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About Jemstone

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday December 12

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Glendale, Arizona
  • Interests
    Rock hounding & lapidary.

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  1. Rodeane and I pulled into Grande Prairie, Alberta yesterday and are staying at the Rotary RV Park. We'll be here for a week, waiting for a part for our Splendide washer/dryer. We will have a chance to explore a new area, for us, and see the new dinosaur museum nearby. We will also meet Rita tomorrow, as she works at the Rotary RV Park. There was a recent discussion of Alberta Highway 40 and its condition. We drove it yesterday from Hinton to Grande Prairie. It is a two lane connecter that saves a lot of time, versus going through Edmonton. We saw one moose, 4 mule deer, and one coyote that still had on its beautiful winter coat. There were relatively few potholes, most pretty shallow. No danger to good tires. For geology fans, this road runs north through the foothills of the Canadian Rockies and crosses many of the main rivers flowing out of the mountains. On a clear day it is a beautiful drive. I usually drive 62 mph, or its kilometer equivalent, unless the speed limit is slower. During this trip we have averaged 9.5 mpg while towing by holding the speed to 62, my personal best mileage. As we continue toward the Yukon I'll post anything that might be of interest to others headed way north, when we have an internet connection. For rockhounds, my native tribe, the Canadian Rockies, as beautiful as they are, are a bust. They are all sedimentary, with the exception of the Gog quartzite. The "Ammolite" gem ammonite shell is found east of the mountains. I'm not sure where the B.C. nephrite jade comes from. John
  2. Hi Jim & Wilma, when you said Hwy 40 was a bit rough, was it frost heaves? Pot holes? Bad paving? I'm planning on taking it from Hinton to Grande Prairie in a couple of days. The alternative looks like a long way round. I don't mind going slow as long as the road is passable and won't cause vehicle damage.
  3. It's my guess that Alaska and Canada (Yukon) have never resolved the issue of who uses that stretch of the Alaska Highway, Canadian residents or US residents traveling from Haines to the Alaska Highway at Haines Junction and then on into Alaska. The Yukon has never seemed to do much more than putting little orange ribbons next to semi swallowing pot holes. I'll follow my usual strategy of falling in behind a trucker headed my way and watch when the truck swerves or sinks out of site.
  4. We will be out of the far north by fall. When I lived in Anchorage I remember getting about a day of beautiful fall weather and then the first major winter storm would move in and fall was over, often in mid September. By that time this year I'll be salmon fishing in Oregon. We don't plan on going south of the Alaska Range, of which Mt. McKinnley/Denali is high point. The Alaska Range creates a rain shadow - plenty of rain south of the Range but much drier north of it, like in Fairbanks. Warm sunny weather north and overcast drizzle in in the south. We will stay with the sun. I figure I can spend a couple of weeks gold panning in the Klondike and pay for the trip and some extras, maybe even a new truck, if I don't get shot for claim jumping. The only small piece of discouragement is knowing that thousands of men have panned all this gravel several times since gold was discovered.
  5. Thanks for the information. Driving slowly is something I'm quite good at. My suspicion of "gravel" roads is due to my life on Arizona's back roads, most of which are maintained infrequently and can shake the fillings from your teeth. It also stems from driving the Alaska Highway in the late 1960's when the trucks threw gravel up to about 4" in diameter at your windshield. I got off lucky with a broken wind wing and no other damage. It seemed like a high percentage of folks broke an axel, especially if they were in a hurry. Actually, I'll have so much gold by the time I leave the Klondike that I'll just hire a slow driver for the trip. I have my gold pan and I'll be on the Klondike gold streams - what could go wrong?
  6. I live in the Phoenix area and have had poor luck finding an RV park with lots of room and friendly owners in Flagstaff. Flag for years had a poor reputation for traveler services. The local money maker was squirting oil on a shock absorber and then talking up the danger of failing shocks. This was 20 years ago, but suspicion lives on. In cooler weather Dead Horse State Park south of Flag has full hook ups, a great location next to the Verde River and great camp site spacing.
  7. We are headed for the Yukon this summer and we would like to visit Dawson. The Klondike Highway from Whitehorse to Dawson is paved, but frost heaves are a constant problem. I would also like to continue on from Dawson on the Top of the World Highway to Tok. However, if the highway is 300 kms of washboard it is no place for my HDT & 5th wheel. Our Volvo has no form of traction control and will get stuck on wet grass if I'm not careful. Washboard beats up vehicles and can cause a loss of control when cornering so I'll just backtrack to Whitehorse if some of the route is poorly maintained. Has anyone driven an HDT over the Top of the World Highway during the past couple of years? If so, how was it?
  8. I almost never use my horn simply because I don't think of it when taking evasive action due to bad drivers. I tend to yell horrible things at them, but in a closed cab with the diesel running at speed I'm sure that to others it looks like I'm singing. The "loud" Volvo horn sounds like a loud car horn and certainly does not have the menacing bass tones. Mostly a wimpy treble. My former Freightliner had a set of horns that did have a train like sound. I don't recall ever using the air horn in traffic, though I've used it to get through a herd of cattle. The cow that jumped over the moon had someone hit their air horns behind her.
  9. The Bose noise cancelling headphones are a perfect match for the leak detector. However, leak detection does not require that expensive of an headphone. Living in a small space, like a 5th wheel, does benefit from noise cancelling earphones. My wife can sit near me watching a TV show while I watch Hulu programs on my iPad. Using the noise cancelling Bose headphones, I hear litttle of her programs. I can also use the noise cancelling feature alone and read while she watches the documentary "Extra Loud Explosions of World War II."
  10. When I bought my 2010 VNL 730 the top speed I could reach was 65mph. The only way I could find to change the limits was to go to the Volvo dealer. I don't believe anyone else has the soft ware to talk with a Volvo about speed limiting. Does anyone know of a good shop in the Phoenix metro area where competent folks can service the truck? The resource guide does not have much to offer and the dealership, while competent, is expensive.
  11. Is anyone using Big Rig Best Bets for locating sites? They are asking me for $51.90 to be an on line member and possibly get a spiral bound "book". I could not find a web site for this outfit, which seems strange for a business offering on-line services. However, if they actually have better information than RV Park Reviews, a free and usually accurate service, then I'm interested. Anyone familiar with, as their ad says, "the Big Rig Best Bets family"? Thanks, John
  12. The new Volvo looks a lot like the old VN series, except it has sprouted feelers. When Jeff said it was smoke and mirrors, he was being close to literal, as there is a laser light show in the ad that tried to make a few cosmetic changes to the Volvo's looks an exciting event. There was not one word about why this is a better truck that the previous model, just the ad agency's excitement about a truck growing feelers.
  13. Big Fiver, you also touched on my other reason for my not being too concerned. Aside from being 85% sure I don't need a CDL (but will need an attorney), the last time I was stopped by a police office was over 50 years ago. I find the speed limits are fast enough for me and life is easier if one just obeys the traffic laws. I keep my running gear in good shape and give no reason to be stopped. I have made a binder of important papers, and the AZ statements about CDLs. If I am stopped, if nothing else, I will introduce confusion into the process.
  14. I appreciate the concern about my not having a CDL, but I'm willing to take my chances. I might not in another state, but this is Arizona. I spent much of my career working in the criminal justice system - probation and later in special programs of the Arizona Supreme Court. I don't know any officer who would want to cite me for an inappropriate license, knowing he or she would probably have to spend an afternoon, normally off duty, sitting in a Justice of the Peace Court waiting to argue with my lawyer in front of the JP, and realizing that he/she might lose the case if the JP decides the truck qualifies as a private RV tow vehicle. Losing the case is not good for the ticketing officer, as he/she will probably require overtime for the court testimony, overtime that's always in short supply. Receiving overtime for a questionable citation is a poor way to impress one's sergeant. I should also say that appearing in an Arizona JP Court without a lawyer is taken as an admission of guilt by some JPs. At the least they have no interest in hearing your story if you are not represented by an attorney. This is especially true in the Phoenix metro area.
  15. Well, after participating in this discussion I lost my confidence in not needing a CDL. I went to the AZ Motor Vehicle Department's Glendale location today and talked with the licensing supervisor. Essentially, one can drive anything legal for highway use with a basic operator's license as long as it's solely for personal, non commercial use. A commercial license is necessary only when one is receiving compensation in some form. An unaltered class 8 driven as an RV tow vehicle would not require a CDL of the driver. The supervisor said that the truck towing a 5th wheel would be considered part of a motor home. Design is not an issue. Vehicle use is the determiner.