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Big Storm, Minor Damage

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Summer rain and hail storms here in the Midwest can be something fierce.

This week an afternoon a storm cell quickly snuck-up on me, bringing heavy rains and ferocious winds.  Despite my best efforts to hastily retract the (Zip Dee) patio awning, I found myself wrestling with what was effectively a 20 foot sail.  While I eventually managed to retract, I did not do so without escaping damage … specifically the ‘claw hook’, which is a piece of connecting support bracket hardware.

Fortunately, the claw hook is seemingly designed to fail under certain circumstances; I suspect this design helps avoid even more significant damage .

A quick internet search pointed me to a parts dealer and within a few minutes I had a replacement part on its way.   The part was easy to replace and cost only $21.

Unfortunately, 2-day shipping from Utah set me back $20 dollars.

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Pine Creek Campground

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Forty-eight hours post arrival, there is not much to report from our campsite in Pine Creek Campground.  We arrived Sunday afternoon to temperatures flirting with upper 80’s levels, which for us is akin to an inferno.  Since then, Mother Nature has been behaving in a schizophrenic manner, seemingly incapable of choosing between thundering rain storms or blue skies.

At least the temperatures are now hoovering at pleasant levels, which I suppose is about all one can ask for.

As for Kelly and me, we’ve had our noses pointed mostly at our laptop screens.  In other words – routine days with nothing especially significant or interesting to report.

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Good Friends In Good Places

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Eighteen months ago Kelly and I met the Bennetts – a part-time traveling family (also in an Airstream) who maintain a home just outside of Bozeman, Montana which serves as their permanent base while they balance a part-time traveling lifestyle.  We spent a few weeks with them again in March wherein they invited us to stay on their property if/when we find ourselves passing through their neck of woods.

Continuing our push east, Friday we crossed into Montana, ending a surprisingly pleasant two months tour of Idaho.  We pulled into the Bennett’s driveway Friday evening, having put 200 miles in our rear-view mirror and in the process, excited to cash-in on the Bennett’s offer to crash on their property for a few days.

Unfortunately, staying with the Bennett’s brings a double-edged sword.  On the one hand there is no shortage of wonderful kinship and postcard worthy rolling mountains hills in all directions.  On the other hand, those same rolling hills do a fantastic job at killing cellular tower line of sight … and all work-worthy connections Kelly and I require to effectively do our jobs.

Nevertheless, our stay was such a welcomed experience.  Spending a weekend in an internet free zone allowed Kelly and me to really slow down for a few days, maximizing conversation and laughter with our hosts.

Before we knew it, Sunday afternoon rolled around and it was time to relocate 30 minutes down the road to a national forest campground where mobile phone and internet data connectivity is sufficient for our working needs.

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Closing The Mileage Gap

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As mentioned in my last post, we left Ketchum, ID on Sunday afternoon knowing we had to close 825 miles by the July 4th weekend.  Accordingly, we set our sites on Stoddard Creek Campground, 180 miles down the road.

About three hours later, having covered a mix of highways, gravel roads, and interstates, we arrived to this fairly small National Forest Campground, which will be our home through the work week.  We now find ourselves nestled under a thick canopy of evergreen trees, which, while problematic for our rooftop solar panels, does provide plenty of anchor points for our hammock.

It’s been a few months – far too long really, since we’ve had an opportunity to enjoy the hammock, so the trade-off for quality sunshine seems like a good one.  And, we have portable panels to keep our batteries from draining, so there isn’t any significant downside.  Anyway, not one to waste time … with a book in hand, last night after dinner Kelly made sure to begin catching up on #hammocktime.