Wednesday, June 6, 2018

I’m done!

Well, almost done with the wax removal and re-waxing of the RV. I do indeed have all the old wax off and new Meguiars wax on all sides, the front, and back and even under the hitch overhang. I even waxed all the sides on the slides to help them move easier against their seals.

Looking good!

I now want to add another layer of wax on the front and back cap to help protect them from UV rays. That will be an easier job with the wax layer I already have on those two ends.

Since I haven’t posted in some time, I will try to bring this up-to-date.

I worked Rancheros Visitadores from May 1 until May 11th and it seemed like a very easy year. No real problems to speak of. It helps to have a crew that has worked together for several years.

When we finished on the 11th we broke camp and packed up all of our stuff. However two of us were moving on to Lake Lopez for another 5 days of camping with a large group. I didn’t need all the camping gear I use at Rancheros so Craig brought Clyda up to where I was working, so she could go with me, and took home a trailer full of the things I wouldn’t need. I still had plenty of extra things but those were manageable.

We drove to Lake Lopez and camped in the Quail full hookup campground. I actually had a pull through site which was very nice. Eventually everyone else showed up. We had 17 people in all. A good group with lots of laughs around the campfire at night.

We had been warned about the possibility of bears raiding our campsites and per usual, we forgot to empty trash a couple of nights so it got scattered by something. One night I had left an ice chest outside my door on a table with some cool packs and a few ears of corn in it. In the middle of the night a noise work me and I knew it was the ice chest hitting the ground. I jumped up and opened the door to see a large black bear at the bottom of my steps. I drove him away but he had dumped all the corn out so I managed to get that back in the ice chest and put it in the RV. In the morning I discovered that the bear had bitten everyone of the ice packs and in fact I never found one of the soft sided packs. I presumed he ate it. No corn was eaten. A very selective bear I guess.

From Lake Lopez we moved on to Morro Strand RV Park for four days of camping with our Eugene Oregon friends who were on an extended RV trip. A great time was had by all. They are so easy to camp with. Very laid back.

So, we are back to a more normal routine. I work at the Elks Lodge on Saturday mornings in the woodlot, selling wood, stacking wood, and cleaning up the woodlot. It is 4 hours of manual labor but for a good cause. The proceeds help with lodge expenses. We are short handed in the summer time so last Saturday I was pretty much it. I loaded and sold 2 pickups full of eucalyptus and also delivered one of those loads to a customer.

I have my garden planted, at least what I intend to plant for now. I am looking for some Anaheim chili plants yet but so far haven’t found any. I tried seeds but none of them sprouted.

Pole beans.


The Boysenberries are looking good. Lots of berries on the vines right now. We still have one bag left in the freezer from last years crop.

Friday, April 20, 2018

An experiment gone awry.

Several years ago I got caught up in the “Red Wax polish” phenomenon of using this wax to polish my RV. The wax was then available at Lowe’s as a liquid. A particular friend had used it to make his RV shine prior to selling it. It really looked great!

After some internet searching I too decided to use it to make my RV shine. Bummer, “Red Wax polish” was no longer available but some folks were using Zep Hi Gloss floor Finish with similar results instead.

So, why not give it a try. The cleaning itself was brutal as all dirt had to be removed by a multi-step process by first washing the RV, then using a 3M white scrubby with Bar Keepers Friend on it to remove any old wax. The RV was again washed with TSP followed by another water rinse. I must say, the surface was now very smooth but dull.

The Zep polish is a liquid so I used a white micro fiber cloth dipped in the polish and an aluminum pie tin to hold a small amount of the wax (a colored cloth will bleed into the wax). The idea was to coat the surface of the RV in multiple coats not worrying about perfect coverage as subsequent coats would cover any missed areas.

Only a small area is covered at one time so that means many, many trips up and down the 8 foot step ladder. In all I did 4 coats over a couple of days. After the first coat the surface looks blotchy but by the third coat the shine is something to see. Adding a 4th coat really made it look show room new.

About a year later I noticed that the top of the front and rear cap were loosing their shine so I reapplied more wax to those areas. After about 3 years the wax was beginning to peel as the suns UV rays got to it (my RV sits outside) and it wasn’t looking so nice.

What to do? More Google research and now folks are saying “Don’t use Zep Hi Gloss floor finish” because of the UV ray damage to the wax. Even Zep has issued a disclaimer about it.

So, after much research I decided to use the Meguiar 3 step process to remove and restore the gloss to the Gel coat finish.

Not so fast! First I need to remove the old wax. I tried using the old tried and true Bar Keepers Friend method and a white scrubby. I worked sort of, but was really labor intensive, so I did what boating users do and that is to use Xylene which is a slow evaporating heavy duty cleaner.

Nada, It didn’t work. Now what? Lets try Acetone in a small out of the way place. It works but still is a slow process as it evaporates very fast. I used old cut up t-shirts as rags. Putting a small amount on the rag and wiping removes the wax but requires constantly turning the rag to a clean spot and redoing each small area a few times to remove all the wax. By looking at the surface from a side view any missed areas are visible. Caution should be used on painted surfaces as Acetone will remove the paint.

I decided to do one side at a time starting with the door side as it took the worst of the sun and was peeling badly in spots. All of this process should be done in the shade so in my case I could work for a few hours in the morning before the sun came around to that side. It took me 3 days to remove just the one side. It took me 3 more days to complete the Meguiar’s process on that one side. Do you have any idea of how many trips up and down that ladder I made or how many old t-shirts I cut into rages? Fortunately, because of the sun getting to that surface I only worked a few hours some days. At other times I got up at 6:30 in the morning and started right to work.

After removing the wax I wiped the surface with the Xylene to remove any remaining wax. Then I washed it with TSP using a long handled brush. This was followed by a fresh water rinse and drying with a chamois.

The first step in using Meguiar’s is the cleaning process. The second is a polish, restorer, and the third is a pure Carnuba wax protector. All are applied using a 6 inch buffer to a small area at a time and immediately after in the case of the first 2 steps, remove the polish using cut up t-shirt rags while the final wax is polished with a Terry Cloth pad.

Three weeks later, I have now completed that one side, the back, and the front and have removed some of the old wax on the remaining side. I am not completely happy with the front and back so I will probably do another layer of the Carnuba wax when I am at Visitadores in 2 weeks. While I am there I can easily reach both of those ends. The remaining side will get done later as it is in the shade more than the other side was and has been somewhat protected from the UV rays.

The final result is a shinny surface, much like it was when I bought the RV in 2005.

Not a good view but the sun was shining on the other surfaces.

I bought my wax and polishing pads on Amazon. So far I had to reorder once but I think I may need another order of wax and pads before I am done.

I don't know why the difference in text within the blog. It is all the same until I post it on-line. Something to do with Blogger i guess.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A "Keyhole" garden

It seems I am a little behind the times here as I haven’t posted since February 21st. Maybe it is because we haven’t gone anywhere since then but have just been doing things around the house.

I did have one project that intrigued me and that was to build a “Keyhole Garden” after talking to son Tim about the one he was working on. Some Google research told me a lot about them and it soon became apparent that a true 6 foot diameter keyhole garden required a lot of compostable material, something in short supply right now in my garden. The name drives from the slot shaped much as a piece of pie removed from the circle which allows access to a wire cage in the middle to add compost material and to harvest vegetables.

However, I did have enough material for a 3 foot diameter keyhole garden, minus the keyhole (keyhole not needed for a 3 foot diameter circle), which would go nicely in a spot from which we had removed a very thorny cactus, think big pointy spikes.

Keyhole gardens originated in England and are used in some African countries which had little good soil. They basically are used to grow vegetables. A well known authority is Dr Deb Tolman of Texas who teaches classes in building Keyhole gardens. Her videos are available on YouTube.

I had a supply of bricks available so that became my material for making the walls. First I drew a circle and then I first dug down to increase the depth of the keyhole and also to level the spot. I next laid the bricks 5 layers high. I cut and fit chicken wire in the bottom to discourage rodents and a certain snoopy dog, (Craig’s).

I then wet large sheets of cardboard and fitted them into the circle including up the sides. I built a chicken wire cage about 8-9 inches in diameter and tall enough to reach above the expected top of the soil. I inserted a tin can in the top of the cage with a lid on it again to keep pests out. This cage will be filled with kitchen garbage and shredded paper and watered well each time it is filled. The hope is that the water will wash nutrients from the kitchen vegetables down into the soil and the surrounding plants will send their roots deep to get moisture thereby needing less water.

I added rough compostable materials such as old tin cans and rough wood cuttings. All of these will break down over time and supply nutrients to the soil.

Next was several layers of wet newspapers and newspaper type magazines.

On top of this was added brown leafy cuttings and branches, shredded waste paper, kitchen garbage, green leafy material, and finished compost. Each layer was wet down with a hose. A top layer of about 6-8 inches of good garden soil was used to finish of the garden. The soil was sloped to be high near the center so rainwater will drain off.

So what has been the results of this experiment? So far, I have 3 of the wire cages in use, 1 in the Keyhole garden and one each next to 2 rose bushes. The 3 of them use up most of the compostable kitchen garbage we generate. I plan to add 3 or 4 more cages in my garden when I plant my tomatoes, zucchini, and squash. The hope is that we will generate more kitchen garbage in the summer time.

I don't know why I have larger text in one paragraph as it is the same text height in my original copy. Leave it to Blogger to change something. Always an adventure!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Back home again.

We arrived home on Sunday afternoon having driven from Arabian Oasis RV Park. We actually left early as the wind was blowing when I got up. We did have wind from Boron until we got to I-5 on Hwy-138 but it was not too bad. Later, winds were projected to gust to 55 MPH and last for 2-3 days. We did not want to spend 2 more days at the RV park at $30 per day so pushed on especially with Domingo restaurant still not open although rumors have it that it may open soon.

To back up and cover the time from the last report, I picked up Clyda on time at the Las Vegas airport and we drove to Henderson to visit Carl and Janis who lived near us until Janis retired. We had a nice visit and later went out to eat at their Golf Club. Nice to visit with good friends.

On Monday morning we left Las Vegas and drove to Quartzsite with a stop at Needles for lunch where I introduced Clyda to Carl’s Jr $5 lunch. We shared one.

We spent the next 2 weeks dry camping in the Plamosa Road BLM area. The weather was perfect, not to cold even at night, with nice warm days. Different friends stopped by to camp for a few days which was really nice.

Launching a Chinese lantern.

We then moved on to Bouse and camped with Jack and Judy. Good to see all of our Bouse friends. We ate out a few times, had happy hours and generally enjoyed ourselves. Thanks to Jack and Judy for the use of the washer and dryer and the dump station. We even managed to get in a nice ATV ride over Preacher Pass which is steeeeepppp. A good ride.

Looking at Preacher Pass.

After a week we moved on to Casa Grande and a one night stop at the Elks Club. We then met Jim and Michele at the Pinal County Fairgrounds for the Gourd Festival. I always enjoy camping here because of the ambiance, the music, and the incredibly talented gourd people.

Gourd covered with small beads.

Such detail.

After four days we again moved back to the Elks Club for 4 days so we could visit with Clyda’s cousin and family. Nice to have dinner with Nicky and to spend time with her brother Jerrod also.

From Casa Grande we drove back to Quartzsite and again camped on Plamosa Road for 2 days. I had a few things I wanted to pick up in town while we were there. I had started to replace all of our old LED light bulbs in the RV as they were slowly dying from what I suspect is the lack of regulators in the bulbs. I had bought some while we were there the first time but had a few more ideas of where to use them so I bought 2 more fixture’s and bulbs. The new bulbs are a world of difference from the old LED’s. Much more light.

Camping at Plamosa Road.

A nice sunset.

After the 2 days we drove to Boron for one night and home the next day.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

CES 2018 is over.

Yes, CES 2018 the (Consumer Electronic Show) is over for this year and I am taking today to recuperate from all the walking I have done in the last four days. My phone automatically records how many steps I take each day and sometimes it reached 17,000 per day. Needless to say there was no partying at night for the last four days.

It was a tremendous show with about 178,000 people attending with more than 3900 exhibitors and more than 2.75 million square feet of exhibit space spread all across Las Vegas which makes it the largest show in CES history.

People come from every country in the world to attend. At times it is just a sea of humanity walking the show isles making it hard to get through.

The show was so large that it was impossible to see it all as it covered 6 very large convention halls and 7 hotels. I managed to see all 4 areas in the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and the 2 floors of the Sands Expo center which are the main exhibit areas. To see more required too much time riding on a bus which cut into seeing the exhibits. There are large tents outside the halls which also feature companies or products geared to a narrower segment of the attendee’s. I don’t bother with many of those. I did however check out the Gibson Guitar building which has hundreds of guitars that people can try and buy if that is their wish. It also featured a large stage for shows but I don’t know if anyone was headlining there.

Speaking of headliners, many sports figures show up at vendor booths to help promote products. The pay is probably pretty good.

If someone can dream of a way to use electronics in a product it was at the show. From automobiles to motorcycles to drones to virtual reality to artificial intelligence to smart cities. It is called “the Internet of things” or IoT for short.

I did take some photos but I have been warned that using them may violate copy right laws so I will defer. Unfortunately, sometimes only a photo will do as an explanation, that being said, so I will go on to other subjects.

There are only 2 of us here this year, myself and my desert buddy Jeff. We stay downtown in a small RV park and drive to Circus-Circus casino each day to catch a shuttle bus to the exhibit halls. At the end of the day we do the reverse, dragging our tired bodies back to our RV’s. After we spend a few minutes exclaiming over the things we have seen or collected during the day (we call it SWAG) we walk to a nearby casino or restaurant for dinner (nothing fancy) and then take a walk down the Fremont Street Experience before we had back to our RV’s. We both sleep good.

Tomorrow I will buy groceries and then pick up Clyda from the airport. We will have dinner with friends who moved here a few years ago then get ready to leave for Quartzsite Monday morning.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A fire update.

This has been quite week since the 5th largest fire in California’s history began on December 4th near Ojai. CA. It has burned 237,500 acres so far with 709 single family residences destroyed. There are almost 8,000 fire fighters on scene with 983 fire engines, 27 helicopters, 79 bulldozers, and numerous other apparatus. Two main fire camps have been established to support the fire fighters.

All schools have been closed until after the holidays. Very few people are out and about so you can imagine the toll on local merchants. Masks have been distributed for free at several locations. Everyone goes about with masks on as there is fine particle ash in the air.

The real culprit here has been the winds in the canyons South of us. Here in our area we have not had any wind at all, but winds are forecasted for later in the week. All the smoke has drifted West along the coast so cities to the West are also getting all the smoke. Temperatures have been in the high 70’s and low 80’s and the humidity has been as low as 1% in the back country. All conditions which make fire fighting difficult.

We have been covered with smoke and ash the whole time but this morning we have real sunshine for the first time in over a week. I finally swept the patio this morning so we don’t bring the ash into the house. Wearing a mask of course.

Ash on our street.

This fire may burn for some time yet so it affects everyone in the area.

We have most of our Christmas shopping done, Christmas cards are mailed, packages sent off to friends and relatives, and a few parties have been attended. With the fire, lots of our gatherings have been canceled as some of our friends were in the fire area. All are safe so far.

Monday, November 20, 2017

All things must end, part3!

Saturday, Nov 4th was grocery day in Pahrump, NV. Jeff had found the Pahrump Valley Museum so we stopped for a tour. A very nice museum with a very good overview of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Depository. Also, a train room which was in progress with more work before the display could be opened. We got a preview as train buffs.

After lunch and grocery shopping we returned to Furnace Creek.

Our next big hike was to “Big Bird Canyon”. It is about a 1.5 mile hike up a wash into a canyon with large fossil footprints of a big 3 toed bird. I was last in this canyon in 2010. We spent more time looking for other footprints and believe we found more than previous visits. We walked further up the canyon looking for some rock alignments we had found years ago. Unfortunately, time did not improve my memory as to their where abouts. We decided that a further 1 or 2 mile hike would be required to find them but next year, not today. As it was we had about a 0.8 mile hike back to the vehicles after we reached the highway.

3 toed fossil bird footprints.

We again were looking for grave sites but this time it was up Echo Canyon to the town site of Schwab. I thought I had been to Schwab but had only been to the Inyo mine. We could only drive to with 1.3 miles of Schwab as the park service has blocked the road. So hike we did. We found the grave sites because of a photo our friend Tom had on his iPad. There could be more grave sites based on depressions in the ground which may be collapsed graves. Hard to know for sure.

Grave site at Schwab.

The National Park Service opened up the Keene Wonder mine site which had been closed for 9.5 years die to suspected arsenic in the ground and mine tailings. They also re-enforced some of the mine structures. There was a grand opening which we did not attend due to limited parking, instead we waited a day to explore the site.

Keen Wonder mine with towers in the background.

Having this site open means there are several canyons and mines which can now be explored. We decided to check out the Johnny Cyty mine which is about a mile from the Keen Wonder. Along the way we crossed several small streams which are the output of springs. These springs provided water for the mines but all are highly sulfated in fact so much so that we could not stay near the source for long because of the smell.

Johnny Cyty's cabin.

Johnny Cyty's mine.

The remainder of the trip had us participating in lectures and programs put on by the Death Valley 49ers. All were really interesting. 

I need to talk about the Desert Ballon Recovery Crew or DBRC. We started collecting mylar ballons last year and contined doing it this year. We found a total of 31 this year, 9 in one day. Mylar ballons are hazardous to electrical wires and animals. Jeff has created a Facebook page to show our colections. Check it out.

 Mylar ballons on our camp cloths line.