Special Agent Cooper Takes Montana

CatskillsRunner

Adventurer
Thanks for posting. What a great trip. A couple more months and we will be in Wyoming and Montana for two weeks. jd
I'll tell you what.

I had a good little pity party for my own self coming into my hometown this evening.

It's hard to live somewhere when your heart is somewhere else.

:/
 

Foy

Explorer
Thanks for your reports!

Glad you made it back intact and many thanks for the time and efforts to share your trip.

I have to wonder if between the leaf springs and the blowout, your trailer is trying to tell you something about the modifications to accomodate your gear and/or the weight of it all relative to its original utility trailer design and manufacture. It of course could have just been older trailer tires. I don't think I've ever worn out a trailer tire in +40 years of towing, but I've blown several older tires which had dry-rotted. I'm now on a 5-year replacement program, irrespective of treadwear, just because I'd rather replace them when I want to instead of when they want to be replaced. My preferences don't involve unscheduled stops and 70 mph tractor-trailers, nor does anybody's I know.

Best of luck in your future Western US endeavors! Seems like the "Montana bug" has bitten you, Tim, and Cooper!

Foy
 

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RangerRocket

Observer
I'll tell you what.

I had a good little pity party for my own self coming into my hometown this evening.

It's hard to live somewhere when your heart is somewhere else.

:/
Try living in Toledo and reading/viewing these adventures... with a Unicat and Jeep Wrangler in the driveway too no less. T-Minus 310 days until retirement... Fun read!!!
 

AK Nomad

New member
had to read this about MT (where I grew up). great collection of pics & stories! Only way to top that trip is keep driving north where bears are much more plentiful and fish much bigger. Come see AK
 

CatskillsRunner

Adventurer
Glad you made it back intact and many thanks for the time and efforts to share your trip.

I have to wonder if between the leaf springs and the blowout, your trailer is trying to tell you something about the modifications to accomodate your gear and/or the weight of it all relative to its original utility trailer design and manufacture. It of course could have just been older trailer tires. I don't think I've ever worn out a trailer tire +40 years of towing, but I've blown several older tires which had dry-rotted. I'm now on a 5-year replacement program, irrespective of treadwear, just because I'd rather replace them when I want to instead of when they want to be replaced. My preferences don't involve unscheduled stops and 70 mph tractor-trailers, nor does anybody's I know.

Best of luck in your future Western US endeavors! Seems like the "Montana bug" has bitten you, Tim, and Cooper!

Foy
I am a little OCD about tires, I'll tell you. I wanted new tires before I left but our tire guy assured us we didn't need them. In retrospect I would have new tires before I set out, alone, on a trip that long.

Tim was really concerned about the leaf springs and weight in the trailer but I brushed that off and thought we'd be fine.

He wants to swap out the axle and I want tires and wheels that match the LC, ala @titanpat57

The work will happen before i drag it out there again, for sure.

I know from hauling horse trailers to endurance races that you have to be very careful with the tires in that they do tend to dry rot. That's normally why we replace the horse trailer tires.

I think we were asking a lot of this trailer. It carried gear for 4 people. And it was rafting gear, not hiking gear.

I think that the LCs response to the trailer tire was interesting in that there wasn't one. I think it is heavy enough, and has the airbags, and I got no feedback whatsoever from the truck, while with my 4Runner, you really felt it when the trailer went over a bump.

So in that respect I think I have to be more diligent about hauling with the LC. I think I did ok in that I caught it before I was driving down the road on my rim, which my husband says happens to people, but I still didn't like that I didn't get feedback from my truck.

I really loved Montana. I loved it more than I thought I would. I'm ready to go back.
 

Foy

Explorer
In the bad old days........

..........I did lots of towing I shouldn't have. Mostly boat trailers, both single and tandem axle, and in each case routinely dunked into salt water along the NC and VA coasts. Bearing life was short. We lost tires and bearings regularly, the bearings so often that we'd carry a full replacement hub with bearings in the Suburban or pickup and could do a full change-out in under 30 minutes.

I wonder if you have been able to calculate or estimate your cargo's weight vs the rated capacity of both springs and tires? Sometimes we really don't want to know.

It's interesting that you could not tell the point at which you'd lost a trailer tire. We always hear statement like "tows so great we don't know it's back there", but I don't think I've ever towed anything, even our little 5 x 8 utility trailer behind our F350 diesel, which I couldn't tell "was back there". But we don't have any fine luxury rides like your Hundy!

We're now in the trailer brakes game with the Rockwood camper. Not required under NC law but were standard on the camper. They're electric brakes with a wireless controller I can leave on my right thigh when the situation gets "thick", such as when I popped a rear brake line on the F350 in the Blue Ridge Mountains in October 2015. Between gearing down and punching the manual override on the trailer brakes we were able to move along pretty safely (but slowly) until reaching a place to get the line replaced. As I get older, luxuries like trailer brakes become necessities. I imagine all of your horse trailers have brakes, don't they?

Yeah, Montana is terrific. My wife and I have been going out there since 1980, the first time in a 1977 Honda Civic with an 8-track tape player, a 48 qt Igloo cooler, and a two-man backpacking tent. It never gets old.

Foy
 

smlobx

Wanderer
Thanks for the great TR and your positive attitude with life's curveballs!
One question...did you eat any of the fish or release all of them? My wife would not let me release all of them!
 

CatskillsRunner

Adventurer
had to read this about MT (where I grew up). great collection of pics & stories! Only way to top that trip is keep driving north where bears are much more plentiful and fish much bigger. Come see AK
Thank you! I would love to. I think Glacier gave us a glimpse of how wild it can be further north.

To me it looked like some untamed, don't-care-about-people terrain. Lots of wildfire damage, but you could see the forests coming back and around the Flathead at least it looked like the river pulled in new material all the time; like it was constantly changing.

It was a really interesting, wild-at-heart land...
 

CatskillsRunner

Adventurer
..........I did lots of towing I shouldn't have. Mostly boat trailers, both single and tandem axle, and in each case routinely dunked into salt water along the NC and VA coasts. Bearing life was short. We lost tires and bearings regularly, the bearings so often that we'd carry a full replacement hub with bearings in the Suburban or pickup and could do a full change-out in under 30 minutes.

I wonder if you have been able to calculate or estimate your cargo's weight vs the rated capacity of both springs and tires? Sometimes we really don't want to know.

It's interesting that you could not tell the point at which you'd lost a trailer tire. We always hear statement like "tows so great we don't know it's back there", but I don't think I've ever towed anything, even our little 5 x 8 utility trailer behind our F350 diesel, which I couldn't tell "was back there". But we don't have any fine luxury rides like your Hundy!

We're now in the trailer brakes game with the Rockwood camper. Not required under NC law but were standard on the camper. They're electric brakes with a wireless controller I can leave on my right thigh when the situation gets "thick", such as when I popped a rear brake line on the F350 in the Blue Ridge Mountains in October 2015. Between gearing down and punching the manual override on the trailer brakes we were able to move along pretty safely (but slowly) until reaching a place to get the line replaced. As I get older, luxuries like trailer brakes become necessities. I imagine all of your horse trailers have brakes, don't they?

Yeah, Montana is terrific. My wife and I have been going out there since 1980, the first time in a 1977 Honda Civic with an 8-track tape player, a 48 qt Igloo cooler, and a two-man backpacking tent. It never gets old.

Foy
Yes, the horse trailers have brake controllers. There is no shortage of what people don't do to keep their horses safe. In fact, I've heard them joke that they take their safety more seriously than that of their kids'.

It was nice to tow w/ the trucks we've had w/ the integrated brake controllers (in the market for a truck and my guy at Toyota tells me they will/are coming standard in the Tundras now).

We've had them in our Chevys for years. They are great. I always knew: 2 horses loaded up for a race w/ 75 gallons of water: set it at 8. Taking my pony to the local trail: 5.5.

Yes, you're right about the trailer feedback. It was weird to not know. But you know what? We had a dually we sold last year and I didn't know I was towing w/ it. Horse trailer, yes; rafts, no. But that truck weighed 10K and I would be surprised if the trailer, w/ only the raft on it, weighed 1K. That Hundy is heavy.

Also, w/ the trucks, I knew when my husband's horse had to pee on the trailer and hadn't yet, because he is a badly behaved boy and would hop all around until he finally was ok w/ the fact that maybe, just maybe, his hoof was going to get a little pee on it. With the gooseneck trailers, especially, you get a lot of feedback all the way up to the front of the cab. And while you might not like feeling 1K lbs. of bad Arabian gelding jumping around behind you, it is reassuring in a way. Is your camper a 5th wheel or BP?

I would like to know what the whole rig weighs. But I also don't want to know. You know.

Turns out Montana has given us a worse hangover than Colorado ever did. We are both having a hard time shaking it. I really fell for Craig.

In the grocery store tonight, I couldn't focus on food. Neither of us could. I think what I bought for the whole week was cherries and steak. Beer. And I was on my phone looking at Montana teaching certification requirements...bad news!
 
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CatskillsRunner

Adventurer
Thanks for the great TR and your positive attitude with life's curveballs!
One question...did you eat any of the fish or release all of them? My wife would not let me release all of them!
Hey Eddie!

No, no, no, release them all! It's so much better for the fisheries to release them. This is easy for me to say: I could live on red meat and don't love fish. But release them anyway.
 

CatskillsRunner

Adventurer
Try living in Toledo and reading/viewing these adventures... with a Unicat and Jeep Wrangler in the driveway too no less. T-Minus 310 days until retirement... Fun read!!!
Oh, man, I'm really jealous. I have 16 years left! And I love my job more than--I think--anyone I know, but I wish I could do it out there...

I have a big sage branch I poached out there and it now graces the dash of the truck. And it makes the Hundy reek of that heady, wild, wind-swept land every time I get in. And I can close my eyes and be back there... wind howling, seeing three storms rage violently in three different directions and in different shades of purple and gray hues, a horizon that puts your admittedly small life into perspective, which is important; a horizon that music couldn't ever suit (well, maybe I would try that latest War on Drugs album...

...see what happens to me?

How pathetic is that? I haven't even had one beer tonight to blame.

I actually opened my quarterly retirement earnings and gave it a good think before I thought better of it and just filed it away.
 

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CatskillsRunner

Adventurer
So, I have to add a bunch of photos to this that Eileen took, but before I do that, tomorrow probably, I just wanted to tell you what Rob & Eileen did to thank us for organizing and planning the trip.

This trip was a bear. I knew nothing whatever about Montana, Montana floats, camping, river access issues (which can be really, really interesting), etc, etc. So it was a ton of work.

But when you're me, and you live for 1.) politics, and 2.) Spurs games, and you don't really watch TV and you don't do social media (MUD doesn't count, does it?), it is so nice to plan a trip that is almost a month long, in a world so far removed from the Catskills.

Tim built the raft frame especially for them and this trip. We plan on buying a new NRS raft, mostly for their use, next year. They don't know that, of course. But we love them so much. We are really lucky to have family members who willingly leave Pasadena (they just bought their first house: a completely original mid-century modern in a neighborhood they love) to hang out with us in the wilderness for weeks.

So, they thanked us. They sent us 30 lbs. of Benton's Bacon.

Now, that might not sound like a big deal to you, so you might want to just disregard what I'm about to say.

I could live on bacon.

And this bacon will ruin you.

Don't get it unless you are prepared for that. You'll think: bacon for breakfast? Sure! Bacon for lunch? Yep! Bacon for dinner? Uh-huh!
 

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