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JoeChiOhki

Sauvie Island, OR

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Joined: 11/20/2003

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Posted: 03/07/13 07:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, it's been far too long since this trip actually happened to me finally getting some writing done and publishing it somewhere [emoticon].

So, I've started this thread to reshare my tale for all of you on the forums [emoticon].

As I go along, I'll add new entries to this thread as each new chapter is written up.

So, here goes, starting with the Prologue to this Great Adventure [emoticon].

==================================================
Saturday, August 25, 2012

Project–Readying the Express for it’s return to the Road

For the past year, I’ve been planning what is to be my greatest cross country adventure with my RV I’ve ever done.

Part of that plan is readying my twenty year old pickup and camper for the rigors of close to 10,000 miles of travel, covering Interstates, US Highways, and in a couple cases, dirt and gravel roads.

One of the big things that needs readying for this trip is the replacement of the exhaust and the replacement of the truck’s engine and transmission cooling system, all of which are factory original, and worn beyond their expected lifespans.

Sadly, like a great many projects on a limited timeline, I didn’t photograph them, so I’ll narrate what I didn’t photograph and present what I did [image].

Cooling System Upgrades

This really started presenting itself clear back in 2009 as being well worn, when the engine was having trouble staying cool during my Eastern Oregon Ramblin’ Journey (at the time of this post, I still haven’t gotten off my lazy butt and typed that adventure up yet).

We managed to limp through on that trip, shifting into 1st gear when not really necessary to boost the air flow through the worn radiator, but the radiator ended up hanging around for three more years, as travel during the warmer months of the year hadn’t presented itself again until the Great Northern Redneck Adventure.

So, after some shopping around, I finally located a local dealer who sold solid Aluminum radiators. At the same time, I also shopped around and decided to replace my tiny factory transmission cooler with a Tru-Cool MAX transmission cooler that is made by Long Industries and normally used in the newer Ford F550 pickup trucks.

The transmission cooler was rated for a vehicle with a 45,000lb GVWR, so I figured it would be more than enough to help keep the transmission temp down.
[image]

Once all my parts were obtained, I set about removing the old radiator and transmission cooler, the condition of which once removed confirmed my belief that I’d have been a damned fool to have taken a long trip with the existing hardware.

[image]
The final nail in the coffin came when I unbolted the transmission cooler from the old radiator and it promptly fell apart, the cross bars for the transmission cooler the only thing holding the radiator together.

It took roughly a day to modify and assemble my new cooler and radiator. I had wanted to move the cooler up to the front of the grill stack under the hood, but the design of the truck’s front mount area prevented this from being feasible and the new transmission cooler sadly had to go back into the sandwich (A/C Evaporator, Transmission Cooler, then Radiator) where the old one had originally been.
[image][image]

After adding all the new transmission fluid hose and the below freezing bypass valve (allows the fluid to warm up to running temp before opening to allow fluid through the cooler when the fluid’s temp is at or below 32 degrees F), I reinstalled the new radiator under the hood.

Deep Transmission Pan

Next up was changing the transmission fluid. I decided that when I upgraded the cooling capacity, I’d also upgrade the transmission fluid capacity as well. After posting a few threads on the subject earlier in the year, I researched a few different options and ended up with the DeRale Deep Transmission pan and pickup extension.

I decided to go with a steel pan vs aluminum mainly for the extra capacity and for the durability. The new pan also had a sensor bung for a transmission temperature sensor, so I also added a GlowShift transmission temp gauge.
[image][image]

The other big reason I went with a steel pan was that the factory pan magnet would adhere to it just like it had to the factory original pan, not to mention having a drain plug puts an end to the nightmare messes of doing a fluid change of the past.

The pan on the left above is the factory original transmission pan, the pan on the right is the new pan, just a hair deeper [image].

I did have to cut a section of my truck’s exhaust off to get the new pan in place, but given the near rusted out condition of the majority of the exhaust, I wasn’t sad to see it go, the factory exhaust system was a joke.

When I added the temperature sensor assembly, there was a fairly decent debate on location of where one should measure the temperature. After a lot of back and forth between various peoples on various boards, I decided to go with the position that it was better to make sure the fluid was sufficiently cooled down before it went through the transmission.

Since my pickup is right above the sensor, I’m fairly assured of the temperature of the fluid going into the transmission is the temperature being displayed by the gauge.

New Exhaust
Now, this I had a shop do. The overall diameter was upgraded on the pipes, all heavy duty stainless steel, high flow twin cats (Can’t get rid of them in Portland, sadly) and a massive high flow twin in and out muffler (about the size of a big beer keg, this thing is massive!).

I had the new twin out exhaust exit just ahead of the passenger side rear tires and the exhaust was rerouted from the driver’s side manifold so that it no longer crossed near the transmission pan.

A ball reservoir had to be relocated off a cross member and onto the inside of a frame rail, but that was the only modification needed to be done to the truck to fit the new custom welded exhaust.
[image]

Out of everything, the exhaust replacement made the most noticeable difference in the truck’s performance as the original single cat was pretty much plugged.

One thing also done during the exhaust repairs was to have the hinged flapper valve on the passenger side exhaust manifold welded into the open position as these have a bad habit of eventually rusting to the point where they get stuck closed.

Other things fixed

Other things that were done were replacing the driver’s side air bag, changing the oil, and fixing, hopefully for the last time, the lights on the forward cargo basket.

On the camper, the furnace vent was removed so that a new steel backing plate could be installed to prevent the new eye bolt from being pulled out of the camper’s wing like it’s predecessor had.

The propane compartment was removed and the floor jacked up into position it was supposed to be in and reattached to the camper’s walls, then the compartment was repaired and reinstalled so that it actually sealed the propane compartment air tight to the outside.

The two 20lb horizontal bottles were removed and taken to a local shop to have their valves replaced to solve fill issues and the floor anchors were reinstalled to fit the newer bottles so that they would remain secured in position.

The factory original rubber line for the regulator to the compartment wall was also replaced as the original was discovered to be badly dry rotted.
The driver’s side rear jack was removed and a hole drilled in the bottom to facilitate the application of gear oil to unbind the jack’s inner bearings that had rusted over the previous winter.

The water pump was adjusted to improve it’s cycling characteristics and more of the old polybutylene cold water line was removed and replaced with Pex and brass sharkbite fittings. The output line from the hot water heater to the hot water backbone pipe was also replaced from the under-sized flex line I had used to a true 1/2” inner diameter pex line to give hot and cold water even water pump cycling characteristics.

Dedicated mount for Generator

In the past, my little champion generator was carried wrapped in a tarp on the front basket of the truck. While out of the way, it also was a pain to make use of the generator regularly, as it would need to be unpacked and unwrapped then set somewhere and chained in place and a cord run.

Since my plan for this great adventure was to make use of Walmarts and Truck Stops for a lot of my overnight sleep stops, having the generator setup in a permanent mount so I could start it as needed was necessary to save time on having to pack and unpack the generator and it’s security overnight.

So, I had a custom hinged basket made to mount the generator to. The basket is hinged so that when I’m home, I can simply remove the generator and store it in the garage and fold the basket up so that the camper can back up to the deck.
[image]

Now, all I had to do to use the generator was loosen the cargo strap and start it up. An extension cord installed to the camper carried the power from the generator to the onboard systems. When I wanted to use shore power, all I had to do was unplug the cord coming from the generator at the camper’s main outlet and plug in my loose cord.

I did have to be careful of the wind when I parked as it needed to be such that it was calm or blowing away from the camper so that I didn’t end up with exhaust being blown back up into the camper when the generator was used, even though the exhaust was directed away from the vehicle.

In the future, I think an extended exhaust pipe will need to be made to help direct the exhaust.

Mounting the 30 gallon portable waste tank for travel

Back in 2009, I obtained a nice 30 gallon barker rolling portable waste tank when I was still doing my full timing at places where there wasn’t sewer hookups for the toilet waste.

Since I moved to the island, the tank hasn’t been used for trips as I didn’t have any place to carry it setup on the camper or truck. If I had had a ladder, this would have been easily solved, but my camper had no ladder and the location where one would have been was now occupied by my air conditioner.

The tank was too big to hang off the back wall without it being the way and too awkward to carry on the forward basket, so I had to come up with an alternative solution.

In the end, I simply mounted six heavy eye screws into the structural timbers along the underside of the camper’s rear overhang so that the waste tank could be strapped upside down against the underside of the camper’s onboard waste tank.

Why upside down? So that it could sit flush, if installed right side up, the connection point for the waste hose and the vent would have been in the way.

The tank was secured in place using three ratcheting cargo straps and stayed put by being wedged there by the hitch extension, the camper’s own overhanging surround and the truck’s bumper, keeping it from being able to shift in any direction.
[image]

The fit was fairly tight, very little wiggle room existed, but the tank was successfully mounted in place.

Between the blue rolling waste tank that could be towed behind the truck and the white fresh water tank on the front, it was possible to now stay an extended period of time where full hookups was not available, while using the camper’s faculties as if it was on full hookups.

Other added cargo changes

Again, another thing completed without pictures, eye hooks were added to the truck bed side walls so that other tools and supplies, like my oil changing pan, could be secured along side the camper in the truck’s bed.

In the end, I carried along spare soda, scrub brushes for cleaning the truck and camper, my big steel fire poker for camp fires, my oil changing pan and a spare folding camp chair were all stored in the spare spaces in the truck’s bed. This was all in addition to the three pairs of stackable jacks, 4 12x12x4” cedar blocks and spare 4’ 2x6 that were already being stored in these spaces.

Things like the oil change pan and the scrub brushes were stored in the aft dead space behind the wheel well on the driver’s side as they wouldn’t be used while the camper was mounted.

The soda, chair and firepoker were all stored in the forward areas so they could easily be reached by the bed access doors in the camper.

Every square inch of extra storage space was utilized for this two month odyssey. Since the camper was planned to only be removed once during the trip for the extended stay near Kankakee, IL, there was no worry about the security of items stored in the truck’s bed.

* This post was last edited 03/08/13 07:01pm by JoeChiOhki *   View edit history


My Blog - The Journey of the Redneck Express
CB Channel 17 Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 "Dually" Power Wagon - Club Cab Long Bed 4x4 V8 5.9L gashog w/4.10 Geared axles
'1974 KIT Kamper 1106 - 11' Slide-in
'2006 Heartland BigHorn 3400RL


JoeChiOhki

Sauvie Island, OR

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Posted: 03/07/13 07:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Great Northern Redneck Adventure–Chapter 1–Finally on the Road

So, why “The Great Northern Adventure” when we really went east and then back west versus going north up toward Alaska?

I guess that can be explained, easy enough.

This adventure takes me on and off I-90 as I wended my way east across the U.S., going through a number of the northern states in the union, e.g. Washington, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan….. Easy, right?

Next question, why now, why go so late in the year that you risk hitting winter snows on the way back? Why go when most of the campgrounds are closed for the winter by the time you reach the middle of the US?

Well, mainly, that’s simply a requirement of my work schedule. For most people, taking 2-3 months off from work is not possible, for me, I’m forced into 6 months off after every contract at Intel ends, regardless of if I want to take it or not, just the nature of the rules of the job, nothing new to me, been doing it for four years now.

So, when I took my latest contract back in 2011, I decided it was high past time I planned a return to my family’s home state of Illinois. We’ve had a number of family members pass away over the past four years and plenty more getting older every day, some already up in their 90s, increasing the odds that with every year I don’t go, the greater the chances I might never see them again.

My contract was ending at the beginning of September, early enough in the fall that I’d still have warm enjoyable weather for at least half of the journey and the added benefit of entering into the end of the Summer fuel prices and a steady decline in fuel prices as time marched further and further away from the warm days of summer.

Another plus was by the time I left, school would be back in session and the droves of….. special snowflakes…. for lack of another polite word for them, on the road would be drastically reduced, taking more of the stress out of my long range trip.

Thus, September 2012 became my month of departure when I started planning and budgeting this trip back in September 2011.

Hopefully, you’ve read my previous post about preparing my rig for the return to the road, this pretty much details all the prep work it took to get ready to pull out of my driveway and start driving east.

If you haven’t, well, best to go to the bottom of the page and click the “Older Post” button to go back and read the previous blog entry first to get up to speed [image]. If you’re reading this from a forum, well, look up my posts and there should be a Prologue or Chapter Zero or something (I don’t know what I’ll call it yet) for the trip report that will bring you up to speed.

At one time, I’d had this fantasy about actually hitting the road on September 6th, reality was late evening September 13th, fortunately a Thursday [image], became the actual day that we departed.

View GNRA - Chapter 1 - Finally on the Road Map

It was around 8pm or so when we finally left that Thursday, the very last ounces of daylight fading away before I’d even had a chance to finish my shower, leaving the road ahead cloaked in that inky darkness common to most rural areas where urbanites haven’t soiled it.

As per standard operating procedure, I slowly made my way down the road from home, watching both sides of the road at the same time for the familiar suicide attempts of our local deer population, until we finally cleared the last of the denser wooded area of the northern island and onto the straight run of Giliham road, allowing us to gradually creep up to the 55mph speed limit.

Another advantage of this time of the year, most of the damn fool tourists that come out to the beaches (both clothed and clothing optional) up the road during the summer months are gone. No worries about being crashed into by a fool who doesn’t understand a 35mph speed limit sign and double solid yellow lines down the center of the road.

After about 20 minutes, we pulled off and I made a brief stop at the Park N’ Ride lot at the base of the bridge onto the island to retighten the camper’s tiedowns and recheck the cargo loads.

From there it was first a short and sweet drive west down U.S. 30 to the Cornelius Pass Road intersection, then a slow climb up the windy and blind cornered Cornelius Pass Road itself.

I had hoped that the lateness of the hour would reduce the number of “Cling-Ons”1 behind the truck, but by the time we reached the pull out at the top of the pass, there was more than twenty odd vehicles that had lined up behind us.

So, we sat for a while to clear out any backlog on the road, then merged back onto the road and started the decent down the other side, once again accumulating another vast following of cling-ons in about 30 seconds.

Roughly an hour and a half later, we pulled into the parking lot of the Cornelius Pass Road house. The cigars were extracted from the humidor for the evening and we proceeded in to the white shed to relax and ready ourselves for the road.

Perhaps, I should stop for a moment and explain what I mean by readying in context of this trip [image].

Readying, for me means getting psyched up to stare at yellow stripes and long ribbons of pitch black asphalt for hours on end.

Readying for Mason means, getting ready to fall asleep when the vehicle was in motion for more than ten minutes, or less, regardless of the time of day [image].

[image]

It was a fairly busy night at the White Shed, of all reasons, because there was a convention of Mercedes Benz Car Salesmen going on. Came to the conclusion really quick that the only thing scarier than a car salesman is a drunk car salesman…..

This fact actually was to our benefit as we wound up being the only two in there as it got on towards closing time when this one lone female salesman came in who wanted a beer, but didn’t want to, and I quote “Be that woman who puts a single beer on her credit card.”

Her solution to her dilemma? Buy us two cigars so she wouldn’t feel bad! [image]

In the end, we left for our grocery stop with two new, rather nice, cigars tucked in the humidor to enjoy further on down the road.

[image][image]

Another hour was spent at the local WinCo Grocery store in Hillsboro, before we truly got on the road, making it really the 13th of September by the time our tires kissed U.S. 26 east bound.

We drove for roughly two hours that night, till we reached Biggs Junction, Oregon, our planned rest stop for the days drive.

Why stop so soon after departing?

Well, several reasons:
A.) I wanted to get a few hours sleep in the dark and do the rest of my driving in the day when I could actually see something.
B.) Mason had never seen the Stonehenge Memorial in Maryhill, WA just across the river from Biggs, if he’d had, I would have likely just fueled up and kept on driving till I got closer to Kennewick, WA before stopping for some shut eye.
C.) I had just drove for two hours with forty mile an hour winds in the mix, after having already spent the whole day laboring at getting the last of the logistics of loading worked out (figuring out how to secure the big blue rolling waste tote under the floor had ended up taking several hours as the camper had to be partially unloaded again to get the anchors finally installed in the correct location).
D.) Out of reasons, just felt like adding a D, for symmetry [image].

My original plan had been to stop at the Pilot Truck Stop for the night. This plan crashed and burned with no survivors after an inquiry inside revealed that they did not allow any overnight parking for RVs, only trucks, something that I found to be unique to that one Pilot.

So, we decided to try Plan B, stay at Maryhill State Park across the river.

Park was full and overpriced compared to when I had visited there last in 2009.

Plan C, shoulder of the road where I had seen some other trucks parked.

Road had a massive slope to one side, didn’t have enough blocks for a 12” height adjustment to get the camper level enough to sleep in, had I been able to nose in, I could have done it, but there wasn’t enough room.

Plan D, park at the other truck stop across the street from the Pilot.

Truck Lot was full.

Finally, I noticed there was a motorhome parked in the auto spots of the restaurant out in front of the truck stop.

Figured, if there’s an RV there, a second one won’t seem out of place, so found a spot and pulled in nose first and leveled up as needed.

Swung the bike rack so that the bikes were off set to one side instead of being perpendicular to the door (narrow driveway) and took a kitchen sink shower. This consisted of using the sprayer attachment on the sink to wash my hair and the primary areas of stink.

Since I’d showered just before we left, I didn’t need a full shower, just enough of a scrub to remove the smell of the cigars from me so that my pillow wouldn’t retain it for several days afterwards.

After that, it took about five minutes till oblivion hit, from which I didn’t return until my alarm went off eight hours later.

* This post was last edited 03/08/13 06:51pm by JoeChiOhki *   View edit history

JoeChiOhki

Sauvie Island, OR

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Posted: 03/07/13 07:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Friday, September 14, 2012
The Great Northern Redneck Adventure–Cha........n?!! Onward to Spokane, the East awaits!



View GNRA - Chapter 2 – We’re still in Oregon?!! Onward to Spokane, the East awaits! map

Well, luck was with us, and the night was uninterrupted by anyone banging on our door to inform us that we couldn’t park where we were and needed to move, or anyone managing to collide with the bicycles on the rack next to the camper.


I think it was somewhere around 9-9:30am by the time I managed to pry my crusted-shut eyes open and stick my head under the sprayer attachment for the sink to rinse away the last of the urge to climb back into the bed and pull a pillow over my head.
[image][image]
It was 10am and the morning sun was already toasting things up by the time we stepped outside the camper cocoon and I got a chance to swivel my head around and get a good gander at the area.



This wasn’t my first time through Biggs, but it was the first time I’d spent more time there than it took to get gas or take the off ramp onto US 97 South or North.


The hills have become forested with Wind Turbines over the past ten years, I can recall when there was none here at one time, now there are quietly moving trees of white steel that have synchronized blinking red lights atop them at night for the purpose of befuddling drivers along I-84 who wonder at the surreal view far ahead of them.
[image][image]
Mason wandered over to the gas station to buy a bag of ice so we could chill the little red ice chest of water and soft drinks that we carried in the cab of the truck for the day while I packed in and battened down everything to get the camper back on the road.



Our first sight-seeing stop was right across the river from us, the Maryhill Stonehenge Memorial!


A quick trip across the Biggs bridge, and a gradual creep up the mountain and we were there [image]. Sadly, the little souvenir and ice cream stand that’s near the memorial has closed it’s doors [image].
[image][image][image]

[image][image][image]


We meandered around a while, snapping photos here, snapping photos there, Mason posing for photos for what I later started calling his “fan girls” on facebook.



[image][image][image]

[image]
After meandering around the memorial for a while, we clambered back into the pickup and made our way down the hill from the memorial into the small town of Maryhill below.




[image][image][image]

[image][image]
There really isn’t a whole lot left to the town of Maryhill, mostly a few homes, the Church, the fruit orchards, a winery, the state park, and an RV Park.
Our main reason for visiting was to stop by Gunkel Orchards to acquire some fresh peaches for our journey. I’d visited here once before in 2009 during the Eastern Oregon Ramblin’ Journey (as of the time of this post, still backlogged for posting) and had gotten a good bounty of fresh peaches.


This time, the peach bounty wasn’t as… well bountiful, but it was a month later than when I had been there last, and three years later, so that doesn’t surprise me as much.
[image][image]
Since we hadn’t had our breakfast yet, we parked the truck across the road in as much shade as I could get it in and we had cereal and attempted to each some peaches.


I really should have paid a bit more attention to their ripeness, as they were definitely not ripe yet, and kind of ruined the enjoyment I had been looking forward to.
The remaining peaches were stowed in a sack and tucked in the cabover to ripen as we continued on east before anymore were eaten.





A sadly, less than satisfying breakfast down, we battened everything down and got back across the river and onto I-84 heading east again.
Along the way, we passed the numerous hydroelectric dams that generate the bulk majority of Oregon’s electrical power, like the Dalles Dam below:
[image]


And had a laugh at the fact that there was a tiny town named “Arlington” in Oregon cut out of the rugged cliffs lining the gorge.
[image][image][image]


Of course, since we motored along at 55mph in the right lane, everything, including a number of other RVs passed us [image]:
[image][image]


Eventually, after a slight pucker moment with my timing of our fuel stop, we made it onto I-82 and were crossing the Columbia River out of Oregon for the last time.
[image][image]
At last, we were truly on our way!


For me, this wasn’t my first time traveling I-82, however, it was my first time driving my own RV along it and crossing it in the daylight.


First thing that caught my attention not long after we had crossed into eastern Washington was what looks like an abandoned mine shaft right along side the interstate. I doubt it is one, from what I’ve read, but the placement makes it certainly look like one.
[image]
You can see it yourself if you drive I-82, it’s right at Milepost 116 northbound on the east side of the interstate.

View Map Image of our Abandoned Mine


We made a supply stop at the Walmart Supercenter in Kennewick, WA to pick up some stuff we still needed, including the super handy LED headlamps that were originally bought to ride the route of the Hiawatha trail, but ended up getting used to a lot more.
[image][image][image]


Then a brief rest stop a little further north to contact TC Life to take up his offer of an overnight stay:
[image][image]


Truck Campers unite!

* This post was edited 03/08/13 06:54pm by JoeChiOhki *

JoeChiOhki

Sauvie Island, OR

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Posted: 03/07/13 07:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Great Northern Redneck Adventure–Cha........thru Idaho, Getting off the Beaten Track


View GNRA - Chapter 3 & 4 map

Sadly, we were too tired to be up as early as our host, TC Life, so we weren’t able to wish him a proper goodbye today [image], but, we still greatly appreciated the stay over night though [image].

This morning proved to be a test of digestive fortitude, one which both Mason and I lost.

Good thing the camper has it’s own toilet, as TC Life was gone and no one was home, otherwise, we’d have never made the drive back down Hwy 395 in time to find a bathroom before disaster would have hit.

We did discover that because of the tiny”ness” of the camper’s bathroom, that for one of us to be able to relax enough to use it in the seated position, we had to boot the other out of the camper so that the bathroom door could be left open, allowing the occupant enough room, but without putting on a show [image].

Once the great bathroom adventure was over, we finally got everything packed up and started back through town, stopping at our selective fast food choices so that we could make time for Enaville, ID.

Now, in the past, I’ve driven through Spokane before, but never along any road besides I-90. Traveling along the US 395 during the day back towards I-90 provided me with a greater view of some of the actual characteristics of Spokane.

[image][image][image]

[image]

From what I can tell, old town Spokane is mostly along the old alignment of US 395, at the time of our visit, WADOT was already undertaking a new free-way style alignment of US 395 to improve traffic from the northern suburbs into town and to I-90.

Most of town made me think of some older industrial cities of Oregon, like Albany, however, I have never seen a hotel quite like this one in Albany [image].

[image][image]

Anywhere in Oregon, they would have simply bulldozed the big hill before building the hotel, here, they built it on top of it [image].

From the looks of the Google Drive by footage, the hotel didn’t always look like it does now.
Here’s the same hill from just a few years ago.


[image]

When I originally saw the hotel, I thought it might be somewhat historic, but now looking back at the Google Drive by footage, one can tell it’s been there only a short time.

The ironic and humorous bit is, when the Google Drive By photo was taken and when I drove by were apparently both election years [image].


From Spokane, we drove for roughly two hours before we finally reached Coeur D’Alene, ID, which for some reason I didn’t take any photos of…..

We drove through town, following the old I-90/Hwy 10 Alignment that passes through the downtown area before migrating out of town along the old US 10/I-90 alignment along the shores of Lake Coeur D'Alene.

[image]
At the time I was oddly wondering why a city road would show signs of old passing lanes and four lane travel, later I learned that at one time this had been the original main east-west highway through the area.

Shame it’s been retired, it was a drastically more attractive road than the higher up route of the current I-90 alignment.

The view from the bridge above does make up a bit for it though [image].

[image][image]

While we were still in town, before heading on further east, I attempted to get ahold of Jammingalong, another Truck Camper enthusiast, but sadly, we never were able to reach one another in time before I journeyed east over the pass.

Before finally leaving Coeur D’Alene behind, we attempted to get information from one of Mason’s roommates regarding some castle that stands along the shore of the lake, but the chucklehead, whom lived for several years in the area, couldn’t provide any useful information regarding it, and given the smoke that was clouding our view at times, we were never able to locate it or any information pertaining to it.

If any of you readers out there know what “Castle” he was talking about, I’d greatly appreciate information on it, as it would be nice to try and find on a future visit.

Since we had the majority of the day still ahead of us and the panhandle of Idaho being as narrow as it was, and that we needed to stay close to the area to do the “Route of the Hiawatha” Trail Ride the next day, we took our time and did a little driving along the shore of Lake Coeur D’Alene and a little visiting of the towns of Kellogg, Smelterville, and Wallace, ID, before heading towards our dinner destination of the Snakepit over in Enaville.

Taking the exit for State Highway 97, we turned south and west and wended our way down the shore line of the lake, stopping here and there for a couple photos and only turning back north when we hit the end of Powderhorn Bay.

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Unfortunately, our view wasn’t as good as I had remembered it being, due to the forest fires burning all around the Northwest at the time of our visit.


We eventually made our way back onto I-90 and made our climb over Fourth of July Pass and descended down to the town of Pinehurst, ID, one of several towns I’d visited back in 2005 with my parents and siblings.

Sadly, the Pinehurst KOA no longer exists, as it was one of the better RV parks in the area, however, had it existed, we would have never found the RV Park we ultimately ended up staying at later that night.

Exiting off of I-90, we drove along through the towns using the old US Hwy 10 alignment, stopping periodically to grab photos of the little signs that dot the Coeur D’Alene Trail, a bike path that goes from one end of the panhandle of Idaho all the way to the other side, along the long abandoned Union Pacific right of way.
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First town we reached after leaving Pinehurst behind us was the town of Smelterville. Remnants of the long gone Bunkerhill Lead & Zinc mines and their associated smelters still dot the area even though their traces are slowly disappeared during the ongoing clean up process.


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From Smelterville, we rolled into Kellogg, ID, a town filled with some rather neat architecture, when I was a boy scout, I could only wish we had a hall quite as neat as the one they have in Kellogg.

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Sadly, the town’s commercial district was looking like it was hurting pretty badly.

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One thing I’ve always found fascinating are the junk sculptures around the center of town, mainly up and down Division Street, near the freeway. Whoever made them put some good effort into their design [image].

Each one of the sculptures is made of scrap iron, ranging from oil barrels, to car mufflers.


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We swung by the local Ski lodge in town as we were making ready to climb back onto I-90 and continue onto Wallace. While there wasn’t any snow in the area at the time, the Lodge keeps the gondola-style ski lift running all year round, taking mountain bikers up to the top of the hill so that they can trail ride back down again.

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Sadly, another Museum that I still haven’t gotten to visit. One of these years…..

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Last couple trail side signs about the long closed Lead and Zinc mine before we get back on the interstate.
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* This post was edited 03/08/13 06:56pm by JoeChiOhki *

JoeChiOhki

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Great Northern Redneck Adventure–Chapter 4– The Historic Town of Wallace

After a short trip on I-90 (had I looked closer at my map, we could have instead taken Silver Valley Rd instead), we popped back off in the historic town of Wallace.

The town of Wallace is rather unique compared to it’s neighbors. For one, it actually has a population limit, two, it was used in the movie “Dante’s Peak” as the town below the volcano, and three the whole downtown is on the national historic places register.

Other interesting little historical tidbits about the town is that until the viaduct was built, Wallace was the last stoplight on an major US Interstate in the country.

Also, on September 25, 2004, Mayor Ron Garitone proclaimed Wallace to be the center of the Universe [image].

As seen here in this photo:
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Downtown Wallace is chock-a-block full of historic buildings from the 1950s and earlier, a good number being Antique stores, intermixed with some other businesses (one did antique radios and components), and restaurants.

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I visited more than a few of the antique stores myself, one of my favorite items I discovered was the old hotel calendars [image].
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One thing you’ll find more than one of in the town of Wallace are museums. The one that caught my attention the most and made me laugh a bit was the Oasis Bordello Museum.
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Sadly, while open daily, they weren’t open when we were visiting town.

Even with the smorgasbord of museums, neat shops, and various knickknacks, my favorite destination was the historic and beautiful old Wallace Railroad Depot [image].
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The station is a remnant of when the Union Pacific Railroad and it’s predecessors used to run rail service through town. The Train Station itself, is now a museum, and actually isn’t even in it’s original spot.

It was moved 200ft from it’s original location when the final portion of I-90 was built during the early 90s to prevent it’s demolition as the viaduct was constructed.

In it’s hayday, the station served as the hub of two railroads, the UP (then known as the Oregon-Washington Railway & Navigation Co) and the Northern Pacific. Rail service in the area ceased in 1992 and the tracks were torn up, ironically, roughly a year after I-90’s construction was finally completed.

Two dollars gets you inside the door if you’re an adult, and shy of the winter, they’re open most of the year.

The building is crammed to the rafters full of railroad nostalgia, every room has another hunk of history of railroading in the area and railroading itself.

One of the first things you encounter when you enter the museum is an HO scale model of some of the town of Wallace and the railroad grades through the area.

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As you continue to move, each room or area of a room will be a scene or artifact from the long bygone era of rail travel.

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The history of the moving of the Depot is even on display here:

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Sadly, before too long the day was beginning to grow short and the shops and the museums were all closing up and we found it was time to say our goodbyes to the little town of Wallace and turn back west to Enaville, to revisit my all-time favorite place to dine, the Snakepit.

* This post was last edited 03/08/13 06:52pm by JoeChiOhki *   View edit history

JoeChiOhki

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Posted: 03/07/13 08:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, that's all for the moment, I've been up all night, so going to go take a shower and crash, will post some more after I've got some sleep [emoticon].

deltabravo

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The Railroad Depot is the Northern Pacific's Depot. I think it was built with bricks that were intended the hotel the railroad built in Tacoma, which later became Stadium High School.

It looks like they've added a lot of memorabilia to since I was last there (about 20 years ago)

It's pretty cool - I remember it when it was still in the original location, before the viaduct was built. I also remember "the last stop light" on I-90.

The viaduct was completed in 1991 I believe.

Also, who is Mason?

* This post was last edited 03/07/13 09:02am by deltabravo *   View edit history


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deltabravo

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Posted: 03/07/13 08:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

http://www.npdepot.org/

http://www.visitidaho.org/attraction/mus......../northern-pacific-depot-railroad-museum/

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

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Posted: 03/07/13 09:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes, good old Wwallace. The last stop light and most slimy speed trap on I-90. There used to be a radar video and orders to stop for your ticket if going over 25 mph.
Thanks for getting to posting this Matt. Looking forward to it.


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spacedoutbob

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Posted: 03/07/13 11:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Matt, I had been wondering when you were going to post a Trip report and Photos of your trip. I can't wait to see the rest of your trip. Thanks for posting. I'm glad you had a great trip. Last year I drove cross country to My Nephew's Bar mitzvah in New Jersey, on the way I got to see baseball games in Chicago, Cleveland, and New York, on the way back I got to see ballgames in Detroit and Seattle. Drove 7600 miles by myself and had a great time.

Bob in Calif.

* This post was edited 03/07/13 11:51am by spacedoutbob *


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