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Carson's Alaska Newsletter # 1
Location: Great Falls, Montana Date: May 18,2003
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On the Road with Fred and Barb - Newsletter #1

May 15-17,2003 Las Vegas to Great Falls, Montana

Our home on the roadAfter months of planning and work, we are finally on the road again. Mammoth (our 35 ft. Safari motorhome) is packed to the gills. This year we left the mopeds and bikes at home but we've added a portaboat on top of the car. Fred is determined to catch some Alaska Salmon, trout and whatever else will take his bait. Most RV's our size don't come with a spare tire because the tires are so large they would be too hard to change. But there was no way we were going to attempt a drive to Alaska without one. So when we bought 6 new tires this year we kept the 2 best old ones as spares and are carrying them on the moped rack. Would you believe a fully inflated spare weighs 180 lbs.! No way we can change a flat but at least we'll have the spare for roadside assistance to do their thing.

The GrangesWe are traveling with one other RV. Robbie and Steve Grange, along with their 2 Shiatsu's, GG and Gizmo, are in a 35 ft. Winnebago Adventurer. Barbara worked with Steve at NCR back in the 70's. They moved to Vegas the same month we did and we renewed our friendship. They have been taking long RV trips for the past 2 years just like us. Decided it would be fun to join up for this adventure. Like Fred, Steve is an Engineer so the two of them are having fun keeping the rigs in fine shape. Both Robbie and Barb are the mapper/planners and seem to think alike on where to go and what to see.


Idaho Falls in bloomThis year Fred was inducted into the Elks so we have an additional source of camping spots. Many of the Elks clubs across the country have parking for RV's. Some even offer electric, water and sewer hookups. Besides the low cost to camp, the Elks Clubs offer very inexpensive and delicious meals. We stayed at the Elks Club in Provo, Utah the first night and in Idaho Falls the second night. To our delight, Idaho Falls Elks had a country/western band that night so we got to practice our dance steps.


Idaho FallsWhile in Idaho Falls, we took a nice walk along the Snake River to view the falls.Sue, the T-Rex Dinosaur

Then visited the famous T-Rex dinosaur, Sue, which was on exhibit at the local museum. This is the largest, most complete T-Rex ever unearthed.


Barb at Potato ExpoIdaho is famous for potatoes so we thought it appropriate to stop at the Idaho Potato Expo in Blackfoot, ID. Blackfoot is the Potato Capital of the World, producing one-third of the potatoes grown in the US. A very informative video explained the big business of growing, harvesting and delivering potatoes. The expo is also home to the world's largest potato Chip according to the Guinness Book

The drive from Idaho Falls to Great Falls, Montana on I-15 was very scenic. The mountains are still snow covered. And the newborn calves and lambs dotting the countryside were so cute.

Snowing in Great FallsThis morning we woke up to SNOW! About an inch covered the ground and it is still coming down . Good thing we had planned to stay an extra night here before crossing the border into Canada.

Next stop: Edmonton, Alberta



LESSONS LEARNED: Yes, we've already had one! Leaving the Elks Club in Idaho Falls, we discovered too late that the driveway out had a big dip. It was either unhook the car and back up to get to another exit or take it slow and hope we didn't scrape bottom. Unfortunately we chose the latter course of action and despite careful, slow driving, hit bottom. Wouldn't have been too bad except the wiring cable connecting the motorhome and car lights got caught between the pavement and the tow bar and was severed. Fred must have had a premonition this morning because he had put on his Mr. Fix-It T-Shirt. Fortunately, he was able to splice in some new wiring that will get us by until we can find a new cable at the next RV parts store. Guess we should have unhooked! Better yet, check out the exit choices beforehand.

Steve and Robbie also had a "lessons learned" experience. Leaving Provo, their refrigerator door opened up, spilling contents onto the floor. The worst was the orange juice container. They are still finding sticky spots!