Getting started . .

Wow. Where’s the how to guide for this place?

Of course I’ve been pretty busy running like mad and perhaps, slightly amok trying to get situated and dug in a bit for winter time. It was quite a jump, not spur of the moment but long planned, derailed, re-started, derailed again and finally, successful.

Moving here that is, to where I am now. I’ve been wanting to return home for almost ten years, kicking myself all the while for leaving here in the first place. It suits my nature, my dreams, my life . . and overall my attitude. The journey to get here was more than just the drive. Although I’ve never made a move that was quite this troublesome, that alone was just the half of it.

I tried to get back here from Florida, then from Minnesota and finally Colorado. Digging in, working trying to stay sane and building a bike along the way. Everything was going fairly well, and then through some fault of my own, not entirely, but I had my part in it, everything just kind of crumbled apart anyway. Fighting with unemployment, getting cut off, scrambling to find some sort of decent employment, working 80 hour weeks to save the money, and finally, I felt I had enough to get on with it. I should have saved a few thousand more I think. I’m not broke, but I was getting a little teeny bit nervous this last week, even though it has only been a month.

The drive here? Wow! I replaced my water pump, rear differential, front bearings, rotors, pads and one u-joint. That was all a pain in the Rump. The water pump went the day I picked up the trailer to load up and roll out. Then I blew a power steering line and had to replace that as well. That day, something went ‘pop’ in my clutch as well. It didn’t appear to be a bad release bearing, but something wasn’t right. I had to keep adjusting the throw for the clutch to keep it working.

With my friends helping, it only took about 3 or 4 hours to load the bike and belonging into the trailer tightly. After a nap, I finally rolled out about 9pm to take advantage of the cooling air. 90 degrees wasn’t so cool. I started having trouble before I really got out of Colorado Springs. Something popped rolling out of town, my temperatures were running a lot higher than they should have been but by that point in time, I was pretty determined to head home, so on I rolled.

I fought the clutch, the rising temperatures, erratic performance and a few oh nos all the way through Denver. I was pretty heavy, a 4,000 pound truck and at least that much weight with the trailer and my bike and belongings. Stopping was a lot less than exciting, but I moderated that by keeping lots of distance between myself and other people. It took me I don’t know, perhaps four hours to make it to Cheyenne Wyoming. I tossed it in for the night there and slept in the truck.

I checked everything over in the morning, a few minor adjustments, tire check, and checked fluid levels. Everything seemed normal and my timing was good, so I rolled out fairly early. This was one of the longest days of my life. I ended up stopping three times between Cheyenne and Casper. Coaxing one more mile out of things, stalling, stuttering, barely able to creep up the hills and spending a lot of time chugging up the shoulders. My truck just would not run well, and kept overheating. In Douglas, I suddenly smelled gear oil and pulled over and ate. I crawled under the truck and found out my pinion nut was loose and spent time tightening it up and topping off the differential. I ended up on the side of the road at least 3 times waiting for the truck to cool off. The heat was intense, not quite Arizona, but blistering on the side of the road. I replaced fuel lines in Glenrock, south of Caspar, crossed my fingers and went on my way. I think it took me two more hours to get to Caspar. I know it was somewhere around noon or one o’clock. I pulled into Caspar for fuel and a break. My poor cat looked like a pizza. He just laid there most of the time, or curled up in blankets I had stuffed in the truck. I ended up having to wet him down quite a bit. He would just sit there and let me soak him down.

Right in the middle of the main drag. The truck stuttered, died and resisted everything to get it running again. I was freaking out pretty good, the last thing I needed was a nuisance tow, police issues and excessive costs. I sat there about 15 minutes trying to figure out how I could get my truck out of the road and a couple of 20 something guys pulled up, whipped out a tow chain and drug me into a parking lot. I was instantly relieved, just getting out of the road where I could really look at what was going on. I had a wild hunch my fuel pump was DOA, supported by an empty carburetor. I walked across the street and asked for a parts store. A street or two over and a block up. I looked out the door and I could see the sign! I walked over, and they had one fuel pump for my engine. Not over priced either. I had it changed within minutes and fueled up and rolled out.

The drive got better from there, not much but it was better. I was still struggling up hills and running too hot. Not as bad but I knew at least part of the issue was resolved. I still had all sorts of problems shifting and downshifting, but was mostly able to roll along. I stopped in Buffalo. By the time I got to Buffalo I was feeling whupped. I found food, bought a spray bottle to douse the cat with and completely chilled for an hour or so and fueled up again. I was determined to at least pull into Billings that night. Off on the road I went. Sheridan wasn’t so bad. It was cooling off a bit by then and with the fuel issue fixed, I wasn’t dying on every hill. I was still running too hot, and the clutch was really being a pain. Fortunately I was able to avoid shifting most of the time, and just kept rolling as fast as I could.

I’d been texting my friends in Billings, a little closer and at least I was in reasonable reach of rescue. I kept rolling as hard as I could and finally made it. I finally started getting excited when I rolled into Montana. Anywhere from eastern Washington to Montana I kind of consider home ground, and it had been a long time since being home. My friend met me on the highway and guided me to their house. A cold beer and some relieved gratitude and off to bed. The next morning, I was pretty relaxed. I went running around with my friend a bit and they treated me to breakfast. When we got back to their house, we started fiddling with bikes, and finally my truck. I took a really close look at the clutch, dropped the bell pan and just grinned. My clutch trouble was such an idiotic simple fix I just laughed. The release fork had somehow jarred loose on the bearing and was only pushing on it partially. We climbed under the hood and started checking things out under there. Everything looked good, but I decided to fiddle with the timing too. For some reason, the distributor clamp isn’t pinching down right. We fiddled with it, and finally got it to lock down right on the mark. I still have to fully fix that issue, but it was enough to keep rolling on.

I pulled out of Billings around noon and hit the road. Wow, what a difference. I was almost able to keep up with traffic, and the drive went through hectic and harrowing, to merely annoying. I made Bozeman in a couple of hours with no real issues, so headed on to Butte, Montana. In Butte, I had a hunch so I checked all my fluids. The transmission and transfer case were definitely low. The truck stop had the stuff I needed, but somehow, my keys disappeared on me. I spent half an hour doing the headless chicken running back and forth, back tracking my steps and actions. Somehow, I found them ON the driver’s seat. Pretty bad isn’t it? Except I’d sat in the seat, crawled on the seat, under the seat, tipped the seat, kicked the seat a few times, and thee weren’t any keys on it. At least they turned up. I topped off all my fluids, checked out all my pressures and everything was good to go.

I rolled out of Butte and boogied on my way. I made Missoula pretty good, the truck was running near perfect for once. The only glitch on that leg was getting pulled over by the state patrol! I knew I wasn’t speeding, but it turned out the trailer lights weren’t wired right. I had partial activity, no markers, and opposed signals and all sorts of other weird things going on back there. The cop just warned me and told me a place I could pull off and spend the night if I needed. The state patrol was a decent officer for once, and just doing his job rather than creating issues. I spent about an hour crawling around under the rig and finally got the wiring sorted out to where everything actually worked. I hit the road like a freight train, picked up fuel and really started jamming. I hit the south end of Flathead Lake at 3:30 am. I’d been awake since ten am and driving most of the day.

I remembered almost every turn around the lake. I kept passing old memories as I headed north to Kalispell to see my daughter. The sun was rising as I pulled into Kalispell and I was beat. I think I took a short nap after taking care of some things. I woke up at 9am an called the kid and hung out with her and her mom for awhile. It got to the point I had to roll out though. So about one p.m. I hit the road again.

I headed west on HWY 2 out of Kalispell as I seemed to remember the “pass” being lower. After climbing and dropping a thousand feet at a pop in areas rolling through Wyoming and Montana, I was ready for a break from it. Good choice it turned out to be. The ‘pass’ wasn’t half of what I thought I remembered. I was up and over it with no trouble at all until I nearly got into Bonner’s Ferry. Troy and Libby were kind of sad to see. Nice little towns ruined by our irresponsible politicians and such. That’s a different story though. As I was coming into the outskirts of Bonner’s Ferry, just before getting to the highway a deer ran out in front of me. Well, it was a young moose. It was too leggy and way to ugly in the head. The critter was still nearly as tall as my truck, too. I hit the brakes hard and the truck and trailer started jack knifing on me. I got them straightened out without ever really slowing down and kept on going.

There is a hill in Bonner’s. A pretty good chunk of hill, really. I was coming down it at about forty five miles and hour. At the bottom of this hill are a couple of cross streets. I remembered those pretty good. I didn’t expect the idiot on the bike though. There was two of them at the intersection at the bottom of the hill. One of them pulled out, and sped up. Not a problem at all. The other guy waited till I was about 70 feet away and pulled out and just putted along like I wasn’t there. If I’d had a rock, I would have beaned his noggin. He wasn’t using it and I barely got the truck around him. No such thing as stopping on that one. All I could do was floor it and use the momentum to keep the trailer from lashing on me. I’d already had the trailer start whipping in me a couple of times. One so bad I almost lost it into the ditch. At any rate, I cleared that idiot and just kept rolling. I thought him and his buddy we’re considering causing problems, but I do not think they would have liked the results.

I made it to Sandpoint at about five p.m. Pulled Stopped and fueled up, stretched out and all those good things that go with long drives. I was already pretty happy by then and headed south for Coeur d’Alene. A short hour later, with no further incidences, I rolled into town.

That was a month ago. I’ve been job hunting like mad and striking out. This week though calls started rolling in and I’m starting hopefully, a job that will at least see me through the winter tomorrow. As long as I can do that, I’ll be pretty content with it.

In the meantime, if I don’t stop by and look at your page, or play with all the little doo dads on here, I just haven’t had the time to sort them out. I’ve been busy, trying not to stress out, trying to get things rolling before winter hits and generally having fun being home. Give me a bit of time, and I’ll be rolling along just fine.

Wolf – –  Rambling on, lol.