Saturday, October 31, 2009


Have a happy Halloween!

Windy and cold!

Wind!  All day!  It was garbage day, and the wind blew peoples trash all around the neighborhood.  Most of ours was rain soaked, but that didn't stop it from blowing to the neighbors.

It did stop raining, but then the temps went into the lower 40's along with the wind.  Why are we still here?

Oh, I remember, the wife really likes the Halloween Holiday and has to stay for the trick or treaters.

Looking at the weather, doesn't look too warm for next week, so perhaps we had better go directly South for a while.

Climbing to go West, causes the temps to go below freezing quite quickly.  Even Phoenix was in the 60's and overcast.  I guess this nasty spell has us all in its grips.

After beggars night tomorrow night, I'm going after the rig to begin packing out.  Our storage is up on the 31st, so we will have to leave the rig here at the house until we leave.

That happened last year too, until the neighbors called the cops!

Retired Rod

Friday, October 30, 2009

Was it dry in Arizona?


I have Arizona on my mind!  This is the Az State Arboretum, last winter.  It was in January and overcast, but we still had fun.  I hope to go back again this year on a sunny day.

It began to rain in the middle of the night here, and didn’t let up all day long.  I never moved the cars all day.
We have had two of the grand kids here for most of the day, and that has occupied our time completely.  The baby came in the morning, and the 4 year old came in the afternoon.  Wow, they just left, and it is so quiet now.

I spent the day going thru piles of mail from the investment house.  It is boring but has to be done.  I used to keep all the stuff that they mailed out, but I would need a warehouse to store it all.  So now I look at it and if nothing raises a question, out it goes.

In the process, I found a bunch of pending bills, and got them mailed off, so we should be good to leave now.

Slowly all of the things necessary to accomplish before we head out are now in the done pile.  You would think we were going for 6 months, but we will be back before Christmas, as Loyce could never be gone during that holiday.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day for outside stuff, and I can get back to packing the utility trailer.  Let’s hope!

Retired Rod

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tail light wiring and Harbor Freight

My accomplishment for today was to wire the new trailer light harness in the Camry.  I purchased the wiring yesterday at Autozone.

Japanese autos have amber turn signals that are independent of the brake lights.  Older cars had red turn signals and used the same bright bulbs and wiring for both functions.  The Doolittle utility trailer is wired the older way.  It is referred to as a four wire system.

So the wiring harness has a conversion box in the middle, that changes the amber individual turn signal, five wire system back into four wire.  This sounds much harder than it actually is.  On the connection side of the box there are five wires, and you simply connect them up.

I went over to to yet another Auto parts dealer, O'Rielly, and found the little T connectors that crimp on the existing wires.  Once installed, you just plug in the new harness.

Toyota even uses the same color scheme as the harness, except for the brake light, which was blue in the car, and red on the harness.

It seemed to work, when I backed the car over to the trailer, except I couldn't see if the brake lights worked since I was all alone.

In the afternoon, I went over to Harbor Freight.  I purchased some additional tools that I can leave in the coach full time.  The big tool box in the garage is too big to take with us, and I don't like taking stuff out because you never remember to switch it back again.  That is untill you go to use it the next time and its not there.

But I am tool box poor, and I really never know where something might be untill I put out the all points search party.  Darn, I know I own one of those, if I could just find it.  This is further problematic because some things are at the house in Lake Ozark.

So all of this is to describe me as a really good customer at Harbor freight.

This evening is kind of the lull before the all out push to pack up in the next few days.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Doing more stuff!

Today was a this and that type of day.  I couldn't keep on a single project all day.  My mind seemed to wander as I went here and there.

I went to Napa in the morning, and found that they had one of the fuel filters for the motorhome but not the second one.  Well that's not quite right, they had the secondary, but not the primary.

Again studying the internet has added some light to the subject.   But I am still quite in the dark about the whole thing.  It seems that the Cummins folks have a filter on the engine, that comes with the engine when it is shipped to Freightliner.  It is a 7 1/2 inch tall cannister that they call the primary, but it is really the second filter in line.

The first filter is provided by Freightliner, and is in the fuel line coming from the lift pump.  I assume this pump is back by, or in the tank.  The filter is up by the engine and next to the Cummins filter.  Freightliner calls this the primary, and the Cummins filter the secondary.  Confusing huh?  Well just to add fun, I don't have the filter that the books say I have, rather I have a water separator.  It has a filter element in it, that must be replaceable without replacing the cannister.  But I don't know this for sure.  More questions, and no answers.

I did go get the utility trailer this afternoon, and began to load it with the stuff that we want to take with us this winter.  I find that we were spoiled a bit with the travel trailer and pickup truck with its grandpa style topper.

We could toss most anything into the back of the truck, and haul it to the campsite.  We even took the bicycles in the back when we went to Texas.  I had removed their front wheels, and laid them down.  We piled other stuff on top of them, and only got them out once we had arrived at our monthly destination.

And of course, I want to take the motor scooter to Arizona this winter, and Loyce wants her big bicycle, not the little folding one we bought in Denver the summer of 08.  Then there's the ladder, and the pile of folding chairs, and the outside table, and the quilting table.  Well you get the idea, we will be pulling the utility trailer behind the motorhome.

A lot of it was loaded this afternoon, as it is to rain yet again in the next few days.  I did ride the motorbike around a four block big square here in our neighborhood, but I about froze to death doing it. That warmed up the engine, and freshened the gas in the carburetor, but it freshened me a bunch more.

I thought about going to the storage lot and installing the fuel filter on the motorhome, but could not get up enough enthusiasm to go crawl under the rig again today.  Diesel fuel really has an odor, and permeates your skin,  you smell for days.  I am really putting this one off.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Engine oil today.

Today I had the motorhome back over here to do the changing of the engine oil.  It was a straight forward oil change like everyone knows how to do.  The only difference is the oil pan holds 15 quarts.

That would not be a problem, except I have a 4 gallon oil drip pan.  So I had to let part of the oil out, and empty the pan into my disposal jugs, and then let the rest out.  I didn’t want an overflow into the street.  The neighbor ladies watch me carefully to see how much mess I am going to make.  I cut up the box from Loyce’s new chair, and put it under me, since I knew I would spill some on this job.

The filter on the Cummins ISB is on the passenger side, and way up towards the top of the engine.  I had to go buy a 10 inch extension to add to my 6 inch extension in order to reach up into the engine compartment. I used the same strap wrench filter remover from the other day to get the filter out.  Again, it was installed at the factory, and it was sooooo tight.  Now the new oil is in, all 17 quarts of it.  I dropped off the old oil at Wal Mart, as I don’t like that mess to stay at the house very long.

We are staying here until after beggars night again this year, but will head out before it freezes solid.   We really do not want to test out my winterization skills for more than a day or two.  We left around this same time last year, but I’m not sure what day we actually left.  Do you remember the cops came and chased us away with the travel trailer?  Neighbors……….

I do not think we have packed one thing, so it may take a while to get into the leave town mode.  Loyce likes the Halloween holiday too much to concentrate on anything else, until its over.

But for now I have most of the maintenance items complete, and we are mechanically ready to shove off.

Retired Rod

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Loyce

Well Loyce was 39 again today, and she was busy talking to all her friends and relatives on the phone for a lot of the morning.  Seems she has a bunch of folks that helped her enjoy another year!

I'm kind of an old bum on Sundays.  I hung tight and read the internet for most of the morning, until I slipped over to Wal Mart and left off the jugs of oil from yesterday's changing session. 

There was more to change, but today turned into a rainy bog again before noon, just as forecast.  It has never let up since. 

We did slip over to Nebraska Furniture mart, and bought a new rocker recliner for Loyce as her birthday gift.   It was a pain getting the chair up the stairs to her quilting sanctuary but it looked nice once it was situated.

We celebrated, by going to Lone Star Steak house, which is in the same shopping center area as the furniture store.  She really likes Lone Star as compared to Texas Road House which is much closer to us in the South part of KCK.  So since we were up there anyway........

So our day was slow, but fun and happy even though it rained a bunch, and I didn't get to get all dirty laying under the RV.  But then I really do not look forward to being the consummate gear head either.  We kind of got ourselves into that situation by purchasing the rig in Des Moines and living down here.  Our dealer here is backlogged for months at a time, so getting on their schedule when you didn't buy it there is near impossible.

And yes they are like that, so that's why we didn't buy there in the first place.

Retired Rod

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More motorhome service, and the Hawkeyes win again

Remember yesterday, it was late in the day when the UPS guy brought the filter, and it began to rain.  So today was sunny and 60.  So that was the big
maintenance day here.  Its all laid out on the endgate of the pickup.         


Every thing is covered with undercoating under here.  Yuck!  There it is the little one in front of the silver transmission pan.  That pan is the big capacity pan, to hold lots of that $15 a quart synthetic fluid.  LOL.
So I replaced the little guy with the new one.  The magnet inside is just a big washer, and it was covered with dark gray filings.  Or maybe dust, if it hadn't been covered in red fluid.   You just wipe it all off with a rag and put it back on.

Didn't get much fluid out of it, only about 8 ounces.  But the old filter is still soaked in it.  Used about a pint to fill it back to the full cold line.

You can sure see why the filter needs changed, there was a bunch of crud caught in the fluid that came out of it.

I worked all day on the motorhome, changing out the rear end grease, and installing new synthetic 75W-90.  I am told that the synthetic will last for 75K miles, unlike the conventional that will last 30K.  As goopy and messy a job as it is to change the stuff, I couldn't imagine why someone would not opt for the synthetic.

Then I started on the Onan genset for an oil change and filter.  It only holds three quarts, and I thougt that would be easy.  Was I ever wrong.

You open a little trap door on the bottom of the big green box, and reach up into the generator.  I did get the compression finger filter wrench on the end of it, but could not get a grip to turn it.

I tried everything I had to remove it and went to the Autozone twice purchasing yet another wrench with no luck.  So all thirteen bolts came out of the front of the green box.  Once the front panel was off, I thought surely it would come off now.  But no, it was still too tight.

I was loosing the sunlight of the day, and it began to sprinkle, when I tried one last strap wrench that was way in the bottom of my tool box.  You use a half inch drive breaker bar on that one.  Its extreem, but it moved it.  I had to scramble to finish the change out as it was now raining and it was almost 6PM.

I drove over to storage with the coach, and came back in the car.

6PM marked the start of the Iowa Hawkeye game, which I could not get here in KC.  But they blog from the stadium on the internet, which gave me play by play.   Even if I did have to sit here and read it from the screen.  At the end, they said there were over 1,400 of us on the blog at the same time, and their system was beginning to freeze.

Iowa won the game with 2 seconds left on the final play of the game.  A touchdown pass for 7 yards with no time left on the clock.  I thought we had lost for sure.  But no, this year's team seems to reach within themselves and find the way.  They are now 8-0 for the first time in school history.

I have now seen the highlight of the final touchdown on the ESPN gameday reports, and it looks much like a miracle play, Michigan State was stunned.

Retired Rod

Saturday, October 24, 2009

No oil filter until late in the day!

Today wasn't much better than yesterday when it came to the weather.  We had some of the misty rain, but it was rumored to have been snow only about 50 miles North of the city.  Uck!

I started thinking I would go get the motorhome, since the oil filter would be here in the UPS truck, this morning.  But when I went out to the car to go get Caden, for his turn to hang out with us today, it was in the lower 40's. Burrrr.

So I decided that I would let it warm up some.  I read some blogs, and hung out while Caden and grandma left for quilting stores and other points of interest, (to Grandma) LOL. 

Around 1 PM I looked at the UPS tracking to see if the package was really coming.  Yep out for delivery.  So I headed out for a haircut.  Gota get short, if we're going to be gone for most of November.

After the haircut, I went over to the motorhome, and took it to the diesel station in Belton, Mo.  They are the cheapest place for miles, and the price today was $2.69. 

Kansas is almost up to $3 now, so prices are going back up in a hurry!  I am totally full now, 80 gallons, but I have never put in more than 70, since I am chicken to run down any lower than that.  Towing a motorhome because you were dumb enough to run out of fuel, doesn't seem too fun.

When I got back home about 3:30, the package still wasn't here.  Oh well!  I researched where to buy an oil filter for the Onan generator on the internet and learned that I needed to go to the RV dealer South of Olathe.  As I headed out, I passed the UPS driver!  Oops, I turned around.

By the time I got back from that little trip 12 miles each way, it was almost dark.  So the day was gone.

Tonight we took Caden to Fuddruckers for a big Hot Dog!  He really likes those, and his endless cup of Orange soda, that his folks won't let him have.  And yes grandpa got his sweet potato fries.  His sister Ema was supposed to go along too, but the rest of the family isn't feeling too well, so they all passed on the experience.

Its that time when the kids bring all the sickness home from school and daycare. 

Retired Rod

Friday, October 23, 2009

More sheeting rain

Today was an inside day!  It began raining in the middle of the night, and it got harder as we progressed toward morning.  It was a fine misty kind of a rain that blew with the wind.

I checked on the UPS site, and found that my little Allison oil filter would not arrive until tomorrow, but then I'm not about to lay under the motorhome in the cold rain anyway.

So about lunch time I made the trek over into old Olathe, Ks.  I went to the O'Reilly autoparts store and purchased a case of Castrol Syntec gear lube.  Another of the little tasks at 5,000 miles is a rear end lube change.  So since it takes 5.8 quarts, the six pack case was just right.

But it rained all afternoon, so the oil is still in the front footwell of the car.

We had our 6 year old grand daughter here all day, and Ema is a real treat.  She is old enough to read some and write most of her letters.  She is in kindergarten because she just missed being 5 last year.  So she's the oldest kid in her class.  They say she is not challenged,  dah, what do they expect?

We had all sorts of fun, but nothing to blog about.  It did quit raining by about 4 PM, but the ground was waterlogged.

So that let the day slip by into the sunset, but there is a baseball game on here tonight, so that will occupy the rest of the day.  That is if I don't fall asleeeeeeeeep........................

Retired Rod

Thursday, October 22, 2009

All day on a quart of oil

Ok, since I brought up this transmission deal, here is what I have learned.

In the motorhome, we have a 2100MH Allison transmission.  It is behind the Cummins ISB 6.7 diesel engine.  This is substantially the same engine that is in the Dodge pickups.  The pickups use a dodge transmission, and have had some reliability issues over the years.  (My opinion, don't flame me if you don't agree).

For what ever reason, Freightliner chooses the Allison transmission, which is a subsidiary of GM.  The Duramax pickup has a 1000 model allison, but this 2100 is 6 speed and somewhat bigger physically.  They both have a little cannister style spin on oil filter at the front of the pan, that filters the fluid before it goes to the control unit.

Transynd fluid was designed in 1999, and became standard in large applications in 2001.  It was made by Castrol, which has since become part of BP.  Around 2004 the fluid was used as a factory fill in the motorhome transmissions, both in the 3000 for the pushers, and the 2100 for my FRED.

Now the transmission specs require that right after the unit is broken in, that the little filter needs to be changed out.  6,000 miles is the suggested time.  This is to remove any shards of metal that might be floating in the fluid, or have become trapped by the filter or its little magnet that sits on top of the filter.  Clean the magnet with a rag and put it on a new cannister, and spin it back in place.

You will lose the cup full of fluid that is in the old cannister, since you would be nuts to pour it out and put it back in the transmission.  The filter is dirty inside after all .  So this caused the all out search for the fluid, which is made by several manufactures.

The standard is called TES 295, and is awarded by Allison, after you pay money to have them test the stuff.  In other words you pay to say certified by Allison.  So I was researching if I could get some that was certified, that didn't cost $50 a gallon.  Since the little cannister only holds about a half pint, paying $50 to have most of a gallon sit around and rot while I travel 100K seems rather dumb.

I did find a product that was packaged by the quart, that was meets or exceeds the TES 295 (code for they didn't pay the money to get it tested) made by Royal Purple.  It was called Max, but it is a universal oil that replaces everything from soup to nuts.  Frankly that scared me.

Amsoil also makes a compatible fluid, that isn't certified either.  You have to find a dealer, and have him order it.  And it costs $43 a gallon.  The hot arguement on the blogs and forums, is that it will void your warranty.  Do we want to partake of this fun?  I think not.

This afternoon, I placed a call to a large truck dealership, that sells GMC as well as Freightliner, and many others.  They knew exactly what Transynd was and had the gallon jugs and 5 gallon pails and so forth.  But the guy said he thought he had some packaged in a quart, that was labled by GM as original replacement.  Original replacement, is code for expensive, and it was.  $16.95 a quart.  That would be $68 a gallon, but since I only needed one, I went and got it.

It was 26 miles up to the dealership, each way, and I never left the city.  Luckily it was mostly freeway.  It rained like crazy all the way, and I got tied up in rush hour traffic on the way back.  But now I have a quart of oil.

If I wasn't retired, that would have been crazy, but I have to have these projects to keep myself off of the honey do list.  LOL

I ordered the filter online yesterday, so it should show up tomorrow, if I'm lucky.  But we are to have rain and cold, so maybe this will become an Arizona project.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back in KC once more

My head is spinning, as I am now back in KC.  We went to Wisconsin, then to Des Moines, now to the lake, and I am back in the home base recliner. Whew!

Actually I traveled as an auditor for over twenty years, and still remain able to head out at the drop of a hat.  It gets into your blood, and you can't get it out.  If I sit here in KC too long, I'm itching to get away.

Now Loyce on the otherhand doesn't like all this traveling, and would much rather stay put for longer periods of time.  She never had to travel in her work as a nurse, and doesn't get cabin fever like I do.

So after cleaning up the cabin, and tying down the pontoon, I turned the lock, and left Lake Ozark.  I did add Stabil to the gas in both the boat and the jet ski before I left.  Somehow we ended the season with over 20 gallons in the boat, so it took a bunch of stabilizer to pickle all of that.

Tonight I have been on the internet researching maintenance for the transmission in the motorhome.  Seems that it has special tranny fluid, and I need to use a matching fluid to top it off.  Of course it isn't available at any autoparts house, just at the Allison dealers.  And costs upward of $50 a gallon.

The dealers are quite limited here in KC, and the closest is 24 miles away.  This is why I didn't just go ahead with Freightliner service, since he indicated that they just used Dexron III.  It don't matter what you add to it as long as it is GM's Dexron, he told me.  Wrong!  If he adds old Dexron III it lessens my service interval to 30,000 miles down from 100K.  And it may well void my warranty.

You can't trust what many of these so called specialists tell you.  I found a service bulletin tonight outlining the reduction in wear brought about by using the newer fluids.  I'm still studying!

Stuff sure is complicated these days.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lake Ozark / Pontoon oil change

I was off to the Lake of the Ozarks by mid morning and had a pleasant drive here, arriving sometime after lunch.

I went directly to the Wal Mart, and purchased the supplies to service the oil in the pontoon boat.  I blogged about this service procedure last year, and it is one of the most searched blogs that I have ever written.  Seems that it comes up in Google when the outboard and oil change is searched.  If you want to review the blog from last year click Here

I spent about three hours going thru the same procedure that is outlined on last years blog, only
removing last years oil and installing clean new oil.  I took the used jugs back to Wal Mart, as they take used oil, and that is environmentally acceptable.

Again it is so quiet here at the lake in the winter.  All of the houses are vacant, and closed up for the season, except my neighbor directly to the North.  They are retired, and keep mostly to themselves, so it seems as though no one is around. 

I went into town, and went to the Pizza Hut, but they didn’t have any customers.  None!  I ordered a little personal pan, and sat and talked to the manager, since he had no tables and very few phone orders.

I was back on the D Star digital radio again tonight, this time using the Verizon Air Card as a connection to the internet, and then talking on the distant repeaters.  While not perfect, it is very acceptable.  There were several stations from Great Britain in the mix tonight, but I just listened to them, as they had many folks trying to make the contact.

I will button up the lake house tomorrow, and head back to KC, so blogging will be late in the evening again.

Retired Rod

Monday, October 19, 2009

Travel to KC

We are back in KC again tonight.  We spent some of the morning back at Loyce’s fathers home, continuing our visit.  But as morning became afternoon, we felt we were overstaying and needed to head on out.

Betsy was the ever gracious host, and we enjoyed our visit immensely.  Thanks Betsy!

We didn’t stay any longer in Des Moines, but hit the road back here directly.  Again we have traveled this stretch of I 35 so many times, that we really begin to not see anything.  But the sun  came back out, and the temperature was up to 60, and I wanted to doze off in the worst way.  But I was driving!

So we stopped at the Iowa welcome center, on the Iowa side of the Missouri line.  Didn’t do anything except walk into the building and use the bathroom, but that was enough to wake me back up.  So we headed on down the road.  More road construction and driving on the wrong side in head on traffic, so I wasn’t asleep any longer.

Once home, we unloaded the car and settled in for the night.  That’s code for a nap, LOL!

Tonight, I have been using my computer to check into the various D Star repeaters, back in Des Moines.  We were trying to work a friend thru some technical issues, and that will burn up time rapidly.

Basically, I use the sound card in the laptop as though it was a radio in the distant town.  My voice is then transmitted on the repeater in Des Moines and folks listening there hear me just as though I was on a radio in my car in their town.  It is really quite neat.

Tomorrow I hope to head out to Lake Ozark, to secure the pontoon boat for the season.  I will be alone in this project.  I’ll blog from there!

Retired Rod

Sunday, October 18, 2009

From Des Moines

Just a quick note to say that we are at the Hilton Gardens in Urbandale, Iowa.  We had a pleasant day with Loyce’s sister Betsy and their Dad LeRoy.  We were celebrating LeRoy’s 93rd birthday.

We watched football most of the day beginning with the Iowa win that makes them 7-0 for the season.  Next week it will be tougher yet as they take on Michigan State.  Again, you have to play the game to know the outcome.

Tomorrow we head back to KC for more fun and games, see you then.

Retired Rod

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Iowa wins again!

Wow 7-0 no losses! Unbelievable.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Headed to Des Moines again.

Wow its after midnight and I haven’t posted anything!  That’s because I didn’t do too much to post about.  But I was out and about most of the day just the same.  Now where did I go?

I went after a trailer hitch ball at Wal Mart, and got an oil filter for the tractor at the Lowe’s over by Wal Mart.  Then I went to Freightliner garage.

There I learned that they want $225 to service the oil and filter in the motorhome.  Wow that seems a tad high, but it takes 17 quarts.  Its $11 a gallon at Wallyworld.  That would be $47 bucks with the extra quart.  Filter is under $10.  They do make a profit on this service. 

The problem is that with 17 quarts in the rig, it is hard to have a way to drain that much out and catch it all at once.  Diesel oil is black black nasty stuff.  If I mess up and spill the stuff, my neighbors would go berserk.  Would have to do it in the street, and a mess out there would attract too much attention. 

I didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to make the appointment,  need to think about it some.

We are getting ready to go back up to Des Moines again this weekend, as we need to go see Loyce’s dad and celebrate his birthday.  We will be moteling it  on Saturday night, so posts will become iffy till I get back.

Retired Rod

Friday, October 16, 2009

RV repairs

You remember when I was carping about the RV dealer not ordering my parts?  Well, yesterday while I was home in between the doctor office visits, we got a voice mail from the RV dealer that the parts were in.  But Redbay, Al said they didn’t have them on order!

Then in another little while the UPS guy came and delivered the trailer hitch.  But also he delivered a little box too.  And as you have already guessed, it was the parts from Tiffin mailed directly to me.  Suddenly I had two orders of parts.  Now what?

The dealer didn’t know that I had ordered the stuff direct, so I acted like I didn’t have the message yet.  Let’s see how I get along installing these parts, before we tip our hand that I won’t need the parts in Des Moines.

Today I drove the coach over here and started in on the repairs.  Disassembling the dash to get at the windshield wiper controls is not for the faint of heart.  There are wires that go everywhere, and the heat/AC ducts are short and needed to be disconnected, but after a little while I had it all opened up.  Installing the new part fell into place, but I struggled to get it all back assembled and keep it that way, while I drove in the 12 screws that held the dash panel on.   IT WORKED!!!  The wipers have intermittent now.

So with confidence built up, I started into the vacuum remote panel.  To my surprise, it came right off with a few screws.  But the screws the factory put in were wood screws.  Into a sheet metal backing plate!  The screws that the factory sent with the dirt devil part, were too short, but were sheet metal screws.

So I thought let’s do this right, and went to Lowe’s to get the right number 10 sheet metal screws in the longer size.  It went together fairly quickly, and worked as well.

At that point I decided to call the dealer and confess that I had ordered parts myself.  They took it well, understanding that it would cost two days and $200 to buy fuel and camping, to have them install the parts.  He said he was going to mail the parts to me, if I hadn’t called.   Uh, OK, sure you would have.

Now for the real problem, their mechanic had fixed the broken cigarette lighter socket when I was up there last week.  But, when I plugged in my cell phone, the dash lights came on.  Ooops!  maybe not too fixed huh.

So since I had the coach here and all hooked up to the electric and the electric heater going, I thought I would see what I could do about the lighter socket.

This proved to be the worst problem of the bunch.  Plugging my GPS into the socket caused the unit to beep madly.  Measuring the voltage showed 12V.  Measuring the voltage with the fuse out, killed the voltage.  Hot line works.  Measuring the ground for continuity measured zero ohms.  So why does the GPS go into a panic?

Then I remembered a test that I watched my dad perform years ago.  With the GPS running (beeping like crazy)  I measured the socket ground above the chassis ground.  I got three volts.  Ground is ground, there shouldn’t be any voltage on the ring side of the socket.  Bad Ground!

To shorten the story, I found a place under the dash where Tiffin had mated about 6 wires together connecting one of them to the chassis.  It was just a compression fitting smashed with a wiring pliers.  There’s the problem.

I cut it all apart, and stripped the wires again and wrapped them tightly and soldered the bundle.  I taped the whole mess and reassembled the dash.  This repair took all afternoon.  Half the time was to figure out the trouble.  Thanks to dad’s training, I knew what to do.  He’s been gone since 1994, but still influences my life all the time.  Dads are like that!

Retired Rod

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tests you can't studdy for!

I was up early to go into the Doctor's office for the fasting lab work, that all these Doc's want done these days.  But none of them arrive at the office before breakfast, and the earliest I could get in this morning, was 9:45.

The doc had left orders to the tech as to what tests I needed.  So I donated a few fluids, and was told to come back later.  I headed right for Mickey D's for a biscuit with sausage and egg!

Back at home, I couldn't really go anywhere, since I had to be back at the office in time for the 2 o'clock appointment with the Doctor.  He was there in the morning, as I walked right past him in the hallway, but my appointment was in the afternoon.

I won't go into detail about the exam, as some things are best left alone.  But lets just say they don't miss anything!

While I was home, the UPS truck came and delivered the big box with the Camry trailer hitch in it.  It was inside the box without any packing around it what so ever.  Like a big brick in a cardboard box.  When I stood the box on end, it fell over inside!

So after the doctor's office, I got all the tools out and managed to get the hitch up under and onto the back of the car.  It has 8 bolts that go in at various points in the frame of the car.  I had to take down the rear of the exhaust hangar, and put the hitch underneath, and then rebolt it all with bigger bolts.

It began to rain again, just as I was finishing up.  Luckily I was done, but I got rained upon putting the tools away. 

The hitch seems quite sturdy, and could probably haul a lot more than the 1,000 lbs that the car is rated for, but the engine and brakes of the Toyota are really not up to the task of pulling much more.

Remember, I plan to use this hitch for jockeying the trailer around in the campgrounds once we arrive.  This is only because it will be almost impossible to back up with the 38 foot motorhome.  Well, and see anything of what you are doing anyway.  The trailer wouldn't be visible, except in the dash camera.  I would hate to back up solely based on the camera.  Trouble!

So now the doctor's office is crossed off my departure list!  Yippy Skippy!!  And the trailer hitch is on the car.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The sprinkler guy came.

More 40 degree rain and drizzle.   So it was inside stuff again today.  The weather so handicaps my activities.  I have all this stuff on my to do list, but it is mostly outside work.

Speaking of outside work, the new sprinkler man from the new company arrived here at 10 AM this morning, and went directly to work. I joined him in the front yard as he was removing the cover from the anti back flow valve.

Two men standing in the rain looking down a hole in the ground.  He did something different right off the bat, as he hooked his compressor up to the first test chamber in the backflow valve, rather than the PVC port that the previous installer had installed for the blow out procedure.

This took me by surprise, as most of the guys blow out the system, and then just open the valve and let it drain by gravity.  He felt that he wanted the air to blow out the valve and completely clear the backflow chambers.

Makes sense, but it is not how the rest of the folks had done it in the past.  I wondered if the air would damage the foot valves in the anti back flow valve.  He did not leave it open, but rather closed it all up after he was done.  He claims all I need to do is turn on the water in the spring, since it is back to its normal run position.  With the main water valve off of course.

I spent some time getting ready to go see the Doc tomorrow, making lists of my current meds, and all the blood sugar readings since I was last in.

I am getting ready to go in tomorrow, mentally more than anything else. Seems like when you are getting along fine, they want to change it all and revamp your entire life.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It goes this way some of the time.

Since I blogged all day long while I fought with the template and header picture, I will invite you to go back and read my frustration and then the solution.

We had a day just like that today where everything I tried seemed to not be as it should be.  I called the Doctor's office and could not get an appointment to go in fasting, until after we want to leave here for Arizona.  That is a normal thing, they want you to make appointments over a month in advance.  Heck, I do not know what I will be doing next week.

But we have figured out to get my labs done first, and then see the Doctor in the afternoon, and after lunch.  That will be on Wednesday.  And that is good.  Get it out of the way.

We then tried to set up an appointment with the lawn sprinkler folks to get the pipes blown out, before we leave.  Long time readers will remember that I have routinely fought with these folks, as their bid never is what they charge,  and they never arrive when they say they will.

Perhaps I wasn't the only person to experience this problem, as their web site is off the air, and the phone numbers now go to a voice mail on personal cell phones.  I quickly decided that I didn't need their service anyway. 

So tomorrow I have an appointment with a newer bigger company here in South KC to get the system blown out.  Again they wanted to defer to after November, but some haggling, and suddenly they would be here overnight.  Time will tell on that one!

So the header picture is fixed and the appointments are made.  Not too exciting, but productive toward getting on the road just the same.

Retired Rod

Monday, October 12, 2009

More Minima Lefty Stretch

I have found the solution.  When you go into the edit screen on the header block under the Layout box, you have an option to discard the current photo.  Under that is two check boxes, to place the picture under the blog title text or inplace of the blog title text.

When you discard the photo with the replace check box, at the bottom of the screen, a third box shows up that says automatically shrink the photo to 725 pixels.  It is already checked, and needs to be unchecked before uploading the photo. 

Once unchecked, you then can upload a resized photo, and Al is correct that it needs to be 950 to 1000 pixels wide.  Keep the old aspect ratio and let the program resize the entire photo.

It was a miracle, as the picture suddenly centered itself.

So Al is right about the size needing to be around 950, but you have to turn off that autoshrink box, and it was off my laptop screen to the bottom, and I never scrolled down there to see it.  And, it only shows up when you discard the old photo. 

Retired Rod

Lefty Minima Stretch

I've messed around with this style sheet template for the blog for the last "who knows how long" days.  It is lefty, meaning the Gadgets and Information blocks are on the left.  I'm not left handed, but I like the left setup for some reason unknown to me or anyone else.

This is also the stretch format, that allows the blog body to be wider, to the right, than the narrow little blog down the middle of the page.  But like what I like or not, it has what I consider a flaw.

The darned header picture is shoved all the way left.  Well you picked left, and the title says left, so why not left header picture?  But then the text of the blog title is centered.  I did mess with the text in the HTML code and got it to move to the left, but what I really wanted was to center the picture!

Al of the Bayfield Bunch sent me some ideas about resizing the picture, but the format resizes the picture back to the header size no matter what size you make it.  I tried Picassa to resize it and also the HP photosmart program that comes with my HP laptop, but blogger makes it smaller and puts it on the left.  No options!  You get what they like!

I have messed with all the HTML code trying to find where the Left instruction needs to be changed to center, but alas I'm just not smart enough to see how the picture under the text is working, or it is a function that is not on the extended code page.

It centers itself if I use straight minima lefty, but not when I use the stretch version.  I'm stuck in blogger land, so to speak.

So if you have messed around with this problem, I would love to hear from you.

Retired Rod

A slow day and a trailer hitch.

So now how would it work out if you spent three days in a row worrying and fretting over a forecasted freeze?  Yep you guessed it! The lowest temperature reached in the KC area last night was 35 degrees.  Something about we kept our cloud cover, trapping the warmer air under them.  Thus not allowing the colder upper air to swarm in and freeze us. 

The forecast was based on clearing during the night and then much colder.  But it never cleared all day, and never got much warmer than 45 all day either.  As I write this, we show 41 on the weather station.  That was just cold enough to keep me inside all day.

I did go out and crawl under the Camry to look at the rear underside to see if the necessary bolts and welded frame nuts were on my vehicle, to attach a small trailer hitch.  I found them just as pictured on the internet.

I then ordered a class II hitch for the Camry.  It is a 2.4 L four cylinder, and I know I can’t pull anything very heavy or very far, but if I can use the car to jockey the trailer into a parking place at the campground, it will be so much easier than parking the trailer with the motorhome.

At least that is my thinking at this point.  Drop the trailer and park the motorhome on its spot.  Then park the trailer with the car at 1 mile per hour.  Even the four cylinder should be able to handle that task.  Otherwise I will always have to have pull thru sites.  Everywhere!  Always and everywhere are not reality in the real world.

Today has otherwise been a stay at home, do nothing day.  I have studied the ham radio DStar stuff for most of the afternoon, and researched blogs on the internet for the rest. 

After watching college football yesterday, I left the TV off for all of today.  But I am still savoring the Hawkeye win.

Retired Rod

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Iowa beat Michigan!

Even Ohio State has big trouble with Michigan, but we managed to hold on to a lead and win again tonight.  That keeps our undefeated streak alive for yet another week.  We are 6 and 0 for the season and bowl eligible right now.

But the schedule is Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State.  That seems insurmountable, but still every Saturday is a new day and anything can happen.  I don’t want to jinx anything by saying they might loose.   But all of us Hawkeyes are very happy so far in this season.

Now back to the motorhome.  The forecast this morning changed from just barely freezing to 26 degrees and a hard freeze for tonight.  That means I had to rethink the theory that we don’t need pink stuff yet.  Ah, yes we do!

So this afternoon, I was back out to the storage lot with my bottles of pink antifreeze and the tool kit.  I tried the blow out the water with the air compressor bit, and didn’t have a lot of success.  The air went in OK, but I never got any water to come out.  The lines never really pressurized with air.  I was losing the air out of the system, but never figured out where.

The air just kept on running, and no water ever appeared at the sinks.  I gave up and switched to pumping pink stuff with the water pump. 

You have to take the hoses off of the water pump, and connect a short hose to go into the bottle of antifreeze.  And since this is a brand new to me rig, I got the hoses mixed up and the pump was blowing bubbles in the jug.   Uh, what’s wrong here?  Once the hoses were on the pump right, the pink stuff began filling the water filter canister.  There is no way to bypass that item, so it just takes a lot more stuff.

I had no problem getting the water out ahead of the pink stuff in each sink, and there was still a lot of clear water in the lines after the air treatment, so air did not work well for me.

I have never had a ice cube maker in an RV before, so opening the refrigerator back and disconnecting the line to it was a new experience.  I did get antifreeze to come out from the hand shut off once the line was disconnected.  I can only hope the little line from the bottom valve to the top of the cube maker is empty, as I couldn’t get that part disconnected.

So now it can hard freeze tonight,  and we should be good to go.

I had to get the project complete, as it was getting time for the game kickoff.    Michigan played a heck of a game, and it is too bad that they were not rewarded, but there can only be one winner.  That’s what is wrong with sports, it doesn’t teach that sometimes coming in second is OK.

Retired Rod

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cave Storage

You want to go to the cave?  I’m going to get the boat and put it in storage in the cave.  Well sure!  Why not.

So that started out my day.  My son Chris decided we needed to go get his boat down in Central Kansas and bring it home.  In the process, we drained the water from his camper, as we are flirting with the edge of freezing temperatures. 

It only takes a minute to pull the plugs from his RV which is stored on the same lot where the boat was located.  We are not supposed to have freezing temperatures for more than a quick overnight, so it should never reach freezing inside the rigs.  So no antifreeze quite yet.  He has hopes of another weekend before the pink stuff is necessary.

The cave is quite the experience, as they are really old mines that have been excavated many years ago.  I am not sure what they took out of the hillside, but it is mostly limestone that remains.  There are pillars of rock that hold up the various rooms, and long runs of lighting, that have been added since we were there two years ago.  It used to be pitch dark in there.

The farther you go underground, the more eerie it gets. Boats campers and cars are stored in long rows around the pillars of rock that hold up the overhead.  I am always happy to get the heck out of there once the boat is parked.  At least this year there were some little compact florescent bulbs wired along the ceiling every now and then. 

I thought it was unusual, that the wires were not in any conduit between light bulb sockets.  They were just fastened to the overhead rock with some sort of insulators as they ran along the roadway.  Must not be any electrical code in the damp reaches of the cave.  Or perhaps the conduit would rust out.  What about PVC conduit?  Rather think there are no rules.  It is in Missouri, and most anything goes in that state.

I drained the motorhome tanks and pipes this afternoon, but again did not use the pink stuff, as it is only to get about freezing, for a brief time in the middle of tomorrow night.  Folks on the ham radio are talking about snow, hope they are wrong!

Retired Rod

Friday, October 9, 2009

Recovery day and a call to Tiffin

Has winter arrived in a big way?  It seemed that way when we were in Wisconsin over the weekend, but it never occurred to me that it would follow me home to Kansas.

We spent today, never reaching 60 degrees.  I looked at the weather station all afternoon hoping that it would stop raining and warm up, but that just didn’t happen. 

Since we had been out and about for the last week, we had a down day today.  A charge your batteries type of day.  \

Loyce ran the washing machine almost all day long.  We have a front loader, and it takes almost an hour to finish a wash cycle, so when you have 6 or more loads from a week on the road, it takes a long time.

I made Taco Soup from the RV Dreams recipe, for a late lunch, but the second bowl became supper as well.  It is seasoned quite hot, and warms up the innards.

Otherwise I called Tiffin to see if I could get the parts sent to me that the RV dealer claims they can not acquire.  Within a few moments of explaining my windshield wiper troubles, they agreed to send me the switch and module that goes into the dash.  They also had the central vacuum wall plate that is broken as well.

I asked if my dealer had these parts on order, since they have blamed Tiffin for not sending them.  Tiffin has no record of ever receiving a request for these parts as warranty replacements for my vehicle. They use the VIN number to keep track of the warranty requests, and would have known instantly if there was a parts order, or any problem with the rig for that matter.

Perhaps the dealer just ordered the parts for stock without attaching a warranty claim on them, but Tiffin claimed they were current on all parts orders without any pending backorders for in stock parts.

So someone isn’t being up front with their information. 

Tiffin claimed that the parts will be shipped to me before tomorrow night.  Time will tell!

In the meantime I am more than frustrated with the RV dealer in Des Moines.

Retired Rod

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Travel and fun with Jean and Larry

We are back in KC tonight.  We left the COE park on Saylorville lake by 10:30, but spent some time at the dump station flushing the tanks.

Since we have to go to storage here in KC almost immediately the sewers must be clean when we leave a park on the last day. The hose fitting tank flush is a really big help in this regard.  I partially fill the tank, and let it go all at once, while the flush hose is hooked up.

We went to Winterset to meet up with Jean and Larry.  They live in the Greenfield area, but we each drove half the distance having lunch in the Bar and Grill next to the Pamida.  It was great to see these good friends again.  The gals went up town to Fond's and Porter's Quilt shope, to browse the latest supplies.

Larry and I went to Farm and Home but didn't buy anything.  Winterset is preparing for their annual covered bridge festival, and seemed to be quite busy today.

We had left the motorhome at the truck stop on I 80 and took the car to Winterset.  It was about 3:30 when we got back and headed South.

From there we drove back to KC, stopping in the Quick Trip truck stop North of the downtown construction mess.  They had diesel for $2.329, a good 12 cents below all the other stations in Missouri.  Iowa was $2.59.

Tonight we loaded our stuff out, and put the rig back in storage, it made a big day for us.

We started the day when the CO detector began to beep at 4:30 in the morning.  This is the second detector we have had in the rig, and it is in the bed pedestal.  We do not have an in line fuse, so to disable it we must remove a fuse in the fuse panel.  The problem with doing this is it kills most of the 12 volt stuff in the back bedroom, such as most of the lights.

It was really cold last night on the lake, and we had some frost this morning.  Both heaters were running at the same time, as well as the electric space heater, so together they must have triggered the detector.  We are not dead from sleeping in the RV so any CO that was present must have been slight.

I've rambled long enough.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Picking up the repaired motorhome.

But it won’t track the satellite when I move the coach or even drive a little way.  The switch says track and the instruction book says to hold the track button 3 seconds and then it will track.  This is the King Dome on the top of the motorhome.  Its set up for receiving direct tv.

So I ask the repair fellow how to make the dome track.  And I make a big to do about demonstrating the dome finding the satellite and holding the track button just like the book says.  Then I started the motor and drove backwards with the wheel turned.  The dome immediately  lost the signal and couldn’t get it back.

The repair guy takes his hat off and scratches his head, and admits that he has no idea.  I ask him what I need to do to get it repaired. Where do I go to find someone that does know how this works?

So he calls a friend on his cell phone, a mystery gentleman that must work for someone else, or perhaps it was a co worker in Minneapolis.  They have a long discussion about the dome, and finally decide that they need the model and serial number.

The repair guy climbs up the back ladder and examines the dome, recording the data.  The guy on the other end of the phone must have a way to look the numbers up, and declares that we have a stationary dome.  One that only picks up the signal once it has stopped.  If the coach is moved, you must reboot the entire system from off and wait until it goes thru the entire routine again.

I was amazed, and break out into a frenzy asking why, almost like one of my three year old grand kids.

So how do I verify this fact, or should I just follow in line and believe what I was told?  I have the buttons for the tracker dome, but not the equipment that it is supposed to run?  I fell silent, not knowing how to respond.  I never have seen an official equipment list, so I can’t even be mad. 

As I left the parking lot, the CO detector starts beeping madly in the back bedroom.  Protesting the presence of a gas that will kill me, that they tell me does not exist.  It beeped all the way to the campground.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Repairs and the Wedding Pictures

Again we had to get up at 6:30 to get ourselves organized and packed for heading into the repair shop at our dealer.  It took us 30 or more minutes to drive to the shop, and we were there by 9:30.  We completely skipped breakfast. 

Once we went thru the list with the mechanic, we took off for the Village Inn in Altoona.  I had the grand slam or some such mega breakfast, and Loyce had a skillet that had the kitchen sink in it.

From there we went and investigated the Core of Engineers park at Saylorville Lake North of Des Moines.  Most all the parks were closed for the season, but Cherry Glen is still open, and to make the story short, we are there tonight, with water and electric.  We do have to watch our usage as we are filling the sewer tank.

Tonight we were back over to the Father in Laws to visit with the family.

Of course, they didn’t get all the stuff done that was on our list as they are in need of parts, and do not have them from the factory.  At least that is the story.  I’m not sure they will ever get the parts, so I will have to call the factory myself.

This should be an ongoing story about Tiffin, and I will report on it as it plays out.

I promised some of the pictures from Nick and Lindsay’s wedding, so they will follow.

DSC_0412  Nick in the center, and his brothers.  As the ceremony was getting under way, it was 45 degrees, and the rain was pouring out of the sky.  Remember we are on an island like finger of land that sticks out into the Mississippi river.

Mom and Dad lead the  bride to the tent where we are all hiding from the wind and cold. 



The vows


The kiss the bride part.  I jumped the gun a split second.


Presented as Mr and Mrs, I’m not sure which one is more pleased. They both look happy.


Our family shot.  I had one of the fellows from the other side take the picture, so I am the old white hair guy behind Nick.


This cake is awfully gooey!


The testimonials, they are always a stitch.


You can just tell this guy is up to no good, while the brother looks on with a non committal “I know nothing expression.”


The first dance, quite the couple, we think anyway.  But then this is after several years of dating so they have been together as a couple for several years.


We wish them all the best, for a wonderful life together!

Retired Rod

Monday, October 5, 2009

The trip back to Des Moines

I know I promised pictures, but it is after 10 PM again as I finally get this computer out of the laptop case and booted.  The camera is locked up in the car, which is next to the motorhome in the next site. They have all gone to bed, and I think I should leave it that way.

We were up at 7 this morning, as the whole motel came alive, with kids running thru the halls and stomping on the floor above us.  My head hurt, from no sleep, as I hear every little sound in places like this and never really go completely to sleep.

Breakfast was one of those continental types, but they also had sausage links and biscuits and gravy.  The attraction was the waffle irons and a fresh waffle mix machine.  But since syrup is not really on my diet, I had to pass on that.

We spent the longest time saying goodbye, in the parking lot, which is traditional on the wife's side of the family.  And then at the stroke of 11 AM we were off for the 250 mile trip back to Des Moines.  I had my wife's sister Kathy following me in her car.

I spent 20 plus years as an auditor in Iowa traveling from farm Coops to the next town and their Coop.  So a map is not of much use to me.  We snaked from town to town on all manner of roads, eventually arriving in Des Moines about 4 PM.

We had stopped for an hour in Grundy Center where the girls used to live when they were kids.  That was a bit of fun, as they reminisced being preacher's daughters in small town Iowa.

We then traveled on to the campground where we slowly backed the motorhome out of its parking place in the muddy field. We crossed the culvert in the ditch between the storage field and the main part of the campground.  I parked on an empty site, and set up enough for Loyce to begin working our stuff out of the trunk.  I had to go re register, since our fees had expired.

Tonight we went over to Loyce's dad's house, where another daughter Betsy lives with dad.  Leroy is 94, and enjoys the company of his daughters very much. So we had an evening meal and told stories new and old into the night.

So that brings me back here well after the campground has retired for the night, and without any blogs read for the day or those pictures that I promised processed and ready to put on line.

Tomorrow we have to get over to the RV dealer, and see if we can get some of our repair items addressed.  That should make an interesting day!

Retired Rod

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mr and Mrs Nick and Lindsay Hazel

Our whirlwind tour of Southwest Wi, is over, and we have married off another niece!  The party was just beginning to hop, when us old folks had to depart.  But we stayed for the traditional dances where mom and dad dance with the kids, you know the routine.

We had a nice dinner of both ham and chicken, with cheesy potatoes.  That is hard on my waist line so I took seconds.   But since sugar is not my friend, I skipped the cake all together.

I have some pictures, but they are all locked up in the camera, so I will have to dig them out once we get back to the Rig.

So its late here now, and lights out has been declared!

Retired Rod

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Here we go!

As JB points out, I might have arrived here goofy, and the motel will not have any effect on that status.  LOL!

But it is now the lul before the storm, I am dressed and waiting for the little woman to get her final look together.  We have less than an hour to be out in the park where it is still 50 degrees and raining.  They have put up a big pavilion type tent, with sides facing the Southwest.  Of course that is the side that faces the Mississippi river.

The Vila Louis is on sort of an Island that protrudes out into the actual river, and if it would have been sunny and 70, it would have been really pretty.

I 'm sure it will be late tonight, so returning to post on the blog, will get me into more trouble than I can handle, so maybe tomorrow, I can sneak in a comment or two

Retired Rod

Friday, October 2, 2009

Prairie Du Chien

Just a quick post to say we are at the Country Inn's and Suites in Prairie Du Chien, Wisc.  We are here to participate in the marriage of Loyce's niece Lindsay, to Nick Harzel. 

We arrived late this afternoon, and several others arrived at the same time. It was rain rain rain all the way up here, and it is about 45 degrees here and overcast.

We did a hurry up packup of the Motorhome, and jammed it over the rain culvert to the storage side of the creek.  Let's hope it doesn't rain so much we can't get it back out.  After locking thing up, we blasted out of Des Moines in the car.  Never stopping for a minute anywhere until we arrived in Waterloo. 

We got off the Highway 20 bypass at the crossroads shopping mall, and did a quick Burger King!  Not too healthy, but it was quick and we were back on the road.  We kept at Highway 20 until Dyersville, where we intended to head North to Guttenburg.  We ran smack dab into the homecoming parade from Beckman Highshclool.  It blocked the highway right thru the center of town.  With the railroad tracks and creeks thru town, there was no bypass.  The GPS was befuddled!

I am stuck in a hotel for the next two nights, so lets hope the party is a long one, and the internet access doesn't become slow.  Or I'll be goofy by Sunday. LOL

Retired Rod

In Des Moines for a night.

Its late at night again, and we are in the Motorhome parked at the Timberline Campground just outside of Waukee, Iowa.  This is the Western edge of the Des Moines metro area.

We are in the country, and on a converted farm, way in the back of the place.  Our windows face the north grove, and the fence line of the property.  The fields seem to stretch forever beyond the campground.

We are only about 3 miles north of the I 80 interstate, but are sufficiently far enough that I can only hear the wind in the slide toppers.  Wind?  Why yes we had some wind on the way up here.

It seemed to start just as we were crossing the state line,  and suddenly the grim reaper had a hold of the side of the Rig!  Shaking me violently. I fought the battle for the next 70 miles.

The rain started about 50 miles North of KC, and we had 55 degrees most of the afternoon.  Tonight it is much colder, but I haven’t looked yet to see how cold.  I just set the propane heaters, to keep us in the mid 60’s. 

We also have an electric space heater in the bedroom too.  We should be like a bug in a rug.

Tonight we went into a Chinese buffet that my ham buddies use for a Friday luncheon meeting.  They have more food than you can possibly eat.  But I tried to get some of everything.  Well not exactly, but I sure am full.

The leaves are falling from the trees, and I hear them on the top of the rig, and the slide toppers make kind of a popping noise.  Then the silence is deafening.   I live in the city, and am used to all kinds of city sounds.  From our house I can hear the trains in the distance, and the constant noise of the cars on the major street two blocks North.  There’s the wind in the trees again.  Whooooosh……………..

Retired Rod

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Loading up and a Birthday party!

The motor home came over to the house this morning, and has stayed all day.  It did not go back to storage tonight, as we will pull out by noon tomorrow.  I hope!

We really are not taking a lot of food stuff, as we will be leaving the rig and traveling by car, over the weekend.

I'm not sure what I did all day, as I never started the motor scooter.  Seems as though I spent a bunch of time at the command prompt in ubuntu linux, removing and reinstalling the latest Sun Java programs.  I'm not too good at the command prompt, and have to follow instructions very carefully, since even one letter typed in wrong kills the entire project.

Once you know the commands, you recognize mistakes more quickly, but since I am largely copying commands written by others, errors go unnoticed.  I was to enter the file /etc/jvm, and inadvertently entered /etc/jvn.  It took me the longest time to see the difference.

I never did get the application that I wanted to run correctly, but installing the latest version of  Java sure made facebook run a lot better.

I went to the bank and got some cash, and then carried a bunch of clothes out to the rig closet.

Tonight we had a birthday party for Emmerson, who turned 6 years old.  She went to school this year for kindergarten, since she missed the cut off last year by about a month.  She goes all day though, in a pilot program for kids who's parents think they can handle it.  Heck she's been going all day to preschool since she was 2 years old.  She would be lost if she had to cut back to half days.  Happy Birthday Ema!!!

Retired Rod    

Happy Happy Happy, I get to make diesel fuel into smoke tomorrow!