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Hi! We’re Rachel & Allen and we live full time in our 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385 fifth wheel toy hauler.  We travel the country for Allen’s work, often only having a couple days notice of where we need to be next. And we love it!

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Allen, Rachel and Charlie

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Warm Potato Bread on a Cold & Windy Day

Today is a weather day for my love.

 It is NOT a day for working outside, let alone working 2,000 feet in the air! So for the first time since we got here to Hillsboro, North Dakota, he got to sleep in!

Last night we ran to Grand Forks to go to Walmart and stock up on some groceries. We had dinner at Texas Roadhouse (yum). I saved part of my steak for steak & eggs and Allen saved his ribeye bone for our little sweet bored puppy (she’s not a fan of winter, she’s a Floridian at heart like us!)

So I got up this morning and made bacon and steak & eggs. Then got ready to make some bread.

 I found a recipe for Potato Bread that uses real onion and a real potato so I thought I’d try it. I’ve been having an issue lately with my bread not rising enough. My first thought was the altitude but we aren’t very high. Now I’m thinking it’s the temperature. The bread maker’s room temperature and mine must be different! Considering we are trying to maintain a steady 64 degrees I’m not too surprised.

We keep alternating between using the fireplace & space heater, and using the furnace.  We are trying to balance saving propane, while also trying to keep the floor warm, as well as the huge cubby and the water compartment outside. Plus we are paying for electric here, so we don’t want to crazy run the meter up. But, we’ve already went through over $100 in propane in 2 weeks heating this huge camper we are fortunate enough to live in! We have our heated water hose plugged in and the tank heaters on, and the truck is plugged in.

Anyway, I’m warming my ingredients by the hearth! Trying to bring them up to my picky bread maker’s version of room temp, not my budget-conscious version!

 Charlie is happily busy with her new bone (which I will be sneaking away when she finally wants to go outside!) and Allen is napping in bed…

Here is the recipe for the Baked Potato Bread (From redstaryeast.com) and that Pumpernickel Rye Bread (from westbound.com) I made the other day…

Baked Potato Bread

  • 1/2 milk (@ 80 degrees)
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 egg (@ room temp)
  • 2 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1/3 cup baked potato, mashed (I microwaved mine)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced (added at the nut beep)

This makes a 1 1/2 lb loaf. Basic/White cycle. Medium crust color.

Pumpernickel Rye Bread

  • 5 oz water (@ 80 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 tbs molasses (I used syrup because that’s all I had on hand)
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup rye flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast

This makes a 1 lb loaf. White/Basic cycle. Medium crust color.

As always, if you want to browse some other bread machine recipes, you can do that here.  I’m making this to go with this Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup I’m going to try tonight.  I’ll post the recipe once I find out if it’s any good! Stay warm out there! 

**Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup recipe

Utah the Beautiful! 

The Bonneville Salt Flats are the first indication you’ve gotten out of Nevada and into Utah. You crest a hill, or mountain, and all of a sudden the landscape looks way different. There’s a bunch of water reflecting the sky and it flattens out a ton. At first it made me think of Louisiana, how it’s AT sea level so you drive through areas that are swampy and wet right next to the highway. Only this isn’t swampy. It’s more like dried salty sand so it’s hard and not squishy. We stopped at the first rest stop and took some pictures.   
 The Bonneville Salt Flats are where the land speed records have been set. From what I read, it’s ten miles long and you can’t see the other end because of the curvature of the earth. It’s really something to see.  
I also read that the whole thing used to be a lake. Lake Bonneville. It was a mostly freshwater lake and it eventually got so high that it all started to drain out, ending with only what is now the Great Salt Lake. The water evaporated and left the little bits of salt behind and now every year lots of salt flows into the Great Salt Lake from the soil and what not. The lake is 12% salinity, much saltier than the ocean and fish can’t live in it. There are brine shrimp that are harvested for fish food and brine flies that are obnoxious to people. Also because of the high salinity, people float really easily.  
After the salt flats and the lake we went through or around Salt Lake City. Once we passed that we came into this huge valley with farms and ranches and a couple towns. It was the most beautiful part of the country I’ve seen yet. I kinda want to trade my Texas ranch idea for a Utah ranch!  
Shortly after that we came upon a “viewing area” and I convinced Allen to stop. We took a couple of pictures and let Charlie out. While we were there the camper and truck got full of those brine flies I mentioned earlier! It was entertainment for Charlie at least! She’s a fly catcher.   
 Have you heard that commercial, “happy cows live in California” or something like that?? Lies I tell you! Happy cows live in Wyoming! This state is just wide open, unincorporated, natural goodness. Wikipedia says it’s the least populated state in the country and the government owns almost half of the land. We kept seeing these weird looking fences along the highway. I always expect Allen to know the answer to all my wonderings, but he told me to google it after about the third time I asked what they could be for. They’re snow fences. They keep the snow from drifting onto the highway. Good to know!  
We stopped in Rock Springs, Wyoming at a KOA for the night. I reheated some gumbo and made some rice while we swatted a ton of brine flies then we hit the sack.  
  
Friday when we got on the road the truck said we had 40% oil life and 40% oil filter life left. Then yesterday the filter all of a sudden dropped to zero and we were getting messages on the dash. So once we get to South Dakota we will have to get it in the shop and checked out. We are aiming for Hermosa, South Dakota today. It’s close to Mount Rushmore so I’m
excited to see that! 

And, Allen made us bacon and eggs for breakfast AND did the dishes! I love him!

Doggy Paddlin’

Charlie can swim! She was so cute! I think she loved it. Allen thinks she was just surviving. But her little tail was wagging all day long and she seemed like a happy puppy.

    

We had a great time with Karen and Bob and their friend Kathy yesterday. It was a much needed relaxing Saturday. Allen doesn’t get many of those!

This morning we took the truck and camper to the truck wash next door to Abe’s RV Park. The guys at the 5 Star Travel Plaza did an awesome job. It’s a new truck wash, just opened in March, so it wasn’t crazy busy like most of them are. It was $45 for the camper and truck. I don’t think that was bad at all.

       One thing Allen noticed was that since we had the DEF Sytem removed, we are going to have to watch the front of the camper and keep it clean because now the exhaust pipe blows a little black smoke.

Now we are on our way to Dallas for a couple of weeks…

Goodbye DEF System! 

So Josh at Fisher’s Shop (the same guy who fixed our glow plug) just took out the Diesel Exhaust Fluid system in the truck last night. No more buying DEF fluid, no more limiting us to 55mph, no more warning lights, plus we will get a whole lot better fuel mileage towing, and it has a lot more power. You can actually hear the turbo now. It’s a little smellier and a tiny bit louder (it was super quiet before).  We just drove about an hour down to Cincinnati and back and the mileage is up to 17.5mpg!

The only real down side is that Josh keeps 3 blue heelers at the shop. I loved on them last time I was there with the glow plug thing and they were super friendly…  So, Allen and I pull in on the bike today to pick up the truck and I say “aw here come the puppies!” as they are running across the lot to greet us. Then one grabs on to my ankle and tries to rip it off my leg!!! While the bike was still moving!!! First time I’ve ever been bitten by a dog in my life!  OUCH!  Allen says it was worth it because he’s happy with the truck.  What a sweet boyfriend I have…

The dreaded “check engine” light…

checkengine

Since we’ve gotten the truck, a little over a year ago, the “check engine” light has been on and off constantly.  The DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) light has been an issue also, but we finally got that fixed when there was a recall about a month ago in Louisiana.  We drove up to Ohio with no obnoxious warning lights and then the other day… BAM! Here’s the “check engine”.  I stopped at Advance Auto Parts yesterday to have them test it and it came across as code: P0677. Which is the cylinder 7 circuit, that has to do something with a glow plug. From my understanding, diesels have glow plugs instead of spark plugs.  And since we have 8 cylinders, we have 8 glow plugs.  I watched a video on YouTube about how to change these little guys, but it looks a bit too out of our non-mechanical league to attempt ourselves.  So I’m waiting on a call from the Duramax diesel expert in Xenia, Ohio so he can fix it.  Fingers crossed that’s all it is!

UPDATE:  After a half hour drive through scenic Xenia, I arrived at the shop.  Josh at Fisher’s Shop replaced glow plug number 7 and I was on my way… Lucky us!