Monday, November 30, 2015

Game time decision.....

I started off Sunday content to just relax and watch NFL football (Giants at Redskins), but by the beginning of the 3rd quarter it appeared that the Giants were dead in the water having scored zero points, and behind 17-0, so I decided to go out to the trailer and putter around.  After a few minutes I decided to fiddle around with the water regulator and see how hard it was going to be to install the new one.  I already knew I would have to cut a new hole in the floor as the new regulator set up meant the current hole would not work (the hole is on the right side of the regulator (see below where the 90 degree elbow goes through the floor indicated by red arrow) to the city water connection.

Old pressure regulator

At first I thought I was going to remove the silver bracket upon which the water bay chassis heater is mounted (you can see the bottom of the silver bracket just to the right of the old and new regulators in the pictures below) so I could cut out a piece of it where the new floor hole would be, but it was too difficult to remove so I got out a 'hole saw' I had, marked where the new hole should be, and then cut the new hole......

New regulator installed

......this little 1" hole saw had to go through a 1/8" piece of steel (the silver bracket), then through 3/4" plywood, then through another 1/8" piece of steel, which is the flooring just below the plywood.  It probably took me about 10 minutes to make the cut, but I got it done.....

1" hold saw

......mind you, I had not removed any of the old regulator, or its associated plumbing yet....I just wanted to see if I could get the hole cut before I committed myself to removing the old regulator.  Once I began that process there would be no turning back.  Just a side note.....I have had this 1" hole saw for a number of years and have used it several times to cut through wood and steel, and it just keeps cutting.....never seems to get dull.

Red arrow indicates old hole

Well, as you can see from the foregoing pictures, I did remove the old regulator, and with a little friendly persuasion, got the new one installed.  When I get into these projects the time just melts away....I had started about 1130, and now it was 1400, and a new NFL game was on the TV......Steelers at Seahawks.....the Giants managed to score 14 points, but lost 20-14 in the end.  So, one more item is crossed off the 'TO DO' list.....time to really relax!

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening first watching the Steelers/Seahawks game in which the lead changed hands numerous times before the Seahawks finally pulled away winning 39-30.  Then the SNF game on NBC pitting the undefeated Patriots against the Peyton Manning-less Broncos in a snow storm.  For much of the game it appeared the Broncos would succumb once again to the Patriots, but in the end the Broncos rallied from behind to win by six in overtime 30-24.....I did not expect that.

Broncos game last night

Sunday was a satisfying day......I crossed off another project on the spur of the moment, and watched some great football.....thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

On a roll!

The daytime highs and nighttime lows are getting LOWER......the Friday night/Saturday morning low got into the 30's for the first time.  Typical, however, to SoCal this time of year are a lot of clear blue skies.

Saturday was also NCAA Football 'Rivlary Day' and there were a number of good games that were being watched as I went about taking care of several more tasks involving the maintenance of both the Newell and Beetle.  On the Beetle front three issues had developed simultaneously this past Tuesday......the parking brake light would not go off when I released the brake, the cruise control ceased working, and the AC ceased working.  I tend to view these occurrences in a linear fashion......that they all occurred at the same time seemed to indicate to me they were all related, but in the end only two of them were related, and fixing one (low brake fluid) fixed the other (cruise control).  By the time we had returned from the movie Tuesday I had surmised that the failure of the cruise control was related to the parking brake light staying on when the parking brake was released, but the addition of the AC not working to the mix still made me think there was some burgeoning electrical failure occurring.  Once again my mind leans toward the catastrophic.  I decided to pull out the owners manual for the Beetle to see what a continuous brake light meant, and found that its failure to turn off when the brake was released indicated low brake fluid, so I checked, and sure enough it was low.  Next up was to check the fuse bank to see if any of the three fuses associated with the "comfort system" had blown, and sure enough #5, which controls the AC clutch had blown.  I had no brake fluid, and no 'mini' fuses so I drove one block over to the local NAPA store and bought some DOT 4 brake fluid, and a supply of 5, 7.5, 10 & 15 amp 'mini' fuses.  Right there in the parking lot I added the brake fluid, and installed the replacement 7.5 amp 'mini' fuse.  Upon start up and the release of the parking brake the light went  Then I turned on the AC and it  On the way home I engaged the cruise control and it worked once again.  So, for the cost of less than $10 I solved all three problems and didn't have to make a trip to my mechanic on Monday.

Next up were two more items on my 'To Do' list for the Newell and they were 1) Vacuum out the dust and lint from the electric heaters in the salon and bedroom, and 2) lube the four window awning rollers, and the patio awning roller.....they have been squeaking a lot when being deployed lately.  I got out my aerosol bottle of white lithium grease and had all of them lubed within 15 minutes.....since all the awnings are currently deployed I didn't have to get a ladder out to reach them.  Then it was a matter of removing the heater grills from each heater and using the shop vacuum to clean out any lint and/or dust.  As it turned out there was very little in either heater, but I'm glad I did it, nevertheless.  A lint/dust build up could result in a fire in the future.  Out of the original 13 'To Do' items I've crossed off 5 in the last few days, and arranged for a 6th to be done (recharge fire extinguishers) in the near future.....I'm on a roll!

By the time I finished with the VW and Newell tasks it was time for the annual cross town UCLA vs. USC game.....this year at the L.A. Coliseum.  It was a close game late into the 3rd quarter, but then USC pulled away to win 40-21, thereby snapping a three game losing streak.  The best game of the day was the Notre Dame vs. Stanford game which came down to the winning 45 yard field goal with a few seconds left by Stanford to win the game 38-36.  There were really no surprises in the rest of the day's games as the favorites all won.

Around 1830 hours we walked down Mission Inn Ave. to the Mission Inn with Sharon, Kate, Nick (son-in-law), Elijah and Charlise (grand kids) to see this year's light display.  The Mission Inn starts putting up their Xmas lights in late September and early October in order to have them ready by the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it always quite crowded the first two nights.

 One of the many 'hansom' cabs that were circling the Mission Inn Saturday evening

It is getting colder

There is even an ice rink

We were back home around 2000 hours enabling me to see the end of the aforementioned Notre Dame vs. Stanford game.  After the game was over we watched a recorded episode of 'Elementary' and then a movie called 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' which we thoroughly enjoyed.  We were in bed by 2430 hours.....

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 28, 2015


For almost a year now the dryer portion of our Splendide 2000 has not worked.  It has been on my 'TO DO' list for that long.  If we still lived in our 'sticks and bricks' home it would just be a matter of pulling the unit out of its spot in the garage, turning it around and opening it up to see if it was something I could fix.  Pulling it out of its designated spot in our coach is a whole 'nother discussion.  To even get access to begin to pull it out of its cubby hole I have to remove everything in the pantry, remove the shelves, then remove both doors, and the door framing on the right side.  This involves the removal of about 20 screws......

.....once all of that is out of the way then one can begin slowing working the washer/dryer unit out......  

The splendid "Splendide" just prior to removal

.......I suspected a problem with the 'dryer fan assembly' since we were getting no airflow out the dryer vent, so to get a look at that I would need to take off the back and the top, which meant it had to be completely removed from its compartment......

The heater blower

With TLE's help we had the Splendide removed and sitting on four 4 X 4's in the middle of the kitchen.  Getting the back and top off involved the removal of 7 screws and then there it was.....the 'heater fan assembly'.  As I turned the fan I could hear something scraping inside the assembly.  Ultimately it appeared that a small bushing/spacer had slipped, so I repositioned it, and then added a little '3 in 1' oil to the shaft, then turned on the worked!  Within seconds hot air was coming out the vent at the back of the dryer and we were back in business.  No doubt the fan may be failing, but for now it is running smoothly again with no scraping sound.

It took us about an hour to re-install the Splendide, put the shelving and the doors back on, and then re-stock the pantry.  Over the last 5 years we have used the dryer more than the washer part, mostly to dry our bath towels after a shower.....especially when we find ourselves in more humid and/or cold climates.  We have relied heavily upon the washer/dryer when working at Amazon, Indy 500 and Sugar Beet Harvest as we never had time to visit the laundromat, so it is good to have everything back and working.  In the mean time I am going to source a replacement dryer fan assembly in anticipation of it failing for good sometime in the future.  Now that we have actually removed the Splendide I feel much more confident I can work on it in the future.  From beginning to end it took us between 4 and 5 hours to get the job done, and by the time that was done it was around 1500 hours.

On an interesting side note about 7 years ago I became acquainted with Steve Ward who had recently purchased a 1982 Newell that looks like the twin of mine.......

Steve's 1982 Newell (38')

Our Newell (36')

.....they look a lot alike, right?  Now here is something very cool.....Steve and I compared VIN tags yesterday.....the first one below is Steve's and the second is mind.......ours were both manufactured in March of 1982, and our VIN #'s are one digit apart.....



.....Steve's ends is 1007 and mine 1008!  On top of that the first owners of our coaches both had the same last name........Law.  What are the odds they were not related?  Anyway, I thought that was interesting.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Catching up

Yesterday's post was entirely dedicated to Thanksgiving, and I did not report on Wednesday, so today's post will cover both Wednesday and Thursday.

So, let's see.....Wednesday seems like a long time ago....what did I do?  Okay, I finished trimming the bushes in the back of my daughter's property, including this gigantic pomegranate bush that had taken over the corner of the yard behind our trailer....

.....that took most of the morning, then it was time to take my first bike ride to the top of Mt. Rubidoux.....

.....I never get tired of that view from the top!  I rode my usual route finishing with a couple of laps around Lake Evans in Fairmont Park before heading for the barn and finishing at just over 11 miles.

Of course, a good workout deserves an equally good that wraps up on to Thursday.......we were invited to Thanksgiving at the home of Nick's parents (Jack and Nancy) in Ontario, so we arrived there around 1230 spending the rest of the afternoon with our kids, grand kids, their spouses and significant others.  

We had a great time, and ate way too much food....I am still full, but very thankful for the time with family and holiday down and two more to go!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The giving of thanks.....

I was thinking this morning about what 'Thanksgiving' means......our (that of homo sapiens) natural disposition is to acquire, not give, right?  We naturally look inward to our own needs, the needs of our family, the needs of our extended family.  Our duty is to ACQUIRE a home for our family, food for our family, clothing for our family, transportation for our family, education for our family. Once a year by virtue of our a National holiday called Thanksgiving, we turn our focus outward by GIVING thanks to those who make our lives better, easier and who give our lives meaning.

The people in my life that I am so grateful for on a daily basis...........

My father, Art, and mother Virginia.....without whom none of the following is possible

So, here we go......without this amazing woman in my life, walking beside me day by day, my life would have much less meaning....thank you Elaine for choosing me 44 years ago.......

The Lovely Elaine

.....thank you to each of our five children.....Chris, Meredith, Katie, Sharon and Tim......for the love you reciprocate, and for making your mother and I proud to be your parents....

Left to right: Meredith, Katie, Sharon, Chris and Tim

 Grand children: Elijah and Charlise

My new son-in-law Rod

 New son-in-law Nick

Honorary daughter: Amanda

My brother Philip and his wife Jeannie (far right) with kids, grandkids and significant others.....left to right: Miguel (son-in-law) Danielle (daughter), Ryan (son), Ryan's daughter Ghia, and Yvonne - Ryan's significant other.

 Left to right: brother-in-law Glenn, sister-in-law Laureen, sister-in-law Phyllis

 My sisters: Hilary on my right, and Jill on my left

My brother Dwyer to TLE's left, and his wife Lori to TLE's right

Left to right: Chris, Cynthia (grand daughter), D.C. (great grandson), Christopher (grandson), Rochelle (best daughter-in-law)

My oldest and best friend, Tom Carrozzo who has presided over the wedding of two of my children.....have known him since 7th grade (1962)

My very good friend Paul and riding buddy....we have been riding mountain bikes together for 20 years, and have shared some great adventures over that time.

Good friend and riding buddy, Brenda

 Good friends Krash and Karen.....we only met them four years ago in our first year on the road, but it feels like we have known them all our lives

Long time friends Karen and Bob.....have been a part of our lives for close to 50 years

Wonderful nomadic friends met our first year on the road.....left to right: moi, Bryan, TLE, Tracy, Maria, Cherie and Chris

Long time friend Ernie....we have visited him in Florida twice in our nomadic travels

Newell friends Richard and Rhonda

Our buddies and very good Newell friends Darlene and Tom....we have traveled with them 3 times, and have stayed at their home 5 times
 Good friends David and Denise....we have met up with them on the road 4 times!

Newell friends Matt and Connie

Newell friends Forest and Cindy

I am thankful for our good health, plenty of food, a roof over my head, good friends, and a good life because all of you are in our lives......

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

'To Kill a Mockingjay'

Tuesday was destined to be a short project day as we had agreed to meet Meredith, Sharon and Rod at the AMC theaters in Victoria Gardens (a large outdoor mall in Rancho Cucamonga built to resemble an 'old town' type setting'), so I focused on one of the smaller projects on my list that involved the delamination of the stainless steel liner on our hinged stove top cover.


The picture above is the finished product.....essentially what was happening is the stainless steel liner was separating from the wood base down along the piano hinge.  I removed the entire hinged stove top cover, degreased both hinges, as well as the liner as there was about 5 years of grease accumulation, and then applied a silicon caulk between the stainless steel and wood.  I pressed everything into place with the use of 5 'U' clamps  and then let it sit in the sun for about 8 hours curing. 

We left for our matinee showing of Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 around 1045 arriving at the AMC theaters about 1120 for the 1145 showing.....I always forget how much cheaper matinees tend to be......we paid $6.49 each.  I'm not sure how everyone else's experience has been at the end of this four part odyssey, but the folks in our theater, which was quite full, were clapping.  I think that means folks liked how it ended, and I would have to agree.  IMDB reviewers give the movie a combined 7.2 out of 10 star rating.....we would be at 8 stars.

We were out of the movie by 1420, said our until next times to Sharon and Rod, and then headed to 'The Hat'  with our daughter Meredith for one of their 'world famous' Pastrami Dip sandwiches.  It's been too long since I have had one of those amazing sandwiches!

After picking up our grand daughter, Charlise, at Chuck E Cheese we stopped by my son's office to drop off our fire extinguishers which he will have serviced when he has his office ones done in a few weeks, then a stop at Lowe's to buy some longer  #4 stainless steel screws to replace some of the shorter ones on the piano hinge that were no longer 'biting' into the wood, then home.

We were home by 1600 hours at which time I reinstalled the stove top cover with the new stainless steel screws acquired at Lowe's.  This the second time I have dealt with the stainless steel liner delaminating, and I hope it will last more than 5 years this time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The List.......

I started off my Monday by dumping the black and gray tanks, or should I say 'maceratoring' the them........the only way I am able to dump gray, or black water at my daughter's home is to pump it to the sewer cleanout in her basement, which involves running a hose under her house through the raised foundation....I installed a hose two winters ago, and just leave it in place when we leave.  The total run is about 130 feet to the cleanout.  The next project up was to wash a few weeks of grime, including a salty film from our stay at the beach, off the Beetle.

Then it was time to start chipping away at the project list which now boasts 10 items:

1) Check coolant level in radiator - Done 11/23/2015
2) Splendide washer/dryer - fix the dryer portion - quit working about 6 months ago
3) Remove and repair the salon Suburban gas heater - quit working at Mono Lake
4) Remove and repair stove cover - the stainless steel liner is coming lose
5) Lube awnings
6) Have fire extinguishers recharged
7) Clean radiator
8) Install new water pressure regulator
9) Clean electric heaters - lint buildup
10) Build shelf in electric bay

Fire extinguishers ready to be recharged

Some of the 10 are big projects (2, 3, 7, 8 & 10), but all of them need to be done to keep our home on wheels functioning as close to 100% as possible.  I'll keep you updated over the next few weeks as these projects get checked off the list.....I'm going to start with the easy ones to get some momentum rolling.

Monday was the day the tree trimmer was to come and trim the neighbor's heavily overgrown tree, which besides blocking my view of the southern sky for my satellite dish, keeps a large portion of my daughter's backyard in shade and prevents grass from growing.  The picture below is the only 'before' picture I could find (taken last December), and the next picture shows the tree after the trimmers finished....I would say they removed about 80% of the tree volume, and now light is getting into the backyard again, and I can get a satellite signal without using my Winegard Carryout portable dish.  The first picture kind of gives you an idea of how bar the tree canopy satellite dish is to the right of the refrigerator vent in the center of the picture.  This is why we are currently parked so far back in the give the tree guys room to work on the the time they were finished trimming the tree the entire area where we usually park was full of tree debris up to the top of the fence.......

Sun light is penetrating once again

.....the arborists did not arrive until just after 1300 hours, but in just 3.5 hours they were done, and everything was cleaned up.......I was sure it would take them until sometime Tuesday to finish cleaning up the debris, but I was wrong.....they had cleaned up their mess and were on their way just before sunset.....very impressive.

For dinner TLE tasked me with grilling two filets she had picked up at Costco Sunday to which she added green beans, and mashed potatoes..........add to that a good Pino Noir and you have a perfect dinner.....

Of course Monday means MNF, and what a great game it was.......Buffalo was at New England, and they managed to keep the game close, but lost by a touchdown (20-13) to the now 11-0 Patriots.  We finished the evening watched 'Scorpion' and 'NCIS Los Angeles' before calling it a night.

Thanks for stopping by!