Saturday, August 13, 2011

Truck and More! (Spearfish, SD)

We did it!  Bought a new TRUCK!  Here's the specs:  2011 Chevy Silverado LTZ, 3500, Diesel, Crew Cab, Long Bed, Dually, 4x4, Metallic Mocha (that means kind of a mauve-ish brown).  It has lots of bells and whistles, not all of them but clearly more then we need.  More importantly it's engineered to be a beast and that's why we bought it.  Our old truck was a 2006, Ford, 250 Diesel, Crew Cab, Long Bed 4x4.  It served us very well but we had some concerns.  It was rated to pull 15,500 pounds.  Our camper is currently sitting at about 15,000.  GVW was 10,000 pounds and we were carrying 11,000. (We added air bags to compensate knowing this didn't correct the overload but did help some.)  Further, it did not have an exhaust brake.  Lastly, the 250 was equipped with the 6.0 ltr engine that receives catastrophically bad reviews. (Obviously, we didn't know that when we bought it.)  So we were operating at the upper limits of what the truck was designed to manage.  The new truck is designed to pull 21,100 pounds with a GVW of 13,000.  Plus it comes with a factory engineered exhaust brake, the respected 397 HP, Duramax Diesel engine and the 6 speed automatic Allison transmission.  I know I sound like a commercial but I am convinced it's a quality truck.  My rhetoric is not based on a particular love for any brand.  In fact, this is only the second GMC product I've ever owned.  We are pleased with the deal.  We know we didn't get the all time best deal, but we felt some sense of urgency to buy a stronger truck before we tackled little hurdles like the Rockies. So we're pleased.  Like many full timers, we're always trying to eliminate the weakest link.  We believe this truck addresses several weak links.  We picked up the truck 8/2/11.  Since then we've had running boards installed (they were part of the package from the dealer), and had Line-x sprayed in the bed.  The hitch will be installed next week and we're going to add window rain guards, a nose guard and mud flaps.  Here's the "new arrival" pics:

On the 3rd my friend Bill and I were going to do a 32 mile bike  ride on the great Mickelson trail.  Debbie and Rena dropped us off at the trail head.

Ready to take off on our 32 mile ride 

Love the do-rag Bill!!

Guess I could have used one too!

The girls then departed to drive to our destination in Hill City that we should reach in about 3 hours. We were to do lunch there. 10 minutes into our ride I had a flat tire.  Two days prior to our ride I had casually spoke of a need to replace tires and tubes.  I'm clairvoyant.  I was unprepared.  Neither one of us had supplies to fix a flat so we had to walk back a couple miles. (I now carry a tube, pump and tire repair tools.)  It took some time to get a call through to Debbie and Rena (no cell service) so they had already arrived at our final destination by the time we reached them.  They did come back and get us, but only after driving around most of three hours by the time they dropped us off,  proceeded to our destination and then back to get us.  Oh yeah, when they finally arrived back at the trail head to pick us up they drove right by us and pretended to drive away.  We could hear them laughing it up as they drove by.  Ha, Ha, very funny.

Where we spent most of our ride
We'll reschedule.

Aug 4 was our anniversary.  21 years.  We rarely celebrate any occasion because we recognize everyday is a celebration of life.  How's that for philosophy?!   But really, we know we are blessed far more then we deserve and we're grateful for our quality of life!  We did have a nice lunch with some local volunteers who invited us and others to their home but otherwise we did nothing else special.

We then "worked" a few days. I had some great rides and Debbie logged miles and miles of walking.  We wrapped up the first two weeks of our diet.  I lost 14-16 pounds, Debbie 10.  Debbie hopes to lose more weight but my goal will just be to stay under 200 pounds (I'm 6'5" and currently at about 197). 

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of taking part in a unique fish hatchery activity.  The main pond had to be drained to facilitate replacing some underwater observation windows and repairing some leaking pond walls.  So as the pond drained we had to move 600 - 800 mature trout. Some of these trout are 8-10 years old and weigh 12-15 pounds.  I spent about about 8 hours moving fish.  The US Fish and Wildlife guys pulled a seine net through the pond then a few of us volunteers had to move the fish from their net to a mobile tank then net them into a pond. It was very dirty, wet, sometimes funky and great fun.  I look forward to taking part in moving the fish back to the main pond.


Here's what the drained pond looks like at the moment.


Aug 9 we did a terrific hike with 6 other folks.  We hiked the Crow Peak Trail.  It's about 7 miles with an elevation gain of about 1500 feet.  Great day, great company, great views, nice wildflowers!

Sanna, a summer intern at the Hatchery, learns the art of tree identification

That afternoon we, along with Bill and  Rena, went to Sturgis, SD to take a peek at the madness of the massive motorcycle rally. Typically, a few hundred thousand folks appear for the week of  the rally.  We arrived, parked at the outskirts of town and walked on in.  What we find was all things motorcycle.  Thousands of motorcycles, T-shirts for sale and quite a collection of biker folks.  It's a colorful group.  Mostly all we did was walk around town gawking at the sites, picking out our favorite motorcycles,  and I'm sure looking entirely out of place. We did stand around for a while watching some crazies defy death.  Lots of wheelies, riding with no hands, spinning around and, the crowd pleaser, smoking tires! It was fun.

  Love the new truck, and you!



  1. Congrat on both your weight loss... You guys are brave going to Sturgis during bike wekk but I do know you see some really different things there! Have fun & Travel safe

  2. CONGRATS X 2 - the diet success and the new truck. The truck should serve you well.

  3. I know Debbie must be upset with you for losing more weight than she has!! She will catch up, I have faith!! Your story telling is great (as usual) and it is obvious that Debbie is back behind the camera!!

    One added note - don't think I would have ventured into Sturgis lie you did....

    Hope to see you both soon.