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.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate linkand  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which over the course of a year adds up to enough to by a tank of diesel for which we thank you very much!

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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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Flurries........

7:32 am - Thursday - March 26th - Wittmann, AZ - 50° F, 47% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the northwest.......cloudy this morning with a forecast high today of 62° F.

After taking a couple of days off from projects Wednesday saw a flurry of activity.  I began my day applying Leather After Life to the seats in the VW Beetle......↴



.....I learned about this product a few years ago from my friend Richard Entrikin, who also owns a Newell (1999).  He has used this product on leather furniture with great success, so I bought a bottle quite some time ago, but had never used it yet.  We first used it on TLE's new to us Villa passenger chair in the Newell, and most recently I applied it to the front seats in the VW to see how it worked, and it worked well.....


.....Wednesday I applied it to the rear seats, and console.......↴


.....it really made them POP!  Next I turned my attention to the driver seat where I had noticed a seam in the side of the seat was coming apart.  I used the same sail thread I used on the awning to repair the seam, and was able to close it once again......↴


......next I turned my attention to re-caulking around the 3" sewer outlet to try and keep the wee beasties out of the water bay.......↴


......quickly following that I put the bottom of the leather back on TLE's Villa chair back together, and using Velcro, reattached it to the frame.  Now, if I need to get in there again there will not be 70 staples in the way.......↴


.....while I was on a roll I turned my attention to repairing the strip LED lights I had installed a year ago on the driver side rocker panel.  This project took most of the afternoon, but by 3:30 pm I had installed a new 171" length of LED strip lights, and they now work as they should.......↴

 Victory!
......now I have the accent lights on both sides of the Newell.......↴

 Driver side

Passenger side

......we were treated to a very nice sunset.  TLE had me grill hamburgers for dinner, and we watched 'Survivor', and then an episode of 'Outlander' (Season 5, Episode 1) before calling it a day.......



.....TLE and I continue to be asymptomatic, and continue to practice social distancing.  As of Thursday morning the number of U.S. cases is 69, 210 with 1,046 deaths.  In the 'micro' view every single one of those deaths is tragic and devastating to those left behind.  In the 'macro' view the numbers are still muted in the U.S., but we are beginning to see a daily surge in the numbers.  Let's pray we see a flattening of the curve sooner than later.  World-wide there are 491,623 confirmed cases with 22,169 related deaths.  NYC and surrounds still is the U.S. epicenter for the China virus with majority of the reported U.S. cases.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate linkand  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which over the course of a year adds up to enough to by a tank of diesel for which we thank you very much!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Curbside service.......

7:18 am - Wednesday - March 25th - Wittmann, AZ - 53° F, 60% humidity, wind  4 mph out of the northeast......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 72° F.

Tuesday we had a 1 pm reservation at Walmart to pickup our our grocery order placed Monday morning.  Walmart associates do not 'pick' your order until shortly before your appointment so it is possible that some of the items in your virtual shopping cart may be no longer available, or they (Walmart) may have to substitute one brand for another, or one size for another.  These substitutions show up in your 'virtual' shopping cart, and you can approve, or disapprove.  The items no longer available will also show.  Over the course of Tuesday Morning TLE checked her 'cart' and saw several substitutions which she approved.   In one case they substituted a large yogurt with two smaller ones of the same brand, and honored the price for the larger one....nice.  The same with several other items. In every such case they always honored the price of the original item we had ordered.  In a couple of cases we got what we originally ordered, plus the substitution, but were only charged for the substitution.   

We left to make the 25 minute drive to the Super Walmart located off Waddell and the 303 FWY.  About 10 minutes out TLE got an email advising our order was ready for pickup, and that we got everything we wanted except for bacon.....oh well.  As we drove into the Walmart parking lot around 12:55 pm there were orange signs everywhere directing us to the pickup area located on the right side of this Walmart.......



....it was very easy to find our way to the pickup area.  There were 6 parking spaces reserved for this purpose, and they were all covered providing shade from the intense midday sun.  As we pulled in to the reserved parking spot a Walmart associate approached and asked our name.  She then advised our order would be out very quickly, and she was correct....by 12:59 pm we had our order loaded in the VW, and were on our way over to the local Supercuts for a haircut for moi.....it's been around 7+ weeks since I had my last haircut, and I was way over due!  TLE had called in earlier to make an appointment for me, although they were still taking 'walkins'.....there was only one other hair stylist, and one other customer in the store at the time I had my haircut, and they had us separated by quite a distance.

While I was getting my ears lowered TLE drove across the street to check out WINCO, and Safeway for TP, bacon, and a few other things.  She arrived back shortly after I exited Supercuts with my new coif.....she arrived with 12 roles of TP, bacon, and several other items we could not get from Walmart.....SCORE!

We were home by 2:30 pm with big smiles on our faces.  While I was at the Supercuts I heard that many local supermarkets had TP again, and it sounds like the supply lines are beginning to catch up after all of the hoarding people engaged in a couple of weeks earlier.  Kleenex, and Cottonelles are still in short supply, and almost impossible to find, and we are beginning to get low on those items.  Hopefully, things will continue to improve over the next 10 days, but for now we are fine.

TLE and I are still asymptomatic as I write Wednesday morning.  Also, as of this morning there are just 326 diagnosed Chinese virus cases in all of Arizona, and 5 deaths from same.  Virtually all of those cases are in Maricopa County, which has a large retirement population (think Sun City).   I am thinking about some of the possible ramifications of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.  Will those living in some of the hard hit, high density population centers such as NYC, L.A., Chicago, San Francisco, NOLA, Seattle, etc. begin to leave those population centers for rural America?  Will those living in the cloistered, high density retirement cities around the country rethink their choice, and move into more diverse neighborhoods where not everyone around them is in the same high risk group?  Will large corporations begin to move from these same high density population centers to rural America where exposure to, and disruption from pandemics appears to be less of a risk?  Such a move would automatically redistribute our population over the next few years.  These are just a few of the ramifications I think about......how about you, are there any ramifications about which you are thinking, or imagining?  I am sure there are many more that are not yet apparent to me, but a large redistribution of our population will have many unknowable consequences....some good, and possibly some not so good.  

TLE and I made the decision over 9 years ago to spend the rest of our lives, as much as was possible and practical, living in rural America, and it has been wonderful.  Our reasons had nothing to do with pandemics, (who knew this was possible 9, or 10 years ago) but now we find ourselves exactly where we need to be at just the right time in history.  We came to Wittmann, AZ March 4th to spend 4-5 weeks for totally different reasons than exist today.

Click on Map to see where the COVID-19 virus cases are, and note how few are in rural America. See how few cases there are in states west of the Missippii, and east of the Pacific coast states!  Out 50 states, 21 states have more cases than Arizona....if you throw out Maricopa County, we drop to near the bottom.  It becomes obvious where you would want to be living right now in this moment is time.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate linkand  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which over the course of a year adds up to enough to by a tank of diesel for which we thank you very much!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Are you thinking what I am thinking?

7:55 am - Tuesday - March 25th - Wittmann, AZ - 50° F, 68% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the north by northeast......clear, blue skies today with a forecast high of 74° F.

For the first time in days I did nothing Monday, so I have nothing about which to write, but you know nothing ever stops me from writing, so here goes.  

TLE and I conducted a brief reconnoitering exercise around 8 am.....we made into Wittmann proper to check out the three local stores (Wells Country Store, Dollar General, and Family Dollar), and how they were doing in restocking their shelves.  Well Country Store was pretty well stocked except no paper goods, but doing well on all other food fronts.  Dollar General was also pretty well stocked, but once again their paper goods shelves were stripped bare.  Finally, Family Dollar was a little the worse for wear.....while there were items for purchases in most categories except for paper goods, the shelves were looking a little thin.  Dollar General gets a new shipment every Saturday, and Family Dollar every Wednesday, but their supplier is behind in deliveries, so it could be several days late.

TLE created a Walmart account Monday.  She ordered a number of things we need, put them in the virtual basket, and looked for an available time slot in which to take delivery at the Surprise Walmart.  We are scheduled for pickup between 1 and 2 pm Tuesday.  Since they do not fill your order until closer to the time you are taking delivery some of the items in the virtual basket could become unavailable between the time you ordered them, and the time they are delivered.  We shall see Tuesday how well this works.  The upside is if it works we can avoid going into the store to shop, and for the two of us at age 70, and me with several underlying risk factors, that is a big thing enabling us to protect ourselves from inadvertent exposure to the Chinese Virus.

World-wide we still see, as of Tuesday morning, fewer than 400,000 diagnosed cases of the COVID-19 virus, and fewer than 20,000 deaths.  In the United States we have 46,485 diagnosed cases, and fewer than 600 deaths.  25,000 of those diagnosed cases are in one state, and mostly in one city within that state.....NYC.  Take away NYC, and you begin to wonder what the big deal is, right?  The next closest states in total number of cases are California with around 2,200 cases, and Washington with some 2,100 cases.  I know some of you have been thinking the same thing.  Is this thing being over hyped?  The common flu has infected millions of people over the same period of time, with 100's of thousands of deaths world-wide.  We are being told daily how fast this COVID-19 virus spreads compared to the common flu, and the death rate is also much higher.   The last part seems to be true, but then others add that we only know about the cases where tests have been done, how about all those who have the virus, but haven't been tested, or were sick, didn't even realize it, and were never tested?  Well, if you add them in to the totals then the death rate comes way down.  Say for every one diagnosed case, there is one un-diagnosed case (conservative estimate), that means the death rate is cut in half immediately, and that makes it much closer to the common flu death rate.  The other thing is how fast COVID-19 spreads compared to the common flu......based on the numbers I am seeing every day it does not appear to be spreading all that fast, except in NYC, where I am sure the common flu numbers still far outstrip the COVID-19 numbers even as I write.  This novel virus has been active since either late November, or early December and so far the numbers are not there....thank God. Maybe the steps the USA has taken were timely, and have contributed to the so far muted impact of the COVID-19 virus, except in NYC.  All I am saying, is I think most of America, especially rural America appears to be safe at this time.  Maybe we do not need to take the same extreme measures of social distancing that is necessary in large, dense population centers.  Maybe business in most of the United States can return to normal, and start up again.....maybe....I don't know, but I am wondering about that.  Am I going to stop practicing social distancing right now....of course not.....I'm not stupid.  Am I going to evaluate the information I am receiving from a centralized source with a one size fits all mentality with a little more skepticism?  Yes, I am.  I think we should all be a little skeptical right now until we see more proof.  It is my prayer that all the bearded experts are mostly wrong, and life will return to normal soon.

Now, in Washington D.C. you have two political parties.....I used to say that one is dumb, and the other dangerous.....I'll leave which is which to your imagination.  That, however, has changed.....we now have "Dumb and Dumber" leading our country.  Today while our country, and economy are burning to the ground you see the political class arguing over things to put in the a 'stimulus bill' which have NOTHING, and I mean absolutely ZERO to do with our present situation.  Political animals are opportunists.  Their philosophy is to never let a good crisis go to waste.....every crisis is an opportunity to take away more liberty under the guise of making us safer....an opportunity to extend the reach of the Federal government, to intrude more into our lives.  All governments lean towards totalitarianism.  It is their nature.  Some are not subtle about it like the People's Republic of China, North Korea, or Cuba.  Others substitute the term socialism for communism, talk about equality, and safety, and are less conspicuous about their intentions, and then you have the USA where we value life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness more than equality....more than safety.  It is in our collective DNA.  

I hope you do not think this is a political post, because I am about as apolitical in my later years as one can get.  I do not trust either political party, and do not think either political party cares one wit about anyone outside the Beltway, nor do they have our best interests at heart, even today in the midst of this crisis.  They will take this opportunity to appear to care about us, and do things that make them look like they care, and make them look good, but do not be deceived.  Rely upon yourself, think for yourself, use your own common sense, and you will come out of this in good condition.  Thank you for your indulgence this morning, and for taking the time to stop by and read my daily missive.


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Monday, March 23, 2020

Day of rest.......

7:10 am - Monday - March 24th - Wittmann,  AZ - 51° F, 77% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the north.......clear, blue skies today with a forecast high of 70° F.

After the air, land and beach assault exercise Saturday I took a day of rest as my aching bones needed a vacation from the 'TO DO' list.  I still had that new block heater switch to install sitting there staring me in the face, and finally about mid afternoon I gave into it and did the installation.  Since there was no need to cut any holes in the wall it was pretty easy.....just remove the 38 year old illuminated switch, and replace with one that is nearly identical........

 New block heater switch installed....working

 The old block heater switch....no ground....not good

.....I discovered the 38 year old switch had no ground, so replacing it with one that is now grounded was a good idea even if the old switch was not showing signs of imminent failure.  What signs you might ask, or wonder?  Occasionally when we would turn on the block heater the red light would not come on, and we could see no current was being drawn.  If we switched it off, and then back on again it would work.  The other sign was that sometimes when we would turn it on you could hear a quite audible "fffffsssssttt".....sounded like something was shorting inside the switch.  The old switch did not show any outward evidence of shorting, but it was obvious something was wrong with it internally.  At any rate that is one more thing crossed off the 'TO DO' list, and it only took 30 minutes.  

Regrettably, the 'TO DO' list seems to be growing again.....I now have 11 items left to be tackled.  Not all of them, to be sure, involve the Newell, or trailer, or bicycles.  I need to cancel a plane ticket for April 19th out of Portland to Spokane....I was going to fly to see my mother for a couple of days while Glenn and Laureen get their solar system installed at A.M. Solar, but now I'm not even sure we can get to Oregon, and on top of that the retirement home where my mother lives is discouraging family and friends from visiting its tenants at this time.  My sister visits her once, or twice a week to bring her good, and other necessities, but even that essential service may begin to have some restrictions.  I still need to call XM Radio to renegotiate our monthly fee for three receivers.  I thought I was paying around $40/month, but it turns out I am paying $49 and change per month....that has got to come down.

I really have nothing more to report for Sunday except that as of today, Monday, TLE and I are still asymptomatic for the Chinese Virus.  We feel good, and are still losing weight on our Keto diet. We should know more about our travel plans, or lack thereof within the next 10 days.  We are not scheduled to leave Wittmann until April 6th, so we have plenty of time to make decisions.  We have enough TP to last us another 3 weeks, and the local stores have plenty of food items.  TLE is experimenting with ordering from Walmart online, and picking it up.  We have an order in, and a scheduled pickup time of between 1 and 2 pm this Tuesday.....we'll see how that goes.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate linkand  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which over the course of a year adds up to enough to by a tank of diesel for which we thank you very much!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sewer wars......the battle of the 9th screw

9:10 am - Sunday - March 22nd - Wittmann, AZ - 59° F, 55% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the east by northeast......partly cloudy skies today with a forecast high of 71° F.  As of this writing TLE and I continue to be asymptomatic.  It has been a week since we have been in Surprise and exposed to large groups of people, so one more week until we know we are out of the woods, until we have to go into town again, then the countdown begins once again.  The stats for Arizona this morning still how just 63 confirmed cases, with 1 death.

Saturday was the first day of Spring, and the beginning of my Spring offensive against the Thetford dump valves.  My battle plan for rebuilding the Thetford dump valves called for an initial air, land and beach assault around 10:30 am.  Now that I had the new, small ratchet tool I felt it should take a 2-3 hours at most to remove the 18 screws including those two rascally bottom screws located  on the blindside of the valve, replace the gaskets and o-rings, reinstall the 18 screws, and put them back together.  Was I ever wrong.  In the fog of war you lose track of time, and your strategy becomes very fluid as conditions change rapidly.  This time around I began with the most difficult to remove bottom screws, or as I have come to affectionately call them, the 9th screws, first.  Last time I removed the other 8 screws on each valve first, and then had to abort because I could not get the 9th one out.  I began with the 9th, and bottom screw on the left valve in the picture below......↴



.....this one had been the most difficult to get at the first time, but in the end both 9th screws were extremely difficult to remove, and took about 2 hours to remove each one.....seriously.  The other 16 screws came out with little difficulty.  Finally after 4 hours I was able to swing the outer arm out and see what was going on inside the two valves.  In the picture below the gray water valve is on the left, and the black water on the right......↴



......in the next picture (below) you see the arm swung out, and the two paddles, which when lowered close off the tank, and when raised allow the effluent to flow out.  The one on the left in this picture is the black water one, and the one on the right is the gray.  Since it (gray) is left open when we are hooked up for long periods of time, and only closed when we are under way it shows much less wear.  The black water valve is opened ever week, or so, and moved up and down anywhere from 6-8 times during the dumping process, so it gets lot of use, and showed much worse wear, but to be expected after 38 years of use....↴


....I then removed the two rubber o-rings, or gaskets (see below).  The one on the left in the picture below is the gray water one, and the other is the black.  You can see how bad the black water one looks, whereas the gray water one is still amazingly pristine, and could possibly be reused......


.....since I had a brand new paddle from the new Thetford valve I purchased a few days ago, I decided to use it to replace the black water paddle, and its corresponding stainless steel rod which is used to pull the valve upward when you wish to dump the tank.  I took the gray water paddle into Tom's Newell House and cleaned it in the wash sink, and cleaned 38 years of debris off the stainless steel rod.  While this was going on I had the two new o-rings/gaskets soaking in the Thetford treatment solution to extend their life span, and then put the new and used paddles into the same solution for about 90 minutes.  Once I had cleaned the surfaces of both sides of the valve bodies I installed the new o-rings, reassembled the paddles with their pull rods, then installed the new gasket which seals both sides of the valve when joined back together with the 18 screws.  By the time I finished tightening the 18th screw it was 4:30 pm.......6 hours of non-stop warfare......


......it was a brutal, knock down, drag out battle, but I won.   My good friend Tom staged an intervention and helped me get out the 9th screw in the black water valve, plus two other screws I had not yet removed.  That gave me a break of about 40 minutes, or which I am very grateful.  Thank you Tom.....I could not have had victory without your help!

By 5 pm I had put away all the tools, cleaned up my work area, and had turned on the water once again.  TLE spent the day inside playing cards with Darlene, since the water was turned off and she could not use the restroom, or run and water inside the Newell.  TLE did return just as I was fighting the last, and 18th screw to provide moral support, for which I was also very grateful.

So, the two major theaters of war (water heater and dump valves) have been pacified, and peace has been restored.  The state of the Newell union has never been better.....life is good, but the future is uncertain.  Things seem to be getting more constricted by the day as the Chinese Virus continues to wage war upon the world's population.  I continue to call it the Chinese Virus, not because I do not like Chinese people, but to remind myself, and others that it was the suppression of knowledge, and data about how dangerous the virus was by the totalitarian Communist government of China that has caused this pandemic to be so bad.  The proletariat of Communist governments are, by nature, inveterate liars......even in this case when the truth would have made them look like heroes, they lied, and lied, and continue to lie to this day.  The Chinese people, and the rest of the world are the true victims of their lying, despicable, self serving, totalitarian government.

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

The 'lido deck' repairs...........

7:54 am - Saturday - March 21st - Wittmann, AZ - 51° F, 65% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the northwest......partly cloudy skies with a forecast high of 70° F.....the view this morning.......↴


Morning health update.....TLE and I continue to be asymptomatic.  We are healthy, not so wealthy, and a little wiser.  The worldwide confirmed case totals as of Friday morning are still below a quarter million, and worldwide deaths just over 10,000.  I know as of Saturday morning those numbers have gone up.  Within the U.S. as of Friday night the death rate in the U.S. was 1.3%....far below the forecast 2%.  In Arizona we recorded our first death from the Chinese Virus, and we have 63 confirmed cases of the Chinese Virus.....nothing catastrophic yet.

 As of Friday morning

I had two projects Friday to occupy my time......fix the Zip Dee patio awning, which was not on my 'TO DO' list originally, but was added after the microburst, and finally install the new passenger door interior pull handle (to close the door from the inside) which broke a few weeks ago, which was also not on my original 'TO DO' list.  Over the past 6 years we have repaired most of the seams as the 38 year old thread has given up the ghost.  The two seams which came undone during the microburst are the last two seams.....the other seams, which had been previously glued using the clear silicone caulk held during the microburst, which made us very happy.  We use silicone caulk for the repairs as the Sunbrella® fabric is also silicone based, and it has worked, and continues to work well in repairs. The Sunbrella® itself is in wonderful condition considering its age.

To repair the 87" long seams I use black sail thread to stitch the seam back together in two, or three places.....

You can see the two places I stitched with the 
light shinning through the open seam in between the stitches

.......once that is done I wedged a 2" x 4" in between the roller mechanism, and the roof just under the awning, then get on my telescoping ladder and apply the silicone between the overlapping pieces of fabric all along the 87" seam then press the fabric down against the 2" x 4", and let it cure in the sun for an hour before removing the 2" x 4", and moving to the next seam.  I could only reach half of the seam from the ladder, so I had to go on the roof, lay on my stomach to apply the silicone, and then compress the seams together....it worked well....



.....one of the repaired seams can be seen in the picture above.......⤴  While I waiting for the first seam to cure in the sun I turned my attention to removing the old door pull, and installing the new one....the new, aftermarket, door pull is a much better design, and I think this one will last much longer than the first.......↴

The new door pull

......I had to make a run to the Wittman P.O. to pick up the Thetford rebuild kit I bought to replace the 38 year old rubber gaskets in one of the valves.  The kit rebuilds one Thetford valve, so  I removed the gaskets from the new Thetford valve I bought a few weeks ago for the second valve.  Ironically the rebuild kit cost more than buying the new Thetford valve.  I will endeavor to do the rebuild Saturday.  I'm hoping it will all go smoothly....hoping, hoping, hoping!

We continue to enjoy our stay here on the property of Tom and Darlene, and appreciate the fact we are in the perfect place at this time in history.  We are not stuck in the middle of large, dense population centers.  We have acres of open space, good air to breath, and very gracious, generous, and caring hosts willing to put up with us for weeks at a time each year.  Life could not be better right now in spite of the circumstances.  We will get through this, and we will come out stronger on the other side.....let's just hope the 'other side' is not too far in the distance.

Thanks for stopping by!

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