This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Thursday 28 March 2019

Where have we been since my last update?

Where are we now?
At Home, Leamington, Ontario, Canada

I’ve seen a wolf, a bear and a herd of deer among other interesting things since leaving Amarillo. Besides some live ducks and fish however, the rest of the menagerie was not real, which I encountered at the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, Missouri. This particular store was the original and first of the chain of outdoor equipment and it is the largest and most interesting Bass Pro Shop I have ever visited. In addition to the fantastic decorations inside and its mammoth square footage, it also houses a Museum and Restaurant. We were there early in the morning and the Museum was not open yet so unfortunately we did not get to visit it. Next-door is the famous Aquarium, which we also had to forego because of our timing.  However, should we ever drive though town again, this will be a must see destination for us. Out on the parking lot we noticed an RV that seemed to have parked there overnight. Maybe this is an option as I can see to spend a whole day there.

All the above pictures I took with my iPad

Our goal had been to visit the Grizzly Industrial's huge showroom in Springfield, where Benno’s first lathe was purchased. It is a large store with all kinds of equipment that Benno found most interesting and useful for his little shop at home. I only admired the wooden vases on display.

The Grizzly Store

So to backtrack, after leaving Amarillo, TX, we drove to Joplin, Missouri where we overnighted at a Walmart. Not a great stop as it was a Sunday and the cleaning equipment working overnight on the parking lot turned out to be noisy. 
Next day we took the Rt. 66 to Lincoln, Illinois and this Walmart parking lot was a nice stopover and very quiet. Not much to say about the drives as they were uneventful and the scenery through the Plaines becomes a bit monotonous after a while. Next morning, after a good breakfast we packed up and left Lincoln, IL, following the I-55 or Route 66 to Chicago and then turned into the I-80/90, which is a toll road. On our plate was a visit to the Jayco RV factory’s service center in Middlebury, Indiana.

In front of the Jayco Service Centre parked for the night

Why were we going there? Well, in Amarillo, TX, Benno noticed we had an extreme tire-edging problem on our rear axle travel trailer tires. If you recall, in January on our way south we had a tire blowout on our curbside rear axle tire. Benno suspected it was caused by a slight bend or bow in the rear axle, forcing the tire to run on an edge wearing the rubber down to the ply and causing as well extreme wear on the rear roadside tire. I had posted in January that we had purchased and changed all the trailer tires in Yuma, Arizona.

Experiencing a tire blowout on an extreme busy Interstate is very dangerous, including changing the tire on the Interstate shoulder. Knowing that our trailer is not overloaded, we had the urge to talk to someone at the Jayco Service Center to discuss our spring and axle problem and for them to decide how to solve this axle problem.  Jayco’s plant is slightly south of the I-80/90 in Middlebury, IN and not a real detour for us on our trip home to Canada. At the service center we explained our problem and Jayco decided that this is a problem of the trailer’s frame and axle manufacturer, Lippert Components in Goshen, IN, actually only a few miles down the road from Jayco. 

We were given a contact number at Lippert and Jayco let use me one of their phones from were I made some phone calls to Lippert to find the right person to speak to but it was getting close to their closing time and we could not get much progress accomplished. Jayco offered us to stay overnight in front of their office for the night that we gratefully accepted. They had electricity and water for our trailer and a dump station at the parking lot in addition to free wifi for our use. This gesture was very nice and we appreciated it.

Our travel trailer inside Lippert's Shop

Next morning we decided to drive to the Lippert Axle Customer Centre instead of making more phone calls. Right away the expert was crawling under our trailer. When he came back up he shook his head and consulted with the manager. We were told to unhook the trailer so they could take the trailer into the shop for further inspection. In the shop the trailer was moved onto the weight scale sensors for the tongue jack and each tire. The sensors are hooked to a special portable computer with printer, which printed out the weight values on each tire and the tongue jack.

The waiting room at Lippert, complete with TV, fireplace,
Magazines, comfy recliners, Coffee bar and dog treats
and a friendly staff!

Our Jayco 24ft White Hawk trailer has two 3,000 lbs. axles and the Lippert Axle Service Centre discovered that our trailer’s weight on the axles and jack was below the limit. Therefore the manager decided to change our two axles at no cost to us, right there and then in the shop. But, they had no new 3,000 lbs. axles in stock, so it was decided to fit two new 4,400 lbs. axles, including new springs, brakes, new style pins with grease nipples and associated hardware under our trailer free of charge. WOW! We didn’t expect that but we were on cloud nine and are so relieved.

A couple of new tires are on order to replace the new, but already worn rear axle tires out so we are ready to go when we get the hitch itch again.

Although no immediate travels are planned, stay tuned what we might be into here at home. Thanks for visiting and we hope everyone underway home has a safe trip home.

Saturday 23 March 2019

My Birthday Celebration at the Big Texan Steak House

Where are we now?
AOK Camping RV, Amarillo TX

Today is my birthday and we started out with a champagne brunch, which were followed with a dinner at the World Famous Texan Steakhouse here in Amarillo. It is voted “top ten” steak houses in America by Maxim Magazine. Also it offers a FREE 72oz (that’s 2014 grams) steak dinner with baked potato, vegetables, dinner roll and an appetizer if all eaten within one hour. Not only is this huge dinner for free if you manage to wolf that down, but the restaurant also has a FREE Limo service that will pick you up from “Motels/Hotels/and RV Parks” and bring you back regardless of what you are going to eat.  But there is ample parking around this restaurant in addition for RV parking in the back, so you don’t have to unhook and even an overnight equestrian accommodation should you decide to ride on in. I noticed an enclosed dog walking area between the parking lot and their own Motel that is next to the restaurant. The “Big Texan” is right next to the I-40 at Exit #74.

We were there in the morning (it's open from 7:30 - 10:30) to inquire if we needed a reservation for dinner, hence the almost empty parking lot

The bar still empty and longhorns for sale

You can do some shooting or try your luck at the slots

How about a bear hug?

You can cuddle up to this fella on the bench
or order some in-house made ice cream

Benno entertaining the sales lady at the HUGE Souvenir store

Some of the items for sale & far too much stuff to take pictures of

Their own Motel strip

We arrived for our dinner

Starting with the appetizers

Our dinner arrived

Halfway through my Prime Rib dinner
Ohh did I tell you if its your birthday your dinner is FREE!

Three guys attempting to eat each a 72oz (4.5 lbs) steak dinner
within one hour. Note the wastebaskets beside each seat!

Note the guy on the right is almost done with his steak after half an hour
and now is working on his baked potato.
 I asked him if he would eat another steak and he almost fainted!

And this is what a 72oz steak looks like.

Travelling just past the Steak House on I-40, at Exit 72A, you cannot miss the impressive building of the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame to be seen next to the overpass. While I am not into horses per se or know how to ride one, I do appreciate a good horse show and have enjoyed watching horse races. The sculptures outside the building are impressive and a peek inside told me that if interested, a visit would be worth your while to view the many memorabilia. 

Another landmark often written about in this area is the Cadillac Ranch. Located next to the I-40, on a cow pasture are 10 graffiti-covered Cadillac’s standing upright in a row, buried nose-first in the ground. It started way back in 1974 where the Cadillac’s were buried in a wheat field but relocated to its present location in 1997. The purpose behind this innovative artwork was to be an interactive monument so people could express themselves.

We went to see the Cadillac’s among a throng of other onlookers. Some were equipped with a bag full of spray paint cans so they could leave their mark. However, most creations, regardless of how carefully applied, only lived as long as the next likeminded visitor arrived.

Hopefully you didn't get tired of the many pictures in todays posting. We will be off tomorrow morning and heading north-east. Thanks for visiting and see you again soon.