Thursday, July 23, 2020

RVs ALWAYS Have Upgrades and Fixes

Anyone who has or does own a RV, be it a trailer, 5th wheel, van, or motorhome of any size knows that there are ALWAYS some upgrades and/or repairs that you have to do periodically through the year.  The more you use it, the more you is the way of life with these things.

Sometimes the 'FIX' is larger than your ability...and there is nothing wrong with the repair guy and get out your pocketbook.  The more you are able to do yourself, the less money it will generally cost you...unless of course your 'FIX' ends up causing a major 'BREAK', and then you need to call in the experts to fix, and you pay for that mistake big time.

I was the type of kid who, at a young age, loved to open up the phone and see what makes the ringer ring, what the speaker and the microphone looked like, even electrical outlets and switches just to see how they were wired up.  Watching dad work on the engine of his old Ford Anglia, or to fix the lawnmower, and of course figuring out which tube had gone out in the television was all fascinating to me.  Made it easier for me when we (dad and I) needed to take the engine out of my first car, an Austin Healey Sprite...just to take it apart a second time because the rings we got for it were just barley too small allowing oil to pass through to the exhaust and not being able to pass the exhaust test that the CHP (California Highway Patrol) required because I got a fix-it ticket due to exhaust smoke coming out.  I took most of the engine out by myself this second time in anticipation of dad and I fixing that first 'fix'.

So today was the day to tackle the new KING OA8500 Jack HDTV Directional Over-the-Air  TV Antenna.  The weather was very cooperative with a high of only 88...mid 70's when I started at 11 am, and around 85 when finished around 3 pm.  I wanted to go up onto the roof only once, then convinced myself that two times was more realistic...but it ended up being four trips up and down.  The hardest part of the job, outside of climbing up the ladder four times,  was taking the old antenna off and getting rid of all the old Sealant. 

I was so concentrated on what I was doing, that I got ZERO pictures of what I was doing.  However, I found this picture which pretty much show what I went through.  Scrape off the sealant to get to the screw...remove the screw...move on to the next screw and scrape some more.  Once all the screws were out, it was a matter of getting the blade under the base of the antenna and loosen it until I was able to pull it off.  Having a fiberglass roof made it easier, no need to worry about ripping a rubber roof that many RVs have.  I then got rid of all the remaining sealant so that the new antenna base will lay flat on the roof.  It was tedious...but the hardest thing was sitting in the small area available by the antenna for over an hour.  That was trip number one up and down the roof.

I am glad that I bought the optional base for the antenna to sit on.  The base pretty much covered the old base area, covering all but one of the screw holes.  The antenna (left) sits on top of the base (right) and is connected by six screws with self-locking nuts.  The large hole on the base corresponds to the hole in the roof of the motorhome.  On the inside of the motorhome is the turning device which lights up letting you know how strong the TV station signal is so you know where to turn it to for best reception (picture of that later).  That base itself needs to be screwed onto the roof of the motorhome...and they don't provide these screws.  However, the screws I took off were more than adequate for the job, once they got cleaned up from all that old sealant.  HAD I brought them all down off the roof instead of just one of them, I would have saved trip number two up and down the motorhome roof. 

The third trip was to install the new antenna.  This required a lot of the new sealant.  I used ProFlex RV Flexible Sealant, the same stuff I sealed the side of the roof with a number of months back while it was in storage.  I first sealed all the old holes from the old base, then sealed the antenna to the base, sealed the base to the roof, sealed the antenna wire hole which connected under the new antenna just above the base, and then screwed the base into the roof.  At this point I thought about sealing all the screws I used, and the outside area where the base and antenna meet, and where the base and the roof meet...but I thought it might be wise to make sure the new antenna was going to work before I went that far.

Off the roof for the third time and went inside the motorhome and hooked up the signal finder and antenna turning dial (pictured above and yes, that is picture of ours).  The dial connects to a plastic post-like device that comes down through the roof from the antenna and essentially allows you to turn the antenna about 375 degrees, giving you the ability to see how the signal is all around you.  They provide a wire which connects the antenna to the signal finder which lights up.  There are four blue lights and one red light.  The red light shows you have power, the blue lights show the signal strength.  We are getting three of four blue lights, which is a good thing with the main TV Towers being 35 miles away.  Back on the roof for the fourth time and I finished sealing all the screw heads, all the seams, and making sure everything is watertight. 

Overall I was on the roof for about 2 1/2 hours.  The other 90 minutes was used to rest and clean those mounting screws.  Little Indy went nuts trying to find a way to get up on the roof with me.  She would go out on the grass where she could see me, and at one point she laid down on the running board outside the passenger's door.  The first time I came down she went nuts...the next three times it was like I was stale bread...she just couldn't understand why I kept going up there without her and she let me know how upset she was.

Other things I fixed since we have been here...

Our bathroom fan motor which moves the lid up and down needed to be was about a 5 minute job.  The old one would allow us to push the button which put the fan up, but when we tried to put it down the gears just would not engage.  To put it down we had to use the black knob, pulling on it to disengage the electric motor, and turn it to close the fan lid.  Now, it all works again as it should.

In Albuquerque the power cord connecting the motorhome to shore power had worn out, and I bought a new adapter at Camping World which was right next door to the RV Park.  I bought this plug to convert the old cord into a RV Extension Cord.  This took about 15 minutes.
In Bakersfield I realized that one of our sewer hoses had sprung a leak, so I ordered this Thetford 17854 Titan 10 Foot RV Sewer Hose.  It is suppose to be one of the best sewer hoses...I guess time will tell.  When they tear, it is very embarrassing, and you normally don't even know until you take a shower and see the water standing outside.

My next fix will involve Arny.  Our 12 volt 'cigarette lighter' outlet on the dash, which we rely on for charging cell phones, charging the Tire Monitoring System, and Marcia's computer while we drive, has lost power.  There is an auxiliary plug right above it which has not had power since we owned it, probably because the folks who installed the satellite radio took that power source to run the Sirius device...which we took out when we bought it.  Another upcoming fix is to replace two of our florescent fixture bulbs in the living area with LED lights.  This will require the removal of the ballast/starter, and that should be a fairly easy fix and I anticipate the lights to be brighter.

As I said...there is always something...

Monday, July 20, 2020

Indy Groomed and Vaccinated and Happy As Could Be

WHO the HECK is THIS?  That CAN'T be our little hairy Indy, can it????  Yep, that is her, on the way home from the groomer today (Sunday).  Last Friday (a week ago Friday) I took her to the Vet.  She had her vaccination shots, de-worming (just in case), Heartworm Test and 6 month Heartworm shot (because that is important to have in Florida).  Since she seemed to be going into Heat, we decided to have her Spayed in Florida. 

The Vet said she is probably closer to 8 months old, and not 6 months like we initially thought.  She said she is a mix breed with some Terrier, some Yorkshire, and other 'stuff'.  In looking at pictures on the Internet, I think she is close to a Yorkie Maltese Terrier mix, also known as a Morkie.  However, a Morkie is typically around 7-8 pounds, and Indy is already at 10 pounds, and not an ounce of fat on she might have more Terrier in her than a typical Morkie.  But in doing a google image search for a "Morkie" there are a few which look just like her.

We don't think she ever had a haircut.  Her hair is very fluffy, very fine, very soft.  It was hard to even decide to cut her, she looked so 'cute' and 'cuddly' with her long fluffy hair.

She loves to roll on her back, and she likes her belly rubbed, especially by her daddy.  She is definitely another "Daddy's Girl" dog.  😍

Look at how much hair there was as I grabbed it as close to the skin as I could get.


Now she looks so thin and tiny...more like the 10 pounds that she is.  With this hot weather, I am sure she will enjoy it.

Of course, if Uncle Arny keeps feeding her all those "Arny Treats", she will bloom way out like her daddy!  Honestly, Sandy and Arny give very little treats, but they make a big ordeal over it when they do.  Now with Bubba, that's a whole another story...but he sure isn't bursting out of his seems, that's for sure.  Speaking of Bubba, I groomed him on Friday.

It took Indy about a week to get use to getting her Arny Treat first thing every morning.  I cooked up a batch of Pork, and that did the she is on some chicken strip treat which comes out of a bag.  Here she was wondering if there might be another treat in store from the nice couple who lives next to us

It is going to be different not seeing all that hair.  Amazingly, she did not shed at all!  That is definitely going to be nice.  I also bought her a blue collar, and we will use the vest when she is playing "service dog" once we get home to is perfect to attach the cell phone to so that if Marcia falls, Indy will be there to rescue her from the ground.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Sisters Visit, Uncle Passes Away, Indy (Doggie) Update

On Monday Mom and I drove down to Escalon (near Modesto) to visit her sister Mary, who is about 20 months older than mom.  Cousin Debby lives right next door and we saw her too.  The bad news was given to us that just that morning Uncle Jim (Mary's husband, Debby's father) was in the hospital with Covid / Pneumonia / Alzheimer's.  He has been living in a special senior living facility for Alzheimer's patients, and that is where he contracted the Covid.  Well, we found out this evening that Uncle Jim passed away.  Since he did not know anyone anymore, it truly is a blessing, but it does not mean that it is easy to take.  He was a very nice, kind man.  I enjoyed listening to mom and Mary talk about old times...brothers, sisters, family stuff.  They really enjoyed their time together.  In a few months Mary and Debbie will be moving into a house in Elk Grove next to Debbie's daughter, which will make visiting with them much easier.

Little Indy is doing just great.  It is never easy for a dog to change families, and we worried about her first night with us on July 4th with it being loud and hectic...but she handled it without any problems at all.

She enjoys sleeping on Marcia's reclining chair (in the upright position) with her doggie bed (handed down from Skruffy), especially if I am in my chair right next to it.  It took three full days before we felt comfortable letting her have the run of the backyard, but on Tuesday we took her off leash and now she has explored the entire yard, and the garage, and has been willing to come back into the motorhome with very little coaxing.  She comes to me when I whistle and call her name, and she is slowly getting used to her new name "Indy".  Her and Bubba have bonded well, as have she with Marcia and I.  She is starting to get use to Arny and Sandy and Mom too.

Last night she rolled on her back while sleeping and I rubbed her belly...that was the second night she did that. She will sleep for a little while in our bed, but eventually she jumps down and returns to the chair.  Today, when I left for a bit, Marcia was taking a nap, and she jumped up on the bed all on her own (without coaxing).  This morning when I got up at 6:20 she was in the living area, two toys sitting on the carpet that were not there earlier, and her little tail just wagged and wagged.  So the transition from one loving home to another is going very well.

Friday is Veterinary Day, and with that we will be making a followup appointment to get her fixed, and also set a day for her first grooming.  I gave her a bath today and she did not struggle with it at all, but did not like it when I cut some of her hair in her rear area on Monday, hence, a groomer instead of me at first.  Looking forward to finding out what breed they think she is, our guess is a Yorkshire mix.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Meet INDY, Independence 'K.' Burdick

Indy and Marcia

Yes, we did it ... replaced Skruffy today, and we did not even try.  Arny was going to cook some ribs for 4th of July, and I stuck my head out the motorhome around 11:30 am to ask what time we needed to have our Mashed Cauliflower ready when Sandy says, "You gotta look at this."  It was a picture of a dog...this dog...being advertised on "NextDoor". (Nextdoor is a hyperlocal social networking service for neighborhoods.)  I showed Marcia, and she said, "I WANT THAT DOG!"

Indy and Marcia

Within 5 minutes Sandy and I were on our way.  Because NextDoor is so local, we knew it was close...ended up less than 5 miles away.  The family had her for about 6 weeks, and she is about 5 1/2 months old.  (As far as I am concerned, she was born on December 24, 2019...the day Skruffy passed away.)  They said they are moving to a place that does not allow they needed to find it a home.

Even before we left I suggested we call her "Indy", for Independence Day, the day we got her.  Sandy wanted her middle name to be "K.", which is her middle name.  When she was adopted her middle name was Kay, but the adoption papers said "K.", and we always teased her about her middle name being "Capital K Period".  At first it probably hurt her feelings a bit...but she came to wear the name with honor, and she deserves all the honor we boys can give her.  Hard to come live with four older boys, that is for sure.  Patti, her biological sister, joined the family as an adult, so she missed out on all that fun.

So, we are HAPPY to have a second dog in our household again.  Bubba is 17 years old this year, and his ability as a service dog for Marcia is going down hill fast.  It is his hearing and his sleeping that make it hard for him to fulfill his duties.  Afraid Marcia is going to fall one of these days back at the Condo when I am away, and Bubba will sleep right through it instead of coming over to her to help (we put a cell phone on his back so she would have access to call for help.)  We will spend as much time these next few month preparing Indy for her duties, but we might need to have both Bubba and Indy there for a few months, which I am sure the Condo Association will throw a fit about...only time will tell if that is needed.


Yes, some resemblances...but many differences.  It will take awhile for Indy to get used to us, and for us to get use to her, and to train her (and for her to train us).  She won't be SKRUFFY, she will be INDY, each with their own personality. 

Our 4th of July did not turn out like we thought, and for that, we are SO THANKFUL!.  So much so, I created a song by altering a Martina McBride song...

Let freedom ring, let the little doggie sing
Let the whole world know that today
Is a day of remembering.
Let Marcia be helped, the doggie lets out a yelp
Roll the door away, this doggies going to stay
It's "Independence's Day"

WELCOME to the FAMILY Independence K. Burdick, aka: INDY  We will love you, and show you so much of the USA, just as we have with Skruffy and with Bubba...perhaps a little of Canada too.

Week and a Half in Sacramento Area

Bubba Update:  Bubba has fallen in love with a Ceramic Turtle.  This is NOT a staged photo, he really was laying on Sandy/Arny's carpet with his head on the Turtle.  It was a HOT DAY that day, so it could be the coolness of the turtle that is the attraction.  However, he has been seen laying near the turtle a few times since.  Perhaps he misses the real turtles that Sandy and Arny use to raise, and got rid of (gave away, not in Turtle Soup) a couple of years ago.

When we are at Sandy/Arny's we have everything we need to live in the motorhome.  Good 30 amp electricity, water, and for sewer, we have this Blue Tote which we fill up with grey/black water, wheel it to the far driveway and dump in the sewer outlet.  I typically do this twice a week, so that the 25 gallon tote is not so full and heavy.  Filled all the way, it weighs around 160-180 pounds.  Pulling that can be half to 2/3rds full is much easier.  I have dumped twice since we have been here.

After 2,800 miles of being pulled behind the motorhome, the car always needs to be washed.  There is a good car wash not far from their house that I always take it to.  You get out, they vacuum, wash, hand dry and wipe down all the interior and the wheels for $25.  It can take 40-80 minutes depending on how busy they are.  I bought a Upholstery Cleaning Kit before we left home and used it to clean all the seats.  It turned out just fine for a 11 year old car with nearly 90,000 miles on it.

One project which I had planned on doing today, but decided to put off until next week, is replacing our 'Batwing' Antenna, which needs to be cranked up, turned to where you 'think' the TV tower is at, and then remember to turn back and cranck back down when you drive again. 

Our replacement will be the KING OA8500 Jack HDTV Directional Over-the-Air Antenna with Mount and Signal Finder, which I got from Amazon for $109, along with a mounting plate for another $20.  The 'Signal Finder' will allow us to turn the antenna, and see how many led lights light stop when you find the number which is the largest.  At some location we have found TV Towers which are in different directions, and depending on the channel we wanted to watch, we would have to turn it to the direction of the other tower...which is guesswork.  With this, we will be able to tell by the LED lights.  And the best cranking up and down...don't want to tell you how many times in the past 8 years we forgot to put it down, and either someone told us, or I saw the shadow of the antenna.  Leave it up too long, at high speeds, and you are looking for a crash on your roof.  (We never had that)

We have enjoyed visiting with family, took mom down past South Sacramento to visit Aunt Florence (dad's brother's wife), and on Monday, driving down to Modesto area to see mom's only surviving sister Mary (she also has a brother who lives in the upper mid-west).

California has locked down a number of counties, where you no longer can eat inside restaurants (but to-go and outside dinning is fine), mandatory masks (YUCK), and all bars and casinos are closed down (does not affect us).  Of course, being in far northern part of the county, we 'could' go into Placer County and eat at a restaurant there (3 mile drive), which Sandy and Patti did today with Mom just to get her out.  Good news is that the Assisted Living Facility is going to allow meals in the dinning room with limits on how many they serve at one time, and no mandatory quarantine for those who went out due to a doctor's appointment, dental appointment, etc.  Mom thinks she will go back to the facility after her hearing appointment and doctor's appointment at the end of next week.  That would put her out for a month, and she will have to be tested and quarantined for 10-14 days when she goes back.  They also will allow short (30 minute visits) from family, although we don't know how that is going to work out.