Friday, April 29, 2022

Isn't she lovely?


On Monday I took Indy over to PetSmart to get her nails cut...on Wednesday I gave her a hair cut.

Before (above) you can see how much hair she has compared to the picture below I took this evening..

She is such a trooper allowing me to groom her...just wish she was the same when it comes to cutting her nails.  I can grind her nails, although that is something she does not like...but a few times a year I have to have her cut, and I just cannot do it.

Now here are three lovely ladies.  On Sunday we got together for mom's 92nd birthday celebration.  Liver and Onions for everyone...except me, I had steak (thanks Arny).

The picture above I took back in May of my favorite pictures that I have taken in Sandy and Arny's backyard.

This one above I took this evening.  I still like the Doves better, but this one is pretty darn good too.  The Reddish bird is the male Finch, and he is sharing food with the female Finch who I assume has been sitting on a nest of eggs or little ones, most likely in the Oleander plant below the wires they are on.  Finches have nested in these plants for many years, and one year we saw a Hawk go in and get some eggs from a nest.

Took this picture a couple days ago...looks like the same male Finch, but they do all look alike.

So Indy was over in the corner by the shed, and she was seeing something.  When I looked through my camera lens I finally see it....

Yep, it is a nasty ole cat.  They had a 'stare out' for about five minutes, and finally Indy went up over the rock and started barking.  The cat, seeing that there was no way that Indy was going to get up on that fence, just kept staring at her.

Update on the car...  It is running real good.  Drove it up to Auburn and back this afternoon, and did not have any issues.  Occasionally the idle speed is just a bit high, but more often than not it is coming down to where it is suppose to be after 15 - 30 seconds.  I have not cleared the code yet, but did fill the tank at Sam's Club ($4.98 per gal) and wrote down the millage so that I can see what gas millage I am getting.

Update on A/C for motorhome...  Monday I got up on the roof and got the numbers of the capacitors that I want to replace.  While up there, I also cleaned the vent covers of the three fan air vents ... they were very dirty, but cleaned up real easy with a whisk broom.  Ordered the capacitors through Amazon, and one is in, the other should be delivered tomorrow since it arrived at the Sacramento Post Office Distribution Center this evening.  Plan to put them in on Saturday.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Automotive Fix?


The last time I took a picture of our HHR was December of last year on our way home.  Back in the middle of March, a check engine light came on and every week it seemed to run rougher and rougher.  Knowing we would be at Sandy and Arny's house within the month, and knowing the vast amount of knowledge, experience and tools available there, I decided to chance it and wait until we got to Citrus Heights to do the work.  We bought it in early 2011, it was a 'rental' which was put up for sale at a car dealership.  Not sure what work they might have performed on it, but over the past 11 years we have put around 130,000 miles on it, pulled it behind motorhomes for at least another 100,000 miles, and it has been very reliable for us with just a few problems prior to now.

Thinking that it was just the Spark Plugs, I went to O'Reilly Auto Parts and picked those up and put them in on Monday.  $45, and it seemed to be better...but only short lived.  

(Black things are coils, spark plugs under them)

Monday afternoon I took it to O'Reilly Auto Parts where they ran check engine codes. Not only did it need the Spark Plugs, but also Ignition Coils (one for each spark plug), Throttle Body cleaning or replacing (this gadget allows the air into the cylinders), an Oxygen Sensor (we put that in back in 2016 so I skipped putting that in even though I bought it), Mass Airflow Sensor (which works in conjunction with the Throttle Body).  Ok, that's another $325, not including the Throttle Body which we decided to ignore for now, and all of the parts would be available Tuesday morning.

(O2 sensor left, Mass Airflow sensor right)

By Tuesday afternoon it was working much better, and I even went over to visit mom afterwards.  But on the way home, it started acting up as if I never did anything.  So we decided to take out the Throttle Body, and it was DIRTY DIRTY DIRTY.  Arny soaked it in some 'stuff' all night, and I put it in Wednesday morning.  Worked like a charm again...until it the engine warmed up.  Arny's friend Steve has a code reader which works on his phone, real neat, and the top code was Throttle Body and O2 sensor.  We still held off on doing that O2 sensor...but got a new Throttle Body.

(Throttle Body)

So I went back to O'Reilly Auto Parts and ordered a new Throttle Body, $220.  I 'almost' turned the O2 sensor in for credit, but thought I could do that later just in case (smart thinking that time).  Thursday I picked up the new Throttle Body, put it in and the HHR worked better than ever...until it warmed up.  Steve came over late afternoon and ran his code reader again, and it pointed to the O2 sensor...which I had but did not put in due to how hard it was to get to it.  

(Code Reader, sends info to your Smart Phone via bluetooth)

So far I had done all the work except cleaning the Throttle Body.  With the O2 sensor, I was going to have to rely a bunch on Arny.  So Friday mid-morning we first cleaned the engine (Arny likes to work on clean engines).  Around 1 pm we started on the O2 sensor which took us about an hour.  WOW, now it was really working like a charm.  Took it around the neighborhood, let it get nice a warmed up, and it was working perfect.  Took it for a 12 mile run north on the Interstate, got off and right back on headed south...perfect...until the check engine light came back on...but it still worked flawlessly.

Did a bit more research and found that the computer can take awhile...even up to a few hundred miles, before it relearns everything.  So for now we are claiming victory...but there is a chance we might need to do a bit more work if I want to stop this one check engine code from popping up.

I never finished our are just items.   With the loss of our GPS/Music, we "HAD" to have something.  I remembered that I had a speaker which is powered by USB and/or Solar, which would connect via bluetooth to my Kindle Fire.  Speaker box above, Kindle below (I have a keyboard attachment with this Kindle)

I downloaded some tunes to the Kindle so it would work with or without Internet, and we enjoyed some tunes the final few days to Citrus Heights.

I guess our Amazon Prime was up for renewal, and Amazon hunted us down, twisted our arms, and now, after another $120, we are good to go for another year.

Typical view of Mojave Desert, I-40 headed to Barstow

Gee wiz Dorothy, I don't think we are in Kansas anymore....  Gas price in Barstow (thank goodness we filled up our tank in Arizona)

Gas price on Highway 58 near Kramer Junction.  This station has been open for about a year.  We stopped and let Indy play in their Doggie Park...she enjoyed that a lot.

Joshua Tree in bloom as we head toward Tehachapi Pass, and then Bakersfield

One of MANY rough bridges we had to cross...only 150 miles to put up with....


Pictures taken Friday Evening

Yes, they had the tree cut back

She just LOVES this did Skruffy and Bubba

Lots of Hummingbirds this year

Fewer Doves due to Cats

It is Spring, Finches Looking for Action

Fewer Squirrels, again Cats

I'll Keep Them Fricken Cats Away!!!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Made it to Citrus Heights

So we left Bakersfield around 7:30 am...a 300 mile route by going via I-5.  Both US-99 and I-5 have their problems...but on the advice of Nancy Kissack, we went I-5 because the condition of US-99 in and through Atwater, where she lives, is REAL BAD due to construction where, as she says, the concrete barriers are on both sides of your vehicle with just inches to spare...which has lead to many wrecks over the past few weeks.  Well, I HATE the concrete barriers on both side is ok, but both is something I try to avoid even in a car.

We arrived just before 2 pm, shook up from the numerous spots along I-5 that need desperately to have work on them.  Let give you one example.  I see a sign which says, "Road Work Ahead" (and I immediately think someone needs to change that sign to "Road Work Needed" because the road is in bad shape.)  I see another sign about 2 miles up the Interstate which says, "Road Work Ahead".  I see another sign about 3 miles later which says, ""Road Work Ahead".  I think you get the drift.  About 10-12 miles down the Interstate from the first sign, and now passing 3 or 4 more signs, we come to the 'Road Work' was a REST AREA which has been torn down, and in the process of being rebuilt.  THAT is the ONLY road work we came across during this 12 miles stretch...all the while, getting shook up from bumps, potholes, and even what seemed to be frost heaves in an area where it does not snow, it does not have hard freezes, but there are dips in the roadway which are just like frost heaves of Alaska Highway fame.  How does the state which boasts to be the world's fifth largest economy have such crappy roads???  I am embarrassed by my "home state", and it just goes to show that they are more concerned about a rest area, than 12 miles of crappy roadway.  And EVEN when the road is in good shape, it seemed that each time we came upon the smallest bridge over the roadway, that they can't make the roadway and the bridge it is a BANG as you get on the bridge, and a BANG when you get off the bridge.

In a few days I will try to write a blog to include pictures from the past two days of travel.  We are just glad to be back in my sister's backyard, and looking forward to someone's 92nd birthday next weekend.  🙂

ps: Indy was very happy to be back in the green, lush backyard, and among her Aunts and Uncle and of course, Cousin Parker.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Playing Taps Over the GPS - Needles, Ca


The Sun comes up early in Arizona, because Arizona does not do Daylight Savings Time.  So 5:00 am is really 5:00 am, and the sun starts coming up at 5:00.  By 6:15 the sun was coming through the window covers...and we started to get up.  By 7 am, we were on the Interstate, headed for Needles California, about 260 miles away.  The picture above is of the San Francisco Peaks, by Flagstaff.  The highest peak, Humphreys Peak, is the highest point in Arizona at 12,633.

It was shortly after this picture was taken, as we were driving west following the GPS and listening to a Country Western Radio Station that I suddenly heard some static in the music, and just as I said, "Uh Oh...." ZAP, the GPS (and all that comes with it) goes ZAP again.  Well, I guess it isn't the CD Player after must be a speaker wire (based off of the static) -OR- the entire GPS is just past its prime and needs to be replaced.  

I knew there was a Cracker Barrel along the Interstate in Flagstaff.  The picture above is from Google Maps Street View from the Interstate...and it almost looks like what we faced today.  I figured that if we could find a parking place, I would order breakfast ToGo and get the GPS running, grab our breakfast, eat and be on our way.  And it all worked out, despite the dozen or so RVs in and around the lot...most looked like they stayed there all night.

We barely made it out of Flagstaff, where there is much construction and very bumpy roads, and ZAP, the GPS bit the dust again...this time with nothing else going but the GPS.

TAPS for the GPS

GPS is done,
Gone the sun,
No more lake,
No more hill,
No more sky.
All is well,
Safely rest,
God is nigh.

So we get through the bumps and lumps of Flagstaff, and enjoy the scenery with a few tears in our eyes.  RIP GPS...   (See that silver trailer in the picture, it is a Airstream and I couldn't help but admire how nice they are...who knows the age...who cares, they hold up so well, but they cost a good chunk of money...not that we want to pull a trailer, but just saying...we followed them a good chunk of the way to Kingman)

Marcia got this picture facing north...nothing of interest up there except for a fairly large trench known as the Grand Canyon.

Another interesting formation...and the silver trailer is still in front of us.  (Sometime we got close to it, other times it was far away like this.  I could have passed it a time or two, but why?)

This is the exit we take on our way home each fall/winter, except we are going the other way.  We like US 93 through Wickenburg, and yes, that silver trailer is right in front of us...but we lost them shortly after when Indy needed to take one of her breaks and we pulled into a TA Truckstop.  (Ok, the stop was for me, and I also needed to call the RV Park in Needles.)

Here we have just passed through Kingman.  The exit sign is for Las Vegas, and as soon as we went around that corner there was a huge backup in the right lane.  I took the chance and got in the left lane, zipped by everyone who were simply getting off at the Las Vegas exit and causing a backup on the Interstate.

Had to toss in this picture of the Pilot sign.  Yes, unleaded for $4.39...and there is a Love's which has the same price.  Both stations were very busy with this exit just 9 miles from the California boarder.  I got as much in the tank as I could possibly put in!

And there is the boarder just one mile ahead, you cross over the Colorado River and you have crossed over into ... 

We arrive just past 2 pm, and enjoyed the shade as we could.  It got up to 87 degrees, 9% humidity, and just about the upper level of our comfort zone.  Now it is 9 pm, it is 80 degrees and it feels just fine.  It will get down to 62 degrees by the time the sun comes up.

We are again at Fender's RV Park, a Passport America Park where we pay $19+ (I just gave her a twenty and told her to keep the change) and we are in the exact same campsite we have been in the last 3 or 4 times we have stayed here.  Indy has been here before, last November on our way home.  She 'seemed' to smell more here than other places, she may realize that she has been here before.  If so, she must know that the big green lawn in Citrus Heights is awaiting her, along with her aunt and uncle who we 'HOPE' she will be nice to immediately.  Now, all I have to do is try and remember my way back home to Citrus Heights where I called home for most of 1975 through 1983.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Relaxation Done - Driving into Arizona


The Enchanted Trails RV Park is a very friendly (starts with owners and staff) and one of our favorite Commercial RV Parks.  If it only had grass...but at 5,400 feet in the dessert like atmosphere, it just isn't feasible.

Many of the RV Campsites have some sort of vegetation separating it from neighbors.

Our visit did include a couple of hiccups.  First, the wind blew from around 9 am till 9 pm each day...with some gust up in the 30 mph range (see flag above).  Second, there are some fires which brought smoke into the valley, despite the winds which should have blown it out again.  Its just that the smoke kept coming in that it looked like it stayed.  Last, it was a bit cold on Tuesday and Wednesday nights...down in the lower 30's.  But the sun was out each day, and had it not been for the wind, it would have felt very comfortable during the day.

We got on the road about 7:45 with another sunny morning, and lots of trucks and traffic on both sides of the road...just can't see them on our side right now.

I have always enjoyed driving I-40 through New Mexico.  The scenery seems to change as the miles go by, some of it in the distance, some of it pretty close.

After perhaps 15 miles on the road, all of the sudden our GPS/CD/DVD/Radio goes out on us.  What it says on the screen is, "DC Offset Error" in the upper left  and "Protect" in the middle. My first thought was our alternator is kicking out too much juice...but my cigarette connection voltage reader showed a 13.9 to 14.9 reading, depending if I put our headlights on, turned up the heater fan, and stuff like that. 

Do you know how many times I still looked down at the GPS to see how our progress is coming.  Can you say, "Dave is ADDICTED to the GPS in the Motorhome!"

We start just about every day of our driving listening to Alabama's "Angels Among Us: Hymns & Gospel Favorites" CD.  (Been doing this since 2014)  Now it is all silent...even the EVIL, I mean, "The Nice GPS LADY" who tells you that your exit is coming, or it is time to merge when two freeways merge together, or who...and this happens a lot, tells you to get back on the pathway (because the Highway has been upgraded and although I am driving on the new highway, she thinks I am driving in a field or something like that)...even she is silent.  I miss her already.

Meanwhile, we keep driving and enjoy the scenery.  There was one 'quick' stop along an exit (coffee does that to you), and I used that time to do a quick search on our "DC Offset Error"   "Protect" error.  One YouTube shows a guy taking the unit out, unplugging it, and plugging it back in to fix the error.  My first thought was "Why can't I just disconnect the battery and achieve the same result.?"  The second YouTube did exactly I figured that when I got to Flying J to put 46 gallons of gas ($180 worth) I would disconnect the battery while the gas flowed in (and the $$$$$ flowed out of the credit card).

GREAT!  It worked!!!!   So off we go, guided by the most wonderful female voice in any GPS, and...less than 5 miles down the went out again!  Darn that evil is gone again!!!!

So we continue to enjoy the scenery, we scoot through Gallup, and quickly coming to the end of New Mexico.

The Navajo have set up a nice "last stop in New Mexico" including places to get all sorts of Indian Jewelry, Food, Clothing, and such.

The two pictures above are of the same 'Rock'.  They have even included fake animals up on the rock...makes a very interesting scene.

Above is the same rock but from a different view.

And then it all comes to an end and into Arizona we come.  The thing is...I like driving through Arizona too.  😉

All the while I am thinking about the GPS problem.  In one of the YouTubes the guy said he was unsure WHY you get the error, but his research said that it could be a speaker wire shorting, it could be a power line acting up...seems there could be a lot of reasons.  So as we came to the first decent Truck Stop, I stop and rest the GPS again by disconnecting the battery.  This time, we are going to ONLY use the GPS CD, no Radio, nothing else.  

And it works for the next twenty miles.  So I chance the radio...and it works.  So I chance the thumb drive through the USB, and it works.  So we think it is the CD player that is causing this...will wait until we get to my sisters to worry about it any further.

With only 1,100 miles left from the Enchanted Trails RV Park to Citrus Heights where my sister lives, we decided to keep our drives down to the 250-300 mile mark.  Our destination today was the Meteor Crater RV Park about 15 miles east of Winslow.  This is another park we have stopped at a few times, and is typically quiet.  Suppose to drop into the lower 30's by morning, but we are prepared for it with only electricity hooked up.  Tomorrow we should just be into California, with 560 miles left to go after that.