Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Settling in at the Condo, Car Fix(es)

Sink Hole compared to Condo

Two years ago we come home and very quickly a sinkhole develops very close to our condos.  This picture, shared back then, shows the red arrow where the sinkhole was, and the green arrow which points to the condos.  Of course, all the road work and sewer work has been finished for a good 18 months now.

Our Condo

Our condo is way at the other end of the condos where this green arrow is at.  Well, when we got home and did our initial unpacking, I took the RV over to the RV/Mobile Home park for two nights before I put it into storage.  I made the comment, “So, any sinkholes open up while we were gone?”  Surprised when he said yes, just that week a very small, possible sinkhole opened up.  Well, our first Monday home and I hear the helicopter overhead again, and yes, the news had broke about the small sinkhole close to the where the large one swallowed up a car two years ago!  So far, nothing else has happened with this one, and it seems to be a non-issue.  Bad news though…assessment on our Condo went down by $10,000…good news, Property Taxes went down by nearly $200.  With no plans to sell it, not much of an issue UNLESS a sinkhole opens up on Condo property.

Generic Motorhome

When it comes to unloading the motorhome, I sometimes wish we just had a toy motorhome and our journeys are in our mind.  It is a lot of work, for both of us.  I bring things in, Marcia unpacks most of the bags and boxes.  We (she) runs everything from the kitchen that she can through the dishwasher, and if it is to go back into the motorhome, then to the spare room it goes until loaded before we leave.  All bedding, towels, etc. get washed.  There is always a lot of laundry to do too.  And then there is the huge shopping trip to restock the shelves and the fridge and freezer.  And the number one thing to get done fast when it goes into storage is  that I take the motorhome fridge apart and clean it very well, and prop the doors open so that mold won’t pop up.  All the fridge shelves are brought to the condo and washed in the dishwasher, and stored in the spare room.

This is a section of the HHR exhaust which includes not one, but two Catalytic Converters.  There are also two o2 Sensors hooked into the pipe.

HHR Exhaust where it connects to manifold
This area here (left) is where it connects to the exhaust manifold.  There is a flexible area which allows the pipe to move with the vibration of the road.  It is this area which broke, and our HHR sounded much more like a motor speedboat, or a kids street race car. We have a good repair shop near us, and I took it there last Tuesday just for them to look at, and they ordered the parts, including both o2 sensors, and did the work this past Friday.  There goes another $700.

Joe's Auto Repair and Curtis Transmission, photo off Google Maps

Joe’s Auto Repair and Curtis Transmission are all one business.  Joe retired a little over a month ago, and now Jim is the owner…but he has kept all of the staff, has made some improvements in the office, including a new computer system and the hiring of another girl, Nichole, to work alongside her older sister Misty.  Misty is something else…she is very knowledgeable about cars, is very friendly, has a good rapport with the service staff, with the new owner, with the customers, and with the various parts house staff that she is constantly calling to line up parts.  She stands at around 5' 2", and can sure handle herself...told me today that she had a Black Belt when she was like 14 years old.  I can not say enough about how good this place is.  And it is nice to be able to start up the car without thinking that we have awaken all of our neighbors...however I have already ran over three older ladies who couldn't hear me coming as I drive through the condo complex!

2009 HHR Transmission

When I was at Joe’s Auto Repair and Curtis Transmission on Friday Jim, the new owner, mentioned that at 130K, I should have the Transmission Fluids changed, unless I has already done that recently.  We bought the HHR back in 2011 from a Pine Bluff Arkansas Chevy dealer as a used car…it had been a rental car.  The salesman told me that they had changed all fluids, filters, hoses and belts…and I can hear you all saying, “Ya, but salesmen lie nearly as much as politicians lie.”  Well, in this case the salesman was named Gary, and was my youngest son’s baseball coach, and I knew that Gary was an honest person.  He told me that he had seen the work order and was confident it was done.  Above is a 2009 HHR transmission outside of the engine.  Along the bottom you can see the flat area…that is what they take off to get to the transmission filter.  The tech who worked on it today told me that the fluid looked real good…had color, had no sludge, and no shavings.  THAT folks is GREAT news.  It means that the Chevy place in Pine Bluff really did change the fluid and filter as promised, and also that our transmission “should” be in fine shape…good to go for another 50-75K miles.  All I have left now is to replace a tire (front right, the front left blew out last year…will put these on the back and move the back to the front and replace them next year.)  It seems that there is always something…

Next…update on Bubba and Skruffy.


  1. As I'm heading home, I wash and clean all I can along the road so I don't have to do so much when I finally get there. There's two of everything, so THAT stuff doesn't have to be unloaded ... and I keep half of my clothes in the rig, the other half in the house. The only thing I have to clean is the fridge. Course it's in my back yard and not storage, but it sure makes things easier.

    1. If we had our motorhome close to us, we would do the same. We have talked about finding a place where we could do that, but one thing about the condo is that we are very confident that no one will have messed with our stuff, what little we have, while we are gone. Only one way in and out, neighbors all around, security system, brother-in-law checking in frequently...just hard to beat this, and worth all the work moving things back and forth. Of course, not taking so much stuff would also help! LOL


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