Sunday, September 29, 2013

Leak Fixed, BUT Why do Manufacturers Do What They Do?

Some of you will remember the post a week ago, Fort Bragg with a slight leak, well, now that we are back in Sacramento area, it was time to tackle that problem.  Since that posting I had not talked much about it in the blog….but we found that even under the pressure of the fresh water pump, we had a leak, just not as big….so we kept the pump off unless we needed to use it.  That got us by.  I also had discovered an access panel under the sink in the bathroom, which leads to a mass amount of water pipes or perhaps a better word is tubing. 

1a     1b

On the outside of the motorhome, these pipes/tubes are on the other side of this panel.


Above you can see some of the tubing behind the controls, some leading to the controls which are now tucked inside behind this panel.

1d     1e

The problem is that you can losing this inner panel board, but you cannot move it out of the way….it can only go a little up, a little down, very little left or right.  Big help this is.  Now, first question….why didn’t the manufacturer make this panel so that it breaks down into two or three smaller parts so it can be moved out of the way?  Seems it would not be that difficult to do…as it is, it is useless for trying to work behind it.


So this is inside the bathroom under the sink.  The door has been removed, the bottom floor of the cabinet under the sink has been removed, and the access panel has been removed.  Second thing, to remove the access panel there is a screw which is very easy to get, but then you have to bend the panel and reach “inside” to remove the next holding screw.  That was a very difficult screw to remove, why not have both screws facing the inside of the cabinet area where they are easy to get to?


The leak was the connection at the end of the arrow.  Thank goodness it was very close, and the tube is a flexible one…many of the tubes are very ridged and don’t bend.  After discovering all of this on my own, I brought Arny in on the project.  He got down on the floor, I had a flashlight behind him and I pointed to this area.  All he did was barely touch it, and it comes apart shooting water all over, but I quickly turned to the pump off and so it turned out to be a very minimal amount of water.  The original connection that the manufacturer did was not done right. 


Above is similar to the fitting we were dealing with.


Once you hook up the tubing, the clamp should be where the white arrow is….on this one it was where the red arrow was.  It was a disaster waiting to happen.  Now you would think this would be point number 3 with the manufacturer….but this is not a design flaw, it is poor workmanship on ONE connection.  But with a motorhome, it only takes one bad connection to create a disaster.  We try to remember to turn our pump off whenever we drive just in case one of these connections goes bad while we are on the road.  Just think if you have 50 gallons of fresh water, your pump on, your driving down the road and way in the back a connection comes loose?  You end up with 50 gallons of water inside your motorhome by the time you stop and find it.


So here is our fixed plumbing tube.  We used the conventional clamps….not the manufacturer clamp.  They use these other clamps because they are a bit faster to install….but they can only be used once.  Ok, that I can understand….that many connections times that many motorhomes being built, saves costs.  But when something goes wrong, makes it harder for us users to fix.


But to use black electric tape to hold pipes in place, that is inexcusable!  


Look at the red arrow…that is the “carpet” on the other side of the wall that the slide-in slides over.  Once the black tape broke, one of the three tubes, one which is more flexible, got into this area…when we brought the slide in, it put pressure on this pipe, which moved the tubing, which caused the leak.  Had they used tie downs, as shown in the picture to the right of the red arrow, this problem would not have magnified into this leak so early….but since they put the clamp on wrong, it was a time bomb waiting to go off.  But WHY does there have to be a gap here to the slide area anyway?  It should be a solid wall between the two areas.  Again, a design flaw which should not be there.  But you think I am done, oh no, not at all…….

5a    5aa

Look at this hole in the floor under the bathroom cabinet floor….look how big it is for these three small tubes to go through.


Above is the view from UNDER the motorhome.  Look how easy it is for a mouse, a rat, for dirt and dust from the roadway to come up through this hole.  Easy fix, and it should have been fixed at the manufacturers building facility when it was built.  An oversight perhaps?  But I have heard of too many fellow RV’ers who have had mice inside their motorhomes.  Lucky for us, no signs of mice in ours.

5c    5d

Arny suggested that since the hole was so big, to place a small bag (a doggie poop bag is what I used), put in the hole, fill the bag with this foam sealant (it comes out as a thick liquid and then expands and hardens) until it seems to fill up the hole, then seal up around the bag.  Now you have a filled hole without a large dripping mess under the hole to clean up afterward.  Now we have a fan running inside this cabinet to dry things out before I put in the access panel, the cabinet bottom, and the door.  It will also allow us a few days just to be sure there are no other leaks…although I am 99.9% sure there are no others.  We are running off the pump still tonight, will shift over to the city water system Sunday, and put things back together again on Monday unless the .1% shows up and bites us in the butt!

Now we love our most of the RVer's who we follow love their motorhome, 5th wheel, trailer, of van.  I just wish that all manufacturers would take more pride in what they put out, and think more about the end user instead of how much money they can save.  They do so much is just a shame when they fail in such easy areas like we have seen...and I know others have seen.   Ok, off my soap box, just glad to have things fixed....and I am sure glad we waited to work on until we got back here....had I pulled that tube off while we were in a remote area would have been a major disaster.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Ending


We left Point Reyes area around 11 am, and got to my Sister’s house around 4 pm.  Why so long?  Because we went through Lodi, a 40+ mile detour, so that we can get the motorhome washed at a Blue Beacon, the closest one to Sacramento, and also to get some gas at Flying J.  Well, we were second in line behind another motorhome with a truck inside getting washed.  We just did not know that the driver of this truck was “truck driver from hell”.  He made them wash it twice…then spot wash it a few times before he pulled out, then after he pulled out had them spot wash it again, and because this was not enough, he turned his truck around, facing the “exit” and had them do the front of it again.  It took us an hour to get our motorhome washed….but they at least gave us free Rain-X for the car, which we normally don’t have Rain-X on.

Now that the motorhome was nice and clean, and the HHR nice a clean, all we had to do was to drive up to Sacramento…but with the delay, we are going to hit the start of rush hour, which was not fun.

To say that the dogs were “happy” to be back is a understatement to the max.  It takes a few minutes to get the motorhome into the backyard and setup to where the fence can be closed….Bubba cried the entire time he wanted out so bad.  Once out, he said a very quick hello to Arny, then he ran and ran and ran as if his leg never hurt him.  I finally had to ask him to calm down, I was afraid he would ruin his leg again.  There is something about being here that gives Bubba a feeling he gets no where else. 

Tomorrow, Saturday, someone (not me) is having a birthday…and mom is having a small, family birthday dinner for her…another reason it is nice to be back.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mount Tamalpais, Muir Woods National Monument


Today we headed a bit inland to get a “view” from Mount Tamalpais.  What you see below is Stinson Beach, which is both a town, and one of the cleanest beaches in California.  Beyond the beach is a break and there is a gap of water which leads to Bolinas Lagoon which is behind the beach. 


On the way to the turn off to Mount Tamalpais we passed Bolinas Lagoon  and saw these harbor seals taking in the sun.  Just three hours later there was no sandbar, and no seals in sight!


On the other side of Mount Tamalpais we get a good look of the northern end of San Francisco Bay.  To the far right, way out there, is the Oakland Bay Bridge.


A shout-out to my oldest son Michael who just started his studies at University of California Berkley.  Yes, a fuzzy picture, but that is as close as we got to Oakland/Berkley area.  He is in the grad school getting a degree in Public Policy.  Just talked to him the other day and he is doing well…doing better than our 49ers are doing, that’s for sure.


With Mount Tamalpais being a bust, we moved on to Muir Woods.  “A Bust” you say???  Well, after we got up to the entrance to Mount Tamalpais, we found that Pan Toll Road was closed due to a high fire danger.  Not sure when the closed it, but with what happened over at Mount Diablo about ten days ago, you can’t blame them, that’s for sure.  But it kept us from getting even better shots.  But Muir Woods is a very nice, yet busy, place to go to see….yes, even more REDWOODS!  And this is a National Monument, so our National Park Pass means it was free, err, already paid for with our senior pass.  (I tell Marcia that I married her for her senior pass.)


To get the full picture of this, you have to click on it and look at the much larger picture….It gives you a time table of the life of this tree from 900 AD when they estimate it was born, to 1930 when they knew it had fallen.  It is hard to count the rings in person, let alone try and get a picture of them.


For the most part, the path was easy….you can see way down there Marcia racing along admiring the beauty.  There were a few bumpy areas, but nothing she could not handle in the GoGo.  We did a mile, but it was a much easier mile than I did yesterday going out to the lighthouse, that’s for sure.


There were a lot of people there, and we were told that the road construction had made the crowd smaller than normal.  All of the other Redwood Forests we have been too did not have nearly the number of people as we saw today.  


But this is only about 30 minutes away from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge….how many large cities in the world are so close to big Redwoods like this?  Well, all you have to do is go to western edge of Golden Gate Park and you will see Redwoods…not many people know that.

3a    3b
3c    3d

Yep, these trees are big too…like the others ones we have seen in the past.  But until you have stood under a big coastal Redwood…and smell the aroma that the trees, the ferns, the undergrowth put out, you have not lived a full life.


On our way back to the campground, we tried to see Muir Beach, but it was closed…but above is a place called Muir Beach overlook.  Nope, we did not walk out to the point on this one today….


Because I was able to see a shot of “The City” from this view.  San Francisco, a great place to visit, but I sure would not live there….


And as we got down the road just a bit more, a better shot of the city appears.  If you look close to the mid-right, you can see the Golden Gate….no, not the bridge, the entrance to San Francisco Bay.  I see this and I think of my ancestors who arrived to California via ship in the 1848-1850 time period.  No Golden Gate Bridge to see….very few buildings to see.  But this glorious view of the shoreline opening up and there is this wonderful bay….what a thrill they must have felt.  And that large tower to the right?  Well, that is the TV tower that our motorhome just can’t pick up a signal from….


So we have come to the finish line…. time to go back to Sacramento area.  Only time will tell what our next adventure will be.

Point Reyes


We left Bodega Bay and headed for Point Reyes around 10:30.  It took us nearly 2 hours to drive the 40 miles.  One thinks that highway 1 will get better….well, it had been a LONG time since I had driven this route, and I forgot that once you get part way that highway 1 gets narrower, and the condition of the road deteriorates too.  In other words, Marin County is not up on the road work as the other counties have been…and since the state expects a match to do highway work, well…


We are at the Olema RV Resort and Campground.  We had planned to stay at Samuel P Taylor State Park, but the more I looked into it, the more I felt that we would have problems fitting into a slot there.  So we popped for $53 a night, which includes tax and Good Sam discount, for this full hookup spot for two nights.  There are not a whole lot of choices around Point Reyes…we feel lucky that we are in this nice park.  Nice in that there is distance between spots, and you get to pick the slot you want to camp in.  Different in that they have so many full hook-ups, many more electric and water hook-ups, and they are all the same price.  Tent campers get a whole $10 off from the RVer’s.  But I’ll bet the price puts most of the crazy people over at the State Park.  Also, there does not seem to be many, if any, life-timers here…you know, those who seem to camp out for a lifetime….like I did in Pine Bluff for my final six years as director of the Public Library there.  So I don’t have anything against life-timers, but after visiting this many parks, I can see where they can be a problem.

1c     1d

As you can see, the park has a lot of room.  I am sure in the summer it can fill up, but even then I think there is enough room to feel somewhat comfortable.  There are a few quirks….one the road can be dusty despite the 5 mph signs.  Second, there is no cable and no over-the-air TV.  Despite being closer to San Francisco by some 40 miles (30 direct miles), there are tall enough hills/mountains between us and S.F. that we cannot get over-the-air TV.  Oh well, we had troubles getting CBS last night for the NCIS / NCIS-LA season premiers, so we are watching them over the Internet as I write this.  And thank goodness I am getting a free public Wi-Fi (it says Olema Public) so it isn’t going to use any of our Verizon data to watch it.


After we got settled, we drove the 21 miles out to Point Reyes Lighthouse, after a quick stop for cheese in Point Reyes Station.  We went there for some Blu-Cheese, but when Marcia tried their Feta Cheese…well, she bought a pound of it.  This was at the Cowgirl Creamery and I have a feeling we will be back tomorrow to buy some more cheese.

When we got to the lighthouse parking lot, I decided to go up this small trail first.


Which provides this view above to the south-east with the San Francisco shoreline in the far distance, hard to see with the ocean mist.  And this view south of the open ocean below.  As you can see, we were around 500 feet above the ocean floor, not a comfortable feeling for one (me) who has a bit of problems with height, especially when looking straight down.

On my way to the lighthouse is this view to the north (above).
3a  3b  3c
So I walk half a mile down this road (left), past this white fence which goes by the trees and the housing for the lighthouse workers (middle), and past this old visitor’s center which is closed on T/W/Th (right), just to walk around this large rock (below) to the steps leading down to the Lighthouse just to find out that…..
…the stairway is closed!!!!!

So they are not going to allow me to walk the 300 steps down to the lighthouse, and 300 grueling steps back up before walking the half mile back to the car?  Geez, just how unlucky could a guy get?  Laughing out loud

4a   4b
4c    4d

On the way there and back we saw a number of these Tule Elk, an Elk which is found only in California.  Once thought to be extinct, a pair of breading Tule Elk was discovered in 1875, and now they number over 4,000 (they once numbered around 500,000).  Well, they are doing well here on Point Reyes.


Of course, we could not leave Point Reyes without a look of Drakes Bay.  In 1579 it is believed that it was along this area that Sir Francis Drake landed along the California Coast on his trip around the world.  He is the first Englishman to have landed along the American Western Coast…..and proclaimed this land to be the land of the Queens…a lot of good that did.

Note:  Point Reyes Station, where we picked up the cheese, is a small unincorporated town of around 350 people….with at least that number of people passing through the town each day.  There are numerous places to eat, shop, and spend your money, but not in that big touristy type of way.  It seems to be a very comfortable little town.