Thursday, April 2, 2020

Wednesday......

6:49 am - Thursday - April 2nd - Wittmann, AZ - 52° F, 53% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the northeast.......clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 79° F.

About mid morning I finished off the repair of the artificial turf by applying Gorilla Tape to each of the seams.  Once that was done.....didn't take long.....I rolled the carpet back to its upright position, and the 'lido deck' was once again available for use.......


.....and use it we did.  Wednesday was the warmest day we've had in a few weeks at 82° F, so we spent a good part of the morning and early afternoon sitting outside reading.  After my marathon day stitching the remaining cuts I had opened back in 2016 I was ready to take it easy Thursday.  Early afternoon TLE surprised me with a nice lunch......a deconstructed BLAT.....

 Proof I am loved

........I read until about 3 pm, and then went inside to finish watching the last 5 episodes of season 2 of 'Luke Cage'.  TLE was home from playing cards around 4:30 pm to begin preparing dinner.  We had roast beef, and vegetables covered with hollandaise sauce.....yummy!

We had a very subtle sunset to bring to an end the daylight portion of our Wednesday......



......TLE and I continue to be in good health......no signs of the Chinese Virus yet in our little Wittmann enclave.  Over all in Arizona we have had 1,413 test positive, and 19, 645 coming in negative with just 29 reported deaths so far.  Nationwide there are 212,695 positive, 956,302 negative and over 5,000 deaths.  So far the national case load centers in states with large population centers, and NY state is still the epicenter.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Stitch in time........

8:20 am - Wednesday - April 1st - Wittmann, AZ - 62° F, 52% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the east by northeast.....heavy cloud cover today with a forecast high of 82° F.

Back in the summer of 2018 after we had left Smuggler's Den Campground to spend a month on the property of our friends Tony and Janet I began to stitch several cuts in our artificial turf which I had intentionally cut so it would fit around our concrete picnic table in our site at TVC (Tahoe Valley Campground) in the summer of 2016.  When the old picnic table was removed I just used Gorilla Tape to put the small area of turf back together, and it worked okay, but after a lot of rain the tape would begin to come off.  With time on our hands in September of 2018 I decided to buy some sail thread (I wrote about that here) at the local West Marine store and begin to stitch those cut sections back together......

Back in September of 2018

.......I laid out the turf upside down on the grass next to our site at Tony and Janet's home, and began the slow, arduous task of undoing my mistake from two years earlier.....I should never have cut that turf!  Over a couple of days I managed to get about half of the stitching completed, but our time was up in Southwest Harbor, so I decided I would finish it when we got back to SoCal.....yeah, right!  My process was to first stitch the sections I had cut back together, then apply clear silicone caulk to the stitches to protect them from the elements, and then cover each seam with Gorilla Tape.....


.....and for the spots I stitched that process has worked out quite well.  The seams have held, and are still solid after 2.5 years.  On the sections I had not stitched I just reapplied a new round of Gorilla Tape.  So, fast forward to January of 2020 when we are leaving RORVR after 9 months.  As we were folding up the turf to insert it in the trailer those unstitched seams pulled loose from the Gorilla Tape, and it became obvious that I would have to finish that long delayed project.  That date with destiny came Tuesday morning.  I rolled back the edge of the turf where the remaining cuts to be stitched are located, pulled off what remained of the Gorilla Tape, then began to stitch the remaining cuts, determined I would finish this undesirable task in one sitting, and I did......


....I probably laid down around 200 'whip' stitches in all, and I got it done in about 4-5 hours.  Above you can see the entire area I repaired Tuesday, and below is a close up of the 'whip' stitches on one section......


......once all the stitching was complete I laid down a bead of the GE clear silicone caulk over all the seams......

The seams are caulked

......once the GE clear silicone caulk has cured I will reapply Gorilla Tape to the newly stitched seams, and then roll the carpet back to right side up.  It only took me 4 years to correct my bad decision back in the summer of 2016.

By the time I put my materials away I was around 4 pm, and I was tired, but it was a good tired, and now one more thing is crossed off my 'TO DO' list.  I watched a few more episodes of 'Luke Cage', plus another episode of 'Outlander' (season 5, episode 2) with TLE, and it was time to call an end to Tuesday and head for slumberland.

TLE and I continue to be asymptomatic, and continue to do well.  The Arizona numbers are shown below.....



.....Arizona numbers are still not alarming.  Here are the numbers nationally.....


.....NY has 1,550 of those deaths and almost 76,000 of the national cases, and continues to be the national epicenter.  The rural areas of the U.S. continue to be way less affected than the large urban areas.  Most states have just single, or double digit deaths reported, while a few have triple digit deaths.  World-wide numbers how 889,213 cases, and 44,323 deaths.

We get a little stir crazy now and then, but once I can immerse myself in another project it goes away.  Of course, the list of projects is diminishing, but "I'll worry about that tomorrow" to quote Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With the Wind.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Razor's edge.......

8:20 am - Tuesday - March 31st - Wittmann, AZ - 57° F, 51% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the north.......cloud cover this morning and the rest of the day with a forecast high of 80° F.  We have four more days of 80-82°  weather, and then back into the 70's through at least the middle of April, and April begins tomorrow.

I returned to my copper plumbing polishing project Monday morning.  Up to this point I had tried 'Bar Keepers Friend', some water, and a tooth brush.  It worked slowly, but well, but also made a big mess which required a lot of cleanup......


.....then Monday I tried 'Never Dull' which I have had for years.  Thankfully, it is still potent.  It is basically a cotton like substance soaked in some sort of metal cleaner that you use to polish the metal.  It takes a lot of rubbing, and takes a while, but it also does a pretty good job, albeit slowly.......


.....after about an hour I decided to get out my dremel and use a couple of polishing wheels to see how that worked.  Well, it worked well, and very, very fast!  What took me the better part of an hour to accomplish, I did in 5 minutes with the polishing wheel. Unfortunately, I only had two of them, so I will have order some more of them from Amazon......


.....I'm sure with the new wheels on order I can finish the rest of the copper plumbing in short order and move onto some other frivolous project......😉

Over the weekend Tom had offered to take TLE and I on a Razor ride through the desert, and we took him up on his offer Monday afternoon.  I love taking these desert journeys with Tom, as he just makes it up as you go....you never know where you are going, let alone where you are at any given point.  He just drives, takes turns here and there and somehow we find our way back........




....at one point TLE shouted over the steady roar of the rear mounted motor that she saw a couch on the side of the road with a TV sitting in front of it, so we turned around to see it.  Sure enough, someone had set up an old, discarded couch with an old cathode ray tube TV on the ground in front of it......cool.....desert art.....


.....seriously, if you are going to discard old furniture out in the desert, please set it up in way that is thought provoking, instead of disgusting......nice job whoever you are.

We arrived home between 3:30 and 4 pm after having covered some 27 miles of desert meandering. Tom let me drive the last few miles.....let me assure you that no small children, or animals were harmed, and we all arrived home unscathed.

Around 6 pm we drove over to the home of Jon and Laura (Tom and Darlene's daughter, and son-in-law) to celebrate the 17th birthday of their daughter Katie.  They live about 1/16th of a mile away as the crow flies, and they are currently healthy.  We all practiced social distancing.....no hugs, or handshakes.  

So, another day in the life....we are now on the verge of April, and who knows what unknowns are yet out there?  Both TLE and I continue to be asymptomatic.  On Thursday we venture into Glendale, AZ to visit COSTCO  to pick up two more prescriptions.....these two, combined with the one I picked up two weeks ago will take me into July without needing a refill.  COSTCO has now instituted 'senior' hours from 8 am to 9 am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and on those days they also open their Pharmacy early, so we will take advantage of that.  Additionally, TLE and Darlene did some extensive research into making our own washable, and reusable face masks.....



.....I have two, and so does TLE, so we will be wearing those when we enter COSTCO, or any other public place from this point forward.  Darlene has a wonderful, commercially equipped sewing center and is quite skilled.  It took several fittings to get each one designed, and finished, but they came out very well....looks like something you would find in a store.

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Monday, March 30, 2020

Back roads........

7:55 am - First Saturday - March 30th - Wittmann, AZ - 55° F, 48% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the north by northwest......clear, blue, sunny skies today with a forecast high of 77° F.  The views this morning......





......it is a beautiful Monday morning in our Wittmann, AZ neighborhood.  Come Wednesday we will have been here 4 weeks.  Does not seem like that long at all.  Not much to relate from our Sunday, but the weather has been very moderate, very nice.  The forecast for the next two weeks is for more of the same (high 70's to low 80's).....can't complain about that.  No need to employ air conditioning, yet.

We got off our collective derrières and took a 1 mile walk around the local Wittmann back roads......most of Wittmann is connected by dirt roads, with a few paved main arterials.  We have to cover almost 1 mile of dirt roads to reach pavement, so we are pretty isolated.......


.....I spent the afternoon binge watching 'Luke Cage' (Marvel) on Netflix.  So wonderful to have access to great WiFi here, and be able to stream to our heart's content.  On top of that I got an email from Verizon Wireless advising they had added, at no additional cost, another 15 gigabytes to my Hot Spot capacity, giving me now 30 gigs before they throttle.....nice!

Not much else to report except that we are both still asymptomatic, feeling quite well, and enjoying the pursuit of happiness.....all our best to everyone.  Stay healthy and safe....think for yourself, use your common sense.....we will all get through this together.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Finding balance.......

7:40 am - Sunday - March 29th - Wittmann, AZ - 51° F, 53% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the east by northeast......clear, blue skies today with a forecast high of 73° F.

I began my day Saturday with Tom in the Newell House watching him work on his Aqua Hot system in his 2002 Newell.  Many more modern, high end coaches for the last 20+ years include an Aqua Hot system, which not only provides hot water, but heats the coach.  It can be run, while dry camping, off diesel, or electric when connected to shore power, or you can use both simultaneously when the temps get below 20° F, to provide extra heating capabilities.....



.....there are two heating elements which screw into the Aqua Hot tank, and Tom was in the process of removing the old ones (above) and installing the new ones when I joined him in the shop area.  Right now he has two Newells in what we all affectionately call 'Newell House'.......


  Tom's Newell is a 2002 as seen in these pictures.....it 
is just under 46' long with two slides
The coach on the right is a 1999 that he bought to 'flip' about a year ago.  

.....one is his 2002 Newell (white with blue and red accents), which comes in a just under 46' long, and has two slides, plus 1.5 bathrooms.  The coach on the right in the above picture is the 1999 which is a few feet shorter than the 2002, and white with green accents.




After reinstalling the Thetford valves the other day I wanted to clean up the driver side of the water bay, and Saturday seemed to be a good day to do just that. I retrieved a can of 'Bar Keep' and proceeded to scrub the white 3" drain pipe, as well as polish up the copper plumbing which is everywhere on this side of the water bay....


Before.....

 .....after.....

 Shining up that copper!

....there is  lot of copper plumbing on this side of the water bay, and it is understandably very tarnished after 38+ years.  I didn't want to get into polishing it all in one day, but I got two sections done, plus one of the numerous gate valves looking pretty good once again.  The white drain pipe cleaned up pretty well, also.

I spent the rest of the day wondering what to do....there are a lot of small things I could do, and I will probably do them, but after spending most the last 10 days 'sheltering in place' I am beginning to lose purpose and direction now that the big projects are completed.  I need to recenter myself, and try to keep myself more scheduled......I do best when I have something to do, even if it is just a taking a bike ride, or vacuuming out the trailer.

I missed the main part of Saturday's sunset, but I did get these late pictures.......



....shortly after I took this picture TLE and I joined Tom in the Jacuzzi for an after dark soak....it was the perfect way to end the day, and I slept like a 'baby'.  

TLE and I are still asymptomatic.  Our plans are changing by the day.  Originally we had planned to leave Wittmann on April 6th to head over to All Aboard American in Mesa, AZ to have our coach checked over before we began our trip to Alaska.  We were to meet Glenn and Laureen there, but now they are not able to leave Texas until at least the 6th as their adult son who lives at home, developed a low grade fever about a week ago, and even though he has not been diagnosed as having COVID-19, they are still self quarantining until the 6th, which means the earliest they could be here would be the 9th, or 10.  We have pretty much determined we will stay put here in Wittmann for a few more weeks.  Instead of heading to A.M. Solar in Oregon to get a solar system installed on Glenn and Laureen's  1984 Newell they are considering having the panels, etc. shipped here to Wittmann, do the install in the Newell House garage, and then decide where to go from here near the end of April.  That's where we are for now.......Thanks for stopping by!


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Saturday, March 28, 2020

An alternative......

7:22 am - Real Saturday - March 28th - Wittmann, AZ - 38° F, 72% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the north.......clear, blue skies today with a forecast high of 68° F.

I took the day off from 'doing' projects to do some research into solving my non-functioning tachometer.  My existing tachometer is a Stewart-Warner, as most of the 16 different gauges on my dashboard are......


....it is an analog gauge that depends on a signal generator attached to a ratio adapter on the front of my 6v92 Detroit Diesel.  I wrote about this yesterday.  I cannot fix it, so I am going to replace the tachometer with one of the electronic variety which can be wired into our 12 volt, 160 amp Leece-Neville (Model 3425J) direct drive alternator.....  

Note the 3 terminals on top of the alternator in the picture

....it is easy to install, and calibrate.  It costs under $130.  This is the one I am leaning towards.....


.....it is made by Speedhut.  I spoke with a gentleman at Turbo and Electric of Phoenix (Leo at All Aboard America referred me to Rick there), who asked what model of Leece-Neville alternator I had, and then told me I could tap into any one of the three terminals on it to power the new tachometer.....perfect.  Since 'redline' on the 6v92 is just 2,100 RPM's I don't need a display showing more than 4,000 RPM's, so this one will work just fine.  All that research took time, but by the end of the day I had a plan, and a solution.  Special thanks to my friend Tom for his help in this process!

TLE spent much time playing cards with Darlene Friday, and I spent time watching Season 2 of 'Iron Fist' (another Marvel franchise) to its conclusion.  By the time I finished it was just before 5 pm, and TLE arrived home a few minutes later.

We were treated to a lovely sunset Friday evening......




......TLE and I continue to be COVID-19 free......no symptoms.  We are doing well.  I won't bore you with the current U.S. cases/deaths, or the world-wide cases/deaths.  It is getting worse, but still not remotely approaching the doomsday scenarios the bearded experts were predicting just a couple of weeks ago.  Be safe, use your own judgement, think for yourself.....do not be sheep led to the slaughter by 'well meaning' bureaucrats.....they do not have your best interests at heart......just look at what 'well meaning' bureaucrats may have caused in NYC who as early as the first week in February, and as recently as early March were still poopooing  the China virus threat, and encouraging their population to get out, use the subways, dine out, go to the theater, go to the Chinese New Years celebrations enmasse, which, not surprisingly, they did.  Now look at where they are just a few short weeks later....the epicenter in the U.S. for this pandemic.  Just in case you feel this claim is a little dubious, take time to watch this YouTube starring numerous NYC officials....it will make you ill.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Tachometer wars......

7:46 am - Friday - March 27th - Wittmann, AZ - 41° F, 55% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the west by southwest.....clear, blue skies today with a forecast high of 61° F.

Thursday I tackled another project off my 'TO DO' list......fix the tachometer, which hasn't worked for 9 years.  I've gotten by without it for all this time, so why fix it now? Well, I just want all my stuff to work.  The tachometer signal generator is located at he 'front' of the big 6v92 between the front of the engine, and the radiator.  There are a lot of hoses, and other equipment blocking direct access to the generator.....if I could just remove the radiator (takes a forklift to do so) I could have fixed it in 30 minutes, but I can't.  I was able to remove the fuel filter, which helped......



.....it was only possible to get one hand at a time in that tight space, and it took me close to 3 hours to remove the ratio adapter.  I did not remove the signal generator as I knew from a few years ago that it was working fine.  The problem is in the ratio adapter which connects the generator to the output port on the front of the engine to relay the RPM's to the generator, which in turn sends a signal to the actual tachometer on my dashboard.  I discovered that the drive tip, or tang that plugs into the output port on the engine was broken.  The rest of the ratio adapter worked fine, but since the drive tip is broken nothing is turning inside the ratio adapter.....


This is a spare signal generator/ratio adapter so you can see what it looks like


 The rascally tachometer signal generator/ratio adapter located between the front of the 6v92, and the radiator.  Note the three fan belts right next to it.

This picture gives perspective....you can see how much stuff is between me and the tachometer signal generator/ratio adapter....I could only get one arm in at a time......very, very tight

......unfortunately, one of the broken pieces of the drive tip/tang is stuck in the output port, and short of removing the radiator I cannot get at it to remove it.  It appears to be stuck pretty hard, and the only way I can get it loose would be to apply some heat to the output port directly.  I had this same issue with the speedometer ratio adapter.  The same drive tip/tang was broken and stuck in the output port.  The difference there was the output port was very accessible, and I was able to apply heat to the port, and got out the broken piece.  So, a big portion of the day spent removing, and reinstalling a broken part without a good outcome.  I had to reinstall it as if I don't oil will leak out the output port.  I'll have to see if I can procure a cap to close off the port.

By the time I had everything back together, had put away my tools, and taken a shower it was 4:30 pm.  I felt a little deflated after spending so much time in a futile effort, but that is life.  I'm going to research replacing my tachometer with an electronic one that receives its signal from the alternator, but that is a story for another day.

TLE and I are still asymptomatic to the China virus.  We continue to be healthy, and safe.  We have all we need....plenty of food, plenty of TP, and plenty of love.  Cases here in Arizona are up to 508 with 8 deaths attributed to the virus.   299 of those cases and 3 deaths are centered in Maricopa County, where there is a large retirement population, and where we are located at the time.

Thanks for stopping by!

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