would stand on the sidewalk below and flirt with the ladies sitting in the upstairs windows.

The most famous brothel was Cozy Rooms, run by Madam Stella Darby.

Madam Darby was said to treat her girls well and keep a clean establishment. There is a bronze statue on Main Street, right in front of the door to the Cozy Rooms. 

Once through the front door, you headed up this steep staircase. Perhaps a test of fitness before you arrived in the parlor?

Here in the parlor you met with Madam Darby and settled your business. You received a Cozy Room Token which you deposited at the room of your chosen lady. 

Miss Stella's bedroom was located right off of the parlor. As the Madam she didn't conduct any "business" in her room, but kept on eye on things. 

Even though she was on good terms with local officials, she had a secret escape passage in the back of her closet. 

From her closet, a small passage exited into the closet of the next room. That room was the bouncer's and gave access to a back stairway for escape. 

Back to business!  Once a client met with Madam Darby and received a Cozy Rooms Token, he entered this hallway which led to the rooms. 

Each lady had two rooms. A room off of the hallway was where business was conducted. 

Another room on the outside wall was where the ladies actually lived. They had an window and were allowed to decorate their rooms. Having a separate living area was one of the advantages of working for Madam Darby. In many brothels the ladies conducted business in the same room that they slept in. 

At the end of the tour we were taken to a museum where various items found in The Underground were displayed. Among these were Cozy Room Tokens as well as tokens from other establishments. 

Also displayed was some Pendleton Script. Like many other towns, Pendleton printed their own money that was spent with local businesses. 

A final curiosity was this tobacco ad. "Worry kills more men than bullets do, and a good tobacco kills more worry than anything else I know."