Monday, October 10, 2011

2011 Fall Colors Rally—Last Stop, Smallwoods Harvest and then DISASTER!

After saying our good-byes to every from the Rally, Dawn and I back tracked a little to visit Smallwood’s Harvest, one of the large Produce stands along Highway 2, just east of Leavenworth.


Once again, we ran into another fellow truck camper owner, just as they were pulling out to leave…. Didn’t get an opportunity to chat.


Storm’s coming after us, those clouds don’t look too inviting….


Wandering around Smallwood’s Harvest, shooting pictures with Moby in tow, who really wanted to go into the main shopping area and “sample” any low-hanging fruit.


Even giant roosters did nothing to dissuade him!


Pumnkin’ Chunkin’, my kinda sport! Smile with tongue out


This device right here demonstrates what you too can do with an old propane cylinder, a large valve and some good welding skills.


Old vintage Fordson tractor, produce by Ford Motor Company back in the early 1900s. There were a number of old tractors, both working and not working scattered around Smallwood’s.


Moby enjoying his hotdog, his reward for having to eat his kibble instead of his wet food on the trip. Normally gets spoiled with wet dog food, but he and pedigree didn’t go well together, so we had to switch him back to his normal dry kibble, he wasn’t too happy about that.

But, he was happy with his hotdog Smile.

Sadly, all too soon, we were on the road again, heading west on Highway 2 for home.


Stopping along the way for the various spots of road construction going on along the side of Highway 2 as the road crews sprayed the rock cliff sides down with gunite to reinforce the rock faces and prevent slides.


Climbing up towards the big pass at the top of Highway 2.


Till we finally reached the top and started down the other side.


Dawn closed her eyes and formed a death grip on the cab door until we’d leveled back off a couple thousand feet down lower.

Other than a couple of close calls with wide dump trucks, we had no major issues up till we reached the US-2 SR-522 interchange.

I swear to God, someone at WADOT needs a beating!

“Bump” does not do justice on a sign for a road height difference between where they’d ground down the old asphalt a full FOOT from the main road surface. The lip up was poorly done and the “bump” sign was barely ten feet away from the impact point itself.

When you come around to this already going around 35-40 mph on a blind curve with no advanced warning, you just can’t slow down 10,000lbs of truck and camper fast enough. We hit that bump HARD, I literally felt the camper lift up out of the bed before slamming back down again.

It wouldn’t be until 60 miles later when we pulled off at the Southcenter Mall outside of Sea-tac that I would discovered that the driver’s side rear tie down had pulled clean through the camper and had been dragging on and off on the road behind us for 60 miles.

Had it not been for my judicious use of bolt down chain loops, I would have lost my whole tie down. As it was, the happijac ear stayed put on the bumper and only the top edge of the now worthless eye bolt had kissed the asphalt sporadically.

To make matters worse, I would discover a couple weeks after the trip that the driver’s side air bag had also been damaged in some fashion as it was now losing several PSI a day.

Hence, my last part in the title DISASTER.

Our trip’s spirits were rather dampened after that, but fortunately, the KIT and truck pulled through with only minor damage, the tie down will be replaced, and the air bag as well when I do a leaf spring swap later this winter.

All together, minus vehicular damage, it was a good Rally. Dawn wants to go again, and so I look forward to it.

Hope to see you all again in 2013 Smile.


  1. Sorry about the big bump and broken parts. It looks like the trip was a lot of fun and the truck looks great! Have you done any truck camper four wheeling yet?

  2. Last 4x4ing trip the truck and I went on was back in 2009 on the Eastern Oregon Ramblin' Journey that I still need to write up (25 parts long!), we ended up creeping along something best described as a jeep trail while out trying to find sun stones.

  3. Matt, I wanted to let you know, reading your blog has been an inspiration to me. I have a 1975 Red Dale 11'6" over head, which i have owned since about 1995. we used it several time each summer to camp at local lakes, it was great. Then in 2001 life hit, and my wife I divorced after 20 years of wedlock. my truck and camper was about all I left with. The camper has set next to my parents barn since being used as storage, since I no longer have the truck it used to set on. after spending 3 nights, while deer hunting recently, in a tent, I discovered, I am not as young as I once was, so I decided to start restoring the camper for such outings. After approximately 10 years of setting, it was in pretty bad shape from water leaks, I have since, removed all the exterior siding, and replaced most of the framing, 2x2's. I will complete the exterior today and get started, on replacing all the interior paneling. After reading all your blogs, and the things you have accomplished with your camper, it is nice to know that there are other vintage campers still on the road, GREAT JOB!!!!!

  4. Well well..I didn't know you ever came over the Oregon border, Matt..and to see that you were traveling some of my fave area. I love that #20 and Winthrop/Mazama/Twisp. Tell me you got some of that great smoked meat at the market in Twisp.

    Nice looking adventure..and sorry about that 'bump'..I hate those surprises.


  5. Fraid the rally kinda drives right on through Twisp, so I didn't get a chance to stop and explore.

    You really need to back track through my blog more, Gary, most of my travel revolves between Oregon and Washington, though Eastern Washington has only been in the last couple years.