Sunday, June 30, 2013

Little progress on the RV projects this week.

Location, At Home.

Very little progress on the RV repairs this week.

I tried to find where the leak from the kitchen holding tank occurred but had little luck with that. I figured the best way to tackle that problem was to add water to the tank using the faucet in the kitchen sink as I had plenty of water in the tank according to the tank level indicator. However, when I turned the pump on I got little water and the pump acted like it was sucking air. Adding more water to the tank allowed the pump to work, sort of.

Looking on-line for trouble shooting hints I tried a few of the possible fixes. One was to open the filter/strainer at the pump inlet and clean it and to lube the rubber O-ring with silicon seal to make sure there were no leaks. Still no pumping action so eventually I pulled the pump and tested it out of the RV using a battery to supply 12 volts and a hose stuck in a pail of water for the inlet side, The outlet side used a piece of hose with a shut off valve to simulate the real set up in the RV.

It appears that filter/strainer is allowing air into the system. Removing the filter and all is ok. The next step will be to reinstall the pump sans filet back in the RV and see if that works as well. That is tomorrow’s job.

The original problem of the leak is still a mystery as I now have plenty of water in the sink grey water tank but no leak. Go figure.

We have had beautiful weather this week. Temps have been in the 80’s or above which makes for warm days but great evenings. We are so used to the cool sea breeze’s each evening that it is a pleasure to have it a little warmer. Our house gets a little warmer since the large tree in the backyard is gone but we can live with that.

Craig’s garden has started produce. We have had zucchini and yellow squash so far. Cucumbers are close behind.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Projects, Projects, Projects.

Location, At Home.

OMG, it has been almost 2 weeks since my last update.

Much has happened since I last posted here.

As usually occurs while we are gone, there were lots of fix-it projects to do which have kept me busy.  

First off, we were not getting hot water to the back bathroom or at least not much hot water. This problem happened after we had a new solar water heating system installed last year but the problem has been inconsistent. We also have a passive recirculating line to the back bathrooms which allows us to get hot water quickly without wasting water.

After talking to the solar company I started some testing of the system. It looks like the recirculating system when turned on with a ball valve disrupts the solar system in some way and we lose the hot water to the back bathrooms. Why this is so is remains the mystery.

Problem number 2 is with the RV. When I brought it home from working Visitadores in May I parked it in the street to wash it. After unhooking the truck from the RV and standing in the street talking to neighbor Paul we heard a BANG and saw the trailer drop on one side. That could only mean one thing, one of the front jacks had slipped. This had happened last year and as it turns out, to the same jack.

Eventually I got the trailer parked and removed it from the truck using an 8 ton bottle jack to support the one side. I have left the RV sit in this condition while we did our trip to Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

Last week I pulled the jack and verified that indeed the nut which does all the work had failed. Research on the internet told me that I needed to replace the Acme screw as well as the nut. I ordered a new screw and nut from and it was delivered in 2 days. It was not an exact replacement as the original and we needed to modify one of the worm gears by grinding a deeper slot in the shaft so the roll pin which holds the gear in place could be pounded in.

Compartment pulled out to allow repair to the jack. The jack is beside the compartment.

Craig helping me while you see my feet. 
My feet again.
Standing behind the compartment to get to the jack. 
Acme screw with the nut from inside the jack.

 I installed the jack yesterday afternoon and it works ok.

There are two more projects that need to be done on the RV before we can use it again. I have a leak in the kitchen sink holding tank or its associated drain line that needs to be repaired. Unfortunately, I need to remove part of the underbelly to gain access to the parts.

The second project is to replace the large 18 foot awning cover. The one on the RV started to come apart and the wind we had one day at Visitadores didn’t help it any. I have replaced an awning once long ago and with the help of videos on YouTube I think I can do it again. Besides, it will save about $500 if I do it myself.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Great Adventure Part 4,

Location, At Home.

Great Adventure Part 4.

We traveled from Bellingham, WA, to Portland OR, by Amtrak Cascades. We were scheduled to leave Bellingham at 8:45 AM but the train was delayed about 30 minutes due to a medical emergency North of Bellingham. Apparently someone needed medical care while enroute.
 View of Mount Rainier from the train as we enter Seattle.

We arrived in Portland at 3 PM and were met by our friends Thomas and Debbie. After a tour of downtown Portland we drove to their house. We knew they had moved but did not know they had bought a NEW house. It is a very nice house and the workmanship is beautiful.
Portland Train Station.

Wednesday was a day of catching up on each other’s lives. In the afternoon Debbie drove me to see an old friend who lives nearby. We haven’t seen each other in several years so we spent about 2 hours bringing each other up to date.
 The chef in his new kitchen.

Thursday was a day of sightseeing. We started with lunch with a view at Pittock mansion overlooking downtown Portland. Thomas had fixed awesome sandwiches for lunch. There are great views of downtown Portland and Mount Hood. Also, lots of flowers. The veranda on the mansion was being restored.
 View of Mount Hood from the Pittock Mansion.

After lunch we toured the Lan Su gardens in Chinatown which covers one city block in Portland. Amazing workmanship which was done by craftsman imported to do the work. All stone cutting was done on site. Beautiful workmanship.
 Gate to China Town.

 Workmanship on all the walkways.

We finished up the day at the Jenkins estate where we toured the house which is now used for conferences. We also toured the gardens. Another beautiful area on top of a hill.

Dinner was an antipasto plate Thomas had prepared. It was to die for.
 Now that's a bottle of wine!

Friday was Free Doughnut Day so we drove to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for our free doughnut. Why not?

After the doughnut splurge we drove stopped at an Asian market. This place had everything you could imagine in the food line from fresh seafood to fresh meats and vegetables. They also had all those items unique to Asian food.

We then drove south to the town of Brooks to tour the Powerland Museums. First came lunch with another of Thomas’s marvelous sandwiches after all we needed sustenance to do all that walking. 
 Thomas making sandwiches. They were yummmy!

Powerland is an 86 acre collection of old vehicles such as cars, trucks, and tractors most of which run and are used annually for the big Steamup. We toured the old car museum, a tractor museum, where I found a perfect Case SC tractor like the one I learned to drive on the farm many years ago.
 A lot of memories here.

We also toured the Caterpillar museum and later the Truck museum. We barely hit the highlights of this great collection of vehicles.

By then we were pooped so drove back to Portland.

We lazed around on Saturday morning and later Thomas and Debbie drove us to the Amtrak station to catch the 2:25 PM Coast Daylight for home. This is a 27.5 hour overnight trip. 
 Thomas and I waiting in the Portland Train Station.

We were an hour late leaving Portland because three private cars were added to the back of our train. It took that long to switch tracks, hookup the braking and electricity and check it all out.
 The three private cars attached to the train.

Thomas had packed us sandwiches, cheese and crackers, and water for our trip which provided most of our needs. Thank You Thomas.

Amtrak seats are spacious and comfortable. At night there is a pullout section which gives your legs support. Pillows are passed out before night fall. All to make you more comfortable. There is Wi-Fi on the train but I couldn’t connect to it. There are electrical outlets at every coach seat to charge those all important phones and laptops.

We traveled to Eugene, OR then southeast to Klamath Falls before heading southwest to Dunsmuir, CA. We woke up north of Sacramento before sunrise. By 8:30 we were in Oakland at Jack London Square.

The track from Oakland south is not as smooth as the overnight portion; consequently, we did not travel as fast as other parts of the trip. On very good track the train is limited to 79 MPH.

We arrived at our station right on time and Craig picked us up.

I asked Clyda if she would do it again and she said “yes, but not right away”.

This truly was a “Great Adventure” which we had talked about doing for some time.

High lights of the trip for me was the Georgian Court Hotel in Vancouver, the float plane ride, visiting family, Mark and Candi, their daughter Dawn and husband Matt, and their son Michael and fiancĂ© Lizzy. Michael is a recent graduate of Washington State University and snagged a great job as a Civil Engineer. Spending time with Thomas and Debbie and enjoying Thomas’s great cooking is always a treat.

The trip came out just as we planned it.