Thursday, June 24, 2010

Working on the RV.

Location, Home, CA

I am “pooped”. On Monday I replaced the shocks on the RV. Boy, did they need it! One had been hit by something and part of it was caved in. So much so, that it wouldn’t collapse at all. All of them had no “shock” left in them. I ordered replacements on-line and got good Monroe shocks. I think I had them all replaced in an hour.

On Tuesday I scrubbed the roof of the RV with a cleaner. The product said to use a mop and do a small square at a time and don’t let any run down the sides. Well, that didn’t work so I did my usual thing and scrubbed it with a soft bristle nylon brush and then mopped it using two buckets of water. The first to wring out the dirty mop water and the second as rinse water. I made many trips up and down the ladder as the water was always dirty. After that little chore I washed the RV.

On Wednesday I coated the roof with a protectorant. Again, it said to mop it on but I found that applying it with a sponge worked very well. I also started waxing the RV but didn’t get it done as the sun came out before I finished.

This morning I completed the waxing as well as a few other small chores on my list for the RV. There are still items to be done, the biggest of which is lubing the axels. I hate lifting those heavy tires. I also need to replace the oil seals this time.

The walls are now smooth if not shiny from the wax but the decals are really fading from the sun.

It is a shame to do all this work and not have any plans to go anywhere but that is life. After Clyda’s ankle surgery in a few weeks we will have a better idea about future travels.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Major projects for a friend.

Location, Home, CA

On Monday we drove to Tehachapi, CA after stops in Ventura to put flowers on Clyda’s parents grave and have lunch with her brother, Roger.

The plan for the week was to help our friends Budd and Brenda with some yard projects. Fortunately, Budd decided to have professionals do the hardest part. On Tuesday morning at 7:30 AM a truck load of cement arrived and was pumped into forms Budd had ready for a new concrete pad for his RV. Three professional cement finishers, one pump man, and two loads of cement later, it had been pumped into the forms, screeded smooth, troweled to a fine finish, and lightly broomed. Five hours after the first truck arrived, all the workers had left. A really nice job and we just stood around and watched. What a great feeling!

Forms ready for cement.
 Cement truck and pumper.
First cement. 
 About half done and waiting for a second truck load.
All done!
After lunch, Budd and I tackled the next project. Budd had poured a cement footing around some birch trees for a raised brick planter. The bed was kidney shaped which meant almost all bricks had to be cut because of the curvature of the planter. Fortunately we had a tile saw which was just able to cut the bricks.

Cutting bricks.
 Laying first bricks.
On Monday afternoon we completed about 1/4 of the planter.
By 5 PM on Wednesday it was all done. It looks really good!! 

Almost done.
Last brick.
Completed  planter bed.
On Thursday morning we pulled all the forms around the new cement pad and started building a block wall on 3 sides. After a fairly steep learning curve setting the first course of blocks we made great progress in the afternoon.

All these need to be moved and placed.
First course done.
Moving blocks with the trailer and tractor.
Friday morning before breakfast we put all the remaining blocks into place. After beakfast we back filled the wall with dirt. We used the garden tractor with a blade on it to level as much of the dirt as we could. The remainder of the job was done by hand with shovels.

Finished wall.
Our final chore after lunch on Friday was to reload all remaining blocks from a pallet on the ground to one in the truck so we could return them for credit. This meant lifting and stacking 148 blocks, wrapping them with plastic like the original pallets were and adding the remaining bricks and motor to the load. We also had 5 pallets to return for credit.
A big load.
At Budd’s suggestion, we celebrated with a root beer float. Look at the size of those floats!! It’s a good thing that they are two for the price of one.

This morning we drove back home after a stop in Fillmore to visit a friend who also provided lunch for us.

I should have been half dead after working so hard all week but actually, I feel pretty good. A great project completed.

I think I will take the next two days off however.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Not much happening.

Location, Home, CA

I have “burned” all of my airline miles making plans for trips this year. We used lots of them to fly to Florida for the start of our Panama Canal cruise and then I used another bunch for round trip tickets to Seattle for our nieces wedding in September. A couple days ago I used more to make reservations to see my folks in Wisconsin this summer and to attend an “all School” reunion for my hometown high school.

The school no longer exists as it was merged with a larger school. In fact the building itself is gone. That probably was a good thing as it stood next to the community hall which housed a beer bar in the basement. The school and bar were only about 25 feet apart. That distance is way closer than the minimum required by state law I would guess.

It’s funny; we hadn’t traveled by air very much the last several years and now we are burning all those miles all in one year. They will build back up again but it just takes time.

Not much else was going on here this past week, so, no blog since last Monday. I did attend two funerals this week, one for a neighbor and another for a fellow worker. Both died of cancer.

I picked the last of the berries today. Oh, there will be a few more ripen but we will be gone for a few days helping our friend Budd with some cement and brick work so what few berries are left can fall to the ground. I am taking my Aleve along for those aches and pains which are sure to happen by the end of each day after hard labor.

I doubt that I will post while we are gone.

Monday, June 7, 2010

LED light project.

Location, Home, CA

The one thing an RV’er never has enough of is battery power. Especially if he is dry camping or “boondocking”, ie, camping without being connected to a hard power source such as a campground 110 volt line. A major power “hog” are all the 12 volt lights which draw directly from the battery.

A year ago I bought 2 LED light bulbs for our bedside reading lights in the RV from a vender at the Quartzsite, AZ winter swap meet. These lights have proven to be reliable and have a low currant drain.

This past winter I purchased several LED bulbs while at Quartzsite to replace some of the heaviest current draining bulbs in the RV. We have two overhead fixtures, each with 3 bulbs, and those bulbs draw 1 amp each when all are turned on for a total of 6 amps. When we first purchased the RV, I had replaced the on switch with a three position switch so only one, two, or all three bulbs would be lite. This helped the battery drain as we usually only used one or two bulbs at a time.

The LED replacement bulbs were actually a disk with lots of LED’s on it which I used in place of one of the bulbs. This works very well so next winter I may replace the remaining bulbs.

The placement of the two light fixtures is not optimum for use as reading lights so this year I purchased 2 brass swivel light fixtures with LED bulbs to mount over the couch as reading lights. Temporarily hooking power to one of these lights showed that it was adequate for reading. The problem was how to get 12 volt power to the lights.

The closest source was the original ceiling lights. Removing the fixture which is in the living room slide out showed that the slide out ceiling is hollow but has spacers running fore and aft which keep the inner and outer walls of the ceiling separated. It also blocks any attempt to get a wire through to the cabinet behind the light fixture under which the lights are mounted.

Neighbor Paul suggested a wooden piece with a slot for wires in it be attached to the ceiling between the light and the cabinet and painted white to match the ceiling. I remembered that a plastic molding made for wires existed somewhere and a trip to the local hardware store was just the ticket. I bought a 5 foot piece of Wiremold which is a plastic tube with a groove on one side which snaps together and has a sticky backing to attach it to the ceiling. This worked perfectly!
Light fixture with cutout for Wiremold.
Close up of cutout.

I drilled a hole in the cabinet, installed the Wiremold, and pushed the wires through. Inside of the cabinet I used 4 inch pieces of Wiremold to keep the wires in place.

I drilled a hole in the bottom of the cabinet for each light, the cabinet floor was also hollow, so it was easy to get the wires out to the lights.
Reading lights installed with Wiremold going to the cabinet on upper right.
The finished project looks like it came originally from the factory.

My next project is replacing the old original 27 inch TV with a new 26 inch flat screen TV. I want to make the space behind the TV available for storage. This one has me baffled but I am working on some ideas. More on this later.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Short post.

Location, Home, CA

I spent part of this past Memorial weekend on the golf course…..Not playing… but following the son of a friend while he played in a tournament. On Saturday afternoon I walked along with other people for the first 10 holes and then on Monday I walked all 18 holes. My friend’s son didn’t win but came in third. I have done this before when he played but usually only the last nine holes. I thought I would be sore the next day but it wasn’t a problem.

We have several plants flowering right now. I really like this "Lions Mane". We have two in front of the house but they don’t do as well as this one in a back flower bed.. The dirt is not good in front.
This cactus blooms a lot but only for a day.

Short post today.