Looks like rain, and why is that UFO following us?

  End of August and now a busy time begins with Casper, Sandia and Dickson to pack in all
within a 30 day time frame. Head out on time on Thursday with the intention of making the 700
mile leg up I17, along I40 into New Mexico and up I25 from Albuquerque. All’s well until the upper
end of New Mexico where the storm clouds are gathering and sure enough as night approaches
it starts to rain and true to form the wipers FAIL AGAIN!

More rain!

The idea of going through mountain passes in a thunderstorm with wet roads and no wipers
seems somewhat foolhardy so we elect to night stop at a truck stop some 50 miles short of
Trinidad. With huge Black mushroom clouds all around we settle in for the night as the storms
rage overhead.

Early morning and set off a hour early and catch up the extra distance, bright and sunny today
and we make good time going northbound and mid afternoon we are turning off the road onto
the 3 mile dust trail that will take us to Mosteller ranch for our double nightstop in a pleasant
clearing just above the river. It’s as dry as a bone, and hot and with the generator and AC’s
blowing the Starship now has it’s own forcefield around it with a dust bowl that was visible from
space. Into our “private” parking slot (thanks Fred) and now the bus looks like we have just
finished Paris-Dakaar so out with the airline and blow all the nasty dust off to reveal our true

On the riding side not my best rides of the year but 2 great trials nonetheless. The usual bar-b-q
and Brenda’s now expected roast turkey that vanishes before gobble- gobble is said. Some great
home made Georgia wines from Bob Carpenter and another evening of entertaining long past
bedtime. A fairly standard hang over to kick off day 2 and then it’s time to leave and claw our way
back along the cliff path and get the 8 foot bus through the 7 ft 11″ gate!

Homeward bound and approaching Cheyenne……. guess what? …. yes, you got it, it starts to
rain! Der, Der……DWANG! hello WIPER!!  Onward and now refuel at Flying J and take on
water/dump in the pouring rain while mystified at the stupidity of people around fuel pumps and
60 ft long rigs. Tighten up the wipers on their arms and off we go again and all is well with
Brenda and dogs sleeping peacefully until we approach Denver where the sky is jet black and it
is going to get bad. In the wheelhouse of the “Andrea Gail” information regarding the “perfect
storm” is relayed to the Captain but press on we must as we need to make Trinidad.

Yet more Rainbows and…….. RAIN!

In the gloom of the evening made worse by the black clouds the wipers fail once more and the
Andrea Gail slows as spray and rain cover the wheelhouse, full lights and the horn clear our path
from all but the unwary and fortunately the drivers are behaving sensibly compared to the
normal loons I see in AZ and CA who speed up when it rains and travel bumper to bumper in
NASCAR fashion!

Out of Denver and the rain eventually stops save for the odd shower as we slip past brewing
thunder clouds and brilliant flashes all around. Finally we dock at Trinidad and Monaco are going
to take a hiding tomorrow morning!

Home without further trouble and now Monaco say take it in to RV Renovators and they will fax
them the “to do list”. Excellent service as always, Karen the service manager, is always right on
the button and no sooner have I drawn in than Bob is out with the torque wrench and the
tightening begins. Torque set at 20 we don’t get past about 10 when the shaft shears and and
the wiper falls off!

The following week the bus goes in and Monaco have sent the entire shooting match and Bob
fits everything and then spends hours spraying water on the windshield periodically torquing
and retorquing everything. The following day I collect the coach, $800 worth of new wiper system
+ labor all under WARRANTY, and they have even washed the coach free of charge. I told you
they were good!

Sandia next in New Mexico and all is well until 1 in the morning when I feel the rig shaking? Sure
enough it’s got windy and someone left the awning out …… no problem you say there is the auto
retract which will fire up at 15 mph and electrically rewind the topsail. Nice idea if the system
detects the wind but in this case the gale is directly from behind us so the sensor isn’t getting the
full force and we are about to win the “America’s Cup” with our mainsail up and running afore
ye sou’wester! 1.30 and becalmed!

Our Rothman Hondas at Sandia

Having filled up with fresh water and not dumped at the same time…ERROR! We now have 100
gallons of fresh to fit in either grey or black…easy! well not so if you already have 45+ in grey!
So after a pleasant weekend and an easy win for me on the Cub, all the “Rothmans Racing”
Hondas are recovered from the show area and we set off home.

During the walkround in the “pre flight” I notice the Beaver is behaving like a Harley and has
marked it’s spot! Well on start up checking tanks we have 4 gallons of fresh and 130 in grey
which is an overkill as it only holds 100? Hummm?

Also one of the air systems is fluctuating between 110 and 140 …… the mind boggles! Pull into
the Flying J and dump the Grey and then on start up the air pressures are all good?……..don’t
ask it’s a RV!!

Approaching Flagstaff and a storm up ahead so get ready with the wipers. Here come de rain!
will they won’t they?
YES, they DO!

The bridge at Memphis

Only 2 major missions left for the season and the first one is 1700 miles to Dickson TN. Well the
drive was long and bumpy along I40 or Route 66 and we entertained ourselves with “songs of
the road” as we crossed AZ, NM, TX, OK, AR and TN. Some of the roads were awful but finally we
are in Dickson TN for the 2 day trial. Another dose of parking 60′ in the trees with the only way
out in reverse, which after a fair bit of adjusting I manage without jack knifing the trailer or making
a buffoon of myself. Take home a nice souvenir cold and we make it both ways without any major

In the trees Dickson, should be fun getting out?

The GHOST of a British Rider

The last trip is Napa and Hollister with a wedding to attend in Napa followed by some wine
tasting and then Hollister for the last AHRMA event of the year. The drive goes well having got
through the lunacy of LA and we find a good nightstop alongside I5 and day 2 goes well slipping
through San Fran without any major hold ups and soon we are at Calistoga and off on the
Beemer to get the licence. Everything we plan goes as planned with a sooper wedding day and
wine tasting followed by a run round wine country the next day on the Beemer before joining up
with Ed and Evelyn at Hollister. The trial was good and here I made my classic error of the
season by riding and not checking. Had I elected to check then I would have won the
Championship but by riding and losing one miserable little dab I finished second!

Ooooh, must be some wine round here somewhere

Post Wedding at Rutherford Hill

Francis Ford Copolla Winery

The way home was nearly incident free until the outskirts of LA where the road was closed due
to a horrendous crash and fire in a tunnel which had closed I5. The scene of mangled burnt metal
was unbelievable and after a 2 hour detour we are home with a 20,000 mile season completed
and a lot of RV lessons learnt…. WE THINK!

Tony Down and the crew of the Starship Beaver.

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