Eau Claire, WI - 8/5
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Nicki & Family

The Rocky Mountains are still wreaking havoc.  I took the truck to Youngstead's Auto & Tire in Eau Claire to see about the grinding noise in the front brakes that we noticed yesterday.  It's bad.  Real bad.  The whole front braking system, rotors, calipers, and pads, have to be replaced due to heat stress and cracks in all of the parts.  Seems the heat was so intense that it melted the glue that held one of the pads to the backing.  So without a brake pad in place, metal was hitting metal and grinding up parts with every stop.  And the brakes were replaced just last year in February 2004.  Just a little beyond the 12 month, 12,000 mile warranty.

Also while checking the rear brakes and rebalancing the tires, they found some gouge in the inside sidewall on one of the rear tires.  Now I just put 6 brand new tires on the truck before we left California.  But apparently I hit something on the road to cause this gouge.  So all the brake parts plus the tire and labor was $1215, actually a pretty good price compared to what I've paid back home.

So with the truck in the shop, we spent the day at Nicki's.  I enjoyed using her broadband Internet connection to get caught up on the web pages.  Denise and Nicki went shopping in the morning and then in the afternoon, played cards at the table in between loads of wash.  Nicki graciously offered the use of her washer and dryer so we could arrive at Ten Mile Lake and not have to hit the laundry mat right away.

Around 4:30 pm, the truck was done so Nicki took me to the shop.  On her way back, she picked up her son, Rob, and two of his daughters, Kaylee and Ashley, and brought them to the house.  I'd never met Rob and Denise hadn't seen him in over 20 years.  Thus neither of us had met his 13 and 11 year old daughters.  They are all very nice.  I'd like to return some day with more time as Rob is an avid fisherman.  He says 27 lb. catfish are quite common where he fishes and he also knows good spots for Northern Pike, Muskie, Walleye, and whatever else is native to the area.

We enjoyed a nice dinner and visit.  Around 9:00 pm or so, we loaded up all the laundry, crates, and shopping goods.  The dogs were left on their own to find a seat but they managed.  We headed back to camp and called it a night.

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