Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The last 10 days.....

March 20 & 21, 2010:

Since my last blog post about our trip to the John Blance Memorial Soccer Complex in Temecula, CA I returned there again last weekend for another 2 day tournment. Elaine was going to have our grand daugther, Charlise, over the weekend as our daughter was attending the wedding of a close friend, so she bade me farewell Saturday morning as I headed south for Temecual once again.

Since my first match was not until 1pm I decided to leave Saturday morning instead of Friday night. To be sure I was able to secure a good spot for the two days I left around 6:30am, arriving in Temecula around 7:30am. I am really glad I arrived early because by 8:30am the RV parking area was crowded. I took my time setting up, visiting with one of my "neighbors" for a while, before eating some breakfast, and then laying down for a nap. I had barely dropped off when I got a call on my cell phone asking if I could fill in for a missing referee on one of the fields. Originally my schedule for Saturday was for 4 matches starting at 1pm. It was now a little after 9am. I barely had exited my coach with my soccer bag when the referee co-ordinator drove arrived in a golf cart and wisked me 4 fields over. As I stepped from the cart I heard him say, "you'll be an assistant referee on this match, and the center referee on the next match..."....before I could turn and reply he was heading off to solve another problem....groan......I'm over 60 now, and even though there was a time (maybe 12 years ago) when doing six matches in one day would not even phase me, it does now, but what could I do....they need help, and I'm available.

After finishing the 2nd match I had 1 1/2 hours until my 4 game stretch started at 1pm, so I trudged back to the coach, got a bite to eat, drank some gatorade, and then layed down for an hour. The four game set starting at 1pm included two center referee assignments (Boys U-19) and two assistant referee assignments (Girls U-17). I finished shortly after 7pm as the sun was setting over the Cleveland National Forest to the west. Thankfully, I did not have an hour drive home, but just a 5 minute walk......I hopped in the shower to wash the sweat and grime off before eating dinner and watching an NCAA March Madness game. I was in bed by 9pm, and slept like the dead until 4am. I finally got up around 6am (my first of FIVE matches was at 8am). I fired up the generator, turned on the coffee maker and "made" a bowl of Grapenuts with a banana sliced on top. I love that first cup of coffee in the morning!

Sunday, I had been given 5 assignments (one less than the 6 I had the day before), but this day I still had 3 center assignments, inlcuding a Girls U-19 (under 19 years of age) final at 3:05pm. I had a 1 hour break between my 4th match and the U-19 final, which I really needed. Being able to take that break in the comfort of the coach is really appreciated.

The Girls U-19 final went well, and I headed back to the coach to put everything away, take a shower, and then drive home. I arrived home around 6:15pm grateful Ididn't have to make the drive to Temecula twice that weekend, saving 96 miles of extra driving, but totally beat.

March 23, 2010:

I had planned to return the coach to the storage facility on Monday, but I decided I needed to do some maintenance. I had noticed a few "popped" rivets that needed replacing, and the basement storage compartment just to the rear of the left front wheel had been getting water in it when it rains, so I need to do some caulking to seal that up again. Additionally, when I had been under the coach a few weeks ago to fix the generator starting issue, I had noticed how completely filthy that area was.....probably had 15 years of grime, grease, oil, dirt built up. I pulled the generator out (it is mounted on a slide with 6 rollers on the bottom for servicing), sprayed down the engine, and the entire compartment with Simple Green. After letting it "stew" for a few minutes I hauled out the pressure washer and blasted all the gunk off. Needless to say I was completely filthy after that experience, mostly because I had to roll under the coach again on the "crawler" to reattach the exaust pipe for the generator. Obviously, that is where all the gunk ended up. I'll have to scoop up what is left off the street after I take the coach back to storage this afternoon.

So, you are now caught up on the last 10 days of our Newell Adventure. Thank you, as always, for reading!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A lovely, clear weekend in Temecula, CA!!

Parked in the northeast corner of the complex looking east toward the San Jacinto Moutains, which are still sporting snow on their highest peaks.

On three separate occasions in the last 6 weeks we were headed to John Blanche Memorial Soccer Complex in Temecula, CA to spend the weekend dry camping whilst I served in my capacity as a soccer referee. Each of those times we were rained out. For those of you who are familiar with Southern California, we don't get much rain each year, and it rarely ever rains on the weekends, but this year we have been "blessed" with an El Nino condition in the South Pacific which sends many more storms to Southern California than in a normal year, and this year it has rained most often on the weekends.

Looking southeast

This weekend I signed up again for a two day shift at the soccer complex in Temecula, and this time it did not rain. Had two days of scattered clouds, light winds and mostly sunny weather.

RV Row...there were about 6 of us spending the night

Looking northwest....the soccer complex is nestled against the foothills of the Cleveland National Forest

My soccer matches were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, but I had some indoor matches Friday night in Chino Hills, so we left our home around 5:30pm on Friday heading over to Chino Hills for my Friday night matches. I finished around 11pm, and then we headed down to Temecula arriving at the soccer complex around 12:10am....we were in bed in less than 20 minutes. Since we arrived so late we had to park outside the complex (the gates were locked) in the quiet industrial area. I've stayed on the street before, and it is quite quiet, and have never been bothered by anyone, including the local police.

Saturday morning we were up at 6am when the gates opened, and drove in and snagged a nice spot in the northeast corner of the complex where motorhomes are allowed to park over night. While I walked over to the referee checkin area, Elaine whipped up some scrambled eggs, toast and coffee. I was back at the coach a little after 7am, ate my breakfast, and then headed out to do my first match.

The tournament we were at was the Arsenal Football Club tournament that had been cancelled due to the rain about a month ago. I was assigned 4 matches about 2 hours apart, finishing my last match around 2:20pm. In between matches I would walk back to the coach for a snack, and at one time a short nap as I had a 2 hour gap before my last game.

This morning I was originally assigned 3 matches, with my last match scheduled for 2pm. I ended up picking up 2 additional matches and did 5 in all finishing around 4pm. It was nice being able to take a quick shower before turning over the 6V92 diesel and heading back north on Interstate 15.

All in all it was a very pleasant weekend. I enjoyed not having to drive all the way back to Ontario each day and then repeating the same drive the next morning. I got an extra hour of sleep last night, and got to see my lovely wife, Elaine, several times during the day each day. Elaine read 3 books this weekend, and really enjoyed being "unplugged" this business e-mail, no phone calls, and no text messages from any of our children.

Thanks for following our continued Newell adventures!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A temporary/permanent solution......

A good friend of mine (a fellow Newell owner) coined that phrase about a year ago. We were in Austin, TX at a Newell Mini-Rally last April. I had noticed on our trip out to Texas that the Airconditioning dryer was not cylcing off as it should automatically do, and the result was the evaporator was freezing up. My friend helped me install a manaul on/off switch in the cockpit area so I could manually turn off the dryer periodically to keep the evaporator from freezing. It has worked wonderfully.

As I wrote recently, I have been chasing a generator problem for about 3 weeks now....not continuously, mind you, but a few hours here and there. For some reason the trigger wire that should only send an electrical signal to the starter solenoid when I press the start switch is getting power 100% of the time, whether or not I press the start switch. As soon as I turn on the house batteries the generator tries to start. I had ohm tested the 4 separate start switches throughout the coach, including the one on the controller box next to the generator, and they all checked out. I had thought that one of them might have gone bad and was sending a signal all the time, but they all checked out. I then opened up the controller box and saw that there were 3 relays in there, each with 8 connections. I assumed one of them had gone bad, so I ordered new ones and replaced them. Upon reconnecting the controller box, and turning on the house batteries the same problem presented itself. I then crawled under the coach (after first blocking the frame to avoid getting squished should air suspension spontaneously lose has happened to others, and the result is usually death) and opened up the back panel on the generator and found a 4th relay. Now I need to find that part and try replacing it.

In the mean time I resorted to the temporary/permanent solution previously used with great success (hope it will only be temporary this time....LOL!). I disconnected the trigger wire from the solenoid, and added a 10' extension to it so I could run it into the coach. I purchased a push button starter switch at Autozone, and attached the trigger wire to one terminal, then attached a second 10' wire to the other terminal and ran it back down to the trigger terminal on the solenoid....wala! Success!!! I can now start the generator from inside once again by using the temporary push button starter switch combined with pushing the old starter switch to open the propane solenoid at the generator allowing propane to flow into the motor. I can still turn off the generator by pushing the original start switch to the "OFF" position.

So, the trouble shooting is deferred to another day.

The reason I spent the entire day today trying to get this issue resolved is we are going down to Temecula tomorrow night to another soccer tournament......I know, the forecast is actually for sunny weather this weekend. We'll be dry camping at the John Blanche Memorial Soccer Complex I previously wrote about several weeks ago. That weekend was rained out along with two other weekends in the past 5 weeks. So, this will be the first successful tournament overnight trip....keeping my fingers crossed, and knocking on wood....LMAO!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Almost well.....

Since my past blog post I've been fighting a bad chest cold, which morphed over last weekend into tonsilitis. After a quick trip last Sunday to Urgent Care, and a prescription for antibiotics I am finally on the mend. I spent most of last weekend in bed. Usually I can "work" my way through a cold, but this time it flat knocked me on my back.

So, as a result of being mostly sick the past 2 weeks I have not had much to write about. This weekend's weather forecast shows rain both Saturday and Sunday, so I won't be doing much to finish diagnosing the issue with my generator, which won't start. The issue started shortly before the problem I wrote about last time with the bad ground that was depriving the coach of 12 volt power. I think on my last trip down to Temecula that water go into the switch module on the genset and shorted something out. After I fixed the ground issue I started to work on the generator issue thinking at first that the starter solenoid had gone bad. I was able to jump the two poles on the solenoid and start the generator, but, as it turns out it was not the solenoid. When I installed the new solenoid and turned back on the house batteries the starter started turning over motor without me pushing the button. I disconnected the starter, then turned on the house batteries and then went inside and toggled the starter switch back and forth. When I reconnected the starter the spontaneous starting ceased, but then it wouldn't turn over when I pushed either the toggle switch on the dashboard, or the remote start on the generator. The trigger wire is not getting any power now, so my suspicion is that a fuse has blown inside the switch box.......that's the next step, but I can't work on that until it stops raining.

So, that's where I'm at. I will update in a few days when I can open things back up again and do some more troubleshooting.