Saturday, June 28, 2008

Increasing Escapee density

We are parked behind the K-Mart in Gillette, Wyoming (map).

We had hoped to avoid wally-docking here in Gillette, since we knew that the entire town would be thick with rigs waiting to get in to the Escapade (you are not permitted to enter the Cam-Plex before the date on your admission credentials). Unfortunately, there were absolutely no other opportunities between Sheridan and here. There is no public land to speak of, and virtually no towns or services at all along US14. Reluctantly, we continued all the way to Gillette, knowing that, among other things, there was a Flying-J here and we could probably avoid the crowds by tucking in with the trucks.

The Flying-J is right across the street from here, and we needed to stop there anyway to dump the tanks. The tanks weren't very full -- barely a quarter capacity -- but we'll be sitting for 12 days straight here, so we needed to start out with completely empty tanks.

That proved to be more of a challenge than we imagined. I pulled up to the dump, and extended the fresh water hose over to the clean water spigot to start filling the water tank (our registration includes a water connection, but we're never certain until we see it). When I went to open the LPG compartment, which contains the tube where we store the sewer hose, only one of the two latches would release. Various attempts to free it with percussion (note: percussion = kicking. -Louise) and a pry bar were unsuccessful, and we had to pull away from the dump and regroup.

We briefly contemplated just running over to Wal-Mart and getting another sewer hose and bayonet connector, so we could at least get dumped and deal with the issue later. I knew we'd still need to get into that compartment in the near future anyway, and it's also a safety issue, considering the LP valves are in there. Besides, I didn't want to end up own not one but two used sewer hoses, and it seemed a waste (pardon the pun) to buy another hose just to throw it out in a day or two.

Instead we pulled around to the truck parking area and started to disassemble the door. That involved removing the rubber hinge connecting it to the other section of door above it, using pliers, WD-40, and a lot of swear words. Once the hinge was out, I could pry the door away from the compartment far enough to get my hand in and free the stuck latch. It turned out that the release bar which connects the latch on that side of the door to the release handle in the center of the door had come off, so pulling the release handle had no effect.

Once the door was off completely, we could reattach the release mechanism and secure it with a Zip-Tie, clean up the hinge track, and start to put everything back together. Easier said than done -- getting the rubber hinge back into the tracks in each door section was nearly as hard (and involved as much swearing -Louise) as removing it in the first place -- more lube and both of us working at it finally had it in most of the way, although it seems to now be a half inch too long. We're hoping it will relax back into its former shape.

After about an hour of wrestling with the bay door, we returned to the dump station, finished our business there, and headed across the street to Wal-Mart. We had already scoped out the truck parking at Flying-J, and determined that it was a very small lot, perhaps only 50 spaces, and we wanted to leave them for the truckers -- we assume they fill completely nightly.

When we pulled in to the parking lot here, we saw dozens of rigs in front of the store, and decided to check out the back lot. That's when we discovered we were really at K-Mart -- turns out the Big K and Wal-Mart share a large parking lot here. Just as well, as Wal-Mart seldom puts customer spaces in the back, yet there was a large section of unused parking here at K-Mart. Only one other rig, a B+, is back here with us.

We ended up doing a good deal of shopping at both stores, after a tasty dinner at the very popular Las Margaritas restaurant across the street. We're figuring to unload a bunch of things here at the escapade, for example our upright vacuum cleaner that was great when we had carpet, but which we no longer need. So we ended up picking up a diminutive shop vac, which will be more useful in our all-vinyl world. And a pop-up-tent style screen room, since we're expecting lots of bugs.

We need to be at the Cam-Plex tomorrow between 8 and 2. I expect we'll actually be there around noon -- it should only be a fifteen minute trip -- after doing a little more shopping in the morning and maybe finding someplace where we can stop and wash the rig -- it's filthy from myriad dirt roads over the last few weeks.


  1. I enjoy your blog. And especially your very unusual rig. You do seem to dine out a lot,... do you find it's as economical to do that as to load groceries in your rig? I enjoy eating out and sampling different things so your comments on your dinners and restaurants are interesting.

  2. @cedar: No, dining out isn't nearly as economical as buying groceries and cooking for ourselves. However, we really enjoy going out to dinner in a restaurant and consider it a form of entertainment.

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  4. Wow! I am glad that others include expletives in their tool boxes!

    I am a correctional officer, and spend a lot of time locked up with inmates. Exploring the Internet allows me to vicariously experience travel through excellent blogs such as yours.

    Thanks for sharing your adventure! Two more years to retirement!


  5. Welcome to Gillette Sean and Louise!

    Been here in Windmill site D30 at Cam-Plex since last Thursday (Landmark - white F550).

    Looking forward to driving by Odyssey to see it in person (drive by only).

    Stop by to say hi at booth 112 (Heartland).



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