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 Post subject: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:51 pm 
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Plans are already in the beginning stages.

I've traveled to Alaska the last 2 years to volunteer during my summer months off work. This year will be year #3... only this time I've decided to take the Jeep and road trip out to Oregon/Washington instead.

A few years ago, I started planning for a 2-week road trip out to the PNW... then it never happened. So this is "take two." I want to travel there much in the same way that I planned it last time - no/very little interstate travel. The idea is to hop on US Route 20 (which passes within 2 miles of my house), and simply follow it west until it ends in Newport, OR. I know of a few instances where the highway gets on the interstate briefly around major metropolitan areas... but for the most part, interstates will be avoided.

Looking to take a full week to get there. Sleep in the KJ, stop and check out things that are interesting. US Route 20 goes right through the middle of Yellowstone too, so I'm sure I'll be spending some time there.

Aaron is going to drive out and meet me in Washington towards the end of my volunteer gig, and then we'll road trip back together via US Route 2 - still staying off interstates wherever possible.

I'm trying to get my travelogue back up and going again - I did pretty well with it for awhile last year, but then just kind of stopped working on it. It's now been resurrected, and if you want to take a look, feel free... just click on the "In Search of the Road Less Traveled" link in my signature - it'll take you there.

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:46 am 
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Subscribing for pictures and updates!

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:32 pm 
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I've done a couple of blog updates - I keep meaning to transcribe here, but I forget sometimes... :roll: Anywhoo... here's the newest updates.

2/4/2014
Aaron has been mapping his mini-motorcycle routing, and I've merely been daydreaming about the upcoming summer in the PNW. Among some of my daydreams are thoughts of hiking and photographing waterfalls. So, with the help of my trusty Google-ninja skills, I found a couple of really nice resources for waterfall locations in NW Oregon... complete with directions, GPS coordinates, trail descriptions - everything!

O.M.G!

There are so many opportunities within a short distance of where I will be staying in Oregon. I'm a little bummed that I'll only be in that area for 2 weeks instead of longer. I suppose I'll be more motivated to make use of my down time. It's a shame that I won't be able to post as much nicer "from the road" images as what I'd like. But still... I'm anxious. I am trying NOT to count down to the trip - it makes the wait more agonizing. But I have to...

Only this many more days!
Image

Time to begin looking into the Washington area a little closer - I'm sure I'll find some great things to explore there as well. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:33 pm 
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Intermittent planning stages for the upcoming Oregon/Washington trip has me looking at National Parks.

This is a point of interest, particularly in on my travels west on US Route 20 where the road travels through Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The road is called something entirely different while within the park, but it's essentially the same road - Route 20 on the east and west sides of the park.

Image

So I've been researching other parks in and around the areas I'll be traveling and staying. Mostly, to research whether or not the NPS's Interagency Annual Pass - essentially, the 'all-parks, all the time' pass - would be the way to go vs. paying the entry fee on a per park basis. At first, I looked into the fees at a few of the western US parks I was interested. Most fees for week-long access are $10/vehicle. Perfectly doable. I couldn't see spending the $80 on the year pass...

Until I researched the fee for coming through Yellowstone on the way west, and Glacier on the way home - each are $25 per vehicle. Now I'm up to $50 for just those two parks alone... not to mention all the other smaller parks along the way that I might like to check out while I'm hanging out on the left-hand side of the country. We're talking Grand Tetons (WY), Craters of the Moon (ID), Crater Lake (OR), Lewis & Clark (OR), Olympic (WA), and North Cascades (WA).

So, now I'm thinking the yearly, all-parks pass might just be the way to go.

That, and if I play my cards right, I could mail the pass home to Aaron before he leaves the Chicago area on his bike to come west... and he could get through Glacier at no additional cost (giving him back 175ish miles worth of extra fuel money).

I guess it makes more sense now.

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:21 pm 
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I love the snow. I do. More than anyone else I know, probably. I'm not a huge fan of the cold - anything under 20-degrees can take a hike. We had far too many sub-zero days.

I've come to the conclusion... I'm actually kind of ready for winter to be over now. Kinda.

We've had what I would call a 'full winter' this year - it started late in November, and still lingers. Typically, January through early-March is when we see snow that sticks to the ground... but not a lot of it. In the past many years, we've been conditioned to a comparably mild season... I even recall a March two years ago where the temps even hit 80-degrees. I had to MOW MY LAWN! In March! I know!

Now I have plans this summer that require me to do more than purchase an airline ticket and pack my bags. I have a vehicle to prep. There is repair work to be done. Maintenance work to be completed. In addition to that, there are things I want to create to make the journey more comfortable - screens for the rear windows of the Jeep, for one. All of these things require work to be done outside. I'm all gung-ho to get going... and I am not especially happy about having to sit on my hands and wait around for Mother Nature to decide which phase of her hot flash she's in. I know there's not much I can do to change that, however.

So while I wait, there is an ever-growing to-do list... which sees additions daily. I'm looking forward to checking some of those things off the list.

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:53 pm 
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What do you mean by screens? Are you talking about opening your rear hatch at night for air so you can sleep, and a screen is used to keep out the insects?

I always enjoy getting the vehicle(s) ready for road trips. There's almost nothing to do when your vehicle is fairly new with low mileage. But as more and more mileage is logged, so does the list of repairs, maintenance, and wear items to check. You should post up your vehicle to-do list.

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Last edited by dieselenthusiast on Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:07 pm 
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Not a screen for the rear hatch, but for the side/rear doors. You're right regarding its purpose - to keep the 6 & 8 legged critters out while allowing fresh air in. I'll be sleeping in the KJ for 7-8 days on the trip out, and Aaron and I will both be there on the way back. I was searching here on the forum... I seem to remember, once upon a time, that Ben (durangotang) built screens for his windows. I am unable to find the thread now. :( I do have a couple of design ideas that I'd like to try - weather pending.

In terms of the KJ, it's the big stuff first - swapping in the donor transmission and transfer case, and it needs a driver side wheel bearing. Then normal maintenance items: fluids, plugs, filters, grease where necessary, inspect brakes, pullies, etc. Some non-essential, but overdue items are to sand/paint the rails, and attend to some areas of rust.

I want to re-organize the area below the platform in back seat/cargo area - have only what I need to have back there. Right now, it's general storage for a lot of little odds and ends, stuff for work, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:10 pm 
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Cool! I can't wait to see some pics. I didn't realize that you were in need of a transmission and transfer case??????

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:28 pm 
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Not in immediate need - I am still driving it.

The transfer case has a loose selector fork - so it makes rattle/grinding noises on occasion when the vehicle is in motion. 4-hi is inop, although 4-low works just fine. We pulled the front driveshaft and CV's out for now. They'll all go back in once the transplant is in.

The transmission has been slipping off and on for a long time (approx. 3 years or more), and since this past November, has started getting worse.

Both donor pieces were purchased at a Black Friday sale that one of our local yards had after Thanksgiving. Both came out of the same vehicle with approx. 100K miles - we got both parts together for $125.00 after the sale. :pepper:

Aaron has everything prepped as much as possible now - new HD shift kit for the trans, new seals for t-case. We've just been waiting on the weather. :juggle:

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:54 pm 
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Gotcha, that makes sense. Yeah, you guys are getting lots of cold temps to go along with all that moisture. Hopefully it will clear up and warm up soon so you can get busy! You still have a lot of time, but departure will be here before you know it. Plus your work schedule will keep you busy.

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:05 pm 
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If your a fan of Northern Exposure, Be sure to drive through Roslyn Washington. It the town where all the external filming was done for the show.

Let me know if you guys need any help getting your rig back on the road.

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:45 pm 
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bugnout wrote:
Let me know if you guys need any help getting your rig back on the road.


I need help. Can you come to NM and help install 4:10's and front/rear ARB lockers in our 2007 KJ? Thank you! :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 9:06 pm 
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bugnout wrote:
Let me know if you guys need any help getting your rig back on the road.


Absolutely! I'll say something to Aaron - he's handling the bigger projects (trans/t-case/bearing). He said he may need an extra set of hands getting things aligned properly.

Thanks! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:46 am 
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dieselenthusiast wrote:
bugnout wrote:
Let me know if you guys need any help getting your rig back on the road.


I need help. Can you come to NM and help install 4:10's and front/rear ARB lockers in our 2007 KJ? Thank you! :mrgreen:


Love too... How the homestead construction going?

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:46 am 
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yellocoyote wrote:
bugnout wrote:
Let me know if you guys need any help getting your rig back on the road.


Absolutely! I'll say something to Aaron - he's handling the bigger projects (trans/t-case/bearing). He said he may need an extra set of hands getting things aligned properly.

Thanks! :D


You still have my phone number?

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Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.
My build page- RL Komodo Rear and TJM Front Bumper, armored, lifted, JBA Steel D30, 4.10s and ARB air lockers.


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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:57 am 
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bugnout wrote:

Love too... How the homestead construction going?


Ha ha, I'd even pay for your trip. ;) Here's the link to the home construction:

viewtopic.php?f=72&t=74479

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:02 am 
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bugnout wrote:
yellocoyote wrote:
bugnout wrote:
Let me know if you guys need any help getting your rig back on the road.


Absolutely! I'll say something to Aaron - he's handling the bigger projects (trans/t-case/bearing). He said he may need an extra set of hands getting things aligned properly.

Thanks! :D


You still have my phone number?


I do!

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 8:35 pm 
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I'm at a couple of days left before starting the trip west... first to Portland, OR... later to Bow, WA. I leave Saturday morning. I'm super-excited... and also a little nervous about traveling that far on my own. But, it's part of the adventure - and I'm all for a good adventure!

Mother Nature did her best to prevent completion of work to the Jeep, but fortunately the Jeep gods were smiling and we prevailed. The donor transfer case and transmission are in and working as they should. I've completed all tune-up items, reinstalled the armor today, and even did some touch-up paint work. Tonight, I installed the power inverter, added the memory foam mattress bedding and sleeping bag.

At this point, it's all about packing my clothes and other necessary things. I have tonight and all day tomorrow to get of those items squared away. I have a bit of laundry and shopping to do tomorrow, but I'm feeling relatively comfortable with the amount of things still left to do. Outside of my chariot, I didn't do much advance preparation... and I still feel like I'm in a good place.

I'll still be unable to process and post "finished" photos from this trip. That being said, I do still plan to take and upload images - either from my trusty cell phone camera, or some straight-out-of-camera shots. I don't think I'm capable of not posting *something* for the entire duration of this trip. That's just crazy-talk. :) I'm also going to experiment with the Blogger app on my phone... to post and upload via that. Not sure, yet, how that will work out... so be warned of technical difficulties.

So, that's it. It's come down to the wire, and although the last many weeks were crazy with repairs, planning and other obligations, it seems as if things have fallen into place. In just a day and a half, the games shall begin!

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:26 am 
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Travel Day 1: Elgin, IL to Ft. Dodge, IA

I didn't get out of bed incredibly early in the morning - I had plans to sleep in a little, and then have breakfast with The Boy and The Kid before heading west. So, I didn't really hit the road until about 9:30am.

This... all the way to Newport, Oregon.

Image

I had it in my mind that I would more or less boogie right through Illinois, Iowa, and eastern Nebraska... to where the landscape became a bit less like what I see around home (you know... minus all the buildings). That's more or less how it went. I stopped a couple of times in IL - checking tire pressure, refilling my water bottle, refueling. The segment of US 20 in IL is one I'd driven many, many times... been there, done that.

I spy... this! I could have easily driven under it.
We have farm communities west of where I live, but I have yet to see this beast.

Image

I quickly learned that driving US 20 through Iowa is very much like driving an interstate highway. It doesn't seem to route directly through the small towns like I'd hoped for, but instead it has exits. It's also a 4-lane divided highway. I initially had thoughts of getting off and finding some parallel farm roads to travel instead... for the experience. I still may do that.

Near Dyersville, IA, I saw a billboard for the "Field of Dreams" movie site, where the movie was filmed back in 1988. I made a detour off the highway to find the field. It was located a few miles out of town, but still plenty easy to find. I stopped to stretch my legs, walked the bases... and grab some photos.

"If you build it, they will come."

Image

Image

As the towns approached and passed, I decided that a potential evening destination would be Ft. Dodge... if for no other reason than it sounded like it could be a cool little historic place with things to see and do. I went to the Dolliver Memorial State Park, which is about 6 or 7 miles outside of Ft. Dodge. I hiked one of their short trails before heading into town. While the assumption about Ft. Dodge having cool things to do and see may have been true, I arrived in town too late to enjoy any of the museums and other historic areas the town had to offer. It seemed to be one of those large, yet, smaller towns that roll their sidewalks up early. Regardless, I stopped in for dinner, and walked the all-but-deserted downtown area for a bit before the rain chased me back inside. At that point, I chalked up to bad timing on my part and called it a night.

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 Post subject: Re: Summer 2014 - PNW Volunteer & Road Trip
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:53 am 
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Travel Day 2: Ft. Dodge, IA to Merriman, NE

I boon-docked in the parking lot of a Menards in Ft. Dodge last night. It stopped raining and I ended up having very nice sleeping weather. Despite all of that, I didn't sleep that well. I think it would be safe to say that I am simply not used to sleeping in the back of the KJ yet... and I'm hoping that over time, that will get better.

I stayed off of US 20 for the first 30-40 miles out of 'Dodge' this morning, opting for the farm roads that ran parallel to the highway. But those roads eventually ended, turned in the wrong direction, or got too far from the highway... so I got back on 20. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the highway did eventually become what I hoped it would... a 2-lane road going through the small towns. That was the character I was looking for, and I'm glad that it moved away from the 4-lane feel.

Image

I didn't stop many more times through the remainder of Iowa... and even the first segment of Nebraska was very non-eventful. I did run through some crazy stormy weather - interesting enough that I felt the need to listen to all the weather resources I had just in case something particularly bad was in my path. Fortunately, it was only heavy rain and wind that I encountered. When I rolled into O'Neill, I saw proof that they had also endured the rain... all of their downtown streets were nearly entirely flooded. Most vehicles were staying towards the center, but I was a little better equipped than they... so I ran the left lane without any problems. :)

Image

Image

I stopped just outside of Valentine, NE - once to visit an old steel bridge on my way into town, and again to visit the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge.

Image

I got out and hiked a trail leading to Fort Falls... which was FAR cooler than I anticipated. I'm not sure what the overall height of the fall was, but I was pretty impressed once I got to the bottom.

Image

Once back in the vehicle, the refuge also played host to a number of Prairie Dog towns, and it's own herd of Bison. I took my time puttering around the park, and getting some photos before I decided to move along.

Image

Being that it was still pretty early, I chose not to stop again in Valentine (for food, fuel, or otherwise), with the intentions of stopping in one of the towns further down the road. Not too far outside of Valentine, I crossed into the Mountain time zone... and got an hour back. So I had even more time to drive.

So I thought.

Before coming into Cody, NE (dubbed "A town too tough to die"), I realized that I needed to refuel soon. Cody's one gas station was closed, so I chose to continue to the next town. Said 'next town' of Merriman (pop. 118) was quite a distance, and by the time I arrived, I had a problem. Merriman's only gas station had also closed for the day, and was not re-opening until 6am Monday morning. I did not have enough fuel to drive to the next town... and I wasn't entirely sure I could make it anywhere else for certain.

So there, I sat.

Nothing was open - not their cafe or their tavern. It was raining, so I didn't get out and wander about. Instead, I sat in the Jeep and read. And I went to bed early to try to make up for the previous night's lack of sleep.

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