Daily Archives: July 10, 2022

Great Wolf . . .

Jan and I left the rig about 1pm, first for lunch at Gator’s Bar & Grill, our usual delicious meal. Then it was on up the feeder to HEB for our weekly stuff, and then we headed toward home. But on the way to Gator’s we had seen a small sign for Down South RV Park on our street, but further south from us, at 6416, or so we thought. We’re at 5737, so we decided to drive down to take a look.

But when got to 6416, there was no RV park there. So when we got home, I Googled it and found we had read the address wrong (it was one of those small yard sale signs) and it was really 8416. So we’ll try again another time.

Two big changes are coming to the Webster area.

First our late-lamented Fry’s Electronics Store, which starting dying a few years ago and finally croaked for good last year. Opening in 2004, it was built on a space theme, outside

Fry's 0

and inside.

Fry's 1

Fry's 2

Fry's 4

Fry's 5

And now the location is being resurrected as the new home of Axiom Space, who is currently designing and building the first commercial space station.

“The building’s high ceilings will support Axiom’s plans for full-scale mockups and engineering units of its own space station. You may remember that there’s a mockup of the ISS hanging from the ceiling — all of the space-related pieces and other space features unique to the facility’s design will stay in place. Axiom’s initial plans for the building are to support 400 employees, all assigned to engineering work on the Axiom Station, including development across all of its subsystems.”

I’m glad to see that they’re keeping the place pretty much intact.

And the second is a really big one.

A Great Wolf Lodge Entertainment Center is coming to Webster, and not too far from Fry’s. And it’s coming in 2024.

Great Wolf Lodge Webster

Great Wolf Lodge

Dirt is moving at the 35-acre site just behind the American Furniture Warehouse along the Gulf Freeway. This will be the second Great Wolf Lodge in the state. The development is set to open in 2024,

The resort and water park will encompass at least 400,000 square-feet of entertainment and lodging space with at least 75,000 square feet for the waterpark plus 10,000 square feet for an indoor convention center facility.

Flyway, a 120-acre development is planned by Medistar next to the Great Wolf. The plan will focus on adult and family entertainment including 1.6 million square feet of retail and restaurant development and an event lawn for things such as movie nights and outdoor concerts.

This is going to be a really big addition to our area. Can’t wait.

This evening Jan and I finished up the last two episodes of Only Murders In The Building. Or at least the last two episodes of Season 1.

And they’ve certainly set things up for Season 2. Which is already streaming.

We also watched the first episode of Season 3 of Evil, another favorite of ours. Just as creepy and scary as last year.

Thought For The Day:

We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others. – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

July 10, 2009

Night (or Day) at the Museums…

We have really been enjoying the unseasonable cool temperatures here in Washington. Normally, it would be in the mid 90’s here in the day time and in the 70’s at night.

Instead, it has been in the low 80’s in the day time and the low 60’s at night. I just read that New York City had its coolest June since 1958.

So much for Global Warming.

We took the Metro into DC again this morning, but only the Orange line. We didn’t have to change trains this time since the Orange goes right past the main Smithsonian museums,  the Museum of American History, and the Museum of Natural History.

We started out with the American History Museum in the Contemporary Culture area.

Besides Archie Bunker’s chair, they also had Jerry Seinfeld’s infamous “Puffy Shirt”.

Puffy Shirt

And, of course,  Judy Garland’s Ruby Slippers from the “Wizard of Oz”.

Ruby Slippers

They also had a entire Lincoln exhibit, including the derringer that John Wilkes Booth used to kill him,  and the top hat Lincoln was wearing when he was shot.

Lincoln's Hat

They also had a large piece of the Berlin Wall, complete with graffiti.

Berlin Wall

In the Transportation exhibit, they had a Travel Trailer from the 1930’s that it looks like we could be right at home in.

A little cramped, maybe, but right at home.

Travel Trailer

In the History section they had the gunboat “Philadelphia” that was built and sunk in 1776.   The “Philadelphia”  is the only surviving gunboat built and manned by American Forces during the Revolutionary War.  Salvaged from Lake Champlain in 1935, hundreds of items were recovered from the vessel. These relics included shot, cooking utensils, tools, buttons, buckles and human bones.


But Jan and I both agree that the most impressive exhibit was the actual flag that flew over Fort McHenry in 1814 during the British attack that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star Spangled Banner”. 

This is a picture from the Internet since they don’t allow photographs any longer.

Fort McHenry Flag

The original flag was 30 by 42 feet with 15 stars and 15 stripes.  At the time it was the practice to add a star and a stripe for each new state.

I guess they didn’t anticipate 50 states some day.  It was 1818 before the flag was standardized at 13 strips

The flag is now about 30 x 38 feet and has a star missing due to souvenirs being cut off before the 1880’s.

It’s hard to look at this flag and not get a catch in your throat.

After lunch at the Museum Cafeteria, we headed down the street to the Museum of Natural History.

Maybe the most impressive thing we saw was the Hope Diamond.

Hope Diamond

The deep blue Hope Diamond is presently 45.52 carats, but its first known precursor was the 115 carat Tavernier Blue that was sold to Louis XIV of France in 1669.  It was apparently brought back from India by a French merchant-traveler named Jean-Baptiste Tavernier.

It was later cut down to a 67-1/8 carat stone called the French Blue.

It is not known when the French Blue was cut down to the Hope Diamond, but the first time it was seen in its present form was in 1812.

After wandering thru more exhibits than I can remember, we headed back to the Metro station to catch a train home before the going-home rush hit.

We got on the first train and headed out…for one stop.

Then our train broke down.  And we all had to get off the train.

Luckily, we were at a station when it died. It was a half hour before they got our broke train out of the way.  And then it was another 15 minutes before another train pulled in.  And it was full.  And so were the next 3 or 4.

So an hour later, we were finally on our way. So much for getting an early start.

Tomorrow, we plan to see George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon.

July 10, 2010

Going Back to Jackson…

Going back to Jackson by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash

We left Miss Ellie’s RV Park about 10:15 am heading for Jackson, MS about 230 miles away. We were hoping to stay at the Moose Lodge in Jackson, but I couldn’t get anyone on the phone to find out if they had a site available.


I tried at 9 am, and then again at 10, right before we hit the road. No luck.

Finally, a little after 1 pm, only about 90 minutes out of Jackson, I got a hold of someone who said they had a site with full hookups available.

We got there about 2:30 pm and got set up. This Moose lodge has 3 sites, 1  50 amp and 2  30 amp sites, with water and sewer hookups. It doesn’t look like anyone has stayed here in a while. And one water tap is not working..

But it’s perfect for us, and free too. The manager said the the first night was free. I told him we’d only be here one night, and he said “No problem”.


After we got set up and settle in, we headed down the road about a half a mile to Sonny’s BBQ, one of our two favorite BBQ places. (The other one is Famous Dave’s BBQ.)

After a great BBQ meal of ribs, sliced pork, beans, corn, fries,and Mac N Cheese, we drove over to a nearby Kroger to pick up some groceries, and then it was home for the night to watch Dr. Who.

Tomorrow we head over to Montgomery, AL for a couple of days to catch up with some old friends we still correspond with, but haven’t seen in person for over 30 years.

On To Little Diamond

July 10, 2011

Pizza and Plugs . . .

I got up about 10 this morning, made coffee, and hit the Internet for a while. Then around noon, Jan heated up the leftover pizza from Bremerton, along with chips and onion dip. Like most Italian food, the pizza got better with age.

I had planned to install the plugs and receptacles on my transfer switch bypass this morning, but got sidetracked when I went outside to shut the shore power off.

I found a bag hanging on the door containing a gift for Jan, a knitted dishcloth, and a note from Jeanne of Jeannie and Eldy asking if we wanted to have dinner tonight. The funny thing was that Jan had just read their blog a little earlier, saw they were here, and said we should get in touch. They mentioned their AT&T cell phones weren’t working too well here, so a little later I drove down to their rig to check in.

Eldy was there and said Jeanne was out hiking with her brother and he’d check with her when she got back about time and place for dinner.

Eldy and I talked RV’ing for a while, and then I came home and got back to work on my wiring job.

Installing the two plugs on the wires going to the circuit breaker panel was easy, well as easy as working with #8 wires that don’t want to bend can be, and it only took a few minutes to install each one.

50 amp plug

50 amp receptacle

But the receptacles on the shore power and generator leads were a different story.

I needed to lengthen the wires so I would have enough room to work, but as it turned out I needed more wire than I had anticipated. So I decided to just wire up the shore power and wait until we’re closer to civilization in the next few days, near Spokane.

Finally about 4:30 I had it all wired up and tested with no resultant sparks or smoke. Always a good sign.

About 6 pm we met Jeanne and Eldy at their rig and headed out for pizza at the Headwater’s Pub & Pizza a few miles down the road.

Eldy & Jeanne

We spent a couple of fun hours talking about traveling, RV’ing, and life in general, and had a really good time.

Leaving Headwater’s we said our goodbyes and goodnights. Hopefully we’ll see them down the road soon.

We got back to the rig a little before 8 pm so I started putting things away outside and getting us ready to travel tomorrow.

We’re moving about 270 miles away to Newport, WA, to the Little Diamond Thousand Trails park, which is about 40 miles north of Spokane. We plan on beginning there for 4 nights before heading over to Glacier National Park for a few days.

Brandi sent this picture of Landon having a Nap Attack. Kids can fall asleep anywhere.

Sleepy Head Nap Attack

More tomorrow from Little Diamond.

July 10, 2013

A Two’fer . . .

Today was pretty much our main reason for coming to South Dakota this year. It was time to renew our drivers licenses. So we were up at 6am and on our way to the DMV by 6:45.  Luckily they’re located only about a mile and a half from the fairgrounds, so we were there and in line at the door by 6:55. And with only about 6 people in front of us. it didn’t take us long to start the process.

Originally I had thought we would drive over to Mitchell for our licenses and avoid the two or three hour waits I had heard about. But after checking the drive time over there and hearing from the camp host here at the fairgrounds that it wasn’t that busy in the middle of the week, I decided to do it here in Sioux Falls. And under the circumstances, it was good we stayed local.

One of the pieces of ID we needed to renew was an SS card, or something with our SS number on it. Jan was sure she had her SS card but she didn’t. What she had was her Medicare card, which had her SS number on it, but for some reason it’s not one they take. So I drove back to the rig to grab another form of ID for Jan. And even with all that we were out in about 45 minutes. No problem and we’re good for another 5 years.

One thing that I was able to clarify was how we renew in another 5 years. We were originally told that from now on we could renew online. Well, yes and no.

You can only renew online every other 5 years because they don’t want you to go more than 10 years without a new picture. And when you do renew online you still have to furnish a vision test from an optometrist. But the real kicker is that you also still have to furnish something to show residency. Which for RV’ers is campground receipt. Which means we have to be here anyway.

Oh, well.

Since it was now about 8am we decided to have breakfast at a local place called the Fry’n Pan. Good food and good coffee.

Fryn Pan 1

I had the really unique Country Pork Breakfast.

Fryn Pan 2

The first thing unusual about this meal was that there was pulled pork BBQ on the biscuits under the gravy. But the really neat part was that it came with Chicken Fried Bacon!

Yes, Chicken Fried Bacon. And boy, was it good. It was crispy-crunchy without being tough and chewy. I want more.

Getting back to the rig about 9 we both ended up napping for a couple of hours. Turns out a morning nap is even better than an afternoon nap.

One thing we wanted to do here in Sioux Falls is to catch up on some movies. So about 12:30 we headed down the road a few miles to see two movies, Iron Man 3 and Now You See Me. A two’fer, so to speak.

Both movies turned out to be really good. In fact we both agreed that we liked IM3 better than 1 or 2. The action was just as good, but the storyline was better than the first 2. And we thought the first 2 were really good. But this one was better.

We also really like Now You See Me too. The illusions were great, and the plot twists and turns kept you trying to figure out what was going on and who was behind it.

And you won’t know until the very end. Both movies well recommended.

By the time we got out of the second movie is was about 6pm, so we decided on the Old Chicago Pizza right down the street for supper. And it turned out much better than last week in Gillette. They didn’t lose our order, and they didn’t run out of cheesecake.

Tomorrow, probably more movies.

July 10, 2014

Signs of the Times . . .

Today was a “Play Tourist Day”, so we all left the park about 11, heading for Cincinnati, about 40 miles away. Our first stop was supposed to be the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center , but before we could get there we got stuck in Cincinnati Reds game day traffic, and traveled about 100 feet in 45 minutes.

So we changed our plans and headed across town to the American Sign Museum. Sounds kind of boring, right? But it was anything but.

Starting outside with the classic Holiday Inn sign welcoming you.

American Sign Museum 1

I’m not sure what the Big Pink Pig represents. Maybe a BBQ place?

Much of the museum is in a city street layout with individual storefronts showing off store signs.

American Sign Museum 5

And of course you have other classics like Howard Johnson’s,

American Sign Museum 4

And, of course, McDonald’s. You can tell how old this sign is by the 15 cent hamburger price. And based on the ‘Over One Billion Sold’, it’s from 1963-64. Note that these are full size signs, about 30 feet tall.

American Sign Museum 6

American Sign Museum 7

American Sign Museum 8

This small sign in a window was one of Jan’s favorites. The letters are actually ‘Bubble Light’s’ like the Christmas Tree ornaments.

American Sign Museum 9

And this is a really interesting display of 3 dimension letters.

American Sign Museum 10

After our very enjoyable visit to the Sign Museum, we headed off for a stop at Jungle Jim’s Market, a really neat grocery store we had visited twice before. But not knowing there were actually two of them in Cincinnati, we ended up at the smaller one.

So since it was on the way back to the park anyway, we went on around the 275 loop to the big one. If you’ve never been here, it’s hard to imagine. They even have maps to help you find your way around.

Jungle Jim 2

Pretty much any kind of vegetable, fruit, cheese, meat, etc. that you’ve ever heard of, they have it. They even have about 40 different types of olives.

Jungle Jim 3

And they have a firetruck atop their display of what must be every kind on hot sauce ever made.

Jungle Jim 7

Finally leaving Jungle Jim’s, we stopped off and had dinner at a nearby Uno’s Chicago Grill & Pizzeria, a place we ate at two years ago when we were last in the area. Just as good this time.

Tomorrow looks to be a goof-off day. Yes!

More From Amarillo

July 10, 2015

Cadillacs and Old RV’s . . .

Jan and I headed out about 1pm for some touristy things, but our first stop was the Cummins Diesel place right across the Interstate from us. In one of those ‘Doh’ moments, I figured that they would have the green antifreeze I needed if anyone would.

And they did have it, and the lady brought me out the 2 gallons I wanted, and was starting to ring me up when I noticed this.

Zerex Antifreeze 1

I told the lady that, no, I wanted diesel antifreeze, not auto antifreeze. She then smiled and turned the jug around and I saw this.

Zerex Antifreeze 2

Apparently since I last bought antifreeze for the rig, about two years ago, things have changed and they now make just one antifreeze for both. So it’s probable that I was looking at the right antifreeze before, but didn’t read the back of the jug. Oh well. Live and learn. I’ll still probably drain my green and replace it with red this winter.

Next, Jan and I headed about 10 miles west of town to visit Cadillac Ranch.

Cadillac Ranch 1

Cadillac Ranch 2

Funded by a local millionaire who owned the property, it was constructed in 1974 as an art project, and then moved further west in 1997. The cars are periodically repainted and visitors are encouraged to add their own artwork.

Cadillac Ranch 3

And as you can see, they do it very well.

Heading back into town, our next stop was the Traveland RV  Museum.

Traveland RV  Museum 0

Part of a large RV dealership, it displays many examples from the early days of RV’s.

Traveland RV  Museum 1

Here’s the prototype Itasca, serial #1, from 1975.

1975 Itasca

This is a 1953 Fleetwood, from the first year they built them.

1953 Fleetwood

This is a 1923 Kamp Kar, one of only a very few left.

1923 KampKar

This is an Airstream, used by Wally Byam, founder of Airstream, to travel the world in the 40’s and 50’s.

Wally Byam's Airstream

And this 1948 Flxible was used in the movie “RV” with Robin Williams. A really beautiful coach.

1948 Flxible from RV

And lastly, a very rare Harley Davidson bicycle, and one of only two left-hand sidecar bikes still in existence.

HD Bikes

I didn’t even cover half of the RV’s here, so check it out when you’re in Amarillo. It’s free.

Our next stop was out by the airport where we visited the Texas Air & Space Museum. I wasn’t really expecting a lot since I knew they were just getting it off the ground. But what I wasn’t expecting to run into an old friend.

NASA G2 Shuttle Simulator 1

This is one of four Grumman Gulfstream II’s that NASA reconfigured to act as a Shuttle Landing Aircraft (STA). And it’s one of two of the four that I worked on at Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center when I was with NASA.

NASA G2 Shuttle Simulator 2

The left seat is configured with Space Shuttle controls and displays, and by approaching the landing strip with the main gear extended and the engines in reverse thrust, it simulates the Shuttle approach glide angle, I.e. the glide angle of a falling brick.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get a shot of the telemetry gear I installed and maintained without standing in one of the seats, which I didn’t think they’d appreciate.

It’s always nice to run into an old friend, especially so unexpectedly. It’ll be interesting to check back in a couple of years and see what’s new.

Our final stop for the day was for dinner at the Big Texan Steak Ranch, home of the 72oz Steak Challenge.

BigTexan 1

We last ate here in 2010 and definitely wanted to come back, but not to try the challenge. Just for a good steak.

The 72oz Steak Challenge has been around since the 60’s and is still going strong today. If you can eat a 72oz steak, a shrimp cocktail, a baked potato, a salad, and a roll, you get the steak free. Otherwise it costs you $72.00.

Here are the rules

The 72oz Steak Rules

Meal consists of: Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Potato, Salad, with Roll, Butter, and of course the 72 oz. Steak

  1. Entire meal must be completed in one hour. If any of the meal is not consumed (swallowed)…YOU LOSE!
  2. Before the time starts, you will be allowed to cut into the steak, and take one bite. If the steak tastes good and is cooked to your satisfaction, we will start the time upon your acceptable approval. The time will not stop, and the contest is on, so make SURE before you say “yes.”
  3. Once you have started you are not allowed to stand up, leave your table, or have anyone else TOUCH the meal.
  4. You will be disqualified if anyone assists you in cutting, preparing or eating of your meal. This is YOUR contest.
  5. You don’t have to eat the fat, but we will judge this.
  6. Should you become ill, the contest is over… YOU LOSE! (Please use the container provided as necessary.)
  7. You are required to pay the full amount up front; if you win we will refund 100%.
  8. You must sit at a table that we assign.
  9. If you do not win the steak challenge, you are welcome to take the leftovers with you.
  10. No consumption or sharing of the leftovers is allowed in the restaurant once the contest is over.
  11. If you fail to complete the challenge, you must pay the full $72 dollars.

The table you sit at for the challenge is up on a raised stage and looks like this.
BigTexan 5

Two guys were about 30 minutes into a challenge when we got there and I was able to hook my Galaxy Tab into their WiFi and watch it from across the room. Unfortunately they need a better camera.

Big Texan 2

As it turned out, one of the guys won and got his name up on the board and his meal free. The second guy finished, but not before the one hour was up.

I got the 18oz Ribeye,

Big Texan 3

and Jan got a 20oz New York Strip. She wanted to have enough leftovers to take home for sandwiches. Both steaks were juicy and tender, and because they were grilled over an open flame, the edges were nicely charred.

For dessert we got a slice of their Carrot Cake to go.

BigTexan 7

Yes, a slice of their Carrot Cake fills up a standard take home container. We’ll probably get 3 servings each out of this.

That was about it for today. Tomorrow we’ve got a 313 mile run to Pauls Valley, OK to spend a few days visiting with our son-in-law Lowell’s parent’s Sonja and Lendel.

Really looking forward to it.

On To Oklahoma

July 10, 2016

Only Six

It’s been long said that there are only 6 (or 7, or 12, take your pick) basic stories (emotional arcs, plots, themes, again take you pick) in all of literature. But now it must true, because a computer said so.

Researchers data-mined 1700 books from all genres gathered from Project Gutenberg, eliminating dictionaries and related books to establish to come up with the themes.

And here they are:

  • “Rags to riches” (the story gets better over time);
  • “Man in a hole” (fortunes fall, but the protagonist bounces back);
  • “Cinderella” (there’s an initial rise in good fortunes, followed by a setback, but a happy ending)
  • “Tragedy” or “riches to rags” (things only get worse);
  • “Oedipus” (bad luck, followed by promise, ending in a final fall)
  • “Icarus” (opens with good fortunes, but doomed to fail)

You can read more about it here. Six Basic Stories

Now that it’s the middle of summer, the sandspurs are in bloom. Of course you may call them grass burrs, burr weeds, or cockleburs, But growing up on the Gulf Coast, they’ll always be sandspurs to me.


Well, they’re everywhere here now. Of course they’re always here to some extent, but this is ridiculous.

Sandspus on Crocs

This is one short trip out to the truck. Then I have to careful scrape them off into the garbage can. But of course, one or two always manage to escape, and then lay in wait for a passing bare foot.


Wrapping up, we found out yesterday that our long-time friend Pat Benson passed away on Friday. We first met Pat and his wife Judy when we were workcamping in Fairbanks, AK in 2008,.

Pat and Judy were staying at the same RV, but were working for one of the area’s gold mine attractions. Pat was the grizzled old prospector, while Judy worked in the business office.

We next saw them in June 2010 when we visited them where they live in Draper, UT, just south of Salt Lake City.

Pat and Judy

Then while we were gate-guarding in October 2014 up near College Station, Pat, Judy, and their daughter showed up to visit us at the gate . . . and they brought Rudy’s BBQ.


Our condolences to Judy and the Benson family.

Pat will be missed.

Conroe Thousand Trails

July 10, 2017

Bathing Your Keyboard . . .

Because the Weather Channel forecasted PM Thunderstorms for Conroe yesterday, I didn’t remove the rooftop cover for our front AC unit for the trip over.

I had wanted to see if it made any difference in the cooling capacity of the unit while we’re on the road compared to when we’re parked.

But when the Weather Channel says ‘PM Thunderstorms, it could be any time between 12:01pm and 11:59pm. So of course it was blue sky and sunny all the way from Columbus to Conroe.

The rain didn’t start until about 5pm and then it continued all night and into this morning, with a lot of thunder and lightning along the way. But by the afternoon it had all cleared out.

A couple of days ago while we were still at Colorado River TT, I tripped on Karma and dumped about a cup of Diet Green Tea into our nice backlit keyboard.

Backlit Keyboard 3

Luckily there was no sugar in the drink which can make a really sticky mess. But I quickly discovered that a number of the keys no longer worked. So it was off to the shower to clean things up.

I set our Oxygenics shower head on full blast with hot water and pointed the spray directly into the keys, spending about 5 minutes flushing it out. Next I turned the keyboard over and lightly banged onto a towel on the bed, driving as much of the water out as possible.

Then I put it out on the hood of the truck in the afternoon sun for a few hours. And when I brought it back in and plugged it in, it now worked perfectly.

I’ve done this for years, washing everything from keyboards and mice to computer motherboards. Thirty years ago when a new keyboard could cost $150, I would clean them out in the dishwasher.

First I would run the dishwasher through a cycle without any detergent to clean it out. Then I would put the keyboard in and ran it through another cycle, again without any detergent. Then it was out on the patio for a day in the sun.

The client was always amazed that I was able to save their coffee-infused, or in one case, their margarita-flooded keyboard.

For dinner tonight Jan got out the slow cooker and started up a batch of Hamburger Vegetable Soup.


16oz. Precooked Hamburger with Onions
27oz. can of Chili Beans
15oz. can of Kernel Corn
10 oz. can of Hot Habanero Rotel Diced Tomatoes
24oz. jar of Spaghetti Sauce
8oz. block of Velveeta Cheese – diced up.
8oz package of Elbow Macaroni – precooked
Shredded Cheddar Cheese for topping


Dump every thing in the slow cooker, except for the macaroni, for about 5 hours on LOW.
Cook up the macaroni separately and then stir it into the slow cooker about 10 minutes before serving.
Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheese. Delicious.

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

The precooked hamburger and onions came from our freezer. Periodically we get a 5 to 10 pound log of ground beef from Wal-Mart and then cook it up with some chopped onions in our electric skillet . . .  outside on the picnic table. That way there’s no greasy fumes or smell in the rig. Then we divide it up into 1lb. packages and vacuum-seal with our Food Saver. Then into the freezer it goes.

Since this was the last package in the freezer, we’ll have to stock up again soon.

July 10, 2018

What Broke This Trip . . .

As is usual with a rig like ours, that I say is old enough to vote, things break. Some related to the trip, some not. it’s a work in progress

The one you already know about is the problem with our Onan diesel generator. To recap, our genset worked perfectly on our first day’s travel from Santa Fe to Breaux Bridge, LA. But then only ran for 10 minutes the next morning before it quit.

We’d had it fully serviced by RV Mobile Lube a month or so before, changing out all filters and fluids, and it’s always worked without a lot of problems.

I spent a lot of my free time on our trip trying to get it going again, but with no luck. It also didn’t help that that due to the 4th of July holiday in the middle of week, I had a lot of trouble getting help from my Onan Tech Support guys So once we get settled in, I’ll get back on it.

Of course I already mentioned my backup plan. Since a new controller/inverter board goes for about $1500.00 and a new QD 7500 runs between $9 &  $10,000, I might just replace it with a Predator 8750 generator from Harbor Freight.

Predator 8750

And it’s only $599.

And as it turns out, one of our blog readers, Davy Boggs, of the Boggs Family Ministries, has one that he got for a non-RV purpose. He said the Harbor Freight guy told him to start it up and run it for about 4 days. If it survives, it’ll probably last a long time. If it dies, bring it back and get another one. He said they ran theirs hard for 10 days and never looked back. So another mark in the plus column.

Of course I haven’t given up on the Onan yet.

The other breakdown wasn’t really trip-related, but could have happened without any traveling. A few days ago the drive belt on our Splendide Washer/Dryer either broke or came off the pulley. I won’t know which until I get the unit out and check it. I’m pretty sure it’s the belt since I can heard the motor running, but no drum movement.

When I Googled the belt, I found a bunch of ‘used’ ones on eBay in the $40 – $45 range. So I began to think that this was another part that is no longer available from Splendide. This is what happened with the drain pump on our unit died a few years ago. Luckily I was able to find one from another brand of washer and made it work. And it has worked with no problems for several years now.

But just in case, I put in a call to Westland Sales to see what they had. As it turns out they have both possible belts, one 1262mm in length and the other one 1270mm. And even better, a new one is only $43, the same as the used ones on eBay.

The only  way to tell which one I need is to pull it out and check. Even if it only came off the pulley, I’ll probably replace it anyway. The old one is 19 years old, and probably brittle and stretched. Better to replace it now and not have to do it again for another 19 years.

Finally, a couple of days into our trip I noticed an oil sheen on our toad. At first I thought it was due to the fact that my slobber can had fallen off under the engine, so I installed another one. But that didn’t really help.

So crawling back under the rig, I looked to see if I could find where the leak was. My first thought that it might be around the oil filter or the drain plug,  both of which were changed out recently by RV Mobile Lube. But it was all dry in that area.

In fact the leakage appeared to be around the general area of the slobber tube, but even above it, not below. And I was losing enough oil to show up on the dipstick.

I think my next step will be to spray down the area with Awesome/Dawn and then wash it off. Then I’ll wait a week or so to see what drips out. Otherwise I’ll have to run the engine for a while and see what happens.

I’ll keep you updated.

Home In Santa Fe. Texas, that is.

July 10, 2019

Back To Normal ???

Or At Least As Normal As I’m Likely To Get Anytime Soon.

As I mentioned yesterday, night before last was not too great, but yesterday was really good. But just in case, I did connect up the TENS unit to both my back and my ankle. But after it ran for the hour, I never restarted it again.

I never had any pain to begin with, and none showed up during the night either. And when I got up this morning, everything was still great, except for the fact that my left side was a little sore like I’d been exercising a lot. I attribute this to the muscle contractions caused by the TENS unit.

So with some normality, it’s time to get back on my project list. Since we’ve got the storm coming in this weekend I thought I’d get out tomorrow morning and get the spark plugs/coils replaced, and take a look at the rear brake shoes. I also want to see about mounting my new OTA Digital TV Antenna, and a couple of other chores.

Jan had a new T-Shirt come in today, tying together two of her favorite subjects, Vincent Van Gogh; and cats.

She first saw this coffee mug on Facebook and I ordered it for her.

Van Gogh Cat Mug

So when she saw it also was a T-Shirt, I ordered that for her too.

Van Gogh Cat Shirt

Not to be left out, I got a couple for me too.

Schrodinger's Cat T-shirt

And this one.

Texas Millennium Falcon Tshirt

And this one, my new favorite.

I Am Old For Good Reason

July 10, 2021

Still Nothing . . .

Following up on my Jeep’s engine problems, I first talked to the font of all family mechanical knowledge, our son Chris. As an example of this, when I talked to him this morning he was getting ready to pull the engine out of his wife Linda’s car to tear it apart.

We talked about the problems with igniters can give you. Ironically this 3.7L engine in our Jeep is just the 6 cylinder version of the 4.7L V-8 engine in our Dodge Dakota. Essentially they just took the 8 cylinder and chopped off two of the cylinders to make the 6 cylinder one.

We talked about some of the known problems with the igniters, especially on these engines. Problems like igniters ‘ghosting’ a code to an adjacent one, or even multiple ones that really don’ t have a problem.

My next call was to long-time friend Ed Hurlburt who we bought the Jeep from back last November to see if the igniters/plugs have been replaced while he and his wife Debi had owned the Jeep. He said that he had replaced both the spark plugs and the igniters (Ed reminded me that they’re also called Coil Packs) about 5 months or so before we bought the Jeep from them.

So my next diagnostic attempt was to swap two of the igniters, the #3 and the #5 cylinders, figuring if it was an igniter problem on #5 as the code reader said, then the problem would move down to the #3 cylinder.

Swapping out the igniters only took about 5 minutes, just having to unclip the connector plug and then remove the mounting nut and then reverse the process.

But before I did a test drive, I wanted to clear the codes. And when I first checked them, it suddenly said that cylinders 3, 4, 5, and 6 were all misfiring. Well, I knew that couldn’t be right because that would only leave two cylinders, and I’m pretty sure the engine wouldn’t run on just two. So I cleared the codes and started my test drive. And it was clear immediately that I still had a problem. But that would still be true if the problem moved with a bad igniter.

But checking the codes again still showed #3 and #5 having the problem. But at least #4 and #6 didn’t show up again.

So unless I think up something else to check, it’s off to the mechanic Monday afternoon.

Stay tuned.

Thought for the Day:

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” – Richard Feyman