Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Van Horn to Boerne

I-10 east of Van Horn

Today was 400 miles of I-10.  When we started out at 7:15, it was 27 degrees, and dawns first light was just starting to glow.

21 degrees

About 45 minutes later, it was a crisp 21 degrees...but 30 minutes later it was back up to 28, and soon it was over freezing.  The longer we drove the higher the temps got, and the lower the elevation it became.

Two hours after we started, we were passing through Fort Stockton, and officially we were half way home.

That brought a big smile to someone's face!

Unfortunately we came upon another wreck...a car turned over, probably someone went to sleep driving.

Before 4 we pulled into the Top of the Hill RV Resort in Boerne.  Exactly 2 years to the day we also pulled into this park...the difference is that is was snowing back then, and we stayed for two nights due to cold and snow.  Today it was around 60, and right now it is 47, near the forecast low.

Tomorrow we hope to get to Louisiana, and Florida the next night...perhaps we wil be in our Condo by Saturday.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Benson to Van Horn

Another day that we were off before the crack of dawn.  It was very cold in Benson this morning, around 27 degrees when we left at 6:45. Thank goodness the roads are dry, and traffic was sparse that time of the morning. About the time we got to the New Mexico border, we hit rush hour traffic...eight cars go zooming by us headed towards El Paso...and it was over.

Between Benson and just inside the New Mexico border there are some amazing rock formations...but with the sun just coming up, we didn't bother taking pictures of the real amazing ones outside of Benson.  Above is just a minor example.

The only wreck we have seen in the past three days is this truck in New Mexico.  It seemed that it happened a few days ago, since there was a road side sign and plenty of markers announcing it drivers, yet no police, fire, or any other emergency personal on hand.  

Soon we were coming up on Las Cruces...and we start to see the hints of a bit of smog.

No, this is NOT a real Road Runner.  It is a sculpture which was created in 1993, and it is 20’ tall and 40’ long.  It is made from material which was recovered from the Land Waste Area, and for years that was where it stood.  Around 2002 it was moved to the Rest Area just west of Las Cruces.  The sculpture is made of materials which breakdown as time goes on due to exposure to the harsh climate, and “human exposure” which has created wear and tear as some visitors remove or add pieces to the work.  In 2012 a major refurbish took place, and eventually it will need it again and again.

Now no one can tell Marcia, but our trip is not even half over yet, and we have been on the road for five days.  Tomorrow when we go through Fort Stockton, 120 miles down the road, we will celebrate our halfway point.  I still don't have an idea as to when we will be home, but after tomorrow, it looks like the COLD COLD nights are behind us.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Three Hour Cracker Barrel Visit, then off to Benson

We got up at 7 am, got everything ready, and we were at Cracker Barrel at 8:45 am to meet our friend Laurie.  Laurie's mom and Marcia were very, very good friends for nearly 50 years...so Marcia and Laurie have known each other for just about 50 years now too.  We spent 90+ minutes inside Cracker Barrel, then we moved into the Motorhome.  At 11:30, we had to get on the road so we could get to Benson by 3 pm...we made it at 3:05.  It will be 27 degrees tonight, and is already at down to 42 degrees at 6 pm.  BURRRRRRrrrrrrrr....

As we left the park we saw some of the many Wild Burros that are in and around Lake Pleasant.  This is the first time we have seen them, and with no one behind us except a Park Ranger, we were able to enjoy a short view of the Burros.  Cute little things.

While we were at the dump station so that I could clear our tanks, Marcia got a picture of this Cactus Wren on top of a Saguaro.  We love Lake Pleasant, and we are so happy we were able to get in without a reservation this time.  For $32 per night, there isn't a better deal in Phoenix for a quality place to plug in your motorhome.

Yesterday when we traveled to Phoenix from Barstow, the snow on the mountains and hills along the Mojave Desert made the trip just that much easier to take.  The white gave such character to the normally brown, dull mountains.

 It was a joy to finally leave California by crossing over the Colorado River into Arizona...

It had been 4 months since we were in Oregon...and much too much has happened since then.  Dad, after 91 years, is now with our Lord and Savior...and Skruffy, after 10 years and 2 months of being my best little buddy, and Marcia's best little buddy for nearly 9 years, is sitting on dad's lap, barking directions to anyone and everyone within hearing distance (which is a huge area with her loud mouth...which I still don't know where she got that loud mouth from...)  Both are gone, but not forgotten, and we look forward to the day that we have a huge reunion in the hereafter.  

I figure two more COLD nights, then we will be past San Antonio, and into warmer night air.

Difference a Day Makes

Traveled about the number of hours as yesterday, but got 250 miles further.  At 7:15 we were on the road, got gas, and stopped to eat 30 miles later at a I-40 rest area.  Wanting to stay at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, part of the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation's six camping areas, I called the number just to be told that they don't take reservations on day of arrival.  They did say that there were 5 sites available, including a ADA site, but we should hurry.  Well, being 7 hours away, hurry just isn't going to cut it.  30 miles out I called again, and all 5 sites, plus one more, were available...40 minutes later we registered for the ADA site.

Travel went well, light to medium traffic, but we had to fight the wind for a good hour.  We took some pics, but that will need to wait for another day.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

One Hour Trip Takes Six Hours

A lot of snow fell over Tehachapi Pass between Christmas and today when we went over the pass.  My guess, about a foot, perhaps more.  Yesterday the pass was open for about 4-5 hours, until it got too cold and more snow fell, and they closed it.  Today we left the Orange Grove RV Park around 9:30, and the traffic was backed up way past our highway entrance.  For about 30 minutes we traveled around 1/10th of a mile.  Then things started moving, and 15-20 minutes later we 4.5 miles down the freeway at the point where they turned people around when the pass was not open.

It took us 6 hours to travel 60 miles, and another hour to travel another 60 miles to Barstow.  WOW, what a cluster filled day!  The highway was in very good condition, it is just that with the Grapevine closed, TOO many cars and trucks...lots of trucks...traveled over highway 58 to Mojave to turn south towards the LA area.  Second, there were two construction zones which put the highway down to one lane, once for only the distance for work on a bridge, but the second one was for many hours.  Third, it would have been smart for CalTrans to have posted Tow Trucks up along the highways, because that many people means there are too many idiots who are in too much of a hurry to drive under conditions like this.  There were many times when we were stopped without moving very far for a long, long time.

Very early on I saw this CHP (pictured through my drivers outside mirror) who road the dotted middle line and slowed a huge group of cars and trucks up so that it was not a mad house going up the hill.  He did this for a good 8 miles or more, sometimes going so slow that I could not see them.  Here (pictured above) the traffic in front of us was so slow that they caught up...and eventually the CHP car pulled off the highway to turn around and do it again.

With the CHP Officer escorting the flock of cars and trucks behind us, I tried to keep lots of room between  them and those in front of us.  You can see that it started out to be a gorgeous day...but under them clouds in front of us was a heap of snow, especially in and around the town of Tehachapi (3,970 ft.), Tehachapi Pass at 3,771 ft, and Tehachapi Summit at 4,031 ft. 

The snow seemed to fall as low as 3,000 ft on the western side of the mountains, and there was snow in and around Mojave, which is around 2,700 ft.  The traffic was so thick, that many of the times the traffic stopped was under the snow line.  The longest stop we had was just beyond the point of this picture...and in an hour we moved maybe 1/10th of a mile.

Most of the traveling was slow and easy.  There were a few times that the snow made the roadway very narrow, and some idiots who did not watch how they drove, got stuck in the snow along the side of the road.  Don't know how many times people took advantage of a wide, clear shoulder to pass not one, but many many many trucks and cars when traffic was backed up or going to slow for their liking.  And those times we were backed up, many fools got out of their vehicles and stood between their cars and the barrier between the east and west bound lanes.  One guy went up to the car in front of him, and did not realize everyone was moving and he stood there talking long enough that two vehicles  behind him got into the right lane and moved past him.  If only we knew what to do about stupid drivers....

The fresh snow sure made for a scenic drive...about the only good thing about the entire drive.

Tomorrow we should get to Phoenix...

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Well...We Made it to Bakersfield, then SNOW

Just like a week ago, we were up by 6:30 (awake even earlier), and were on the road by 7:15...not needing gas, we hit the highway and very little traffic despite it being morning rush hour.  Things were going great, and in no time we were coming into Modesto...and then....

CalTrans Road Info Sign

OH NO!  That is our route!!!!  Marcia gets on Google Maps and it says that it is closed until 12/27...tomorrow.  OH NO!!!!

CalTrans Road Info Sign

And to top it off...I-5 is closed going into L.A., so going directly to I-10 through San Bernardino is out too!  OH NO!!!!!!!!

Quickly we come to a nice Turlock rest area, and it is time for a Bubba Walk, breakfast for all three of us (steak and eggs for two of us), and then a google search as to what is up...SNOW SNOW and MORE SNOW!!!!!  

I call the Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield which is just off highway 58, they are open, have some spots, and take my name and number.  4-5 hours later we pull into Orange Grove, and they just stopped taking any more reservations...they are FULL as long as all those having reservations actually come in.  They had a whole lot of calls today.


As of 6 pm, highway 58 is open with CHP escort.  Down south, I-5 and highway 138 are still closed due to snow.  Maybe, just MAYBE we will get over the pass tomorrow.  If we do so early enough, we will try to go to Kingman AZ.  We hope we can at least make Needles.  If it is real late, we will at least make Barstow...which WAS today's destination.

You know what they say....

It is always something

Christmas Day...

I would be lying if I said it was an easy Christmas Day, it was not...but it WAS a Great Christmas regardless.  Heard from my three kids, two via text and one via phone.  Had a absolutely wonderful Christmas dinner with mom, two sisters, brother-in-law, niece and her boyfriend, and of course, with my wife.  It is 9 pm, and all we have to do to leave tomorrow is empty the garbage, put away our extra steps, unhook electric, turn it on, back out, hook up car and off we go.  THIS TIME the disconnect switch will be in the "ON" or as they call it "USE" position.

A few things I learned today...

Loosing your best little buddy of ten years, Skruffy, is harder than I thought.

Mom was with dad for 72 straight Christmas Days...getting ENGAGED 72 years ago today, Christmas Day, and being with him each and every Christmas after that until today.

When you give and get presents early, as we did a week ago before we departed the first time, it is just not the same as when you see people open presents in front of you, and you in front of them.

My sister Sandy is finally on Facebook!!!!

Smoking a 19 pound Loin Strip Roast is as good as Prime Rib!!!!!!!!

Giving the Christmas Prayer after losing your dad a month ago and your best little doggie a day ago is not easy...but I got through it.

Christmas Dinner

One of the first things when we realized, due to our breakdown which turned out to be a stupid mistake, that we would be here for Christmas was to inquire as to what Sandy and Arny had planned for Christmas Dinner.  With only thoughts and no plans, I told them I would go to Sams and get a Loin Strip Roast.  (A Loin Strip is what a New York Strip is cut from).  They had none out in the meat department, but I inquired and a guy went back to their big walk-in fridge and came out with a 19 pounder. " WOW, is this the smallest you have?"  "Yes, it is...."  Well, $95 but we will have lots of leftovers for all.

Now, how do you cook this huge piece of meat?  Well, Arny had a smoker, one of the old fashioned BBQ smokers, sometimes called a "Oklahoma Joe's" or "Texas Original" or "Old Country BBQ", the list of names goes on and on.  Essentially, it looks something like this:

With Patti's daughter Ashley and boyfriend Vince driving over from San Jose (which, by the way, is where mom and dad 72 years ago became engaged...hint hint Ashley), we wanted to eat at 2.  Now to smoke this meat meant that Arny had to get the smoker going at 4:30, and put the meat on by 5:30.  I think he actually started just a bit earlier than all that, but by 2 pm we had dinner, and the Loin Strip Roast was the best, absolutely the best...and this is the first time Arny had cooked anything like this on a smoker (although we did put it on a BBQ for about 5 minutes per side, after we cut it in half so it would fit, around 1 pm.)  WOW, did I tell you this was as good as Prime Rib?  We all commented on how Dad would have just LOVED this Christmas Dinner, because he LOVED Prime Rib!  And we probably had 10 pounds of leftovers, of which a few pounds in our motorhome going to Florida with us (doubt it will make Florida though.)


We missed you two so very much...hope they served Prime Rib in heaven today dad, and Skruffy, I am sure you eat anything you want now, no Diabetes in heaven!

Hope Everyone Had a Wonderful Christmas Day... 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Skruffy Finally Has Her Last Bark

Christmas Eve Morning... 


Long time blog readers know about Skruffy…a few have even met her.  In late June 2016 Skruffy got very, very sick while we were in Alaska.  Meezie at the Soldotna Animal Hospital saved her life, giving Marcia and I another 3 1/2 years with my beloved Skruffy…for that, we will always be beholding to Meezie and the Soldotna Animal Hospital.  

Monday morning, yesterday, was like any other morning…Around 6:45 I let Skruffy and Bubba out, she heads to the sliding glass door and barks and barks until Arny opens the door, then goes inside and barks some more.  Just another day…just another bark.  

Around 11 I head out to do one last load of laundry.  Around noon Marcia texts me to say that Skruffy threw up, and 30 minutes later another text which says, “Again”.  I arrive back by 1:30 and test her…her glucose reading was in the mid-90’s, which is good…but she lost all her breakfast when she threw up.  At 4 she gets her last Sandy Treat, very small amount of pork, which she eats…her last meal because by 7 pm, she turns her nose away from her dinner. 

For the next 15 hours she struggles, drinking lots of water, tossing up the water, going inside, outside, inside, outside.  I gave her some Pedialyte by syringe to get some nourishment in her…I held her on my chest from midnight till after 2 am, and she finally did get some sleep.  We crawled into bed and she slept another 4 hours, I could not fall asleep and returned to my reclining chair.  At 6:15 she jumps off the bed, waking me up, and goes to the Pedialyte in her water dish, then wants outside.  At 6:35 Arny opens up the drapes, I let Bubba out, but Skruffy doesn’t bark, doesn’t take her treat.  I bring her back inside, and I hold her, remembering the struggle she went through up in Alaska.  Now she was close to 13 years old, at least 12 years old…you never know with rescue dogs just how old they are.

By 9:30 we knew it was time to take her to a vet, and in my heart and mind I knew she wasn’t coming back.  Goodbyes to Marcia, to Sandy, to Arny…  I went alone just like it was the first night we had together…and the many nights more until Marcia and Bubba arrived in our lives.

It was a short conversation with the vet, the decision was made.  I held her tight and said my goodbyes, thanking her for all the joy she brought into my life for the past 10 years.  I reminded her of all we have done and seen, but she just laid there fairly limp.  How can a dog go from barking with joy to being so lifeless in just 26 hours?  The wise Vet tells me that most dogs with Diabetes are lucky to live two more years…that we had done good getting 3 1/2 years.  Of course, that does not ease the pain, and she knows that, but still, it was of some comfort.

The only time I was alone was when they took her to put a port into her front leg.  I eagerly took her into my arms when she returned.  I petted her on the table as I waited for the Vet to come…then decided to pick her up and sit down with her, holding her, telling her how much I loved her.  Memories flowed, many of which are in the first blog about Skruffy’s Last Bark which is presented below.

The Vet enters and asked if I wanted to hold her or did I want her up on the table…of course, I held her…just like I did that first night that I got her…that night when she first let the world know that she owned me.

Her passing was quick, painless, her weak heart giving out within seconds of the second shot…the Vet told me she was gone.  Then, unexpected to me, she let out her last breath…and as if to pay me back for what I wrote below back when we were in Alaska, she let out her last breath again, and then again.  The Vet listened again for her heart, there was nothing.  “Sometimes they just do that,” she says.  I cannot reply.

I drive to a dog park that I had seen many times going back and forth to mom and dad’s previous Assisted Living Facility.  Tears flow..memories flash by.  I send my kids and my sister Patti, and others the following text:
Skruffy got sick yesterday, why we just don’t know…but she no longer has pain and is on Papa’s lap right now with my first dog Snoopy.  I miss them three so very much…
On my way back to the motorhome sitting in my sister’s backyard, I have a vision of Skruffy running through a large grassy field, the wind gently blowing, the sun’s warmth shinning down, she barks happy barks.  Skruffy looks back at me, her ears flapping as they did, her tail just wagging and wagging.  “Look Dad, I can run again…there is no pain, and I can see everything so clearly…

Below is the blog post of Friday, July 8, 2016 from Soldotna Alaska

Skruffy's Last Bark?

Breath in, breath out...
I remember that day as if it was yesterday, the day of the rescue. She brings you to me, sets you in my lap. I pet your head, your ears, your collarless neck. My hand roams down to your chest, and to your tummy...you bend and twist giving me access to the lower tummy as if I had been doing this all your life. She comes back to take you from my arms, you give that Skruffy growls of yours. “Oh my!” she exclaims. “What?” I ask. “She has proclaimed it already...in just ten short minutes...she owns you...” Owns me? I wonder...I thought I was rescuing her, not the other way around. She, Skruffy, is right...she owns me now. She owns a part of my heart that only Snoopy had seen before. My cats, no way...yes, they were loved, but the heart strings they never touched. Some people have a special place in their hearts for dogs...some for cats...many don't have it at all. But the dogs and cats know who you are, and they gladly take advantage of taking their own little leash and tie it right to that special place into your heart...as Skruffy had done to me.
Again I hear it...breath in, breath out...
Those cold, wet, thunder filled nights as you were lost out in that large lot before the rescue, hiding under trucks, took something from your heart girl...you never wanted to be alone again...you never wanted to be away from he, from me, the one you now owned. To work with me you came, out of desperation at first, but within days it became the norm. Eventually I could leave my office without you barking...for 5 minutes first, then ten...I don't think you ever made it to fifteen. But eventually your barking became a single solitary bark, followed by listening for my voice, sniffing to try and find my scent. Staff would come in and say, “It's alright Skruffy girl, he will be back real soon.” The Library would quiet down again, for 5 or 10...then that bark came back, followed by listening, followed by smelling, followed by yet another bark. And when I return the joy is indescribable...it was if I was gone for hours and hours, yet it had only been 20 to 30 minutes. Yes, my little girl, I am back...and quiet again reigned...until the next time I had to step out. Had my office had a hard floor instead of carpet, I would have heard the tap tap tap of your little feet as they move back and forth from excitement. Oh, how I love that sound.
There it is, I hear it again...breath in, breath out...
You eventually earned my trust, I'd let you go off leash from the car to inside our trailer at the RV Park...unless you saw a squirrel off in the distance, and away you ran despite my pleas. From tree to tree you would go as squirrels would be alerted and shoot up into the trees. Your short little legs would carry you fast and far, your ears flapping in the wind, your bark breaking the silence, except for the chirping of the birds. I followed as quick as I could, I call out to your deafening ears, but eventually your lungs give out, your legs grow tired.  You turn and look at me like, “Why are you breathing so hard, it was I who was running all around? But did you see them, did you?? Squirrel after squirrel, and they all ran up into the trees afraid of little me!” When the library was closed and it was only us there, I would let you go off leash from the car into the Library, or from the Library to the car...until that one Saturday evening when you saw a wedding carriage being pulled by a pair of horses, way across the huge parking lot, heading to the hotel across the street for their reception. Off you ran, barking and barking...I could only imagine how much larger each of those horses started to look as you got within 90 yards, within 70 yards, because around 50 yards you stop...you give them your three Skruffy Barks, you turn and walk triumphantly back to me...wondering why I have my hands up to my brow shaking my head back and forth as you walk, head raised high...but then you stop, look back and give another Skruffy bark. You come to me, stop short looking at me like, “Well, I doubt they will mess with Skruffy again!”
And again...breath in, breath out...
Then into our lives came two others. “Who is she, and does 'he' have to come with her?” you wondered. “Yes I have found another to share my life with, but don't worry, my dear Skruffy, you still own me. And as for 'he', he is Bubba...your new brother, but don't worry, you are still going to be the queen.” Within a year the Library becomes a retired memory, and now even more travels. Before Marcia and Bubba came into our lives, we had traveled up to Missouri to visit papa and grandma a few times, and you even went with me to Denver for some meetings that I had—remember you went to the Doggie Daycare, where I could watch you over the Internet while listening to speaker after speaker in my meeting talking about Library stuff. After Marcia and I married, there were times she needed to be in Florida while you and I still had to work at the Library. We would travel back and forth to Florida during those times. If we stopped so I could get some rest, you would watch out the window protecting our little car. Oh how I will miss those barks that awoke me so many times. But now we have a motorhome, and the real travels begin. 
A bit fainter now...breath in, breath out.
Our first trip took all four of us to many fascinating places...the large trees of Sequoia, the wonderful walls and falls of Yosemite, the tall Coastal Redwoods, the deep blues of Glacier Lake, the waves along the Oregon Coast, the aroma of the Roses in Portland, the devastation of Mount St. Helens, the elk and buffalo of Yellowstone, the Mountains of Glacier Park. We saw bears, goats, sheep, deer, elk, buffalo and antelope. Future trips over the next few years included places like Zion and Arches, the balloons of Albuquerque, the homes of Mesa Verde, the deep dark forest of Olympia, names on rock walls along the Oregon Trail, cheese and ice cream from Tillamook. Every time we stopped the motorhome, there were new smells, new places to mark, new adventures for you and Bubba. Of course, there was always your favorite place of all...the backyard of Sandy and Arnys...where the squirrels were so close you could touch them, the grass so green and luscious that you could lay in it, treats so plentiful, and so many family and friends around. You could be trusted completely now, and off leash you would run over to Papa’s and Grandma's since they moved back to California and lived next door to Sandy. Of course, I overlook that time you, off leash, you decide to take off up the hill while visiting the Redwoods...or at that large park in Oregon where you saw some squirrels off in the distance...and into the distance you ran until your little legs got tired and you walk back to me who was in chase.
Fainter still...breath in, breath out...a hesitation.
You earned your badge in later years, you became a Service Dog for Marcia, to assist with certain needs. There were always those few months where you were needed at the Condo, no brother around, you had us to yourself. Then winter would be over, and off we would travel again. You heard me calling out for a long drive north, to Alaska I say, where there would be so much space, so many things to see, clean air to breath, and so many animals. But it was there that a new frontier opened up. A sore at first, then near death which tore my heart wide open, until we found she, the fisherman of small dogs, who tries to bring you back to us so that we could enjoy more time, more travels, until that last breath, that last hesitation which does not stop, the cold taste of death. And then I will be owned no more... free from your dedication, your love, your barks, your scratches, your walks. Then it will be your time to play with Snoopy, no pain, never fearing to be alone again. 
A bit stronger now...breath in, breath out...
That fisherman, she is not only a great fisherman, but she is also a great veterinarian. She sits up with you way after hours, she instantly falls for you, just as so many others have. The right dosage of this, the right amount of liquid food to run through your veins. All the while I have put out word onto our blog, on Facebook, through text messages and phone calls (though the calls are few since it is hard for the words to come out)...PRAY for our little Skruffy Girl! A few days later, after many visits to see you, after many prayers too numerous to count, you come home with us. It is struggle, but you are calmer at home, you sleep, you start to eat, you start to recover. Then the set-back hits...it is 4th of July weekend, but we handle it, and you get stronger yet. Finally the news today...test show you are in full recovery...the cold taste of death will need to wait for another day...many years as far as we are concerned. But the thought of losing you...the thought of being free...why does it hurt so very much? I don't want to break those chains which are connected to that part of my heart. I now have a taste, again, of what it will be like to have that part of my heart empty again, I don't like it – the ache is beyond description. How fortunate we are that we found the Soldotna Animal Hospital, found that fisherman of little dogs who goes by the name of Meezie, and how blessed we are that God has heard and answered those many prayers. My heart is filled with joy...the ache will need to wait for another day...another year...many years I hope.
Much stronger now...breath in, breath out...and there it goes, “BARK, BARK, BARK”, yes, the Skruffy bark is back, it is like music to our ears, it warms the heart just so... Last Bark? Nope, many more barks to come!

Sometimes, You Just Feel Like Hitting Yourself OVER YOUR HEAD!

Intellitec Battery Disconnect Switch

The Intellitec Battery Disconnect Switch came in today.  In anticipation of putting it in tomorrow (Tuesday) I decided to do a little Google Search on troubleshooting this part just in case it was not the part that gave us the problem.

Google Search

Of course, intelligent people would have done this search BEFORE they ordered a part...but when watching Arny use the Circuit Tester, it was obvious that power was not getting to one side of the Intellitec Battery Disconnect Switch (which, at the time, I did not even know that was what it was called).
Circuit Tester

Anyway, my google search finds a site that seems relevant to our problem, and as I read the following:

"Problem with relay I think or Panel. I have the Intellitec 01-00066-003 BD3 switch panel and the Intellitec 01-00055-000 Battery disconnect relay.
Problem: switch will not turn chassis off coach works turns battery relay on and off but chassis does not..."

I am thinking...hmmm, we have the relay (the part I ordered), but we don't have a manual switch.  In the back by the bathroom sink there is a light panel and from there I can see if the batteries are being charged up or not...but....OH NO!   WHAT ABOUT THAT SWITCH BY THE DOOR WHICH SAYS "Use" and "Store"...

Intellitec Battery Disconect Switch Panel

The light above the use/store switch was glowing red...I push it up to the "use" position (this rocker switch moves up and down but returns to the middle position so the only way you know it is on is the red light) and nothing happens inside (since we are plugged into a 30 amp outlet, we have power inside).  I push it to store fully expecting the lights to go out...they don't.  I push it back up to use, go outside and disconnect us from the 30 amp outlet...we still have lights!


If you have followed the blog long enough you know that this is NOT the first stupid thing we (I) have done.  I talked about the time dad and I went to a junkyard to buy a spare tire for the HHR just to find out that there is a hidden compartment in the HHRs, and sure enough, there was a tire in mine after all.  Oh, the list goes on and on...I think it started with the time when I was around 8 years old, my older brother Jim was being his normal obnoxious young teenage self, and in my frustration, I kicked him...but he moved...and I hit the wall with my foot real hard.  Went crying to mom and dad and said, "Jim hurt me!"  Of course, when they found out HOW I got hurt, it was one of those funny stories that have told over and over and over through the years...through the decades.

In my defense, I always thought that if the disconnect button was pushed to "STORE", that it turned everything off,  Apparently when you are connected to shore power, that is not the case.  HOW it got turned off is anyone's guess.  Had I turned the disconnect switch to "USE" while we were at Sam's Club last Tuesday, we would be home or near home right now.  Instead, we will be "HOME" for Christmas this year...our second home here in my sister's backyard.  On Thursday morning we will start out to our real home in Florida.  

Had dad lived just a month longer, he would have laughed and laughed at this latest episode.  I think he would have laughed so hard that it would have killed him.  Oh, how I miss not being able to tell him my funny little stories anymore...

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

False Start on our Exit from California

At Sister's House, Citrus Heights, CA

When we went to bed last night (Tuesday) the only thing we had left was to un-hook the electricity, and put our steps away (we have a manual set of steps before you get on the retractable steps of the motorhome to make it easier for Marcia and Skruffy to get into the motorhome).  At 6:35 I let Skruffy and Bubba out to have their final morning treat from Arny, by 6:45 they were back in and eating, by 7 we started to pull out of the backyard.  By 7:30 we were at Sams to fill up...but that is when I noticed we had a big problem.

Electrical Problem

Since we were only 3 miles at most from Arny and Sandy's house, and Arny is so good with vehicle issues, it made sense to head back to the RV pad in their backyard.  Only issue hindering us from working on it was a light rain that did not let up until around 1:30.  First thing I spotted was some corrosion on the batteries, so I took the two Interstate batteries out, tested them and they were holding 12.6 volts.  Arny and I started to clean them up, got them hooked back up, and still...no 12 volt in the motorhome unless we were plugged in.

After running some power tests with his meter, Arny isolated the problem to the Intellitec Battery Disconnect Switch (pictured above).  Now, locating one which can be here in a few days during the busy Christmas Shopping Season was the next issue.  I had such good luck with Dyers RV Parts and Accessories out of Phoenix, I went with them...it should be here in 2-5 days.  Amazon was giving me a time period of the 24th through the 30th...and even though it was less expensive, I went with Dryers.  Thank goodness the 12 volt system works when we are plugged into the 110 electrical outlet near the RV pad...which is why we did not see that there was a problem when we left this morning since the last thing I did was unhook the 110 and off we went.
Christmas Tree

So with that...we have decided to stay put through Christmas.  HOPEFULLY this Intellitec Battery Disconnect Switch is what is wrong.  Hopefully it will be delivered Friday or Saturday and we will quickly know if this is the problem...fingers crossed.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Double Celebration

Dad's Celebration of Life turned out real nice.  It was held in this chapel, where many of his friends had their 'Celebrations' held before him.  We did not get an official count, but our best guess is that there were 70 people there, perhaps a few more, perhaps a few less.  A cousin came down from Yreka (270 miles), mom's older and only living sister and her husband came up from the Modesto area, cousin Donald officiated driving over from Salinas with his wife, and of course Bishop Kevin Romer flew out from the Independence Missouri area.  All of my brothers and sisters and their spouses (those who have spouses) were there, except for my wife Marcia who caught my terrible cold, which I caught from Sandy, whom caught it from Dad.  (I was sick, sick, sick from Monday through Thursday, although doing much better by Thursday night.)  Nearly all of my cousins from Dad's brother's family were there along with their mother.  Dad has one surviving cousin from his mom's side, and he and his wife were there.  There was even a couple who dad married many years ago...he a Christian, she a Jew, and dad married them at her parents house...it had been a LONG TIME since I had seen them.  So family, friends, church friends whom I had not seen since my cousin's funeral a few years ago...we all enjoyed reminiscing about dad.  Dad did not want a service, but said it was ok if 'everyone felt they needed it'...and for those who are left standing in this world, yes, we needed it.  And yes...tears flowed, but mostly tears of joy and appreciation for the love, the understanding, the compassion, the wisdom that dad shared.  Funny stories were told, good memories were shared, and it only lasted one hour.  

Born on April Fools Day....died on Thanksgiving the day before his only brother's birthday....service held on Friday the 13th...how fitting.  And what did we do the next day???

We all have a huge Burdick Christmas Party!  In all truth though, this is an annual party that Aunt Florence's side of the Burdick family throws each year.  Last year they invited Santa to it, and this year here is our side of the family (except for my brother Bob who catered the event and went home before the pictures since he got there before 7 to start cooking.)

Here is many of the other Burdick family.  Not all of them were able to attend, which is unfortunate.  But it was nice seeing those who were able to come.  (And YES, Santa and his wife are part of this part of the family!)

It was a very good, strongly emotional, stuffed with love, full of joy, with lots of reminiscing and plenty of "Hello" and "Goodbye" hugs type of weekend. 

Many, many years ago, perhaps 30 years ago, mom and dad announced that they were leaving their bodies to 'science' after they died.  When they moved to Missouri, they made plans with a University in the Kansas City area.  When they moved back, they made plans with the University of California, Davis Body Donation Program again.  Well, when dad passed, we gave a card to the nurse...she called them, they took his body down to the hospital morgue, and UC Davis came and got his body.  Monday they called mom and informed us that the body was indeed accepted, and what was going to happen with it over the next month to a year.  They also said that each year they have a memorial service for the the family members of those who have donated, and that once the body had met all of its useful medical needs, it is cremated and buried at sea off the coast near San Francisco.  They said that in a few days they would call us to let us know where we could pick up death certificates, probably in Placer County.  On Thursday they called and told mom we could pick up the certificates up in Auburn, so I picked mom up and within an hour we had 6 certified death certificates (at a cost of $21 each).  IF you might be interested in a program like this, please visit the UC Davis Body Donation Program website so you can get informed about this important program.  I am certain that there is a medical school near you which could use this type of donation.  If you click on the memorial image above, you can read this inscription on the grave marker:

Mortui Vivos Docent  "The Dead Teach the Living"

As for Marcia and I...we are going to rest up from sickness, and pull out of my Sister's backyard on Wednesday and try to get back to Florida before the first of the year...we are not going to make Christmas, but I figure somewhere around the 28th is probably doable.  Back in January or February as we talked about our travel plans for 2019, I told Marcia that since we were going to miss dad and mom's birthdays in April due to Ryan's graduation, and that there was no way we could make it California before June next year due to Ryan and Kaelyn's wedding in Ohio, that we should plan on spending 4-5 months in Citrus Heights so that we could spend time with mom and dad.  Little did we know that this time was so important.  Dad's hospitalization in May followed by 20 days of Rehab in June, his even longer hospitalization in September followed by another 20 days of Rehab in October, and special needs for about 10 days once he got back home to the Assisted Living facility.  I spent hours every day at either the hospital or the rehab, was there to assist with just about every PT and most OT sessions, tried to keep everyone in the family abreast to the situation since most are still working, and those who don't live far away.  My sisters Patti and Sandy attended to much of mom and dad's needs....driving them to Doctor appointments, getting groceries, paying bills, handle issues with care facilities, VA, Doctors and things like that, all the while working full-time jobs...so being here and being able to step in like I did was a great blessing to them both, and to mom and dad.  That is one aspect that other RVers have found during their travels...and we were happy to be able to step in and do what needed to be done.