Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Rainy day in Austin
We spent 8 days at my sister-in-law's home and thoroughly enjoyed the time with all those related to us. I wish I had been able to spend more time riding my bike instead of having my head stuck in the engine bay. Even though I wear mechanic's gloves when I work on any part the coach I still suffered a few minor injuries to my hands that are still healing. My back hurts from the awkward positions required to put the pump in place, but it is getting better each day.
I have always liked that NASA phrase......of course, the one you don't want to hear yourself saying is "Houston we have a problem". Any of you who know me well know there is a pessimistic side to me. Even though, intellectually, I understand that I did the pump installation correctly, and there should be no problem whatsoever, there is a little part of me that is often waiting for the other shoe to drop. Anyway, I say that to say this.....the first 20 miles on the road yesterday my eyes were glued to the water temp gauge.....as it slowly approached it's idling operating temp of 180 degrees I was half expecting it to keep on going. Of course, that didn't happen, and after 20 miles it kept a steady reading and I began to relax and enjoy the beautiful driving day.
Our driving goal for Monday was an easy 243 mile jaunt down to Austin, TX where more relatives and friends await. It was a partially cloudy day portending the rain that would descend upon us last night, and the temps were so pleasant that I drove with the driver's side window open much of the time. The last time we headed south from Bullard in the Spring of 2009 we took HWY 79 all the way to Round Rock where we got on I-35 for about 10 miles and then got off again. There are a lot of small towns along the way, and even though it is 20 miles shorter going that way, I takes longer because of all the towns. This time we decided to head directly west, or at least as directly as is possible....we took FM 344 west to HWY 155 to HWY 79 to HWY 84 and hit I-35 around the 135 mile mark giving us 98 miles of freeway driving before we exited at HWY 45 to FM 620. This route was a good choice....very few towns, and beautiful pastureland and blacktop all the way to the Interstate.
Each time we took a driving break I walked around the coach looking for anything out of the ordinary, and found nothing each time. Even when we arrived at our destination I was concerned again that something might go wrong just as it had the last two times I parked in front of friend's home.....haha....but again, nothing. Right now we are parked at a fellow Newell owner's home on the shores of Lake Travis, which, until recent rain storms, was 52' below normal....they got 3.2" of rain the other day and the lake went up over 4 feet! The last time we were in this area we were attending a Newell mini rally at La Hacienda RV Resort, which is less than a mile from our current location. It rained on and off last night, and is still drizzling as I write, but the sun should poke its head out around Noon time. We'll go visit Elaine's sister and brother-in-law this evening. Our host has offered to take me gun shopping today. I'm looking for small shotgun to keep under our bed in case someone decides to "intrude". This does happen on rare occasions, and has happened to others we know. While it is a rarity I plan to be prepared. I hope I never have to pull the trigger, but I'm sure an intruder hearing the pump action of the shotgun will not think twice, and retreat.
Hoping that the weather clears up so we can take a short bike ride around this neighborhood.
Thanks for stopping by!
If it weren't heavily overcast you could see Lake Travis behind those trees!
The first time I have disconneted the trailer since January 31st
Monday, February 27, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Doesn't she look purdy?
That fuel filter must be removed to get at everything else....
The pump is removed
The pump itself......this is a gear driven pump.
I jumped in the shower and then drove with Elaine up to Tyler to meet her brother and sister-in-law at BJ's Brewery.....we had a great dinner, and some really great stout beer. Tomorrow the finish of the water pump installation!
Friday, February 24, 2012
Elaine's sister is a flight attendant for U.S. Air, and she was scheduled to leave Bullard to drive into DFW for a four day trip at around 11am. Our two shipments (water pump and Dometic fridge door panels) were scheduled for delivery by the end of the day YESTERDAY! We could see on the UPS site that both packages had made it to Mequite, TX at 4am yesterday morning, and there they sat all day without moving an inch. At any rate, since we wanted to be sure someone was here to receive the deliveries in case signatures were required we left early to drive into Longview to pickup the 12 gallons of Power Cool coolant to put back in the engine after I R&R (remove and replace) the water pump. The drive in was very windy.....I heard later that Colorado got hit by vey high winds, and perhaps we were just getting a little of that. We made it back around 11:30am and spent the rest of the day playing the waiting game with UPS.
While we waited Elaine continued her daunting task of scanning a few generations of family photos into digital format. Initially, before we left California, she was working on our family photos going back to 1971 when we were married. Over time old photos from Elaine's childhood in Florida began to surface, and now that we are in Texas she is deep into scanning pictures from both her mother's side of her family, and her father's side of the family.
So, while we "waited" she continued on that task, and I turned my attention to getting ready to receive my water pump. I had to finish draining the rest of the coolant from the engine block, radiator and other systems within the coach. That amounted to another 10 gallons, in addition to the 12 gallons we had already lost on the ground, or drained to stop the pump from dumping anymore on the ground....that, my friends, is a lot of coolant! Additionally, Elaine's brother, Read, who also lives in Bullard, noticed that grease was leaking from one of the trailer's four hubs. He pointed out that usually that means the hub has overheated for some reason....worn bearings, lack of grease, or electric brakes rubbing when said brakes are not engaged. He recommended I pull off the tire, and brake drum to find out which of those scenarios applied. I carry 2 20 ton bottle jacks, so I pulled out one and jacked up the rear of the trailer to get at the tire and brake drum. In less than an hour I had everything off and discovered that one of the brake shoes was out of adjustment and had been rubbing against the drum causing the excess heat, so I will need to replace those brake shoes, have them properly adjusted, and then repack the bearings with grease. Doesn't look too complicated, and Read gave me a referral to a local trailer supply place where his business gets their trailers serviced.
Around 4:30pm I rechecked the UPS website to find that our two shipments had not moved an inch all day, and were still sitting in Mesquite, TX. We decided there was no way we were getting our items then, so we went out to a local Mexican place called Chuy's for dinner. We got home around 7pm and I got set up to SKYPE with various family members. The night before Elaine and I had SKYPED with our daughter Meredith, and our "adopted" daughter Amanda, who lives at the home with Meredith and Tim. Later I got Sharon, our youngest daughter, on SKYPE and we talked for a while. SKYPE is soooo cool. It's the next best thing to giving your kids a hug. Last night it was time to visit with my oldest son, Chris, and his family. We talked and laughed for 30 minutes or so...it was great to see our grandson, Christopher....he is such a ham....lol! After that I called my sister Jill, who lives near Ann Arbor, Michigan, and we talked for 30-40 minutes before my voice began to take on a raspy quality. I'm going to try and connect with my brother Philip tonight. SKYPE is such a wonder tool for staying connected with family and friends, and I am so grateful for this amazing technology! Mom, if you are out there, you need to install a video cam so we can talk "face to face"!
Just after we retired for the evening UPS updated their website to show that our two items had been transferred to the local Tyler shorting facility, and as of 4am this morning they are OUT ON THE TRUCK FOR DELIVERY! So, another day of waiting is upon us. If the weather, which has gone from a summer like 85 degrees yesterday to blustery and cold today (may not hit 60 today), and UPS cooperate we'll take another bike ride today.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Saturday, February 5th - We unhooked the Newell's umbilical cord around 8:50am, and drove down the hill (Jojoba Hills) to the boondocking area where we "dropped" our trailer when we came into the park on Monday. Today we were going to hookup the trailer, and then, for the first time in a long time, load the T'Bird for travel. As you will recall we spent parts of 3 days reorganizing the "stuff" inside the trailer, which included re-securing a number of items, and getting rid of others. We donated a large bag of clothing to Goodwill in Temecula we knew after a year at Rancho Jurupa we were not going to use. The loading went fine, I had forgotten how tight things can get in that trailer with the car in....haha! We had decided we would drive the 12 miles back to the outskirts of Temecula and find a large parking lot near Stater Bros. (SoCal supermarket chain) to park and check the load inside the trailer for "movement" while Elaine went in and did some shopping. Everything looked good, with the exception that the T'Bird had moved a few inches forward.....this is typical as it seems to find it's own sweet spot, and there is plenty of room in front. So I tightened up the large cargo straps front and rear and we headed on to I-15 which we would take north to CA 60, and then east to join up the I-10 eastbound traffic.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Panel upside down to be "wired" up.
Panel now wired and attached to the roof.
How the panels are configured
"Combiner" box mounted on side of refer chimney
Cables now plugged into "Combiner" box and power flowing to batteries.
The panels come with tilt bars that can be used to tilt the panels left, or right to catch the sun when it is low in the sky as it is this time of year. Tomorrow the sealant will be applied to the areas where screws were used to attach the panels. By the time we finished hooking up the cabling it was too cold to apply the sealant. So, we will be here until at least Friday afternoon, BUT, frankly, that is not bad duty at all. We love it here and will probably take a bike ride tomorrow, and then finish up securing a few more items in the trailer to be sure nothing falls on, or into the T'Bird.
I was able to diagnose and fix a problem we were having with a brake signal making it to the trailer brake lights, so that was a major accomplishment today.
Life is good, and in another day and a half we will be on our way into Arizona.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by and visiting. We appreciate your interest!