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 > Grand Canyon - via Lancaster, CA (Lance HQ) many pix

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Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 08/05/09 12:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have you ever taken a ride on the Royal Gorge Train or river rafted down through the Royal Gorge. It's a lot closer to your home. I understand some of the rock at the bottom of the gorge is among the hardest and oldest. I guess it to be similar to the Cambrian rock your hand spanned in the GC. It was a cool trip for a day.


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btggraphix

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Posted: 08/05/09 12:26pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey CJ+K, I have actually not done the Royal Gorge. I have been over the bridge, and I've ridden the incline down to the bottom (though it has been a long long time.) The group I went with, is composed of a bunch of ladies that mostly work in my profession. Every year they go on a rafting trip for typically 3 or 4 days. They have done the Royal Gorge, many sections of the Colorado, the Green, the San Miguel etc....it's their girls weekend out sort of. They'd been saying they needed to do the grand some year, and finally they chose this year. To keep it entirely their group, it needed to be 24 people. So this time they opened it up to significant others and some friends. That's how we got invited. I think it might be awhile before the guys get to go again - not because of problems but it's just not the same. They have been using this rafting company for about 6-7 years now after a moderately bad trip with another company.

For anyone interested, the company that ran it is CRATE Inc. website , which stands for Colorado River And Trails Expedition. They have been running since about 1972 (just prior to the National Park setting limits on permits. The main guide is the son of the man that started the business and has been rafting since he was a baby. I think he told us it was his 96th trip or something like that. He was so good at getting the big boat through the rapids smoothely, that we'd feel gyped not getting rocked and splashed. The other pilot tended to hit them harder.

Here's a neat little scan of an article on Walker (the head guide)
[image]

Hmmm....hard to read it, but it's kind of cool, goes into all the equipment they use.

PS: Yes, I think the bottom of the Royal Gorge is Precambrian "basement" rocks of similar age to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Royal Gorge, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, the little canyons of the Front Range etc. PreCambrian is the term for the giant period of time prior to the Cambrian. My hand in the picture spans from the Cambrian Tapeats Sandstone above, to the Precambrian Vishnu Schist (or Brahma Schist?). The irregular surface not only marks the "missing" rock (and record of time) but it is essentially what the erosion surface looked like when sediments finally started burying it again. I think it was a near-shore sort of environment and in places there are islands (high spots from the time) that stick up into the Tapeats Sandstone. You also see the fairly coarse pebbles and stuff in the Tapeats, and they are composed of chunks of the schist from below.

* This post was edited 08/05/09 12:37pm by btggraphix *

pjay9

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Posted: 08/05/09 12:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brian, You are causing flashbacks to classes and field trips and tests...BA in Earth Science...haven't used that stuff for decades, regardless it is a gniess report you have filed! LOL! Capt PJ


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btggraphix

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Posted: 08/05/09 01:06pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sorry false alarm.......Lance photos will have to wait.

I should have closed the river section of this trip, with Powell's text from when they arrived out of the mouth of the canyon. Remember that Powell lost his arm during the Civil War....

Skipping the part where he remarks how they recognize the area as the Grand Wash, which had been explored previously by Mormon's from St. George Utah.

"The relief from danger and the joy of success are great. When he who has been chained by wounds to a hospital cot until his canvas tent seems like a dungeon cell, until the groans of those who lie about tortured with probe and knife are piled up, a weight of horror on his ears that he cannot throw off, cannot forget, and until the stench of festering wounds and anesthetic drugs has filled the air with its lothesome burthen, - when he at last goes out into the open field, what a world he sees! How beautiful the sky, how bright the sunshine, what "floods of delirious music" pour from the throats of birds, how sweet the fragrence of earth and tree and blossom! The first hour of convalescent freedom seems rich recompense for all the pain and gloom and terror.

Something like these are the feelings we experience tonight. Ever before us has been an unknown danger, heavier than immediate peril. Every waking hour in the Grand Canyon has been one of toil. We have watched with deep solicitude the steady dissappearance of our scant supply of rations, and from time to time have seen the river snatch a portion of the little left, while we are a-hungered. And danger and toil were endured in those gloomy depths, where ofttimes clouds hid the sky by day and but a narrow zone of stars could be seen at night. Only during the hours of deep sleep, consequent on hard labor, has the roar of the waters been hushed. Now the danger is over, now the toil has ceased, now the gloom has dissappeared, now the firmament is bounded only by the horizon, and what a vast exspanse of constellations can be seen!

The river rolls by us in silent majesty; the quiet of the camp is sweet; our joy is almost ecstasy. We sit till long after midnight talking of the Grand Canyon, talking of home, but talking chiefly of the three men who left us. Are they wandering in those depths, unable to find a way out? Are they searching over the desert lands above for water? Or are they nearing the settlements?" Powell 1875, p 284-285.

Three guys had decided to leave just one morning before the boats came out...they had been facing some ugly rapids ( I think those ones that are now buried by the lake) and had hiked out. They didn't survive - they were killed, probably by Indians but nobody knows for sure.

JacintoKid

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Posted: 08/05/09 01:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Awesome BT. Pictures are great and the narrative is just as good. That's looks like one heck of an adventure. I'm going to show these pics to my 15 year old which means he will probably put the hard sell on me to do this next year. Thanks for sharing


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btggraphix

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Posted: 08/05/09 01:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SHEEPDOG wrote:

Awesome BT. Pictures are great and the narrative is just as good. That's looks like one heck of an adventure. I'm going to show these pics to my 15 year old which means he will probably put the hard sell on me to do this next year. Thanks for sharing


It might be too late for next year, depending on what time of year you are aiming for. The high season permits get locked up quickly. We had to have our complete group arranged and paid for exactly 12 months prior to the trip, or they would open it up to anyone. And these people have been going with CRATE for many years and have very good standing with them. So I'm not sure, but if you are thinking of next year, you better get going on it. There are quite a few companies that do it. My parents went with Hatch's and there are a good number of them. The number of people/permits each year is fixed...the commercial companies were locked down to a fixed number, based on how many had gone the previous year, in 1973 I think. Crate is the smallest or second smallest operator. Each day a person is on the river counts as a permit-day. So our group of 24 on an 8 day trip, probably counted for 192 permits days of the CRATE alotted 6 or 8,000 they have. A lot of the smaller companies have been bought out over the years, probably as much for the permits as anything. An interesting note is that no individual (other than guides) is allowed to go down the canyon more than once in a season.

silverdunes

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Posted: 08/05/09 03:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks, BTGGraphix, for all the pics and the writings!

As you mentioned, you are correct. I enjoy the quotes from Powell's journals, specially the Vasey's paradise.

American romanticism authors were very aware of nature and it's wild features. As an adventurer conquering physical frontiers, Powell brought in his writing a touch of this genre.

Reading historical journals and walking the same footsteps as their author's is magical. Maybe one day in the future, people will retrace our Trip Reports and re-discover another version of our explored landscape!

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sleepy

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Posted: 08/06/09 05:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brian,

Over the years your trip down the Grand canyon has been high on my to do dream list. Thank you for sharing with us... going down the river with a friends memory and pictures is a good feeling.

I have done the New River/Gauley Rivers in West Virgina. Bridge Day is always the third saturday in October. It is when in addition to extreme rafting the National Park Service allows people to base jump off the 890 foot bridge that spans the New River Gorge National Park.... and there are rafters and Kayakers down below.

The Summersville Dam on the Gauley opens all of its huge discharge pipes to flush the sediment for 3 consecutive weekends (this year 5). Rafters and Kayakers come from all over the world.

If you like you can borrow our 13 foot Aire Super Puma white water raft... and the life jackets, paddles, helmets, dry bags etc... maybe even me.

footnote: I took whitewater guide training when from Songer Rafting Company on New River in the winter of 2000. I can't guide though... my hearing is so bad that when we flip I can't find you if you yell for help.

You might like to visit Beautiful West Virginia and get some action.

2009 WV dates and very good commentary.

Just trying to get you to come for another visit.

* This post was edited 08/06/09 05:47am by sleepy *


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btggraphix

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Posted: 08/06/09 03:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I seriously thought about placing this in another thread (the part at Lance) to keep it from 'cluttering' up the TR......but I guess it's a part of the trip. Feel free to ask questions about the work here I guess.

OK, so on to Lance in Lancaster CA.....

As mentioned above, there were two primary 'fixes' I wanted to get done at Lance. One was the jack brackets moving:

You can see a bit of lean to them in the first picture, as well as the gap showing in the two closeups:

[image]

[image]

[image]


I always figured the best bet was to take off the brackets, put on some high strength adhesive, put back in the bolts (or replace them) and put nuts on the back. You can access some of the passenger-side bolts easily - maybe all of them, but the driver side also is near the corner of the slide, and the backside is hard to access. Since I also had a crack developing in the corner of the slide room:

[image]

This crack had been there when I bought it, and I have been monitoring it since then. It has lengthened a little bit over the 1.5 years I've owned the camper. Not terribly concerning, but coupled with the jacks, I wanted to get them done, and done by Lance not a dealer.

Now of course, neither of those things are "fun" type things - you don't get to enjoy them so to speak, and there were a number of customizations we had thought about for awhile, so I approached Lance about getting them done.

Windows. We love windows, and in spite of cold weather camping, we wanted more. First, if we didn't get one put in on the passenger (wife's) side of the bed, I was going to be kicked to that side [emoticon] Couldn't have that. I believe that in the 05 model year for the 1191, they gave you the option of that window, or the big closet instead. We have the closet. So at first he just they just looked up the window, but I knew the size was too big. So they ordered the window from the newer models where they actually have both the closet and the window. When we arrived, we found out the closet got smaller when they added the window back in, so they had to find another one that was smaller. The critical thing was it could be opened.

We also wanted windows in the sides of the slides. They did this on earlier models but have stopped. Sleepy's 1161 has them (heck, he even has a window in the bathroom!) They were willing to order and install those for us. Having those little side windows make a huge difference - it doesn't seem like it would, but sitting in the dinette, you can see forward, backward and sideward - really improving the view.

In addition to those things, on the drive out we started thinking about a variety of issues we needed to get fixed. Some were recent, some I even had bought the parts for but hadn't gotten around to fixing. Many were trivial, but figured what the heck, we are there anyway. Might as well do them.

Off the top of my head the list I can think of is:

Jack brackets
Crack in filon
Passenger side cabover window
Slide windows
Heiki Hatch latch
Outside lights (one had gone out, then all of them went out)
Docking lights not coming on when in reverse
Bathroom vanity latch broken
12-volt outlet somehow messed up
Service bay door coming out of bracketry, loose.
Solar panel not charging battery
Chafing of TPO roof from sat dish.
Seal-tech leak test (I even heard ads on the radio for this service from Lance)

I think that's it....there's probably a few others.

I showed up about the time they opened on Monday morning, but they were still finishing a few things up. Went to a few bookstores (looking for a Roadside Geology book for California or Arizona, but it seems that series isn't carried by Barnes & Nobles or Waldenbooks anymore [emoticon] ) - ate lunch, went back over at noon or so.

For the seal-tech test, I had them mark the spots that were leaking with tape, for me to caulk later. I was surprised there were only 3.

Handle:
[image]

Service bay door:
[image]

Roof vent:
[image]

The solar panel issue (I knew it was an issue only because the controller NEVER had the light on that says it is charging) turned out to be a coroded connection on the roof. They replaced it:
[image]

The sat. dish rubbing spot fix:
[image]

Slide room side windows:
[image]

[image]

It's amazing how much this adds to the views from inside the camper, it really is.

Bedroom window from inside:
[image]

Outside:
[image]

We are really happy with the windows, with one exception....they are single pane. We'll see how it goes this winter, but at least now I have the holes all setup and if I feel like I need to change them out it will probably be a little easier then cutting the holes to begin with. At least now I get to keep my side of the bed [emoticon]

Ready to load
[image]

(except Mathew forgot to put one of the blocks wide enough for the dually - at first he started lowering the front jack to get it in the air which was kind of freaking me out - at least I could tell the jack brackets didn't flex like they used to....) Finally he went and got this:
[image]


Somebody's oops:
[image]

[image]

Looking good......
[image]

I'm really happy with what Lance did - custom stuff and all. There was only one thing that didn't work out well (the service bay door they should have done more and replaced the hinge....but I am having them send me a package of parts to finish the job and are refunding me the money I spent on labor for that item. So it will all work out fine. I would highly recommend using them for service, either if it is conveniant to your location, or have any major issues you want to make sure someone does correctly.

Anyway, so long to Lance HQ......thanks Mike, thanks Mathew!

So now I headed off through the Mojave for the fourth time. Sheesh, it's beautiful, but I'd rather see it in the winter. This is on I-40 east of Barstow. I think I have now done every mile of I-40 between St. Louis and Barstow, except the part between Flagstaff and Gallup, NM.
[image]

[image]

Needles CA, on route 66:
[image]

I coulnd't believe how hot it still was at that time of day. I asked the attendant how hot it had been that day. he said 118. I asked him how hot it was now, and he said, "let's find out" and dialed time/temp on the speaker phone: The time is 7:58, and it is 108 degrees. Holy crapola! People aren't meant to live in tempoeratures like that (you hear this Whazoo?)

Nice view across the street from the station:
[image]

Love those mirrors - sunset behind me:
[image]

I got a reservation at the campground right at the GCNP entrance town. I was so sick of being hot, I wanted power to run the AC when I stopped. But by the time I got there and got out, I was amazed at how much cooler it was up there on the rim of the canyon compared to everything I had been in over the last week. You really climb from Needles all the way up to Flagstaff. Anyway, pulled in late, and left early to look down at what we had been rafting:

[image]

[image]

[image]

[image]

I kept changing my mind about which way to go back, I-40 or through 4-corners and Durango/La Veta Pass/I-25. I literally couldn't make up my mind until I got to the interesection, and finally headed to 4 corners. It's been a long time since I have driven that stretch and I always go for the road less travelled by me, and went that way. A lot of construction slowdowns but it was a nice drive.

I sure was happy when I started getting towards the mountains again, green grasses, moist(er) air.

[image]

I'm going to call it good for now. I did go back and correct a few things in my earlier posts, typos and some confusing statements. One of the other guys on the trip put this slideshow togther, feel free to check it out.

slideshow

This was a truly great trip. I hope it isn't 'once in a liftime' because I'd like to go back - but it should be on just about everyone's bucket list if possible. I don't think I'd really want to do the hole thing via the dories, or small rafts where you paddle (it would take 21 days to do it all) though the whitewater parts would be fun that way. Even if you aren't that into whitewater and are afraid of falling in - just get on one of these barges and sit near the back/middle - you'll hardly even get wet. Heck, if it'll carry my truck and camper, it can certainly carry you safely. [emoticon]

Hope you enjoyed it vicariously.
BT


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pjay9

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Posted: 08/07/09 10:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BT, great report...followed it all the way! Interesting about the Lance service...too bad there were not any pics of the holes and stuff during install. I will be scheduling one of those air test for sure...would be good to see if all the things I have sealed and done have really worked...I'd like to get an infared camera and do a heat loss test too.

Great report! Capt PJ

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